A win at Delaware Park made Friday’s US Extra Place column profitable meaning three of our last four have been in the green. Shaking it up here a bit on Saturday as we focus solely on a big Saturday at Saratoga…

Saratoga Tips – Saturday 5 August, 2023

  • Back Dorth Vadar in the 21:26 @ 5/1
  • Back Aspen Grove in the 22:01 @ 8/1
  • Back Cody’s Wish in the 22:42 @ 2/5

The three big Grade I Stakes Races start at 21:26 with the Test Stakes for three-year-old fillies and the big talk is how the Kentucky Oaks winner, Pretty Mischievous will handle going just the one-turn. She’s already earned the best part of one-and-a-half million dollars in her young career but the last time this Brendan Walsh trained horse went less than a mile was back in November.

Last time out Dorth Vadar gave her everything she could handle in the Acorn up at Belmont and the feeling is the underdog here has slightly more speed. I’ll take the 5/1 shot going only seven-furlongs to give us a bit of an upset.

Next up we switch to the turf and the Saratoga Derby, which is being billed as the third race of a fascinating trilogy between Far Bridge and Webslinger. Both have a victory to their name having split decisions in the American Turf on the Kentucky Derby undercard and in the Belmont Derby. Expect the two of them to gun for one another again but I’m going away from the two favourites.

Aspen Grove shipped in from Ireland and won her first start on American soil with a good run at the Belmont Oaks. A late-decision was made to race her here rather than in the Saratoga Oaks and if the two favourites just spend their time looking at one another, this is a nice looking filly who has a chance to spoil the party at a decent price.

In the Whitney however don’t expect me to look anywhere but at the hoofs of the very short-priced favourite. Cody’s Wish has won six straight and looks very much on the path to defend his Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile title he won last November at Keeneland. Only slight pause is whether the extra furlong will be any kind of issue for this wonderful five-year-old.

This Bill Mott trained five-year-old hasn’t raced beyond a mile in distance since finishing second in the Grade III Challenger back in early 2022. He’s a much better horse now and this isn’t a great edition of the race with Charge It the likely competitor. The last time they took to the track together, the favourite dominated the Met Mile with the second-choice not even hitting the board. No fancy pick here. The choice is Cody’s Wish.

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