PODCAST: Special Guest Acacia Courtney Joins Us

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Friday, August 6, 2021
Acacia Courtney, horse racing Host/Analyst/Reporter for NYRA, Gulfstream Park and Fox Sports joins the Player's Edge to give us her insight and observations for the current meet at Saratoga racetrack.

Acacia give her analysis for the Longines Test Stakes, Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes and Whitney Stakes, this Saturday, August 7, 2021.

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Terry "Hollywood" Hay's Handicap

Race 8 - Test Stakes – Grade I

Race Scenario: Bella Sofia, Always Carina and Illumination will go for the lead. Search Results will stay close to the leaders and close in the stretch and win the race. Make Mischief will close from deeper to get into the exotics.

#7 - Search Results has the best dirt speed among today's starters. She has run five races in her career winning four of them, only losing one by a neck in the Kentucky Oaks to Malathaat. She is trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Irad Ortiz, JR. In addition, she has a bullet work on 31Jly Sar 5f ft 59:3 B 1/32.

#5 - Always Carina went a 1-1/16 in her last race and led for a little more than ½ the race but was caught in the stretch and still ran 2nd. She cuts back to 7 furlongs where her early speed running style will be more effective.

#6 – Make Mischief stumbled at the break in her last race and still ran a good 3rd. Tyler Gaffalione again has the mount which is a positive move.

#8 - Bella Sofia has won two out of her three starts receiving a speed rating of 101 in her last race and now moves up in class to try her chances.

Race 9 - Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes – Grade I

Race Scenario: Cellist will go for the lead. Several horses will close from deep, and Bolshoi Ballet will win the race.

#6 – Bolshoi Ballet came in from Europe and promptly won the Belmont Derby. I see no reason he can't repeat that effort.

#4 – Cadillac follows several horses from across from Europe to test the US horses. He likes the turf, winning three out of four races and the distance finishing first in his only race at today's distance.

#7 – Secret Protector is another one from Europe. He is royally bred and will Mike Smith in the irons.

#5 – Yes This Time is a longshot but just won a Grade 3 and has won six out of seven turf races. He stretches out but I it doesn't look like that will be a problem.

Race 10 - Whitney Stakes – Grade I

Race Scenario: Knicks Go will go to the lead. Several horses will stay close to the leader and close in the stretch. I think Silver State will win the race in the end.

#2 – Silver State has won six races in a row, and I think seven is in the realm of possibility.  He has the good Trainer Steven Asmussen and veteran jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr.

#5 – Maxfield has won seven of his eight career starts. He has several good works in preparation for today's race.

#4 – Knicks Go has a lot of speed and has proven that he can lead all the way at today's distance.

#3 – Swiss Skydiver has won 50% of her starts with several of them Grade 1 contest.

Play: $10.00 Pick 3-Cost: $40.00

·         Race 8: 7

·         Race 9: 6

·         Race 10: 2, 3, 4, 5

Race 8: $5.00 Exacta 7 with 5, 6, 8 - Cost: $15.00

Race 9: $5.00 Exacta 6 with 4, 5, 7- Cost: $15.00

Race 10: $30.00 Exacta 2 with 5-Cost: $30.00

Swiss Army Shawn's Selections

Race 8 - Test Stakes – Grade I

RACE SUMMARY: Tons of speed in this race. There are some in here who only have one way to go which will create a crazy fast pace.

#7 Search Results- She has the speed to have a good position but wants to be off the pace which will be perfect here. She beat some of these horses the last time out. She has only lost one career race and that was by a neck.

#8 Bella Sofia- She might be the speed of the speed. She will get a class test here, but this horse has looked the part. Stretching out another furlong I don't think will hurt this horse.

#4 Obligatory- Will get plenty of pace to run at and will come flying late. My only concern is being too far back since Saratoga seems to favor speed; only finished ½ length behind Search Results last time out.

$10 EX 7/4,8
$1 TRI BOX 4,7,8
$2 PK 3 4,7,8/6,7/2,4

Race 9 - Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes – Grade I

RACE SUMMARY: Very hard to predict pace in this race.

#6 Bolshoi Ballet- His US debut was impressive in the Belmont derby. Not going to go against the Ryan Moore Aiden O'Brien combo here.

#7 Secret Protector- Making his US debut and these connections are dangerous and usually live. The horse has finished in the trifecta all six of his races.

#1 Soldier Rising- Lightly raced horse making his US debut has never finished worse than second. You might get Irad Ortiz Jr. at double digit odds.

$20 WIN #6
$1 EXBOX 1,6,7
$1 TRI BOX 1,6,7

Race 10 - Whitney Stakes – Grade I

RACE SUMMARY:  #4 Knicks Go should get the lead pretty easily here in the small 5 horse field and will be ultra-tough from there.

#4 Knicks Go- If this horse gets the lead rather easily, he should win no problem.  Won 3 in a row before going to the Saudi Cup where he finished 4th. He did lose to Silver State and By My Standards 2 races back but that was his first race after getting back.  This is a top-notch field and he is the class of the class.

#2 Silver State- This horse has won 6 in a row and might be the third choice so you could get some value here. He has a versatile running style I think in here the closer he is to the pace the better.

