2017 Sanford winner Firenze Fire who also won the 2018 Dwyer at Belmont
The Grade 3 Sanford Stakes for two year olds on Saratoga's opening Saturday has a nice field of precocious youngsters all trying to make their mark at "the graveyard of favorites" and earn some black type to boot. Lets look at the field.
A very tardy getaway in the Tremont really hurt his chances. He was rolling late in that one but left himself with to much to do. He will get the inside stalkers trip in here and has a good chance if there is a solid pace on the front end. He will take a lot of money because of Pletcher and Castellano, but he is a solid contender.
Another with the same trainer and the same running style as the horse to his inside. His maiden breaker was a very professional stalk and pounce trip and I see only upside from here. There is not much separating the two inside horses and they are both contenders who figure to be well bet.
3. Knicks Go
One of the inside speeds who wired a field of five at Ellis Park, but the water is much deeper in this end of the pool. He will come out with his foot on the gas pedal but I can't see him wiring this field.
4. Whiskey Echo
He wired a small field of four at Belmont on June 10th. He was on cruise control in a small field and it's difficult to draw anything meaningful from that race other than the fact that he has speed. He has speed to his immediate inside and outside in this one and I don't see him getting another favorable trip. I'll pass.
5. Chase Greatness
He showed big improvement and gutsy determination in his maiden breaker last time at Churchill. He definitely has the speed to compete on the front end. The big question is whether his improvement was due to the off track or simply getting better. I'm going with the getting better. I think he has a chance to wire them.
6. Bano Solo
He wired a field of nine at Churchill and will probably attempt the same in here. If he can clear the horse to his inside he might be trouble, but with even more speed further down inside, a wide trip seems likely and that is not what you want at Saratoga. I'll pass.
7. Strike Silver
Another in here who wired a field at Churchill. He might be the main speed but he will have to clear the two horses to his immediate inside and that's a tall order. I don't like the outside posts in sprints at the Spa so I'll pass, but I can understand those who like him.
With so little to go on this is a tough puzzle to put together. Chase Greatness, Bano Solo, and Strike Silver will all be trying to clear from the outside and I'm leaning toward Chase Greatness because of his improvement last time. The safer bet might be the two horses down inside. Both Sombeyay and Lexitonian will be playing the inside stalk and pounce and figure to be right there at the end. This might be a nice race to watch!
Good luck to everyone who is playing.