What in the world happened to Hemsworth? The future certainly looked bright last fall at Aqueduct, where he won the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing. Tom Albertrani, who also trained his sire Bernardini to become the 2006 horse of the year, took Hemsworth to Florida for the winter. That is when things really went south. Hemsworth did not take well to the track at Gulfstream Park, where he was eased in a stakes race. Then he returned to New York in the spring and failed as the favorite in a claiming race at Belmont Park. Albertrani believes an illness contributed to the problems. Now Hemsworth (12-1) is a long shot despite being the only stakes winner racing in the $100,000 Curlin Stakes, the nine-furlong feature for 3-year-olds Friday at Saratoga. Morning-line favorite Outplay (5-2) will try to lead from gate to wire for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velázquez, but the question is whether he can come back from a seven-week break and get the extra distance. With Javier Castellano up for Chad Brown, You’re To Blame (3-1) figures to sit off the pace and pounce late as he did when he beat Outplay for second in last month’s Easy Goer. While You’re To Blame may be the safe play across the board, the value play is with Hemsworth.
Play of the Day: Hemsworth for the value pick.
Friday's Saratoga stakes race in handicap order from e-ponies.com