AGOS Saratoga Horses to Watch – July 27, 2016

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes for visitors


Our Stormin Norman (SAR 7/23/16 – Race #2 – #7 – 1 1/16 on the turf) = Julien Leparoux in the irons, and his mount was bumped soundly and squeezed back at the start. This son of Blame will have much more to offer with a cleaner trip and hopefully the odds board will be very kind for some payback.

Bronson (SAR 7/23/16 – Race #3 – #4 – 6f on the dirt) = John Velasquez in the saddle for Todd Pletcher. This was the (G-3) Sanford Stakes, and this son of Medaglia d’ Oro broke his maiden at Monmouth Park in fine fashion as he stepped up the ladder. – It was a compact field of five and he was pinched back at the start and never got back into stride. – Team Pletcher will work out the kinks, and you can bet he’ll receive some strong gate work to have him ready to roll.

Recepta (SAR 7/23/16 – Race #10 – #7 – 1 1/8 on the turf) = Johnny Velasquez was the pilot and his filly came in 1/1 (ITM) over the Saratoga strip. She was three wide on the first turn, three wide on the far turn, and four wide into the stretch to be beaten by a nose. – She had a great sightseeing trip of The Spa, and dollars to donuts next out she’ll be more focused on getting her picture taken.

Grassarla (SAR 7/24/16 – Race #4 – #8 – 6 1/2 f on the dirt) = Luis Saez in the saddle for Chris Englehart. This daughter of Bluegrass Cat was 2nd in her first attempt getting off slowly brushing against the gate upon leaving. – She was the odds-on favorite this day and had the same troubles when they sprung the latch. Saez did his best to help her overcome the tardy beginning, but it was just too much to overcome. – If she comes out clean, you may cash at a very handsome price.

Llanita (SAR 7/24/16 – Race #6 – #3 – 1 1/16 on the turf) = Irad Ortiz had the call for Chad Brown, and this daughter of Rock of Gibraltar is bred to love the greensward. – Since she shipped in from France last September, she has been a fast closing machine. Her connections are red-hot and it is only a matter of time before she sees the winner’s circle.

Romans Paradise (SAR 7/24/16 – Race #11 – #4 – 1 mile on the turf) = Javier Castellano was aboard, and this was his second start of the year. He is 2/2 (ITM) at Saratoga and was taken up sharply to avoid running up on the heels of rank horses. Once he found clear sailing, he was a day late and a dollar short getting his momentum rolling. – Maybe a little better trip may be just what the doctor ordered.

Saratoga Saturday 7/23 Analysis Now Online

Saratoga starting gateRich Nilsen’s expert analysis is now online for the first Saturday of the Saratoga meet.  This is Nilsen’s home track and he’s got you covered.  Nilsen, a 12-time NHC qualifier, gave out Creator and the monster exacta in this year’s Belmont Stakes, and every day he offers up solid picks and potential price horses at The Spa.

Friday’s Results (7/22):  4 TOP winners including the cold $100.00 late pick3 and $10.80 winner Sweet Loretta.

Saturday’s expert analysis includes selections for all 11 races, pace scenarios for every race, and 3 Best Bet Spot Plays.
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The Saratoga Horse Racing Getaway

By Rich Nilsen

Not only will the finest Thoroughbred racing of the summer take place at Saratoga, but the upstate New York location is one of the best vacation getaways in the country. There’s plenty to do both before and after the races in the Adirondack region, so let’s take a peek at what is available to the lucky fans who get to venture north to one of the beautiful areas of the country.

Saratoga is a town of just over 27,000 inhabitants that lies 30 minutes north of Albany airport on Route 87. For six weeks out of the year, the area comes alive as racing enthusiasts converge from all over into the little city.

Hotels rates more than triple during this peak season, but there are two affordable alternatives. The first is to stay in Albany or Glen Falls, both nearby locations. Or, for adventurous souls, camping is available at several closer sites. Reservations should be made as soon as possible, regardless of where you will stay.

