Donato’s Saratoga selections for Friday, Aug. 20, 2021


The Skidmore Stakes, run over 5 1/2 furlongs on the inner turf in Friday’s ninth race, will be an opportunity for most of the 2-year-olds entered to announce their arrival with a stakes win. However, for Overbore (5-2), this race will be a chance to build upon a young career that already contains a stakes win.

The Wesley Ward-trainee has been entered evenly into dirt and turf races, going back and forth since his debut, and he’s been consistent on both surfaces, even under less than ideal conditions. His last race, a win in the Tremont Stakes, was on a muddy Belmont track. In his brief career, he’s been bumped and had a bobbled start, but he has ended up in the money each time. Overbore appears to be a fighter, and there is no reason to believe he will not show up for this one.

Pure Panic (2-1) was a bit of a surprise winner in his debut at Ellis Park, passing the leader in the stretch and clearing out to a 1 1/4-length win. The colt he beat, Big Boss Ben, won in his next outing in similar fashion to how Pure Panic defeated him. He moves to jockey Tyler Gaffalione for this race.

Barone Cesco (8-1) was another surprise when he won at Saratoga two weeks ago. He seems less likely to repeat than Pure Panic, but demonstrated the speed to be a factor in this race. Backinthewoods (6-1) ran a game second in his debut on a sloppy track at Monmouth and makes the move to jockey Jose Ortiz for this race.

If the race moves to the main track, Averly Jane (2-1), who is listed as main track only, slides into the top spot. The filly is 2-2-0-0 in her career, both dirt sprints. Her debut at Keenland in April was a scorcher, and she cleared the field by 8 3/4 lengths, then returned two weeks later to win the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes on a sloppy track. She ran a bullet on Aug. 1 at the Keenland track, so her layoff should be of little concern.

Friday’s best bet is the coupled entry of Abdan and Recidivist in the fourth race. Both have speed in abundance for this class of race, and a good recent history of top-3 finishes. Either would be the top pick in this race alone, but combined, the odds of either performing to the best of their capabilities is that much higher.

The best value on the card is in the sixth race with Sister Otoole. The filly broke out in her last race, posting a career-high Brisnet speed figure on her way to a narrow win at 10 furlongs. She retains jockey Luis Saez for this race and can be dangerous if overlooked.

5-Fifty Sheas Ofgrey, 7-Chao, 3-Fingal, 2-Hilliard, (1-Mr. Briggs becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

4-Empire Lily, 6-Makin My Move, 3-Speranza, 8-Succulent.

6-Scuttlebuzz, 4-New York’s Finest, 1-Alphalfa, 5-Scocciatore, (3-Market Alert becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

Coupled Entry (1-Abdan and 1A-Recidivist), 6-Clemenza, 3-My Cousin Rich, 5-Hoopla.

8-Achilles Heel, 2-Resiliant Courage, 9-Kingdom on Paws, 4-Sundaeswithsandy.

4-Capital Structure, 2-Flight Lady, 6-Sister Otoole, 9-Enjoyitwhilewecan (7-Singita Dreams becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

1-Road to Success, 6-Gimme Some Mo, 7-Breaking Stones, 8-Moonlight Now.

5-Repo Rocks, 4-Jake Rocks, 10-Royal Realm, 6-Mister Luigi.

9-Overbore, 8-Pure Panic, 1-Barone Cesco, 3-Kaufymaker (2-Averly Jane becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

3-Gabby Squared, 2-Little Nutter, 5-Hard Won, 1-Salino.

Big Scully (second), Ice Princess (third), Gold Panda (sixth).

Record for meet: 79 for 263.

Categories: Sports

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