Donato’s Saratoga selections for Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021


The Grade I Whitney Stakes only has five entrants, but that does not make it any easier to make a top pick as each is a viable contender. This race looks like it can go several different ways, and a win here against this field will be quite the statement.

Maxfield (8-5) has only been beaten once in his eight-race career, finishing third in the Santa Anita Handicap in March. That race was Maxfield’s longest at 10 furlongs, and at any shorter distance he has won clear by at least a length since his debut. He has amazing closing speed, so do not be concerned if he spends the majority of the race in or behind the pack.

Silver State (4-1) is peaking at the right time leading up to this race. The Steve Asmussen-trainee ran the fastest race of his career in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont in June for his sixth win in a row. During that run nearly all his speed ratings were as fast or faster than the race before. He has had a string of bullet workouts since his last race, and racers under Asmussen tend to still win at an above average clip following layoffs between 1 1/2 and three months, so Silver State’s two-month layoff should not be seen as a negative indicator.

Knicks Go (6-5) has the best raw speed in the field and is expected to be the early leader. However, in two of his last three races, he has weakened late and been caught. This includes the Metropolitan Handicap, where Silver State caught up to him in top of the stretch. His most recent race was a return to form at a longer distance, so it could be that those hiccups are behind him. There are better options for the price, though.

Swiss Skydiver (6-1) moves to jockey Irad Ortiz for her first race back since her third place finish in the Apple Blossom Handicap in April. Last year’s Alabama winner is always competitive against the best the sport has to offer, and she could certainly remind us of that again.

The best bet on the card is Search Results (5-2) in the Grade I Test Stakes. She is coming off a win in the Grade I Acorn Stakes, where she bested Obligatory (4-1) and Make Mischeif (12-1), and her closest competitor, Always Carina (3-1) has yet to demonstrate the same speed that Search Results has in her recent races. She ran a close second in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks with jockey Irad Ortiz, and teams up with him again Saturday.

The best value of the day belongs to Bay Storm (6-1) who returns from an extended layoff in the 10th race to build upon her light but promising record. She ran a competitive third in her debut before running to a clear win against tougher runners. She was put on the shelf following that October race, but returns Saturday another class up and using Lasix for the first time. A run like her last one should be good enough to put her ahead again, so we’ll see if she’s still got it.

5-Boston Flagship, 8-Speak Unity, 1-Gooch Go Braugh, 10- Slim Slow Slider, (4-Under the Gun becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

2-American Tatoo, 1-Journeyman, 4-Heirloom Kitten, 7-Shotski.

2-Tuggle, 5-Dream Bigger, 4-Stage Left, 1-Life Changer.

5-Ruse, 7-Dreampoint, 10-Hot Doctor, 9-Shutters (4-Gold Panda becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

3-Keepcalmcarryon, 1-Seal Beach, 2-Brigadier General, 6-Vodka Martini.

3-Value Proposition, 2-Delaware, 5-Flavius, 9-South Bend, (1-Tacitus becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

5-My Sister Nat, 3-War Like Goddess, 4-Orglandes, 1-Call Me Love (3-War Like Goddess becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

7-Search Results, 5-Always Carina, 8-Bella Sofia, 4-Obligatory.

6-Bolshoi Ballet, 7-Secret Protector, 9-State of Rest, 1-Soldier Rising.

5-Maxfield, 2-Silver State, 4-Knicks Go, 3-Swiss Skydiver.

Coupled Entry (1-Danny California and 1A-Musical Heart), 5-Empty Tomb, 7-Lost in Rome, 4-Candy Tycoon.

10-Bay Storm, 6-Risky Mischief, 11-Miner’s Queen, 7-Time Limit (7-Time Limit becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

Coastana (third), Digital Software (tenth).

Record for meet: 49 for 170.

Categories: Sports

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