Tomorrow is Alabama Stakes and Saratoga Derby Invitational Day at Saratoga in Saratoga Springs. Both events will include purses of $500,000, which are the biggest races of the day in the US. Over at Woodbine in Toronto, the Woodbine Oaks is offering a $500,000 purse as well.
As far as the Road to the Kentucky Derby is concerned, the $150,000 Pegasus Stakes is the final race on the circuit Saturday. There are only a total of 34 points available in the Pegasus, though it could be 20 important points for the winner.
The Kentucky Derby field is beginning to take shape, and the main contenders already have their spot secured. Tiz the Law and Art Collector are the two likeliest candidates to win the Kentucky Derby right now. Who knows, though, maybe somebody like Authentic has something in the tank.
He looked like a much better horse earlier in the year, but you can’t discount a Bob Baffert horse in the Derby. As far as today is concerned at Saratoga, there is a total of $565,000 available in ten races. There is an inner turf stakes race worth $100,000 this afternoon. The turf will be used a little more than the dirt, with six races on the grass compared to four on the dirt track. Head below for our free Saratoga picks for August 14, 2020.
Post Time: 1:10 p.m. EST
Distance: 6 ½ Furlongs
We’ll get started early at Saratoga with a $38,000 maiden claiming race Friday afternoon. Ain’t None Lucky and Spanish Peaks are going to have a good look at the front in this one. Ain’t None Lucky is looking for the first win of her career at Saratoga on Friday.
She has finished 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 5th in her career with three solid runs to get into the money and a couple of duds. In her only race since May, Ain’t None Lucky was 5th on July 24 in a $41,200 maiden race. This was up from 7th in May in a $58,960 race.
Ain’t None Lucky is down in class for today after struggling for a couple of higher purses. This event should be within her reach. Ain’t None Lucky was on the workout trail on August 9 and completed a 4-furlong workout with a time of 50.20 seconds. Spanish Peaks from the No. 1 post position should put up a good fight and nice resistance against Ain’t None Lucky.
Spanish Peaks has gone 2nd, 4th, 2nd in her career, as she came close in her debut on May 24 in a 2 ¼ length loss. She did manage to beat eight other runners in that event, though. In her latest race, Spanish Peaks placed 2nd in her latest outing by a head behind Magically Honored.
She had the lead going into the stretch and got caught just before the wire. That was at a mile and Spanish Peak will need just 6 ½ furlongs of strong racing to win here. I’m supporting Spanish Peaks to get the win on Friday to get the day started at Saratoga.
Race 4 – Perfect Sting Stakes
Post Time: 2:54 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Race 4 is the main event of the afternoon at Saratoga. The running of the Perfect Sting Stakes is open for business on what is going to be a beautiful day in Saratoga Springs. In other words, it’s likely that we aren’t going to see Another Broad. She will only run on the main track and it’s unlikely that it’s going to the dirt. If it happens then Another Broad will be in prime position to win.
Otherwise, Cafe Americano and Altea are strong options to win Race 4. Cafe Americano has won 3 of 5 races including the Pucker Up Stakes (Gr. 3) on August 10, 2019 at Aqueduct. His effort in a couple of Gr. 1 races didn’t go as planned, with finishes of 6th in the Belmont Oaks and 4th in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in her most recent outing on October 12, 2019.
Cafe Americano is coming off a layoff, but is coming off a sharp workout on August 8 with a time of 48.33 seconds covering 4 furlongs. In July Cafe America completed 4 furlongs in 48.60, 49.50, 49.89, 49.53, and then the 48.33 second workout. She has to be a threat to win in this event.
Altea gets no layoff going into Friday. Another Chad Brown entry, Altea has finished 2nd, 2nd, 5th, 4th in her previous four outings. Overall, she is just 2 for 20 in her career, though has entered plenty of tough events. Altea is coming off a 4th place performance in the $350,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes (Gr. 1) on July 11. Not a terrible run by Altea in that difficult race.
That said, Altea has only been able to win two races in her career and neither were graded. Conversely, Cafe Americano has a $100,000 Gr. 3 win by 2 ¼ lengths and competitive in two Gr. 1 outings. Altea won a maiden race in 2017 in France and an allowance outing in October. Despite the layoff, I’m on board with Cafe Americano in the Perfect Sting Stakes.
Post Time: 4:40 p.m. EST
Distance:5 ½ Furlongs
$47,000 is available in Race 7 on the turf at Saratoga. 5 ½ furlongs will take place on the turf in this one. Fig Jelly and Onthewaynevrland have good opportunities to get the victory here. Onthewaytonervrland is 2 for 8 in his career with his most recent win in the $75,000 DRF Bets Rushaway Stakes (Black Type) on March 9, 2019 by 3 ½ lengths over Bundibuhan. Since then, Onthewaytonevrland has finished 5th, 5th, 7th, 6th so a lot of work remains on Friday.
In his most recent entry, Onthewaytonervrland finished 6th in a $42,000 event at Belmont Park. The positive for him in this race is that it’s only 5 ½ furlongs. He had a lead from the gate to the top of the stretch before weakening in the 6-furlong race. This should be more manageable for Onthewaytonervrland. I’d expect him to play a role in the stretch in this event.
Fig Jelly has shown incredible consistency throughout his 25-race career. He has placed or won 14 of those races. In his previous 13 races, Fig Jelly has finished in the top-3 in 10 of them with 9 either winning or placing. Fig Jelly is coming off a 2nd place performance on July 6 at Indiana Grand after coming a neck short of a win. That effort might be sufficient enough against this kind of field. He’s the most consistent runner that is in the mix in this race and should be rewarded for hanging tough on Friday afternoon.