Keith's Saratoga Opening Day Picks
"Welcome to opening day...at...the...Spa!" I will always remember the sultry tones of the legendary Tom Durkin when he made that announcement. Durkin is retired but still very involved in thoroughbred racing locally. When you heard him deliver those words you knew it was time for the best horse racing meet in the country. There is no other like it.
The Saratoga Race Course begins the annual 40 day summer meet this afternoon. The historic meet goes all the way bck to 1863. There will be 77 stakes races including the 153rd runing of the Run Happy Travers.
Throughout the meet i will be providing race fans on Border Country Sports with "Keith Picks of the Day." Hopefully my knowledge of the sports will help you pick some winners at this year's meet.
The Wilton Stakes
The first of two feature races today at Saratoga is The Wilton Stakes, a one mile race for fillies. This race in my opinion comes down to two horses. The Todd Pletcher horse Godess of Fire with John Velazquez riding and Mo Reay with Irad Ortiz Jr. who is also traiined by Todd Pletcher.
Mo Reay is coming off a win against similar company and has strong connections with Ortiz and Pletcher as part of the MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Stable. With an 89 average speed figure this daughter of Uncle Mo has the abilty to top this group.
Goddess of Fire is coming off an 11th place finish but don't let that scare you off. That was in the Longines Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on Kentucky Derby weekend. She will enjoy the drop in class and will be very competitive at this level.
The Grade III Schuylerville
The Grade III Schuyerville is always the opening day feature race at Saratoga. The race is a six furlong affair for two year old fillies on the dirt.
The heavy favorite in this one is Just Cindy with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard. Besides havgin perhaps the best jockey, this daughter of Triple Crown winner Justify was impressive in breaking her maiden in her debut at Churchill Downs.
My second choice in this one is Me and My Shadow. This fillie recorded the best speed figure in this group in her debut at Woodbine, breaking her maiden at first asking. This Mark Casse trained horse gets hot jockey Tyler Gafflione and should be solid to put in the exacta with the top choice.
Here are my picks for the other races on the card:
Good luck everyone! Enjoy opening day at The Spa!