Saratoga canopy walk through As for racing-related activities, the best is the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Located one block from Saratoga racetrack, the museum is devoted to U.S. racing history and the lineage of horses who competed here. There are tons of trophies and photographs among the many exhibits, and a free movie is offered to visitors. Inside the entrance of the museum is one of the finest gift shops ever devoted to racing.  It’s not big but it’s jam-packed with many great items.  The doors open at 9 a.m. during the racing season and admission is $7.

Another recommended activity is breakfast at Saratoga racetrack.  With binoculars in one hand and a fork in the other, you can gaze at the beautiful Thoroughbreds at work while enjoying a fabulous meal. Does it get any better? An announcer usually narrates during the morning activities. There is no dress code, so any attire will do. Also, backstretch tours are available each morning.  The walking tours are every day, expect Travers, cost $3 per person and begin at 9:30am.

For those of you who can’t get enough of the horses or gambling in general, Saratoga Harness, runs the entire month of August with a post time of 7:05 p.m.  The only dark days are Sunday and Monday.  This year marks the 75th annual race meet.

Evenings are the perfect time for non-racing related activities.  The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is celebrating its 50th Golden Anniversary this year.  With its large, covered amphitheater, the SPAC features various types of entertainers, from pop and rock groups to classical ensembles. The National Museum of Dance and the Yaddo Gardens are two other popular attractions in Saratoga, especially for the ladies who are accompanying you to the region.

A trip here is not complete without an evening stroll through downtown Saratoga, browsing through the many stores.  There are numerous good bars and restaurants, including the Old Bryan Inn, which I highly recommend.

Several fun events are scheduled during Travers Week, August 27. Taste of NY: Craft Beer is on the Friday before the Travers and, not surprisingly, a very popular event. “Street Fest,” which offers live entertainment and performances, runs from Wednesday through Saturday each night in downtown.  The downtown is ‘hoppin’ and it’s a must visit for every racegoer.

The town of Lake George is less than 40 minutes away and is highly recommended for anyone visiting the Adirondack region. Fort William Henry, which played a big role in the French & Indian War, lies in the heart of the town overlooking the beautiful, crystal-clear lake that stretches for about 30 miles.

Besides sun-tanning or swimming on the local beaches, Lake George offers various water activities, including parasailing, water skiing, jet skiing, boat tours and steamboat trips. The main strip in Lake George has too many stores to count, as well as many excellent restaurants with great views. There are also outlet stores in the area that are ideal for a spouse who doesn’t share the same enthusiasm for racing.  One of the best is the outlet center just off the N.Y. Thruway, entering into the Lake George area.

There is little doubt why visitors keep coming back year after year to the Adirondack region. Not only is the setting of upstate New York beautiful, but there are numerous activities to complement a fabulous race meet.  If you have never been there, make plans to experience Saratoga and everything the region has to offer.


— Rich Nilsen, a native New Yorker, has written a report “Beat Saratoga – 7 Tips to Turning a Profit.”  Download it today


Saratoga Analysis Now Available

Rich Nilsen handicapperAGOS Founder and 12-time NHC qualifier Rich Nilsen is offering his selections, analysis and spot plays for Friday’s opening day card at Saratoga.  The report is now online.  Nilsen’s analysis has full card picks plus two spots plays (best bets) on the Friday card.

Included in his report is an expert pace analysis for each race on the card.

In Nilsen’s only two analysis this year, he nailed both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.  His top selection of Creator in the Belmont keyed a huge exacta payoff given out on the sheet.

Only $7.95.  Download this full card report to any device.

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No Decision on American Pharoah After Loss in Travers Stakes

Triple Crown SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – They were waiting for their horse, ready to take pictures with cellphones and ready to feed him snacks. On the morning after a startling upset at the Travers Stakes, a small gathering of fans visited racing’s biggest celebrity. This group on Sunday morning was considerably smaller than the throng of 15,000 that… [Read more…]

