We are back at Saratoga on Saturday for an action packed card featuring ten races for $940,000 in prize money. The highlight of the day is the $400,000 Fourstardave Handicap. That will take place in Race 9. You can flip a coin on Chad Brown’s Raging Bull and Uni. It’s likely going to be a successful day for Chad Brown one way or the other.
He has four horses running in the Fourstardave Handicap. Brown also has trainees participating in other events at Saratoga today as well. The backstretch is packed with Brown’s horses at Saratoga. Todd Pletcher also has several trainees in the stable in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Manny Franco will be out at Saratoga for the final weekend before the Kentucky Derby. Jockeys must be in Kentucky prior to August 24 and go through the Covid-19 testing process. Franco is the rider of Derby favorite Tiz the Law and will be present at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby on September 5.
If you are looking for a ticket to the Kentucky Derby, that won’t be possible because they’ve decided to run with no fans at all now. They were scheduled to allow a limited number of fans, but have decided to prevent the public from going to the track. That’s unfortunate, though Churchill Downs doesn’t want the bad attention and potential liability. Churchill Downs is a huge company now. Head below for our free Saratoga pick for August 22, 2020.
Post Time: 2:20 p.m. EST
Distance: 5 ½ Furlongs
We’ll get started at Saratoga this afternoon with Race 3. A decent purse of $74,000 is up for grabs in the event. Blindwille McTell is only going to be racing on the main track today. If we move from the turf to the dirt, then Blindwille McTell will participate, otherwise you won’t see the No. 4 horse. French Reef and Cryogenic are on my shortlist, with both horses expected to run with confidence in Race 3.
Cryogenic has been building up some momentum recently with a couple of positive performances. He has finished in the top-3 in 6 of his previous 8 races, including 1st and 2nd in his previous two races. Cryogenic won on June 19 at Gulfstream Park over Kyle by a neck at the wire for a $47,000 purse.
He was able to place 2nd in his next outing for a $74,000 purse. Cryogenic lost by a nose, showing that he’s capable of running in this class. He’s 4/1 on the morning-line, but should probably be closer to 3/1 or 5/2.
French Reef will be a tough opponent for Cryogenic and the rest of the field. The $494,004 Chad Brown trainee is expected to have a big career and is just getting started. He is 1 for 2 after finishing 6th in his debut on November 16, 2019 in a $70,000 maiden event. French Reef was the favorite in that race, but failed to live up to expectations.
Following a layoff, French Reef returned in much better form to win by 4 ¾ lengths over Modesto. French Reef was clear of the field by 1 ½ lengths at the ¼ pole and built on the lead to a win. There will be some competition for French Reef, but I’m in favor of him pulling away late and do what’s expected from him on Saturday afternoon.
Post Time: 4:04 p.m. EST
Race 6 brings us 6 furlongs of racing on the dirt for a $40,000 purse. It’s one of the smaller races at Saratoga today, but I think we can do something with it. Oak Creek Canyon is making his debut on Saturday for Linda Rice and could possibly cause some noise. She was originally purchased at auction for just $1,000 in 2017 and then $67,000 a year later.
Somebody sees something in this horse. She is coming off two 5-furlong workouts with times of 1:01.89 and 1:02.58. I’d like to see something better than that, but I think Oak Creek Canyon has a chance to surprise as a rookie. Love Me Tomorrow is looking for the first win of her career after going winless in nine attempts.
However, Love Me Tomorrow has finished in the top-3 in 5 of his previous 6 races. In his most recent race, Love Me Tomorrow finished 3rd in a $40,000 event on August 12 at Saratoga. She is the only runner in this event that has consistently ran in the money. Central Exit finished 2nd three races ago, but that’s about it. Love Me Tomorrow has to be considered here in one of the easiest races she’s entered.
Post Time: 5:14 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
Race 8 features a $76,000 purse for 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt. This is likely going to be a race between Blewitt and Growth Engine. Blewitt is being coupled with Legit for this event. Growth Engine has been a consistent operator with 2 wins in 5 entries. In the three races that Growth Engine came up short in, he placed 2nd and wasn’t far off. He’s finished 2nd, 2nd, 1st in his previous three races.
Growth Engine won by 4 ¾ lengths at the $50,000 level on July 19 at Monmouth Park. Prior to the win, Growth Engine placed 2nd behind Vincento by ¾ lengths for a $90,000 purse. In other words, he has shown that he has the talent to compete in a higher class. This field is more than manageable for Growth Engine on Saturday.
Blewitt is stepping down in class after finishing 4th and 3rd in two stakes events. He was 4th in the $125,000 Commentator Stakes (Black Type) on June 12, and then 3rd most recently on July 22 at Saratoga in the $85,000 Lubash Stakes (Black Type. In his most recent win, Blewitt won on April 9 for a $46,000 purse in a 5 length wire-to-wire victory.
Todd Pletcher’s Blewitt has appeared in some stakes races, but I really like the progress of Growth Engine recently. He was a $300,000 purchase and expected to run well in this class. Growth Engine is yet another Chad Brown trainee running today that has a good chance of going to the winner’s circle.