Friday’s feature is the Tale of the Cat Stakes, run over six furlongs of the main track. Of the six 4-year-olds entered for the race, the one with the most promise is Wonderwherecraigis (9-5), who is running his first stakes race of his 2021 campaign.
Wonderwherecraigis was last seen at Saratoga finishing fourth in the Grade II Amsterdam Stakes. Not much was expected of him in that race, and though his time was a bit slow to be competitive for a six-furlong dirt stakes race at Saratoga, one can potentially chalk that up to the muddy conditions that day. Most recently, and under better track conditions, the gelding put up an excellent time en route to a 5 3/4-length win at six furlongs on dirt at Pimlico on July 18. His ceiling is now as high as it has ever been, and a win today should put him back in graded stakes company.
Wind of Change (2-1) is coming off a comparable last race to that of Wonderwhereiscraig. He put up a similar speed rating to his rival on his way to a 6 1/4-length win at six furlongs in sloppy conditions in May. The weather is not expected to be bad on Friday, so the edge belongs to Wonderwherecraigis. But if the weather turns, so does the advantage.
My Boy Tate (5-1) makes his second start at the Spa this year following his second-place finish in the Jim Morrissey Handicap. He closed well, running in an uncharacteristic style based on his history, but one he has used with jockey Manuel Franco, who he retains today. It will be interesting to see if he attempts to pace or close in this race.
This will also be the second start at Saratoga this year for Shashashakemeup, who moves to jockey Ricardo Santana for this race. He peaked a little too early in that last race at seven furlongs, so the shorter trip could result in a better run. He was wildly outgunned when trying against Grade I company in May, but if that race is taken out, he has not finished worse than second in his last six other races.
The best value on the card can be found with Pretty Clever (10-1) in the seventh race. The New York-bred filly broke her maiden in July at Belmont on her third try after just barely being held off from closing in her second race. She stretches out to eight furlongs for the first time and teams with jockey Tyler Gaffalione for the first time. Those factors, along with a solid workout on August 1, suggest she is ready to be a factor in a deep field.
Well Done West (9-5), running in the 10th race, is the best bet on the card. He and Joey Loose Lips (2-1) sport the best recent speed figures of the entrants, but Well Done West looks to be the best-suited for this distance. He has had top times in both of his most recent workouts, so his time off since May should be of little factor.
7-Big Little Risk, 1-Arms An Armor, 2-Flipping Fun, 8-Bielefeld.
2-Price Talk, 8-Junkanoo, 5-Summer To Remember, 4-Blue Lou Boyle, (3-Liveyourbeastlife becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).
Brown Entry (1-Coalition Building and 1A-Infinite Potential), 10-Evie Jets, 3-Wow, 7-Now Yus Can’t Leave.
1-Supply and Demand, 3-Six Pack, 6-Trash Talker, 4-Air Show.
7-Speedometer, 9-Champagne Game, 4-Bubble Rock, 5-Lia Marina (12-Halo Fire becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).
5-Sue Ellen Mishkin, 3-Mama Said No, 1-Royal Currency, 2-Howdyoumakeurmoney.
3-Pretty Clever, 6-Cara’s Dreamer, 12-Masterof the Tunes, 10-Freedom Machine.
6-Joker on Jack, 3-Noble Emotion, 1-Shekky Shebaz, 9-Competitive Saint (7-O’Trouble becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).
5-Wonderwherecraigis, 4-Wind of Change, 1-My Boy Tate, 2-Shashashakemeup.
9-Well Done West, 1-Joey Loose Lips, 6-Profusion, 3-Vikram.
Record for meet: 59 for 212.
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