2015 Saratoga Meet Stats – update

Saratoga Shippers (Track last raced at) – July 24-Aug 10, 2015

Track Last Raced Wins Starts
Aqueduct 3 41
Arlington Park 0 7
Belmont 117
Churchill 11 104
Delaware 3 38
Del Mar 1 3
Ellis Park 2 12
Gulfstream 4 68
Finger Lakes 1 20
Indiana Downs 1 12
Keeneland 2 16
Laurel 0 7
Monmouth 6 63
Mountaineer 0 1
Oaklawn 0 1
Parx 2 34
Penn 0 5
Pimlico 2 7
Prairie Meadows 1 5
Presque Isle 1 8
Santa Anita 5 20
Saratoga (2014) 0 7
Saratoga (2015) 11
Tampa 0 2
Turfway 0 1
Woodbine 1 4
First Time Starters 21 187


Want to learn more about horse racing and enjoy the game more?  Get Tom Amello’s Gateway to the Game guide.


Saratoga Track Profile – August 12 – August 17, 2015

 Main Track August 12 – 17

 Dashes (5.0/5.5)          (3)      o wire, front half stalkers

Sprints                             (21)      7 wire at 6 & 7f, 4 closers

Routes                                    (4)        2 wire, 2 pressers      


Turf August 12 – 17

Inner Turf               (13)      1 wire, 4 front-half stalkers, 6 rear-half runners


Mellon Turf:              (17)      3 wire, 3 pressers, 5 front-half stalkers, 6 closers

Sprints                        (7)        2 wire, 1 front-half stalker, 4 closers

Inner Routes              (12)      3 up-close pressers, 2 stalkers, 7 rear-half runners                                   

Main Route                (10)      2 wire, 2 up-close pressers, 4 front-half stalkers,  2       closers                            

2015 Saratoga Stats – July 24 – Aug. 3

Saratoga Shippers (Last Raced Track) – July 24-Aug 3 

Track Last Raced Wins Starts
Aqueduct 3 21
Arlington Park 0 2
Belmont 53  
Churchill 8 66
Delaware 0 13
Ellis Park 1 (7-1) 7
Gulfstream 3(8-1, 22-1) 38
Finger Lakes 1 10
Indiana Downs 0 5
Keeneland 0 7
Monmouth 4(55-1) 34
Laurel 0 5
Parx 2 17
Penn 0 2
Pimlico 2 5
Prairie Meadows 1(21-1) 2
Presque Isle 0 4
Santa Anita 3 11
Saratoga 0 4(2014)
Tampa 0 1
Woodbine 1 4
First Time Starters 10 100

Saratoga Track Profile – July 29 – August 03

Main Track

July 24, 2015               outside paths better, front speed failed, stalkers ruled

July 25, 2015               main track tighter, track played fair

July 26, 2015               kinder to speed

July 27, 2015               kind to speed

July 29, 2015               fair

July 30, 2015               sloppy sealed, speed, front half stalkers

July 31, 2015               speed, front stalkers

August 1, 2015           stalkers

August 2, 2015           fair

August 3, 2015           speed, stalkers


 Main Track

 Dashes (5.0/5.5)          2 wire, closer over sloppy sealed

Sprints                         Speed, front stalkers, versus deep closers

Routes                         front half stalkers



 Inner Turf:                fair

 Mellon Turf:

Sprints                        speed and front half stalkers over deep closers

Routes                                    closer                     


Want to have fun and select more winners?  Check out Tom Amello’s Gateway to the Game!             

Saratoga 2015 – Week One Stats

Our guest writer Tom Amello has compiled some very interesting statistics on the opening week at the Spa.

Saratoga Shippers – July 24-July 27, 2015

Track Last Raced Wins Starts
Aqueduct 1 (12-1) 11
Arlington Park 0 1
Belmont 22
Churchill 4 33
Delaware 0 3
Ellis Park 0 3
Gulfstream 2  (8-1, 22-1) 13
Finger Lakes 0 2
Indiana Downs 0 3
Keeneland 0 2
Monmouth 2  (55-1) 12
Laurel 0 1
Parx 2 9
Penn 0 1
Pimlico 0 2
Prairie Meadows 0 1
Presque Isle 0 2
Santa Anita 3 7
Saratoga 0 1
Tampa 0 1
Woodbine 0 3
First Time Starters 5 45