#5 Maxfield- He will be there, but I just think he is in too deep to win here.  I would prefer the price of Silver State than what Maxfield will be if I'm trying to bear Knicks Go.

$14 EX 4/2

22 to 1 Tom's Tips

Race 8 - Test Stakes – Grade I

Open the starting gate and off go Bella Sofia and Illumination for the lead. In close range is Search Results, Zaajel and Always Carina. Right behind is Souper Sensational with Make Mischief and Obligatory towards the back of the field. As they head of the turn, Illumination starts to lose ground with Zaajel and Always Carina begin to pickup and Souper Sensational making progress with Make Mischief and Obligatory. Top of the stretch, Souper Sensational takes over the lead and hold off Make Mischief. Mid-stretch and fastest horse kicks on to win.

4 – Obligatory – she run 2 races that she failed to hit the board, the Fairgrounds Oaks and her first start (she was bumped and had no chance). She appears to be a miler or a sprinter? Maybe at this point and she will come wide to catch them at the end. She's been working steadily since her second in the Acorn and Jose Oritz rides her again.

3 – Zaajel – she has tactical speed to sit behind the leader(s). She will make her move at the top of the stretch for a strong finish. She is 2 for 2 at 7 furlongs including a grade 3 win at Gulfstream. Steady works leading up to this race shows she in top form and the drop back in distance off the one turn win in the Mother Goose only give me more reason to pick her for a placing.

5 – Always Carina – 2 wins and a second in the Mother Goose is a nice start for her career. She is a late developing Malibu Moon offspring who's first start was in April 2021. The last to works at Saratoga were :59.3 and :47.4 to prepare her for this sprint. She ready to go.

Race 9 - Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes – Grade I

Cellist makes the running with DuJour close behind. The rest either are getting a wide trip or tuck in to get cover and others will try for a ground saving trip. After the clubhouse turn, there is really no major changes and up front the horse near or on the lead are getting tired. The European horses begin the move with Cadillac, Solder Rising, Bolshoi Ballet, Secret Protector and State of Rest are on their way. Top of the stretch, it's anyone of 6 horses with a chance to win.

4 – Cadillac – first start off the Breeder's Cup race, he wins in a tight race at the Curragh against older horses. A keen hold at the start, made headway into the midfield with 6 furlongs to go and then pushed at 2 furlongs and chased down the leaders with 1 furlong left to go. Clear and kept on and just held on for the win. He beat 2 good horses in Dawn Patrol and True Self. He needed that race. He comes in sharp and Shane Foley made the trip over to ride him again.

7 – Secret Protector – not the best of starts in his last race at Royal Ascot Hampton Court (Group 3). He was held in the rear until ask to pick it up with 2 furlongs out. He appeared outpaced with 1 furlong left. He then made headway switching to his right and was third inside in the final furlong. Lots of action among the first 2 finisher, Mohaafeth and Roman Empire in the race. Godolphin is having a terrific year with horses like Maxfield, Hurricane Lane, Adayar, Essential Quality, Althiqa, Summer Romance to name a few. Charlie Appleby trained and will be ridden by Mike Smith for the first time. Got to like his chances for a win. Remember, this horse is a second stringer?

6 – Bolshoi Ballet – won at Belmont with a nice ride by Ryan Moore. He has faced some of those Godolphin runners Adayar (just beat Misthriff and Love and the English Derby winner) and Hurricane Lane (third in the English Derby and winner of the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris). Aiden O'Brien looked for a spot to get a grade 1 win and he did last out. He will be moving fast at the end.

Race 10 - Whitney Stakes – Grade I

There is only one horse in this race that we know will be on the lead, Knicks Go. Maybe Swiss Skydiver and By My Standard will be closer with Silver State sitting fourth. It will depend on how much of Knicks Go is used early in the race by Joel Rosario to determine the winner in this terrific Whitney renewal.

5 – Maxfield – the Santa Anita race was too far for him? I think with the wide trip, he could have won. A third in that race and a winner in all of his other races. Running style has changes from coming from way back to being a little closer to the leaders, racing mid-pack. If he can catch Knicks Go, it will be at the top of the stretch (I think he will), and he will go on to win.

2 – Silver State – has six wins in a row and appears to be getting better with each start. The Met Mile, he had issues with bumping but still won but was give the go sign and won. He could be closer to the lead this time out and close with his powerful kick or sit farther back but with Knicks Go on the lead, he will need to be closer.

1 – By My Standards – has 6 starts at the distance with 3 wins and 2 seconds. Want a horse that going to hit the board? Pick him. Good works coming into the race of :47 and 1:11, 1:11, :58.4 (wet fast) and :47.1.

Rich's Ranks

Race 8 - Test Stakes – Grade I

#7 – Search Results 5/2
#5 – Always Carina 3-1
#8 – Bella Sofia 6-1
#2 – Souper Sensational 6-1

Race 9 - Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes – Grade I

#6 – Bolshoi Ballet 2-1
#7 – Secret Protector 6-1
#4 – Cadillac 4-1
#11 – King Fury 10-1

Race 10 - Whitney Stakes – Grade I

#4 – Knicks Go 6/5
#5 – Maxfield 8/5
#3 – Swiss Skydiver 6-1
#2 – Silver State 4-1


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