(Note: this was updated after Sunday’s early scratches at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT with additional plays from Duane Colucci and Ed Sehon, who had one originally posted pick scratched this morning.)
This is the file for my stable of handicapping friends’ picks for the racing week of Wednesday, Aug. 5, through Sunday, Aug. 9, as we continue to look for value at the tracks that have been running during the coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday was a pretty chalky day overall, but our crew focused in one some of the favorites to give us a decent day as Ed Sehon had a $9.10 winner in Saratoga’s Race 3, John Lauro hit a $3.60 cold exacta in Saratoga’s Test Stakes and Duane Colucci put together a Pick 4 ticket, though it didn’t pay much (full recaps at end of this column after today’s plays).
On Sunday, we have seven combined plays from coast to coast (Saratoga, Monmouth, Ellis Park and Del Mar) as Sehon has three while Colucci and I have two apiece.
Good luck today (and every day!).
Saratoga Race No. 6 (4:07 p.m. ET/1:07 p.m. PT)
Duane Colucci likes #10 Henry’s Deal (10/1 morning line). “Robertino Diodoro youngster comes into second career start off a lightning-fast maiden victory at Lone Star Park (five furlongs in :58.1, final time in 1:04.3). She has three nice workouts leading into this one. Jockey David Cohen has won 3 of his last 12 mounts and, although Diodoro is looking for his first week, he is an excellent trainer. Bet 10 to Win on key 10 over 1, 6 & 8 in exactas and trifectas and reverse.”
Monmouth Race No. 9 (4:41 p.m. ET/1:41 p.m. PT)
Dave Tuley likes #7 Ninety One Assault (12/1 morning line) in $100,000 Oceanport Stakes. There’s plenty of speed in this 1 1/16-mile turf race to set up this 7-year-old gelding’s late kick. Ninety One Assault comes into this ungraded stakes on a three-race winning streak down at Fair Grounds, but he’s well-traveled and has plenty of back class. Wager: Win & Place.
Saratoga Race No. 7 (4:43 p.m. ET/1:43 p.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes #8 Ginger Kitty (12/1 morning line). “As anyone who has followed my approach to handicapping knows by now, there’s nothing like change to get my post time juices flowing. The 3-year-old daughter of Irish-bred Red Rocks is a perfect example of my motto, ‘the change will do you good.’ Dropping in class from allowance company to $40,000 claimers and cutting back in distance while adding blinkers add up to a recipe for success in 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the Weidner Turf Course. Veteran small-stable conditioner Peter Pugh retains the services of 7 lbs. apprentice jockey Luis Cardenas. Look for this filly to return to her front-running ways. Wager: Win & Place. Bonus Bet: 8-8 Daily Double."
Saratoga Race No. 8 (5:17 p.m. ET/2:17 p.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes #8 City Man (7/2 morning line). “The meet’s most-outstanding combo of Christophe Clement & Joel Rosario poised to strike again with 3-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man in $74,000 allowance contest over Inner Turf Course. Being asked to stretch out to 1 1/8 mile following closing fourth in shorter Grade 3 Transylvania a month ago at Belmont, I’m looking for his dynamic closing kick to get job done. Winner of his first two races on the dirt at Spa a year ago, sharp turf work indicates he’s ready to roll. Wager: Bet 8 to Win & exacta box with 3, 6, 8 & 10.”
Saratoga Race No. 9 (5:50 p.m. ET/2:50 p.m. PT)
Dave Tuley likes #3 Spinoff (5/1 morning line) in $85,000 Alydar Stakes. This Todd Pletcher trainee has back class and fits right in with these underachievers in this ungraded stakes race. Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the mount and he’s 55% (5-of-9) when riding for Pletcher the past two weeks and 45% over the last 60 days. Wager: Win.
