Stakes Analysis: $350K Hopeful, $300K Del Mar Futurity and More
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2018
Labor Day, a celebration of the great American worker and ethic. It's nice to have one more summerish day off, but you can hear the collective teenage groan as they head back to school. The symbolism of empty pools forewarning of the oncoming chill of winter. Love the Labor Day grill, the shorts and tees, but the relaxed Jimmy Buffet mood of warm breezes and cold drinks snaps into the greyness of the fall-to-end-of winter grind.
Nonetheless, let's enjoy the unofficial end of summer with some Labor Day horse racing stakes races. A lucky seven of stakes races with prize money of $100,000 or more are on the holiday calendar.
Del Mar Race 4 - $100,000 DEL MAR JUVENILES FILLIES TURF STAKES
Del Mar Race 9 - $300,000 DEL MAR FUTURITY GRADE 1
PARX Race 8 - $200,000 GREENWOOD CUP STAKES GRADE 3
Ruidoso Downs Race 9 - $110,094 RIO GRANDE SENOR THOROUGHBRED FUTURITY (What's the $94 about?)
While you can get all our Labor Day Picks and Commentary here, we'll focus on the BERNARD BARUCH and the DEL MAR FUTURITY. From coast-to-coast we go one last time as it's closing day at Del Mar and Saratoga racetracks, another sad byproduct of the end of summer.
At approximately 5:02 pm eastern, six horses will take run 1 1/16th miles on the Saratoga turf. The field is headlined by the even-money, morning-line favorite VOODOO SONG (PP: 1). The four-year-old has won all five of his Saratoga races and eight-of-12 on the turf.
Can he be beat? Stylistically, VOODOO's preference to be on the lead from the get-go isn't the best match for the 1 1/16th on grass. Only two of the meet's 16 races at this distance/surface went wire-to-wire and the rail hasn't scored. Meanwhile, VOODOO's last six W's were essentially gate-to-wire. For a moment he was second by a head; otherwise, his winning lines are all 1s.
Something must give, VOODOO's Saratoga streak, or the SPA's 1 1/16th mile on the turf biases. In this case, we think the horse beats the track. From our pro subscriber's bonus commentary.
"VOODOO SONG's last two speed ratings are better than any of the last two for the rest; a very playable angle. INSPECTOR LYNLEY is a nose away from winning his last two second-starts after a layoff. If he improves from last, he might win his second in a row.
SYNCHRONY has a closing style that fits Saratoga's turf routes, never out-of-the-money on grass (8: 4-2-2). PROJECTED saves his best for last, good enough to finish in-the-money nine of the last 10."
For the last time until 2019, we teletype 2,500 miles west to Del Mar. The ninth, and second to last race of the Del Mar meet, brings seven two-year old boys to the starters' gate. There might be a horse or two in this group that we hear from in their three-year-old campaigns.
ROADSTER might be one of the most prominent and a name you are likely to hear more about in the months and years to come. He's a half-a-million horse and his papa is Quality Road, who might have been one of the greats if not for a series of unfortunate injuries.
ROADSTER will be looking to join the ranks of past DEL MAR FUTURITY graduates, like Triple-Crown winner AMERICAN PHAROAH, who happened to be trained by Bob Baffert too.
In his debut, ROADSTER ran laps around the field, winning easily by 4 1/2 lengths as the heavily bet favorite. Today, he'll need to stand firm and fast against challengers who want the belt too. This is how our crack handicapper calls it, "It's another race where the fractions point to the favorite as the best horse. ROADSTER won easily in his debut. Since, he's put in a bunch of nice works, including a bullet on August 11th. Like our top pick, GAME WINNER is a Bob Baffert trainee. His final time was a blink slower than ROADSTER's in his debut but won by a wider margin. If he didn't go pedal to the metal down the stretch, he might have enough.
SIGALERT closed as the favorite in his first lifetime start. That's the right style for 7 Del Mar dirt furlongs. It is a little concerning that Van Dyke gets off SIGALERT to stay on ROWAYTON. We put SAVAGERY in the four spot because he lit up the track last time around, wiring the field by 11. Same race makes him a contender, 15-1 morning-line odds are too long based on last."
We certainly hope you enjoyed our Del Mar and Saratoga analysis. Certainly, we'll miss the sights and sounds of summer racing. Good luck at the races and happy Labor Day.