It is impossible to look past Abel Tasman in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. All she has done is win the Kentucky Oaks in the Churchill Downs slop and then the Grade 1 Acorn on a fast track at Belmont Park. She did nothing to dissuade bettors when she was clocked at 59 1/5 seconds for a five-furlong workout last week at Santa Anita. The 3-year-old closer sired by Quality Road also has trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith, both Hall of Famers who will be eager to find a more pleasant memory after Arrogate’s upset loss in Saturday’s San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. But if Abel Tasman is wagered down close to her morning-line guess of 8-5, she needs some companions in exotic bets. Salty (5-2) seems the obvious second-place choice after her runner-up finish in the Acorn, but she has not been tested in a two-turn race against strong competition. Daddys Lil Darling (9-2) and Berned (8-1) are tosses because they raced only two weeks ago. That leaves Elate (5-1), a stakes winner for Bill Mott last month at Delaware Park, and Summer Luck (15-1) in a return to dirt for trainer Mark Casse. Putting Abel Tasman cold over Salty, Elate and Summer Luck in exacta and trifecta bets seems the way to go in the Sunday feature.
Play of the Day: Abel Tasman over Salty, Elate and Summer Luck in the exacta and trifecta in the 10th race.
Sunday's Saratoga stakes race in handicap order from e-ponies.com