ANAL­Y­SIS

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Saratoga -

BEST BET: RACE 5, AVERY MAEVE

FIRST RACE

COMMUNION MONEY one of many in the field with sev­eral chances al­ready be­hind her, and it’s not ex­actly a pos­i­tive that her nose loss at this level three starts back came at the hands of a ri­val mak­ing her 22nd ca­reer start, but she has speed, is sec­ond off the trainer change, and mov­ing from turf-to-dirt for Han­dal who is 6 for 14 over the past year mak­ing that sur­face switch (43%), with a $4.58 ROI. SPE­CIAL RISK has dis­ap­pointed so far while set­tling for 2nd in half of her starts, and she hasn’t im­proved at all on turf lately; back to dirt with all the best fig­ures, but she has yet to bring much of a fin­ish out there with her. Hard to see it as a pos­i­tive that the well-bred RE­NEWAL makes her de­but for Pletcher for $20k, but she is the kind of new face you re­ally want in a race like this; Pletcher 5 for his last 46 (11%) with older first time starters in maiden claim­ing races, with a $0.84 ROI.

SEC­OND RACE

CALL PRO­VI­SION im­proved to a new top fig­ure when stretched out to this dis­tance to close out 2016 with a con­vinc­ing win, and he has im­proved in his first two starts this year with­out win­ning; had a pace to run at last time, as did the per­fectly rid­den TASIT, but just missed to a horse who is just a bit bet­ter. TASIT missed a lot of time fol­low­ing his im­pres­sive win at Keeneland early on as a 3yo, and he has been rac­ing his way back into form so far this year; tired af­ter go­ing too ag­gres­sively early two starts back, and he closed gamely with­out reach­ing CALL PRO­VI­SION last time. RO­MAN AP­PROVAL has not run close to his best in his two starts since leav­ing the Maker barn, but he has plenty of back races to get to that would make him a hand­ful here, and he has speed; new trainer doesn’t claim much but does good work over­all.

THIRD RACE

CORE PORT­FO­LIO a bit dicey drop­ping again af­ter tir­ing out read­ily vs. a much bet­ter field on open­ing day; best race too good for th­ese if he can run it, and he should be on the lead from the get-go. DUNK A DIN has been hold­ing good form all year for dif­fer­ent train­ers, and he shipped up here to de­feat a field of three-life claimers over this dis­tance last time; steps up for Gar­gan, who is 28% with a $2.65 ROI first off the claim with dirt routers. MOTOWN SOUND was given ev­ery chance by 7lb. bug rider and did his best before set­tling for 2nd be­hind a front-run­ning win­ner at this level last time; con­tends with a sim­i­lar ef­fort, un­less CORE PORT­FO­LIO can run one of his good ones.

FOURTH RACE

FOR­EIGN AF­FAIR 0-2 on turf, but she ac­tu­ally ran well both times, first in her de­but where she was rated back off a pace that wasn’t fast and then com­ing wide, and most re­cently off the lay­off two starts back where she went de­cep­tively well af­ter com­pletely blow­ing the break; one more chance on the stretch out. SUBIC BAY third off the lay­off and get­ting some class re­lief af­ter fac­ing much bet­ter fields in her first two starts of the year; went well enough to make her­self tough here in first two starts of her ca­reer, and get­ting to go a bit shorter in this race can help. FURTIVE GLANCE also drop­ping a bit af­ter show­ing more speed early and fin­ish­ing close to­gether with SUBIC BAY in her sec­ond start; didn’t run poorly at all in her de­but.

FIFTH RACE

AVERY MAEVE won first two turf sprints of her ca­reer, and she has picked up where she lef off since re­turn­ing from the lay­off; tough beat last time af­ter du­el­ing off two dif­fer­ent chal­lengers on the pace, only to get closed down on the wire by First Ap­peal, who is now 4 for 5 on turf in her ca­reer af­ter win­ning again on Sun­day. TARQUINIA

blew out maid­ens over a wet track with a strong fig­ure in her sec­ond ca­reer start, but she also ran well in de­but on turf to just miss 2nd be­hind a front-run­ning win­ner; Maker strong over­all with turf horses off the claim, but short sprints have not been a strong suit: be­tween 5-and-6 fur­longs over the past three years, 0-12 - though three in that sam­ple have fin­ished close in 2nd. HAN­NAH’S

SMILE did some run­ning af­ter a slow start in de­but that was bet­ter than it looks, and she was much the best in her sec­ond start once com­ing clear in the stretch; closed gamely af­ter a wide trip to be in the photo with AVERY MAEVE last time.

