Donato’s Saratoga selections for Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021


The Grade I Alabama Stakes will be run Saturday, attracting some of the top fillies in the sport. Malathaat (1-1) will be among them, looking to avenge her lone career loss earlier this meet to Maracuja (7-2).

Malathaat sports a career record of 6-5-1-0, including an impressive win in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks. In each race from the beginning of her career, she stepped up to a tougher class, always with heavy public backing, until she hit Grade I company. She continued to win at that level, and was bet down to 1-5 coming out of the gate in a four-horse race in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks. There, Marajuca ran the race of her career.

Lined up next to each other with Malathaat on the rail, both broke well and led through the first half of the race. Maracuja took the longer route and fell back near the end of the backstretch, only to fight back and catch Malthaat and Clairiere (6-1) at the end of the far turn and came out four-wide into homestretch. The pair dueled after, leaving behind their rival in the last furlong, then ran seemingly in tandem until Maracuja emerged a nose ahead.

That is the kind of race it takes to just barely beat Malathaat. Maracuja put up a career-best speed rating and had to go around the optimal race lines to get the space she needed. It seems a huge undertaking to ask her to do that again. It has been proven that Malathaat can be beaten, but she is so technically sound in her run style that one would have to expect her to run at her regular optimal level.

Army Wife (6-1) has the potential to take another step forward. She closed well in each of her races dating back to October 2020 and adds another length. The same can be said for Crazy Beautiful (6-1), regarding her closing speed between 1 and 1 1/8 miles in 2021. An extra furlong may help her as well.

Saturday’s best bet is the Technical Analysis in the Grade II Lake Placid Stakes. The Chad Brown-trainee cleared the field in the last call of the Grade III Lake George Stakes on July 23, netting her the best career Brisnet speed rating in the field. The race is without any early speed types, so it is not certain who will set the pace. Technical Analysis or Spanish Loveaffair (3-1) may take up that mantle. If Technical Analysis does, it may work out to her advantage to set the pace and be in a position to breakout precisely when she is ready.

The fourth race looks like it has the best chance to end in a long-shot win. Maria’s Gift has the speed and a history of finishing among the leaders, but tends to fall off after a good race, like she had in her last outing. She is still the pick, nevertheless, but right behind her and the equally inconsistent Tellaperfecttale are credible long shots Undetectable (15-1) and Sassy Belle (20-1).

Undetectable had her moments in a quick turf race at Saratoga in July. She returns to dirt and adds blinkers, either of which has the potential to give her a better run. Sassy Belle turned it on late in her last race, holding ground with the leader in the stretch, albeit six lengths behind, and passing five other runners before the finish. She has some talent that may be overlooked.

2-Fan the Fire, 6-Triple Elvis, 7-Bourbon Heist, Pletcher Entry (1-Napa Valley and 1A-Major General).

2-Zainalarab, 3-Primacy, 5-Dial Me Up, 4-Portilla.

2-Lead Guitar, 1-Robin Sparkles, 5-Pacific Gale, 4-Peidi Bianchi.

2-Maria’s Gift, 3-Tellaperfecttale, 9-Undetectable, 6-Sassy Belle.

1-Regal Speaker, 4-Chost Giant, 2-Quiet Out East, 5-Matty’s Express (3-Tiergan becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

8-Kokopelli, 4-Silky Blue, 6-Purrageous Dyna, 2-Kinky Sox (1-Betsy Blue becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

6-Seal Beach, 2-My Prankster, 8-Reserve Currency, 5-Bellinger.

4-Identity Politics, Golani Brigade, 5-Charlie Five O, 1-Restoring Hope.

2-Technical Analysis, 4-Runaway Rumour, 5-Lovestruck, 6-Spanish Loveaffair.

6-Malathaat, 4-Maracuja, 7-Army Wife, 1-Crazy Beautiful.

9-So Enchanting, 4-Split Then Double, 7-Miss Bonnie T, 5-Gailhorsewind (12-Perfect Grace becomes the top pick if the race is moved to the main track).

Mr. Briggs (first), Achilles Heel (fifth).

Record for meet: 81 for 273.

Categories: Sports

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