You might be waiting for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, but there is still an exciting week of horse racing leading us up to the big day. The Kentucky Oaks (Gr. 1) on Friday is the biggest pre-Derby race of the week. A talented group of fillies will go to the gate for 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt for a $1,250,000 purse.
Swiss Skydiver and Gamine will be the most highly watched horses before the Kentucky Derby. It’s a battle for the top filly in 2020. Gamine is a record-breaker, but she hasn’t seen a horse the caliber of Swiss Skydiver. We’ll see what happens when they finally meet. Bob Baffert doesn’t have a favorite entered in the Kentucky Derby, but Gamine might close as the favorite for the Kentucky Oaks.
There are at least 13 tracks in the US with action available on Wednesday, including Saratoga and Churchill Downs. Saratoga will be our first stop today, with three selections this afternoon. There are a total of nine races worth $589,000 in Saratoga Springs on this card. Head below for our free Saratoga picks for September 2, 2020.
Post Time: 12:45 p.m. EST
Distance: 2 ⅜ Miles
A $50,000 handicap hurdle event will get us started at Saratoga on Wednesday. I’ve been profitable in these hurdle races, with a record of 3 for 4 going into this event. Hopefully the success carries over to Wednesday for us. Noah And The Ark and the team of Iranistan and Taper Tantrum should give a good look at the top prize. Noah And The Ark is making his debut in the US after winning his previous two races.
Noah And The Ark is looking for a hat-trick today after going 9th, 3rd, 5th, 5th. He turned it around in a smaller class. The last time he was looking for a hat-trick, Noah And The Ark finished 9th and then the cold streak started.
It’s typically been all or nothing for Noah And The Ark throughout his career in the UK. Depending on what kind of mood he’s in today, Noah And The Ark could put a charge into this race. Overall, he’s 4 for 12 in his career, with all four wins in back-to-back fashion.
Iranistan has entered some big events in his career, including three Grade 1 races where he was competitive. Iranistan finished in the top-3 in 2 out of 3 Grade 1 races. He’s coming off a textbook half length wire-to-wire win over Must See The Doc on August 13 in a similar $50,000 handicap event. He’s 5 for 15 going into Wednesday.
His teammate, Taper Tantrum, should be involved in this race as well. Taper Tantrum has been in the top-3 in 6 of his previous 7 races, and is coming off a win in the $75,000 Queen’s Cup MPC Chase Stakes on April 28, 2018. The only concern for him is the long layoff. He’s been off for more than two years. If Taper Tantrum returns in his previou form, he should be able to play a role in this one.
Post Time: 1:49 p.m. EST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
We’re on the main track for Race 3, which is worth $72,000 for 6 ½ furlongs of racing. Nashville and Searing Chase should be involved in this event. Searing Chase has a bit of experience, while Nashville goes in as a rookie.
Searing Chase showed improvements after finishing 7th as a first-time runner on July 8 at Keeneland. He weakened and fell to 7th in a disappointing debut in a $70,000 event. Searing Chase was able to run faster than five horses, though those five were all underdogs.
Searing Chase showed better form on August 1 to finish 4th in a $72,000 maiden event. He completed two 4-furlong workouts in the morning since that performance. Searing Chase completed the workouts with times of 48.16 and 49.12 seconds. He is open to improvement and should be in the mix in Race 3. Searing Chase was a $700,000 purchase in 2017 and is expected to run well with that price tag.
Nashville is making his debut on Wednesday with plenty of promise in his future. The $460,000 horse has been looking awfully good in morning workouts. He beat the minute mark and completed 5 furlongs in 59.80 and 58.80 seconds recently. Nashville also completed 4 furlongs in 48.80 and 49.95 seconds. This horse is expected to be a powerhouse in his career and should have an impressive debut.
Post Time: 4:34 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
Race 8 is our final selection at Saratoga on Wednesday afternoon. Six horses are scheduled to run, with Our Last Buck and Control Group potentially getting into an exciting finish in the stretch. Our Last Buck should be strong enough to be close at the wire. He’s been in good form recently with finishes of 1st, 1st, and 2nd in his previous three entries.
Our Last Buck won on March 15 at Aqueduct in a $38,000 event to end a five-race drought. He hadn’t finished in the top-3 in five straight races, and winless in eight straight outings. Our Last Buck followed up with another win to make it a double on June 11 at Belmont Park. That event was for $56,000, so he proved that he’s capable of running in a higher class.
In his most recent outing following the back-to-back wins, Our Last Buck placed 2nd on July 10 at Belmont in a $60,000 race. Winston’s Chance got Our Last Buck at the wire by a neck, so it was close, and an encouraging sign for Our Last Buck to compete in a $60,000 event. He’s going up the class scale again to $67,000 on Wednesday. Overall, Our Last Buck is 3 for 13 in his career.
Control Group will give Our Last Buck a big challenge in Race 8. Control Group is 13 for 35 in his career and seeking a hat-trick on Wednesday. He was a winner on July 19 by 5 lengths in an easy $36,000 event, and then followed up for a 1 ½ length win over Twisted Tom for a $67,000 purse. Control Group has been in the top-2 in 4 of his previous 5 entries, which includes a few wins. The former stakes runner should be able to edge out Our Last Buck. This should prove to be just a bit too tough for Our Last Buck.