Champagne Picks: Saratoga Preview 08/31

Andrew Champagne delivers his best picks for the day's racing
Oddschecker
Fri, August 30, 1:47 PM EDT

Andrew Champagne delivers his latest picks ahead of a big day of racing.

Greetings, everyone! I’m excited to get started at Oddschecker with a venture I’m very much looking forward to. I’ll be here a few times each week profiling 2-year-old races, which are some of my favorites to handicap.

It’s closing week at Saratoga, and my debut article focuses on Saturday’s seventh race. It’s a maiden event that’s attracted a mix of first-time starters and runners with a bit more seasoning. While the likely favorite is my top pick and does look tough, I think there’s money to be made in the vertical exotics with a few medium-range prices. Let’s take a look!

The Favorite

#3 THREE TECHNIQUE has shown plenty of potential in two starts despite not finding the winner’s circle. Owned by NFL Hall of Famer Bill Parcells’s August Dawn Farm, he’s run second in both of his prior outings, and I liked his effort earlier this meet. He was second behind a horse named Basin, one of the better 2-year-olds on the grounds, and he beat that day’s third-place finisher by more than six lengths.

There aren’t a lot of holes here. Three Technique debuted well, took a step forward at second asking, and runs for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, who has enjoyed plenty of success with 2-year-olds this summer. If you want to try to find value elsewhere, I understand (this one won’t be a big price), but he’s my key horse.

The Returning Threats

#5 WAYNE O was bet last time out in his debut, and for good reason. He fetched $750,000 at auction last summer and has a world-class pedigree (by Into Mischief, out of an Unbridled’s Song mare). However, he faded after contesting a very fast pace and is 15-1 on the morning line. I’m willing to give him a pass for that effort, and all indications are he’s come out of the race well.

Additionally, #9 KOWALSKI improved significantly at second asking for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. He was second behind a good-looking winner after setting a strong pace, and he gets the benefit of a cushy outside draw here. That race didn’t come back as high on figures as Three Technique’s, but this son of Will Take Charge seems well-meant and shouldn’t be bothered by the distance he adds in this spot.

The First-Time Starter

Horses like #10 TAPAGE are why I wanted to do these columns. You likely won’t find a better-bred horse on the Saratoga grounds than this son of Tapit and Grade 1 winner Hystericalady, and he’s worked like a horse with talent. If there’s any hesitation here, it’s because he’s bred to go even longer than he’ll run here and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s horses often need a race or two to get going. However, I absolutely need him on my tickets (even if he’s not the featured horse).

Betting Strategy

I’m keying Three Technique in exactas with the three horses I’ve mentioned. I’ll place a greater emphasis on exactas with that one on top, while hedging a bit and playing cheaper ones with him underneath that trio.

2 units: 3 with 5,9,10

1 unit: 5,9,10 with 3

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