Four picks on the card at Saratoga from our handicapper John DaSilva:
RACE 1 – Pick #6 Belisarius (7/2 ML) - Click here to bet with TVG
The first steeplechase of year at Saratoga is the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. It is restricted to horses which have not won over hurdles prior to March 1, 2019 or have never won three steeplechase events other than three-year-old. The starting high weight of the race is Snap Decision, who is carrying 162 pounds. That is 6 pounds more than his weight he carried to victory two back. This is a prep for the one of the Grade 1 races later in the meet at Saratoga. If Snap Decision wins here, he may have to carry more weight for a Grade 1 race and that may not be to his advantage. So, he might use this as a training exercise, not emptying the tank with a Grade 1 goal ahead of him. Instead we shall go with Belisarius. He comes off a second place finish in the Grade 3 Temple Gwathmey Handicap in his seasonal debut. He finished third in the Grade 1 NY Turf Writers last year. He should go off higher than his morning line, giving us value to start the day.
RACE 2 – Pick #1 Red Zinger (6-1 ML) - Click here to bet with TVG
Drew the rail and shows steady works in first start since tiring at this distance versus state bred allowance horses in December at Aqueduct. Switches to Eric Cancel, who was aboard him when he broke his maiden as the favorite going longer in May 2019. There should be enough pace for him to close into, especially with the drop in class to face conditioned claimers for the first time in his career. Prior to the layoff. his early pace seemed to be getting worse with each start. But with a seven-month layoff, that should be more than enough time to rest up and show improved early speed again.
RACE 4 – Pick #5 Macho Jack (3-1 ML) - Click here to bet with TVG
Has been working out well at Keeneland while prepping for local and seasonal debut. After a bullet work on July 13, Macho Jack was shipped up to Saratoga and will now make his first start for Rudy Rodriguez. He also is making his first start since finishing second in the slop going longer at Keeneland in October. He set the pace that day and now with a jockey switch to Tyler Gaffalione, he probably will try to use the same tactics here.
RACE 7 – Pick #6 Gaelic Gold (5-1 ML) - Click here to bet with TVG
After troubled trip when making career debut at Tampa Bay in April, this Christophe Clement trainee shipped to Saratoga where she has been working well while preparing for this spot. She stretches out for career debut and with Joel Rosario aboard, she should get good trip versus figures these. Clement wins at 26% with horses in maiden Special Weight races.
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