Thursday at Saratoga Two-Year-Olds

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TwinSpires Staff

August 14th, 2014

Smack dab in the middle of today's ten race card at Saratoga is a pair of Juvenile maiden sprints on the dirt.

Race 5: Maiden Special Weight for New York-bred fillies at five and a half furlongs on dirt

A full field will assemble, and this has the look of an unusually good race for this New York-bred fillies level. Four major players stand out in here: two debut runners and two with previous experience.

Lady Daphne (4/1 Morning Line) is the top selection. By Harlan's Holiday out of a Carson City mare, this Chad Brown filly is bred well for speed and precocity. The workout reports on Lady Daphne are extremely positive as well, she's reportedly trained fairly evenly with several different workmates who would take money in open Maiden Special Weight races. The only workmate to noticeably edge her, Market Conduct, is a nice Super Saver colt who looked very good winning his debut on Sunday, winning clear at 7/2 odds. Javier Castellano takes the call.

Bar of Gold (5/1 Morning Line) is another very interesting debut runner. She has reportedly trained exceptionally well. In fact, in her only published gate drill, Bar of Gold outworked Tizquick, a Tiz Wonderful colt who is the 9/5 Morning Line favorite as he makes his debut in Friday's second race. On top of training excellently, Bar Of Gold has a very classy pedigree as well. She's by Medaglia d'Oro and out of a Graded Stakes winning Lemon Drop Kid mare. Normally, we don't like classy pedigrees in these type of races...especially when they don't shout speed and precocity. However, the 3rd Dam of Bar of Gold is Key Phrase, and she was an exceptional dirt sprinter. There is some speed in the tail female line.

Of the experienced runners, The Lewis Dinner and Saluda both exit a good maiden race from opening day—one that turned out to be a disaster for Saluda after she feel to her face at the start. Still, there's plenty to like if you're willing to forgive that debacle.

Saluda was ambitiously spotted in her debut, by a very sharp trainer, and was involved in a scorching early speed duel. The horse Saluda dueled with early, Harlan's Honor, was an open company winner at Monmouth. Saluda managed to win that speed battle, but badly lost the war to highly impressive debut winner Wonder Gal, who benefited from the hot pace. Harlan's Honor recently came back to dominate a turf sprint stakes race at Monmouth by 4 lengths. The hope is that today's outside post draw will be to her benefit.

Finally, The Lewis Dinner finished second in her debut and ran quite well. However, she's a filly with an usually long stride, I'll be far more interested in her when she stretches out to long one-turn sprint races. I think you'll see her best at seven furlongs.


1st: Lady Daphne

2nd: Saluda

3rd: Bar Of Gold

4th: The Lewis Dinner

Race 6: Maiden Special Weight at five furlongs on the dirt.

This is not exactly an exciting betting race. The 8/5 Morning Line favorite is the Todd Pletcher-trained debuter Blofeld, and it's interesting to note that he was a failed pinhook. Indeed, Blofeld was purchased as a yearling for $275,000 on August 5, 2013, and resold for just $225,000 on March 24, 2014, even after drilling a furlong in 10 seconds flat at Fasig Tipton Florida.

I love betting against, and usually entirely tossing out, failed pinhooks in these types of races. However, the clocker reports on Blofeld have indicated that he's been training impressively and Pletcher has such a great record with juvenile debuters in these types of dirt sprints at Saratoga.

I learned a lesson on Saturday. The Pletcher debuter Designed For War was a horse, like Blofeld, who sold for a disappointingly small sum at the Fasig Tipton Florida two-year-old sale, but was debuting with impressive clocker reports.

I bravely tossed Designed For War, only to watch him win comfortably, while my top four choices finished second, third, fourth, and fifth at odds of 9/1, 9/2, 9/2, and 13/1.

Indeed, if Designed For War had bombed, you're a genius with a $21.20 top pick winner and a huge superfecta payoff. If he wins, you're the dope who tossed him out.

Reluctantly, I'm not going to play against Blofeld. I can't explain why he didn't sell for a large sum money in March after his blazing under-tack drill, especially considering the fact that he was such a pricey yearling.

More importantly, there's no other horse in here who has a real attractive look to oppose Blofeld with. El Kabeir, debuting without lasix for John Terranova seems like the best alternative. He's bred to be precocious and has been training very well, but I tend to shy away from horses who debut without lasix in dirt sprints.


1st: Blofeld

2nd: El Kabeir

3rd: Malibu Warrior

4th: Signature Cat