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Grade 1 Triple Header at the Spa Saturday

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 9/2/2011 6:56:10 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Ask the Moon, Pachattack, Regal Ransom, Rule, Havre de Grace
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Personal Ensign, The Forego, The Woodward
Where: Saratoga
When: Saturday, September 3rd

The August Grade 1 bonanza continues with a trio of historic fixtures this Saturday at Saratoga. Rescheduled due to Hurricane Irene, the 64th Running of The Personal Ensign kicks off the Stakes Pick 3 as Race 8 on the card. Race 9 is the 32nd Running of The Forego, and the final leg is the 58th Running of The Woodward. Let’s take a brief look at each race and identify the value plays.

The Personal Ensign: Here’s what I said about this race in last Friday’s article when it was scheduled to be run on Sunday, August 28th: “With expected wet weather on Sunday, I have to go with Ask the Moon, who took her game to another level after being transferred to Marty Wolfson. It’s unlikely any of these will apply pressure early…this mud-lover could be long gone. I’m betting on Ask the Moon to win at odds of 3-2 or better.”

Well, I’m changing my opinion for several reasons, and going with #3-Pachattack. First, the track is expected to be labeled “fast” on Saturday, which eliminates one of Ask the Moon’s advantages. Second, Pachattack is the only horse in the field with a win at the distance. In fact, none of the others have even tried this distance on dirt. Third, Pachattack benefits from an extra week at “The Spa” to get comfortable with her surroundings. Finally, while Pachattack has yet to race on dirt, she worked well on the Saratoga main track on Thursday, and her sire, Pulpit, was an accomplished dirt horse. Note also that Forego entrant Regal Ransom, who has earned nearly $1.9 million racing on dirt, is out of a Red Ransom mare, just like Pachattack. I’ll bet on Pachattack to win and place at odds of 7-2 or better.

The Forego: Speaking of Regal Ransom, he certainly fits the description of a “horse for the course”…he’s a perfect 2-for-2 on the Saratoga main oval, and has been firing bullets in the a.m. since his arrival here in July. He won The Super Derby carrying 124 pounds, beating Blame at equal weights, so his impost shouldn’t be an obstacle. The switch to Ramon Dominguez won’t hurt, and breaking from Post 8 places him outside the other speed, giving Dominguez some options. This guy throws in a clunker every so often, but his best is good enough to win this. I’ll take Regal Ransom to win and place at odds of 4-1 or better.

The Woodward: Havre de Grace is a very nice filly, but keep in mind that she’s only won one Grade 1 race in her career, and will be facing males for the first time. Her speed figures stack up, but her morning line odds of 8-5 are much too low. Flat Out is a vastly-improved runner, but once again, he may not get much pace to close into Saturday. I think the race sets up nicely for Rule, who’s making the third start of his form cycle, which should be his best. His three top efforts were with Javier Castellano in the irons, so that’s a plus. Rule might not have any company on a tepid pace, and will be tough to run down. Keep in mind, too, that Todd Pletcher trainees seem to win everything they enter on Saturdays. I’ll put my money on Rule to win and place at odds of 7-2 or better.

One final note…a $2 3-8-4 straight Pick 3 should return well over $100…just in case you’re looking to maximize your profits.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for the weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!

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