Ellis Park Race No. 10 (6:10 p.m. ET/3:10 p.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes #12 Shared Sense (9/2 morning line) in the $200,000 Ellis Park Derby. “My pick is based in large part on negative comments by several keen railbirds questioning the performance of today’s morning line prohibitive favorite #4 Art Collector (4/5) when running away with the Grade 2 Bluegrass Stakes a month ago at Keeneland. ‘It was a perfect trip for the ages,’ claimed one respected horseplayer. If so, AC will find navigating today’s full field of 3-year-old colts a tougher assignment. With ample speed on the inside to keep the favorite busy, I see the race setting up perfectly for Shared Sense’s demonstrated closing kick, apparent when winning the Grade 2 Indiana Derby. Skillful conditioner Brad Cox retains the services of top Southeast rider Florent Geroux. An upset by Shared Sense? Bet on it. Wager: Win on 12 & box in exactas with 4 & 9.”
Del Mar Race No. 10 (9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT)
Duane Colucci likes #8 Indian Peak (6/1 morning line) in the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap. “This 3-year-old colt comes in off a solid stakes win in the Snow Chief on his preferred surface. He had a huge work on July 30 over this course (:59 flat) and Mike Smith returning in the saddle shows Quinn Howey has his trainee ready to step up and snatch the victory. Bet 8 to Win and key 8 over 3, 6 & 7 in exactas and trifectas and reverse.”
Prior day’s recaps:
Saratoga Race No. 1
Ed Sehon liked #4 Bay Street Money (3/1 morning line)...went off 5/2...raced just off the pace in 3rd place for most of the 1 1/16-mile race, but didn’t have anything left in the stretch, finishing 4th of 6.
Saratoga Race No. 3
Ed Sehon liked #3 Risky Mischief (4/1 morning line)...went off 7/2...raced midpack for first three furlongs of 5 1/2-furlong race, rallied outside and finished strongly to get up to triumph by half a length, paying $9.10 to Win.
Saratoga Race No. 7
Dave Tuley liked #6 Pink Sands (10/1 morning line)...went off 9/2...raced last of 7 for first four furlongs of seven-furlong race, swung wide but was only able to pass one rival and finish 6th.
Saratoga Races No. 8-12
Ed Sehon liked the following $0.50 Pick 5 (cost $54, hit 3-of-5)
Race 8: 1, 4, 5, 7
Race 9: 1, 4, 5, 7
Race 10: 5
Race 11: 3, 6
Race 12: 2, 4, 9
Saratoga Races No. 9-12
Duane Colucci liked the following $0.50 Pick 4 (cost $32, paid $24)
Race 9: 1, 4, 5, 7
Race 10: 5, 6
Race 11: 3, 6, 7, 8
Race 12: 3, 5
Saratoga Race No. 10
In the Grade 1 Test Stakes, John Lauro liked the Bob Baffert-trained #5 Gamine (3/5 morning line) in straight 3-6 exacta with #6 Venetian Harbor (8/5)...and that’s exactly how it came in, paying $1.80 for every $1 bet.
Saratoga Race No. 11
In the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, John Lauro liked Belmont winner #6 Tiz the Law (1/1 morning line) over #3 Uncle Chuck (5/2) in cold 6-3 exacta and also a straight 6-3-7 trifecta capped by #7 Caracaro…#6 Tiz the Law won but the exacta came in 6-7 and the tri came in 6-7-4.
Duane Colucci liked #3 Uncle Chuck (5/2 morning line)...went off 5/2...set fractions for opening quarter-mile and half-mile, but then gave way to Tiz the Law and faded badly to finish 6th of 7.
Dave Tuley liked #4 Max Player (6/1 morning line)...went off 11/1...raced 6th of 7 as expected for first six furlongs of 1 1/4-mile race, rallied on backstretch and made it within 3 1/2 lengths of lead at the quarter pole but was only able to get up for 3rd.
Del Mar Race No. 6
Dave Tuley liked #3 Schnell (12/1 morning line) in the Grade 2 Best Pal...went off 19/1...raced last of 7 early, moved up gradually but was only able to get up for 5th.
Del Mar Race No. 9
Duane Colucci liked #7 Beau Recall (3/1 morning line) in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon...went off as 6/5 favorite...raced last of 7 for opening six furlongs of 1 1/16-mile race, rallied wide into the stretch but only able to get up for 5th.