Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Nomination Is In: The Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga

Squeeky likes Stephanie's Kitten and Kitten's Queen

Welcome Friends to the Turk and The Little Turk.  I'm usually not a big Saratoga player, I'm just not that good picking winners on the dirt track, but that doesn't stop me from trying.  I've had good luck and a respectable ROI on the turf course, especially when fast and firm, and hence today's handicap is a route across the grass, the Grade 1 Diana.

I have had good years at Saratoga.  I like dry weather years, and I've learned I  have to play it nearly every day to get the feel for the pace, closing positions and winning paths.  When I'm not prepared to fully engage at SAR I don't do as well.  It's not superstition or the racing Gods, it's about consistent handicapping and honest post race analysis of what you did right and wrong as a handicapper and a gambler.

On a turf course, I look for where the pace is going to come from and who has the best late turn of foot. I bet turf races consistently and that allows me to pick more winners than losers.  Picking the winner isn't always my end game as I'm an exotic player and who wins isn't always my primary concern.  I'm usually fixated on who's not going to be in the Top Four and how many horses I have to cover to get the top four right.  Anyways, this year is zooming by and I can't believe Saratoga is here, but it is, so let's get it on!

Horse/PostTurk's Grade
WinHard Not to Like/4A
ShowStephanie's Kitten/2B++
ExoticLady Lara (Ire)/7C+++
Also Ran'sMy Miss Sophia/6C++++++
Waltzing Matilda (Ire)/5C
Kitten's Queen/3C
Saratoga Race 10: Post Time 6:07 ETThe Diana G1
1 1/8 Miles on Mellon TurfFor F&M 3 YO and Up

A 19 race, $961,000 earning, 6 year old Mare from Kings Bishop Winner Hard Spun, Hard Not to Like has my eye.  From Clement's barn with Johnny V up, a winner in the Grade 1 Comely in May and well training since mid June.  I'd expect 5-6 to 1 at Post Time.  Lots to like and value.  11 of 16 in the money on Turf.  She'll be coming late off the hot pace from My Miss Sophia and Kitten's Queen.

Running hard and fast at the end with Hard Not to Like will be Tepin.  The 4 YO Bernstein, with Mark Casse training and turf specialist Leparoux, up, is four of six in the money on turf, 3 of 3 in 2015 and running exceptionally well when taking a break after a G1 win in early June.  Lots to like but will be heavily bet, I'd like in the Place spot or lower.  

Stephanie's Kitten, 6 YO now for Breeder/Owners Sarah and Ken Ramsey, will be coming off the pace, I'm just not expecting her to get to the win spot.  In the money in this race two years running, I'm expecting a third.  15 of 18 in the money on turf, 4 of 5 in the money at distance, 3 of 4 in the money at SAR, $2.7 MM in earnings in 21 career starts.  Yup!

Lady Lara (Ire) could steal this race  but I'm just not sure where the 4 YO's current form is.  I have her and My Miss Sophia, both Mott runners, downshifting and dropping in the last 1/16.  Yeah, I love My Miss Sophia, and she seems to be in wonderful  form right now, winning in a nicely placed 2X-N OC 62K in June, but she's lightly raced on grass and I want to see more first.  

I'm expecting Waltzing Matilda (Ire) and Kitten's Queen will provide pace, at least Kitten's Queen will.  Waltzing Matilda is a wild card to me, and off the pace late runner,  and the girl most likely to make me look silly.  

Have fun friends, Turk Out!

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