Don’t complain that there isn’t anything to bet on Wednesday, especially if you exclusively bet on the ponies. There are 13 tracks in the US with racing today, so there are ample opportunities for wagering. The biggest track of all with a card on Wednesday is Saratoga in Saratoga Springs.
This is just an appetizer for what’s to come on Saturday at Saratoga. The long-awaited (Gr. 1) $1,000,000 Travers Stakes is scheduled for Saturday afternoon. It’s the biggest race left on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. And then finally, the Kentucky Derby is right around the corner on Labor Day Weekend.
The news going around the neighborhood in Kentucky is that jockeys that are participating in the Derby must be in the state by August 24. That throws an additional wrench into things for trainers. Most jockeys’ home tracks aren’t in Kentucky. Tiz the Law’s rider, Manny Franco’s homebase is at Saratoga in the state of New York.
I’m sure he’d like to pick up some races at Saratoga after August 24 before the Derby, but that doesn’t seem like an option now. Drayden Van Dyke, Victor Espinoza, and Mike Smith are all in California racing at Del Mar. In a year that is testing trainers in new ways, this is something else that must be taken into consideration.
Saratoga has a total of $624,000 available in prize money spread out across ten races on Wednesday. Hopefully we can do something with it and cash two or three tickets. Head below for our free Saratoga picks for August 5, 2020.
Post Time: 1:21 p.m. EST
Distance: 1 ⅛ Miles
In the smallest event monetary wise at Saratoga on Wednesday, eight horses will take to the gate for 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt for a $33,000 purse. The Joke’s On You and Naughty Prince should be involved in the stretch. If they’re not competing for a win, it would be a disappointing run for both of them. The Joke’s On You is coming off a win in his most recent outing after seven attempts. Leading up to that win, The Joke’s On You finished 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 4th, 4th leading up to that winning effort at Aqueduct in February.
It was a convincing win for The Joke’s On You by 13 ¼ lengths on February 21 in a $33,000 event. There was no competition and he took care of the win in commanding fashion over Da Berg. After a layoff, The Joke’s On You will make his return to the track seeking back-to-back wins.
The gelding completed a 4-furlong workout with a time of 52.30 seconds on July 30 and 5-furlong workout in 1:02.00. The Joke’s On You has been experienced running in this class. Even before the win, he was running for $33,000 purses. He just found a field that he liked to run against and took full advantage.
The Joke’s On You will be threatened by Naughty Prince who is 1 for 1 in his career after winning as a first-time runner on July 8. Naughty Prince recorded the win by a half length over Whisky Man. He was 4th at the top of the stretch and then laid on the gas in the stretch to get the win. Naughty Prince is a Wesley Ward trainee expected to have a productive career. He might be ready for a class hike if Naughty Prince runs as expected on Wednesday.
Post Time: 4:12 p.m. EST
Race 7 is our next stop at Saratoga on Wednesday afternoon. Black Magic Woman and Harlem Heights should be the two horses to watch. Harlem Heights will enter the fourth race of his career on Wednesday after finishing 4th, 3rd, 2nd.
If the trend continues going in her direction, the next stop will be the winner’s circle. She ran off a layoff on July 9 after running 3rd on October 5, 2019. It was a nice return to the track for Harlem Heights, as she showed improvements again.
Harlem Heights finished 3rd in a $75,000 race on October 5 as a mid-tier participant in that event. She finished fairly close to what the money expected out of her. Coming off a nine-month layoff, Harlem Heights did one better to finish 2nd about a month ago in a $64,000 event. She was liked by the public in that one and was a close favorite with Back Channel who finished 3rd.
Pop a Choc was the eventual winner over Harlem Heights by 5 ¼ lengths. Improvements continue to be noted with Harlem Heights. In an August 1 workout on Saturday, she completed 4 furlongs in 48.84 seconds.
Black Magic Woman from the No. 1 post position will be of interest to some. She will be a rookie today and enters with plenty of promise for Todd Pletcher. Black Magic Woman is expected to be a performer throughout her career and win these types of events. She was extremely quick in the morning of July 30, completing 4 furlongs in 46.88 seconds.
It’s the second time in the last two months that Black Magic Woman was under 48 seconds at 4 furlongs. All four of her 4-furlong workouts were quicker than Harlem Heights, with times of 47.70, 48.53, 48.50, and 46.88 seconds. This race is within her range. If she behaves and doesn’t get too excited in her debut, Black Magic Woman should beat this field.
Post Time: 5:17 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
It’s feature time at Saratoga with a $76,000 purse on the docket in Race 9. Six horses are scheduled to participate in the 1 1/16 mile event. She’s Got You and Traipsing are on my shortlist going into Wednesday. Traipsing is 2 for 4 in her career with back-to-back wins on September 17, 2018 and March 28, 2020 so it was a long time coming. Those outings were for $27,000 and $51,000.
She won by a half length in the $51,000 race in March, so that prompted an even bigger hike in class to the $60,000 Treasure Coast Stakes (Black Type) on June 7. That didn’t play out accordingly, with Traipsing finishing 6th to beat only one horse by 5 ¾ lengths.
She is coming off four workouts in July, with recorded times in the morning of 49.66 and 51.30 seconds at 4 furlongs, and 1:03.95 and 1:03.47 at 5 furlongs. I think she’ll find a bit of value by post time, so she finds herself on my shortlist for Wednesday afternoon.
She’s Got You is making her second outing on US solid today. After a successful career in the UK, with finishes of 1st, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd she headed to Belmont Park for a $68,000 outing on July 5. She’s Got You was fine to show after a late surge. She was 7th at the ¾ pole and 6th going into the stretch before getting into contention in the mile event.
A little more room and She’s Got You likely gets that win. She’s participated in two stakes races in the UK, with quality performances for 2nd and 3rd in the second half of 2019. In her second US race, expect Chad Brown to have She’s Got You ready to perform.