Want to learn more about the game, select more winners and have fun?  Check out Tom Amello’s Gateway To The Game

Saratoga Track Profile – July 24 – July 27 

Main Track

July 24, 2015  outside paths better, front speed failed, stalkers ruled

July 25, 2015  main track tighter, track played fair

July 26, 2015  kinder to speed

July 27, 2015  kind to speed 


Nothing like Saratoga racing in the summer

Inner Turf:    No Bias

Mellon Turf:  No Bias

Main Track

5.0       (2) 0 Wire, sustained pressers

5.5f      (4) 0 Wire, front pressers

6.0f      (6) 2 Wire, Pressers, Closer

6.5f      (5) 3 Wire, no closers

7.0       (3) 2 Wire, 1 Closer

9.0       (4) 2 Wire, 1 Closer  


 Inner Turf:

8.0                   (4) 3 Wire, 1 up-close

8.5                   (3) 1 Wire, 2 closers

1&3/8              (2) 1 Stalker, 1 Closer


Mellon Turf:

(4) 1 Wire, 3 Closers

8.0                   (3) 0 Wire, 2 Stalkers, 1 Closer

9.0                   (2) 0 Wire, 1 Stalker, 1 Closer                   

Gateway to the Game by writer Tom Amello

Click here to learn more


147th Saratoga Meet Kicks Off Friday

from the NYRA Press Department

The 147th summer of thoroughbred racing at historic Saratoga Race Course gets under way on Friday with a 10-race card that includes the first two of 69 stakes worth a record $18.7 million during the 40-day meeting.
Saratoga’s traditional opening day feature, the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies, is joined this year by the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George for 3-year-old turf fillies. Post time for the first race is 1 p.m.
Saratoga canopy walk throughRacing will be conducted six days a week, excluding Tuesdays, through Labor Day, September 7, highlighted by the 146th renewal of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday, August. 29.
Travers Day includes six other graded stakes, five of them Grade 1s, worth $4.6 million as one of three spectacular Saturday programs put together by the New York Racing Association. The others are August 8, offering five stakes worth $2.15 million anchored by the Grade 1, $1.25 million Whitney Handicap for older horses; and August 28, featuring six New York-bred stakes worth $1.15 million.
Seven-time Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher looks to get a head start on his sixth straight Saratoga training championship and 12th overall when he sends out contenders in each of Friday’s stakes: impressive debut winner Positively Royal in the six-furlong Schuylerville and Grade 3 winner Feathered for the 1 1/16-mile Lake George.
The 97th renewal of the Schuylerville is set for race 4; the 20th running of the Lake George will take place in race 9.
A bay daughter of champion Bernardini, Mathis Stables’ Positively Royal cruised to 3 ½-length victory in her June 18 unveiling at Belmont Park, covering five furlongs in 58.49 seconds. Pletcher, 48, has won the Schuylerville five times (2002, 2003, 2006, 2011, 2014) and gone on to take Saratoga’s training title in each of those years.
“She’s a very professional filly,” Pletcher said. “She trained at my dad’s all winter and trained very well. She was one of the first ones to come in. She ran to expectations first time out and has trained accordingly since then. We’ve been fortunate over the years to have some nice fillies in here, and I think she is of that same caliber.” 
Fellow defending meet champion Javier Castellano, looking for his third consecutive Spa riding title, has the mount from post 7.
Trainer Wesley Ward will send out both Mark Dodson’s Banree and Ten Broeck Farm’s Moment Is Right for the Schuylerville. A daughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Medaglia d’Oro, Moment Is Right is unbeaten in two starts having romped over colts in her May 15 debut at Gulfstream Park and followed up with a front-running 1 ½-length score in the June 4 Astoria for fillies at Belmont Park.
Banree, by Macho Uno, similarly beat colts in her debut April 16 at Keeneland  Race Course and faced males again in the June 5 Tremont at Belmont but was taken out of her game following an awkward break and wound up a non-threatening fifth.
