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Saratoga Closing Week Stakes Recaps (Aug 28-Sept 2)

With Anticipation Stakes (G3) Recap (8-28-19) - Winner: Fighting Seabee ($12.60)

Our Country was the favorite but raced evenly and could only manage 4th. Fighting Seabee enjoyed a slim early advantage and that was enough given the soft fractions (24.21, 50.50, 1:14.97). He maintained a 1/2 length lead for a very long time and increased his margin to a length at the wire. Field Pass chased the pace and had every chance but could not get to the winner. Andesite edged Our County for the show. Fly Fly Away chased the pace and weakened to 5th, and Tuggle trailed throughout.

P. G. Johnson Stakes Recap (8-29-19) - Winner: Crystalle ($5.30)

The money showed on Crystalle and she did not disappoint. Todd Pletcher maiden Apurate set the pace and Ginseng took up the chase. Lively Kitten and Lucky Jingle stalked, and none of them were around at the finish (honest fractions 23.29, 47.19, 1:11.44). Sweet Melania made the first run from the outside post and took over the lead in the lane, but Crystalle made the last run from the back of the pack and prevailed by a neck. Sweet Melania just held 2nd over English Bee, and Ginseng was 4th. Apurate was next, and it was a big gap back to Lively Kitten and Lucky Jingle.

Lucky Coin Stakes Recap (8-30-19) - Winner: Shekky Shebaz ($7.50)

Four scratches left us with a field of five, and Shekky Shebaz was never headed in this turf sprint. He was clear throughout under Jose Ortiz and won by a comfortable length and three-quarters. Final Frontier chased from 2nd and easily held that position over beaten favorite Disco Partner. The latter got the wrong setup, and he is much better at Belmont Park. Square Shooter was 4th and Strike Power was the distant trailer.

Prioress (G2) Recap (8-31-19) - Winner: Royal Charlotte ($11.00)

Break Even too way too much money. She was undefeated and her speed had to be respected, but she hardly dominated the paper race. She figured to have to work hard to secure the early lead with Break Curfew in the field, and the fractions were swift (21.87 and 44.76). Royal Charlotte was the value play and got major class relief after hooking Covfefe, Serengeti Empress, and Bellafina in the Test (G1). She got a great trip behind the speed in this race and sailed home from off the pace to win by a length and a half. Break Even was second best and Risky Mandate edged Break Curfew for 3rd. Kept True trailed throughout.

Royal Charlotte Horse Racing Handicapping Past Performances

Saranac (G3) Recap (8-31-19) - Winner: Global Access ($10.00)

There was no early pace signed on in this 5-horse turf route and Jose Ortiz made a tactical error aboard decent New York-bred Rinaldi. The latter owned the best pace ratings and had a good shot to steal this on paper, but Power Player got an easy lead from the rail through soft splits (24.49, 49.66, 1:13.37). That 49 and change opening half was just plain slow and Rinaldi was in chase mode. This basically turned into a sprint for home and the best late runners almost always win under those circumstances on turf. Global Access was patiently ridden from last under John Velazquez, and he outkicked Chad Brown chalk Good Governance to win by a neck. Seismic Wave nipped Rinaldi for the show and Power Player was another 4-lengths back in last place.

Glens Falls Stakes (G2) Recap (8-31-19) - Winner: Mrs. Sippy ($14.60)

Chad Brown had a pair of solid contenders in here, but neither were standouts and both took too much money. Graham Motion entered a pair and both were interesting price players. I made Mrs. Sippy my value top choice and the overseas transplant was always traveling well under Joel Rosario. All she needed was clear sailing and she held off her stablemate Empressof the Nile to prevail by a bit less than a length. Beaten favorite Santa Monica was up for 3rd and Get Explicit rounded out the superfecta. Fools Gold was a flat 5th at 2-1 and Lady Montdore set the pace and weakened to 6th. 40-1 outsider Violet Blue could not keep up and was last.

Woodward Stakes (G1) Recap (8-31-19) - Winner: Preservationist ($8.10)

The Handicap Division has been a complete mess all year long. A different horse always seems to step up, and today it was Preservationistís turn. He burst onto the scene with an upset win over Catholic Boy in the Suburban (G2), and followed that up with a fading 4th in the Whitney (G1). Mr. Buff carved out the splits and Preservationist seemed comfortable tracking the pace. Mr. Buff retreated as expected and Bal Harbour inherited the lead and looked poised to pull off a 16-1 upset for Todd Pletcher. Preservationist was lurking right behind him and stuck his head in front. Yoshida was charging late on the outside under Joel Rosario but in the end it was Preservationist by a 1/2 length over Bal Harbour, with Yoshida another half-length back in 3rd. Tomís díEtat stalked outside and made a move to get into 2nd in the stretch but flattened out and finished 4th. Mongolian Groom was an even 5th and was followed by Wooderson, Mr. Buff, and 97-1 longshot Forewarned.

Preservationist Horse Racing Handicapping Past Performances

Spinaway (G1) Recap (9-1-19) - Winner: Perfect Alibi ($12.40)

Perfect Alibi was the value play over Frankís Rockette last time, and I really thought their odds would be much closer in this event. Once again, Frankís Rockette took all the money, and Perfect Alibi drifted up to 5-1. I thought she would be half that. I actually went with Shippy because I was expecting a nice outside stalking trip at a hint of a price, but she never really got into the race. Frankís Rockette chased maiden Mundaye Call, put that overmatched maiden away and had the lead in the lane, but Perfect Alibi went with her and the rematch was on. The latter squeezed through a tight opening along the rail and prevailed by a length and a half after bumping with Frankís Rockette a few times. The latter was clearly second best and Figure of Speech was an even 3rd. Miss Peppina rallied from last to complete the superfecta at 15-1. Shippy was next, followed by Risky Mischief and Mundaye Call.

Bernard Baruch (G2) Recap (9-2-19) - Winner: Qurbaan ($8.20)

Qurbaan is versatile and consistent, and he loves Saratoga. His only US win was in the 2018 Baruch, and he successfully defended that title. Dream Friend lead the six-pack through easy fractions on the soft course (50.98 and 1:16.22). Sacred Life and Qurbaan stalked from 2nd and 3rd, and the latter was clearly moving best and scored by 2-1/2 lengths under Joel Rosario. Sacred Life was clearly second best and Dream Friend checked in a solid 3rd. Emaraaty was 4th all the way around and his stablemate Olympico was a 1/2 length behind him. March To the Arch trailed.

Hopeful (G1) Recap (9-2-19) - Winner: Basin ($8.20)

The track was sloppy (sealed) and post time favorite Green Light Go scratched. I took Basin on top because I like playing early-pressing types from outer posts in extended sprints, especially if they figure to offer value. Check mark on all accounts, and Basin got the outside dream trip and kicked well clear under Jose Ortiz. Steve Asmussen saddled the winner, and the 2nd and 3rd place finishers (Shoplifted, Gozilla). American Butterfly, By Your Side, and Inside Risk completed the order of finish.

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