I think Saratoga fans and bettors are as anxious for the second condition book of the meet to come out as much as the horsemen. There certainly are too many races that are not being supported. Can’t blame the super trainer for everything.
Anyway, today’s feature race, the Stillwater Stakes for state-bred juvenile fillies has “attracted” a field of five. On paper, Fierce Lady (1-2) with Javier Castellano is a complete layover. I won’t bore you with the details. She’s way the fastest. Step down, next case, please… (Have no good cold exacta ideas).
To punish myself–and possibly reward myself greatly, we chose one of two races that could be billed as co-features, though neither race has a name attached to it. Both are optional-claiming/allowances and we chose the one with the largest field.
And we’re choosing the horse with the longest odds on the early line; Jerome Avenue (20-1). While we are throwing deep in this spot, this is not a horse without merit. For openers, we’re talking about a first-time gelding.
Of greater significance is that in his most recent start, he was setting the pace on the front end in a Belmont one-turner, not the rating tack his rider chose when breaking maiden for John Kimmel in a Gulfstream Park two-turner this winter.
Obviously, that’s the dynamic in play in Thursday’s eighth race on the Spa inner turf.
Since that mile, in which the winner stopped the timer in 1:33, the Speightstown gray has worked four times, the last a fast 3-furlong lung opener in 36 3/5, 4th fastest of 21 peers to work that week in Saratoga.
Providing the pace is realistic–it should be with enough speed signed on, late scratches notwithstanding–we believe the rider switch to Joel Rosario indicates a possible change of tactics, a reversal to his preferred patient style.
Jerome Avenue is a couple of lengths behind the main contenders in here, but that’s why you’ll get paid should he win. Out of an Unbridled’s Song mare, the extra sixteenth could help. Following TTT to the windows and betting Jerome Avenue across the board at 10-1 or greater. Turf only, please.
YESTERDAY: Mission Wrapitup did not handle the Spa slop and driving rain and never got the lead; chased and finished off the board. Jasikan was clearly best winning Del Mar’s Oceanside; Nolde was an excellent second. Choice King of Speed was terrible; Desormeaux’s effort didn’t help. Check replay for yourself and let us know what you think.