“They’re doing really well. Both are coming into the race great, so we’ll see what happens,” Ward said. “I don’t know what happened [in the Astoria]. She’s always kind of been pretty quick out of the gate but she was really compromised and lost all chance. [Moment Is Right] has been super. Going into the race it’s a toss-up as to which one’s better, that’s for sure, and I’d even lean the other way a little bit. A lot of it has to do with the trip and what have you, but they’re both pretty talented 2-year-old fillies.”
Joel Rosario, up for the Astoria, gets a return call from post 6 on 121-pound top weight Moment Is Right, who spots two pounds to each of her rivals. Saratoga newcomer Rafael Hernandez will be back aboard Banree from post 8.
Also entered are Decked Out and One Minute, who ran 2-3 in the Astoria; fellow stakes-placed Areolite; and debut winners Little Miss Miss and Off the Tracks.
Pletcher has the lone graded stakes winner in the Lake George in Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Feathered. In two starts since being moved to the turf this spring, the daughter of Indian Charlie won the Grade 3 Edgewood May 1 at Churchill Downs and was a stubborn second in the Grade 1 American Oaks 29 days later at Santa Anita.
Feathered will be ridden for the first time by Luis Saez from post 10 at top weight of 123 pounds and cuts back from 1 1/8 miles for the Lake George, run at the same distance as the Edgewood. Pletcher won the Lake George in 2005 and 2006.
“In her first couple of starts this year she didn’t seem to have regained her 2-year-old form,” Pletcher said, “so we turned to the grass and that seemed to take care of it. We’re not surprised with her pedigree that she likes it, but she’s a good, versatile filly that handles multiple surfaces and distances.”
Third in the Edgewood and second by a head in the Grade 3 Regret, Three Chimneys Farm’s Lady Zuzu is entered for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who captured the 2009 Lake George with Be Fair. Most recently, the Dynaformer filly set a blistering pace before fading in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational July 4.
“We’re going to look at it. I’ll let the owner decide. I think she fits the race pretty good,” Lukas said. “The last race was a debacle with the rider. He just opened up and went unrealistic fractions. We’re going to change that.” 
Corey Lanerie, riding at Saratoga full-time this summer, has the mount from post 8 at 115 pounds.
Trainer Chad Brown is represented in the Lake George by three fillies: Mr. and Mrs. William Warren’s Mrs McDougal, Klaravich Stables’ Partisan Politics and Martin Schwartz’s Irish-bred Sivoliere.
Partisan Politics is already a stakes winner at Saratoga, having taken the 1 1/16-mile P.G. Johnson last summer under Castellano, who returns to ride from outside post 12. She has been winless in three starts since, returning from a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf to run second by a nose in the Wild Applause Stakes June 14 in her sophomore debut.
Unraced at 2, Mrs McDougal won her debut over the winter at Gulfstream Park and most recently was fourth by 2 ¾ lengths in the Grade 1 American Oaks. Sivoliere has been off the board in three North American starts since arriving last fall from France including a fourth-place finish in the Wild Applause, five lengths behind Partisan Politics.
Sivoliere will break from post 6 under Jose Ortiz at 115 pounds, while Mrs McDougal will carry Irad Ortiz, Jr. and 117 pounds from post 9.
Rounding out the field are Celestine, a winner of four straight starts including the Wild Applause for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott; Mississippi Delta, having captured three consecutive races including back-to-back stakes at Woodbine; Indy Star Stakes winner Cara Marie; All in Fun, Robillard, My Year Is a Day and Jellicle Ball, the latter making her U.S. debut for trainer Graham Motion.

Pace Predictor Forecast for Friday at Saratoga

Pace Predictor: These are not selections but rather forecasts for the anticipated pace scenarios in select races at Saratoga today, Friday August 15, 2014.  Understanding the race shape is critical for successfully handicapping the races, because how the pace sets up early often determines how things will shake out late.

Let us know how you think we did with the pace predictions in the comments below after today’s races.  Best of luck!

Saratoga, August 15, 2014

R3) # 1 – 2- 3

R4) # 1 – 2

R5) # 1 – 8 – 3

R8) # 2 – 7- 1

R9) # 2 – 3- 5

R10) # 6 – 3- 7