Xpressbet writer Jeff Siegel offers his top plays for Friday.
Saratoga Race No. 7 (4:18 p.m. ET/1:18 p.m. PT)
#8 Be Better (4-1)
After finishing a distant third in his only start as a 2-year-old, this son of Uncle Mo has returned a vastly improved performer, showing two highly rated wins at Monmouth Park with speed figures that are good enough to win at this level on this circuit. The talented sophomore employed a second flight, stalking style before blasting home in his most recent victory against a strong field for the level, so with another forward move he should be more than capable of extending his win streak to three in this year’s edition of the Curlin Stakes.
Del Mar Race No. 8 (10:25 p.m. ET/7:25 p.m. PT)
#4 Pepperman (5-1)
With just one prior start, this 4-year-old gelding is the least exposed in the field and we suspect he’s better than a normal bottom-rung maiden claimer. A respectable fourth in a maiden $50,000 grass sprint in his debut last month, the son of Speightster tackles much easier company today, stretches out, switches to the dirt and has trained pretty well since raced. Blinkers are added, Joe Bravo stays aboard, and in a field lacking in early speed (or late speed, too, for that matter), the Dan Blacker-trained gelding should have every chance to step forward at 5-1 on the morning line.
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