Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Saratoga – Wednesday, August 17, 2022

By Jeff Siegel, Handicapper & Analyst

(For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing).



Fifth Race – Post: 3:21 ET
Top Pick: 5-Mija (7/2)

In a race in which seven of the eight entrants are first-time starters, this daughter of Curlin from Rachel Alexandra’s Grade-1 winning daughter of Rachel’s Valentina deserves top billing, even though we suspect she’ll eventually prove to be much more effective at distances farther than six furlongs. The Todd Pletcher-trained filly hasn’t been asked to show her best speed in morning drills, but she has managed to “win” every team drill with something left so we suspect when it counts in the afternoon she’ll step forward. At 7/2 on the morning line, she deserves support in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics. The one to fear most is 8-Justifying, from the first crop of the highly promising freshman stallion Justify with credentials of her own. A bullet half mile gate work of :47 4/5 July 29 (fastest of 26) jumps off the pace, and she looked quite decent in one video drill we have (see below) so make her a “must use.” We like the outside draw; however, the debut runners from the Steve Asmussen barn, at least during this meeting, have underperformed, which tempers our enthusiasm a bit.

Sixth Race: Post: 3:55 ET
Top Pick: 2-Mo Rewards (6-1)

This son of Uncle Mo won his debut in a $75,000 maiden claimer almost a year ago and then was stopped on. He returned protected in a first-level allowance middle distance turf affair in mid-July and actually ran much better than the line will show when overcoming a wide trip from a poor trip and traffic through the lane to finish a respectable fourth, beaten less than two lengths. We suspect the Rudy Rodriguez-trained sophomore will produce a significant forward move today from a much better post and with the switch to Luis Saez, so at 6-1 on the morning line he’ll offer excellent value on the tote. A healthy work tab that features two nice breezes since raced is another positive factor. Exacta/Trifecta players should take a close look at 8-Mackillop, freshened since May and returning as a first-time gelding; and 4-Legends Can’t Die, showing the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern; and 6-Analogy, ninth with a rough trip in the same race that Mo Rewards exits and likely to improve with the switch to Irad Ortiz, Jr.



(Races 1-5)
1st race: Pass/No Play
2nd race: 1-Greeley and Ben; 2-O’Trouble
3rd race: 6-Mommasgottarun
4th race: 4-Tales of Mackenna; 1-Freedom Machine; 5-Kemba
5th race: 5-Mija; 8-Justifying

(Races 6-10)
6th race: 2-Mo Rewards; 8-Mackillop; 4-Legends Can’t Die; 6-Analogy
7th race: 7-Crypto Mama; 6-U Glow Girl; 4-Oh Donna
8th race: 6-Mia Bea Star; 1-U Guys Are No Fun
9th race: 8-Dakota Gold
10th race: 6-Cafe Fleur; 7-Funwhileitlasted; 10-Ocean Air; 9-Princess Pinky




Implicated (August 7, Saratoga, 4f, :48.3b). Grade: B
Under restraint throughout while slightly best outside unnamed (Vertical Vision, worked under dam’s name) (same time), plenty left in the tank, final quarter mile in a moderate :25.4 but able to go much faster if turned loose. Moves like a distance-type, really hasn’t been asked to show sprint-type speed in the a.m., have to think she’ll show her best down the road.
View Workout Video

Mija (August 7, Saratoga, 4f, :47.4bg). Grade: B
Light coaxing only in gate drill outside (Super Holiday, worked under dam’s name) (same time), pulling clear in the final stages in solid drill for Pletcher. Curlin filly from Rachel Alexandra’s Grade-1 stakes-winning daughter Rachel’s Valentine probably isn’t a real quick type but always seems to finish her drills the right way. Not likely to show her best until give some distance to work with.
View Workout Video

Justifying (August 6, Saratoga, 5f, 1:01.4b TT). Grade: B
Was never really asked in team drill inside Into Mischief juvenile filly Rocket City (same time) for S. Asmussen, stride-for-stride throughout, final quarter mile in :25 flat. Hard to separate them at this stage, both are good movers with plenty of promise and probably have more early speed than they were allowed to show here. Both seem fit.
View Workout Video



Mo Rewards (August 10, Saratoga, 4f, :48b). Grade: B+
Not the prettiest of movers but did well enough in team drill outside Diva Ready (same time), final quarter mile in :24.4 while mostly on his own. Broke his maiden for a tag and then finished a troubled fourth in a first-level allowance turf router. Has plenty of room for improvement with added experience.
View Workout Video


Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Saratoga – Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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