Races to Watch and Wager on this Weekend

USR-Handicapping-School4th Saratoga
Adirondack Stakes 

6 ½ furlongs (dirt)

When I first looked at this race, I was salivating over the prospect of beating — not literally, mind you, but from a wagering standpoint — Pure Silver (2-1), a New York-bred filly trained by Todd Pletcher. Though she’s undefeated in two starts, the daughter of Mission Impazible is precisely the kind of horse I like to bet against — a low-priced frontrunner without a lot of early zip.

Despite the fact that she’s led at every call in her two victories, Pure Silver has posted early speed rations (ESRs) of -8 in her debut and -5 last time. Both of those figures are quite a bit slower than today’s par (-11).

But there’s a problem: None of the other entrants look any better. In fact, most look considerably worse.

Take, for example, Proportionality (15-1). She recorded a -8 ESR in her one and only start on July 9 and even came home relatively fast, posting a -6 late speed ration (LSR). However, that race was against much lesser at Laurel Park and produced a meager 65 Brisnet Speed Figure (by way of comparison, Purse Silver has earned BSFs of 91 and 86).

Likewise, Di Maria (20-1) has the right style, but has recorded LSRs of -27 and -21 in her two starts, numbers that would leave the James Ryerson-trained filly gasping for air against horses on a merry-go-round.

Limited View (4-1) is another that I think shows promise, as she earned a race-best -3 LSR in her lifetime bow at Laurel on June 17. Still, if I’m going to knock Pure Silver for her mediocre ESRs, I’ve got to do the same with the daughter of Freedom Child. After all, she went even slower in the early stages of her debut, recording a -3 ESR in an easy wire-to-wire score.

One horse that I do think could upset the favorite is Southhampton Way (5-1). She’s well-bred and impressed me by pressing a very fast pace (-14 ESR) in her most recent start.

Wall of Compassion (12-1) also ran well in her sole start, but will need to improve (which is certainly not out of the question) to visit the winner’s circle on Saturday. I’d let the odds be my guide — 8-1 or greater seems fair to me.

Sly Roxy (5-2) rounds out the field. She’ll likely get bet on the basis of a 5 ½-length victory in her debut, but her pace numbers leave a lot to be desired (again, with juveniles, improvement can be rapid and pronounced, but, at 5-2, I’m not willing to give this gal the benefit of the doubt).

My Selections: 1-8-7

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Derek Simon
Derek Simon is the Senior Editor and Handicapper at US Racing.
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