Jeff Siegel’s National Best Plays for Saturday, September 17, 2022
Churchill Downs – Ninth Race – Post time: 4:55 ET
9-Echo Again (2-1)
May have been the most impressive debut maiden winner during the entire Saratoga season when he graduated by almost seven lengths while finishing with a ton left in the tank. His Beyer number of 94 was borderline sensational, and as a son of Gun Runner he seems certain to improve as the distances increase. His outside draw in this year’s renewal of the Iroquois Stakes-G3 isn’t ideal, but we suspect the Steve Asmussen-trained colt will be good enough to overcome it. He is listed at 2-1 on the morning line and will offer excellent wagering value at or near that price.
Churchill Downs – Eleventh Race – Post time: 5:58 ET
5-Grand Love (9/2)
Won at first asking over a deep and tiring Saratoga main track like a high quality filly while earning a powerful 84 Beyer speed figure, and with a pedigree that should allow her to handle this stretch out in trip she should be quite capable of repeating on the raise in this year’s edition of the Pocahantas Stakes-G3. The juvenile daughter of Gun Runner has breezed impressively since that race, lands a comfortable mid-gate draw, and picks up top rider Joel Rosario. Let’s gamble on this Steve Asmussen-trained filly in the straight pool and in the various rolling exotics and hope to get close to her morning line of 9/2.
Los Alamitos – Ninth Race – Post time: 4:35 PT
This debuting son of Justify has trained like one of the Bob Baffert’s better juvenile prospects, and after failing to draw in from the also eligible list earlier this month at Del Mar he finally gets his chance to show his stuff in this one mile maiden event. A $475,000 yearling purchase despite an unusually light female family, he’s a big, strong 2-year-old with plenty of scope and moves like a colt that will relish a distance of ground. Outside draw and all, he’s a strong play in the win pool and a rolling exotic single at anywhere near his morning line of 5/2.