Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saratoga 2014: It's a Dandy Amsterdam Day - Day 8 of 40

We're four weeks from the mid-summer derby.

The main Saratoga prep for the Travers is today, when seven horses do battle in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes just after 6 p.m..  The field is highlighted by the Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, and joined by other Triple Crown participants Wicked Strong and Derby runner-up Commanding Curve.

For these seven horses, an outstanding performance today will put them in the entry box for the Grade 1 Travers on August 23rd.

In addition, today is the running of the Amsterdam Stakes, which is a prep race for the longtime Travers undercard King's Bishop stakes.  A field of seven after two announced scratches will run in this 6 1/2 furlong sprint.  Coup de Grace is the morning line favorite after Rock Fall and Noble Moon's connections have announced their intentions to scratch from the race.

So let's take a look at the field for the two stakes races today:

Race 8: The Amsterdam Stakes - Grade 2 - 3YO - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Purse: $200,000 - Post: 4:57PM
1 - C. Zee (FL) - L. Saez | N. Zito | 10-1
2 - Rock Fall (KY) - J. Castellano | T. Pletcher | 2-1
3 - Casiguapo (KY) - J. Lezcano | M. Morales | 15-1
4 - Coup de Grace (KY) - R. Napravnik | J. Larry Jones | 3-1
5 - Tiznowforamerican (KY) - J. Rosario | T. Albertrani | 10-1
6 - John's Island (NY) - A. Arroyo | J. A. Jerkins | 20-1
7 - Noble Moon (VA) - I. Ortiz | L. Gyarmati | 8-1
8 - Captain Serious (NY) - J. Ortiz | M. Hushion | 4-1
9 - Big Guy Ian (KY) - S. Bridgemohan | M. Dilger | 20-1

Editor's Note: Sorry for the sloppy entries -- apparently working on these entries at home doesn't yield the same results as if doing it from the office

C. ZEE: He's won two of his last three starts down in the Sunshine State, winning the Cherokee Run Stakes at Gulfstream last time out.  While his last race was off-the-pace, his run in the Sir Bear Stakes was on the lead throughout, so pace might not affect him.  This is his first race run outside of Florida, having run at Calder, Gulfstream and Tampa Bay in his career.

ROCK FALL: Todd Pletcher announced on Friday that he will be scratching this horse from the Amsterdam.

CASIGUAPO: He ran runner up to C ZEE in the Cherokee Run Stakes.  Last year's Hopeful runner-up, Casiguapo was hoping to go on the Triple Crown path, but a 9th place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland put an end to that.

COUP DE GRACE: Coup de Grace has a Graded Stakes victory under his belt in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct, hanging four lengths off the pace before firing in the stretch.  Last time, won the Oh Say Stakes at Delaware Park.

TIZNOWFORAMERICA: Tiznowforamerica broke his maiden at Saratoga Race Course last September, showing a liking to the muddy track over the holiday weekend.  Tiznowforamerica tries stakes competition again after a pair of 12th place finishes last year.  He won an allowance race at Belmont Park last time out.

JOHN'S ISLAND: John's Island comes out of an allowance optional race at Belmont Park, hovering at the back of the pack before he gunned for the lead in the stretch.  This is John's Island's first run in unrestricted stakes competition, having finished fourth in the state-bred Mike Lee Stakes back in May.

NOBLE MOON: It was announced Friday that Noble Moon would scratch from this race.

CAPTAIN SERIOUS: He rattled off three straight wins before a second place finish in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes last time out, falling to stablemate Kid Cruz in the closing yards of the 1 1/16 Mile race.

BIG GUY IAN: Winner of 1 race, a Maiden Special Weight at Gulfstream Park, Big Guy Ian comes into this race after a 3rd place finish in an Allowance Optional race at Belmont Park.

ANALYSIS: While I liked Tiznowforamerica back in September, the pair of 12th place finishes doesn't give me a lot of confidence in him for this race.  I like Captain Serious's ability to maintain a pace, which could prove beneficial if he has the stamina for 6 1/2 Furlongs.

C. Zee's ability to run up front or stalk will help in this race, and Coup de Grace can make things interesting as well.  Overall, I'll be going with Captain Serious here, with C. Zee second and Coup de Grace third.

My Picks: 8-1-4

Race 10: The Jim Dandy Stakes - Grade 2 - 3YO - 1 1/8 Miles - Purse: $600,000 - Post: 6:01PM
1 - Cousin Stephen (KY) - J. Velazquez | C. Brown | 12-1
2 - Legend (KY) - L. Saez | H. James Bond | 12-1
3 - Ulanbator (KY) - J. Leparoux | I. Wilkes | 15-1
4 - Tonalist (KY) - J. Rosario | C. Clement | 8-5
5 - Kid Cruz (KY) - I. Ortiz | L. Rice | 8-1
6 - Commanding Curve (KY) - S. Bridgemohan | D. Stewart | 5-1
7 - Wicked Strong (KY) - R. Maragh | J. Jerkins | 2-1

Analysis: Don't have a lot of time to write up a preview of every horse.  Tonalist is going to be tough to beat fresh off his win in the Belmont Stakes.  Kid Cruz, Commanding Curve and Wicked Strong also has some good class.  

Cousin Stephen will no doubt scratch here after running yesterday in the Curlin Stakes.  That's not a bad thing, especially since John Velazquez has a way to win the big stakes race, no matter what the odds are.

My Picks: 4-6-5
Mythical Bet
Current Bankroll: $80.60
Race 8:
$2 WIN 8
$0.50 TRI BOX 8-1-4

Race 10:
$2 WIN 4
$5 SHOW 5
$0.50 TRI BOX 4-6-5
TOTAL: $10

Total Bets: $15.00
Remaining Bankroll: $65.60

Reminder: Please gamble responsibly.  Picks and Mythical Bets are provided for entertainment purposes only. WMML FOX Sports Radio 1230, its sponsors or management is not responsible for any damages caused by use of our material for gambling purposes.

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