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Friday's free horse racing picks come to us from Saratoga, as Andrew Champagne breaks down his spot plays for the day

Friday's Free Horse Racing Picks: Saratoga Racing Picks

Most of the time, my articles will look at one multi-race sequence and offer wagering advice and a ticket. However, Friday’s card at Saratoga has a wild card in that it poured most of Thursday. Turf races will likely be run on the main track, and there’s no telling how fields will wind up after scratches and changes.

With that in mind, here are some spot plays for the program, ones that focus mostly on dirt races that shouldn’t be affected too much by the recent weather.

Saratoga Horse Racing Picks


We’ll begin with a $25,000 claimer that features a 7/5 morning line favorite. That’s #11 THE BIG KAHUNA, who drops in class for Todd Pletcher and looms large. However, his numbers don’t overwhelm those of the rest of the field, and I think he’ll be overbet as a result.

I prefer the horse to his inside. #10 COACH BAHE also drops in class, and he does so for trainer Philip Bauer, who has saddled a few winners this meet with a pretty small barn. He has some tactical speed, has won over a wet track before, and should find these waters far more shallow. At his likely price, I think he’s a must-use in whatever wagers you’ll play in this event.


A field of 11 will head to the gate for this two-turn starter allowance race. The field size should ensure a square price on whatever horse you like.

I really like #6 WINTER POOL, who seemed to wake up when shipped to Churchill Downs earlier this year. He broke his maiden two starts back before just missing at this level last month. That was his first start going two turns, and his pedigree says he’ll only get better with more experience. Add in that his bloodlines also hint he’ll love the mud, and I think the 9/2 morning line price represents a significant overlay.


This is the Friday feature. The Curlin Stakes has drawn a field of seven 3-year-olds, and this may act as a prep for the Grade 1 Travers Stakes later this summer. #4 FIRST CAPTAIN is undefeated and has been installed as the 7/5 morning line choice. I think he’s got potential, but there’s another one that hits me as a better bet.

#6 COLLABORATE has shown plenty of promise when he’s been right. He was 9/2 in the Grade 1 Florida Derby earlier this season, and while it took a little while to get him back to form, he exits a very strong win at Gulfstream. He’s also recorded nothing but bullet drills since that effort, including a big five-furlong workout here on July 20th. Collaborate is 6-1 on the morning line, and that hits me as too big a price.

Article Author

Horse Racing

Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.


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