BetPTC.com / Weekend Stakes Preview
By: Ed Meyer
Race #8 – The G2 Ballston Spa – 1 1/16 on the turf – 3:35 pm EDT
BetPTC.com Selections / #3 – Secret Message / #8 – Starship Jubilee / #2 – Fifty Five
#3 Secret Message is a daughter of Hat Trick (JPN) making her second trip off the layoff while dropping down a notch in class. She gets a rider change to Jose Ortiz who is winning 23% at the Spa. His dam Westside Singer has 2 starters, 2 winners, 1 stakes winner, and 2 turf winners to her credit. She’s a closing type and owns a bullet work while cutting back to a perfect distance. #8 Starship Jubilee ships in from Woodbine off a 56 day layoff. She is bred to relish the greensward and her works are solid. Jose Lezcano in the saddle and trainer Kevin Attard wins 18% with graded stakes. The forecast calls for sunny and dry conditions and she hasn’t seen a firm turf since January at GP. A stalker who should be just off Scottish Jig getting a garden trip. Two back she was a beaten favorite to Secret Message and they know each other well. #2 Fifty Five comes from the barn of Chad Brown with Javier Castellano winning 26% together. She is 18 for 19 ITM on the turf and the New York bred can get motoring late in the lane. Look for her at the quarter pole skimming the hedge.
Race #9 – The G1 Personal Ensign – 1 1/8 – 4:12 pm EDT
BetPTC.com Selections / #4 – Elate / #1 – Midnight Bison / #5 – Wow Cat
#4 Elate comes in for trainer Bill Mott and Jose Ortiz who are winning at 33% as a team. She is 3 for 3 ITM at the Spa and makes her 3rd off the shelf cutting back in distance. After winning the Fleur De Lis at CD she has stepped up her game. She’s been knocking heads with Midnight Bisou and has been finishing behind her. Today is her turn and look for a strong late kick with Ortiz who wins 21% with late runners. #1 Midnight Bisou is a daughter of Midnight Lute for trainer Steve Asmussen with Mike Smith in the saddle. She’s hit the board at the Spa but hasn’t been able to seal the deal. She is seeking her 6th straight win drawing the rail post into the short first turn run. Smith will get her in good shape and look for a renewed battle with Elate. #5 Wow Cat is a daughter of Lookin At Lucky for Chad Brown and John Velasquez in the irons. 2nd start of the year as she is 3 for 3 ITM at Saratoga. This gal was a beaten favorite in the G3 Shuvee and that may have been a perfect prep for today. She shows a snappy work on August 17 and faced some pretty tough gals coming into the race. She’ll be calling late in the lane.
Race #10 – The G1 Sword Dancer – 1 1/2 on the turf – 4:49 pm EDT
BetPTC.com Selections / #6 – Ya Primo / #8 – Channel Maker / #9 – Sadler’s Joy
#6 Ya Primo is a son of Mastercraftsman (IRE) for Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz. He gave a solid account of himself in the G2 Bowling Green first time in the states getting Lasix. Draws the rail and owns two bullet works looking to stalk the speed and turn it loose down the lane. #8 Channel Maker comes in for Bill Mott and Joel Rosario. 2nd off the layoff and was wide most of his last trip in the G2 Bowling Green. He still managed a solid 4th as the race was better than appeared on paper. He shows good works and Mott wins 22% off a beaten favorite loss. Look for a mid flight trip moving around the far turn. #9 Sadler’s Joy is a son of Kitten’s Joy for trainer Thom Albertrani and Jose Lezcano. He is 4 for 7 ITM at the Spa and makes his 2nd start of the year. It looks like the Breeders’ Cup is on his mind and was closing quick last out only to get blocked multiple times down the lane. A clean trip and a new rider may make a big difference today.
Race #11 – The G1 Travers – 1 1/4 – 5:44 pm EDT
BetPTC.com Selections / #6 – Tacitus / #7 – Mucho Gusto / #2 – Code of Honor
#6 Tacitus comes from the barn of Bill Mott and Jose Ortiz. Blinkers on today and was a beaten favorite last out where the barn comes back to win 23%. 2nd time off the layoff, and if that bullet work is any indication I think we’ll see a tough son of Tapit kicking in late. He runs solid every time and the blinkers should keep his mind on business. #7 Mucho Gusto comes from the barn of Bob Baffert with Joe Talamo in the saddle. 2nd best in the Haskell Stakes and Baffert is 1 for 1 at the Spa. He went home to Del Mar to work and comes back fresh and ready. Look for a closeup trip and Talamo wins 20% with early style runners. This son of Mucho Macho Man should be right near the engine as soon as the gates open. #2 Code of Honor hails from the barn of Shug McGaughey with John Velasquez in the saddle. He’s been off 49 days and 1 for 1 at the Spa. He cruised in the G3 Dwyer as a prep and should be right in the mix. He broke his maiden at the Spa and Johnny V knows this son of Noble Mission well. I like his work tab and Shug comes out strong on marquee days.