SIXTH RACE

SEAM mak­ing 3yo de­but off the lay­off for Pletcher, and she will have to im­prove to win here, but she is el­i­gi­ble to do so and her de­but wasn’t bad af­ter sim­ply get­ting out-paced to the lead by a quick ri­val over a wet track. WISE STRIKE had the lead and the rail in two-turn route last time, but she didn’t have enough to hold off a fa­vored win­ner in the stretch; nice im­prove­ment from start #1 to start #2, and she turns back for this. TIZ THE LIGHT has made three starts so far, and has chased the pace to no avail in all three while earn­ing a cou­ple of com­pet­i­tive fig­ures; rail draw does her no fa­vors.

SEV­ENTH RACE

DURABLE GOODS im­pressed when lev­el­ing off late to come with a nice run to the wire in her de­but, and she upped her game sec­ond time out to ob­tain a bet­ter po­si­tion in the race, and then power that race down with an­other strong fin­ish; steps up, but she ap­pears to have a fu­ture. DOVECOTE has also shown the abil­ity to go on for Chad, and she over­came a mod­er­ate pace last time un­der strong han­dling; for­get short-priced de­feat two back where she stum­bled and then got an over­ly­con­ser­va­tive ride. PA LINO DIE just start­ing back off the lay­off, but she was a stakes-win­ner in France prior to ship­ping over for the Grade 3 Long Is­land, where she fin­ished up very well into a slow pace; big threat of ready to go.

EIGHTH RACE

MR. CROW fin­ished gamely up the in­side af­ter a slow start in de­but race that came back fast, and he took it to an­other level while blow­ing away maid­ens with a huge fig­ure up her on open­ing week­end; in­ter­ested to see how he backs that race up, but he is tough to go against with those races show­ing. PATTERNRECOGNITION has run well enough to win one of th­ese races in each of his two at­tempts, but he has been a bit un­lucky to bump into stakes-qual­ity sprint­ers Coal Front and Taka­ful; may have got­ten un­lucky a third time. GRAY SKY turned back to this dis­tance and ral­lied for 2nd be­hind Petrov in his Saratoga re­turn; tough spot again in the face of the top two.

NINTH RACE

EVAL­U­A­TOR a NY-bred step­ping up, but hard not to be im­pressed with his de­but win where he ac­tu­ally dwelt at the start to spot that field sev­eral lengths, and then pow­ered around them with a wide run through the turn and stretch; this is tougher, but first show­ing sug­gests he can go with th­ese horses. MACHTREE was given a per­fect trip in his de­but, but he was dead game to duel down a wellmeant Mott firster to the wire; fig­ures tough right back for strug­gling barn. FORT WISE TREATY didn’t get much of a fig­ure for his de­but win at El­lis Park, where he also man­aged a nice in­side trip, but liked the way he was strid­ing out to the wire to hold a clos­ing, odds-on fa­vorite.

TENTH RACE

One more chance for well-bred ASILIVEANDBREATHE, who took some money first time out before break­ing slowly, and then flat­tne­ing out read­ily af­ter mak­ing a mild move on the turn; rail draw does her no fa­vors, but she can im­prove quickly with needed first start out of the way. CLIMB THE LAD­DER didn’t run a fast race, but she did more run­ning that it may ap­pear af­ter tak­ing a shot at heav­ily-touted and heav­ily-backed firster Trou­ble for Sky­lar on the lead last time; set­tled for 2nd-best, but never stopped run­ning in the stretch. UN­DER SUS­PI­CION con­tested the pace up the rail and set­tled for 3rd in her de­but, where she wound up fa­vored fol­low­ing an im­por­tant late scratch; moves out­side. Seven-eighths a tough dis­tance for a 2yo to de­but over, but both SALTY SMILE and BERN­ING ROSE have some pedi­gree for train­ers who can first time out.

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