Another extremely competitive Grade 1 race sees a few good horses go at it again.
Many have raced against one another, but the pace scenario today is looking different and recent winners might not have the same luck as before.
From a field of 8, 7 have a realistic chance but based on pace handicapping, it looks like the favorite can grab it. If not him, a real longshot could surprise many…
Number 1, LIMOUSINE LIBERAL tries a Grade 1 once more after a few failures at this level before. He just edged today’s opponent Whitmore in their last race at Belmont Park on this distance and has been training well since. For some reason, LIMOUSINE LIBERAL has never won at Saratoga but he does like the distance for sure, winning 50% of the attempts. LIMOUSINE LIBERAL usually comes from behind but today the jockey needs to make sure that he stays close to the lead as there is not a lot of early speed. LIMOUSINE LIBERAL is a strong force, but the pace scenario might not work in his favour and the rail position has not been good at Saratoga recently. At short odds, I am not sure that LIMOUSINE LIBERAL would be a good bet.
Number 2 AWESOME SLEW always comes close in Graded stake races, but he has yet to win above the Grade 3 level. His most recent good performance came in the spring with a couple of close calls at this distance, with good speed figures. He could not close the deal then and I doubt that AWESOME SLEW can close the deal now. His come from behind style should not be advantageous against little early speed and the last couple of races have been quite disappointing. AWESOME SLEW will probably not be much of a factor today at Saratoga.
Number 3, WHITMORE missed the winners circle twice by only a neck, failing last against Limousine Liberal. There is not much apart between these two horses and they both have a come from behind style which should not be very advantageous today. WHITMORE never won on this distance or at this class level so even though he is a very impressive horse, he might not be in the right race to win today. The workouts look good and the trainer is doing well recently but I think that WHITMORE is outmatched by a few and the short odds are not attractive enough.
Number 4, HEARTWOOD climbs a few class levels for this one and just looks completely outmatched. He never won at this distance or in Graded stakes company and his speed figures are nowhere close what will be needed to win today. Pass.
Number 5 NO DOZING won on the Saratoga 7 furlongs track last month with a good speed figure and with the same hot jockey on board. NO DOZING showed good speed out of the gate which is a bit of a new style for him and it worked, staying close to the lead and taking over in the stretch. He has a good workout line since so probably retained his form but there is no denying the fact that NO DOZING is biting a much bigger piece here. He has never won a stakes race and the last speed figure was way over anything he did before. There are few miracles in horse racing so I doubt that he can repeat the same performance today but he does have early speed and a good post position so with a ton of luck he could go all the way at good odds…
Number 6, C Z ROCKET was recently able to win coming from just off the pace in a very slow early race so that was a good performance, done in a good time. It was a much lower class level though and the only other attempt by C Z ROCKET to win a Grade 1 race ended dismally. That was a while ago however and maybe CZ ROCKET has improved. Based on the speed figure, he has. Note that he was given a bit of rest since the last win and he is unproven working fresh. The workouts are not too impressive since, so that’s not necessarily a great sign. CZ ROCKET has a chance, especially considering that he like the distance and racetrack but the pace style should not be favorable for him and he faces strong opposition today…
Number 7, WARRIOR’S CLUB finished second in a Grade 1 right here in Saratoga last month with a decent speed figure. It was not really close for the win however and the pace might have favored him then, when today the pace is probably going to work against him. WARRIOR’S CLUB has won a Grade 3 stakes on this distance and also did well at Saratoga last year so there is little doubt about the suitability with the track. The Class is very much in question however and with the pace looking unfavorable, I think it is best to pass on WARRIOR’S CLUB.
Number 8, CITY OF LIGHT was decisively beaten in his last race, but the winner of that Grade 1 was none other than Accelerate who went on to dominate the class category this summer… One horse that he beat won his next Grade 1 race and placed behind Accelerate again so there was actually a lot of good in that failure. CITY OF LIGHT took a break after that race and has been working out like crazy under the tutelage of a successful trainer. The last time CITY OF LIGHT took a long break, he came back to win a Grade 1 race on this distance, we can therefore expect him to be ready today. CITY OF LIGHT is starting from the outside which is good at Saratoga, has the top jockey of the season on board and is basically the only serious speed horse in the race, though he has been known to win coming from behind too. CITY OF LIGHT is a solid favorite despite a very strong opposition and it looks to me like he has what it takes to win today.
It is a talent filled group in this Grade 1 race and therefore pretty hard to decisively elect to bet on one or the other.
I believe that the pace scenario should be good for CITY OF LIGHT who also has shown the most consistency at this class level. Starting from a positive gate might help too so I think that CITY OF LIGHT can go all the way.
Longshot enthusiast might want to bet on NO DOZING who can grab the lead and maybe hang on to it at long odds.
WIN BET at 2-1 or more on Number 8 CITY OF LIGHT
WIN BET at 15-1 or more on Number 5 NO DOZING