For the ChicagoNow readers, here’s what The Author is selecting in the Lead Pony Challenge. Details are given in the post “Odds and Ends”. The contest uses $20 mythical Win, Place, Show wagers for scoring. A primary and an alternate selection are used, ponderings are only offered for the primary selection.
Saratoga Race 7: The selection is #5 DREAMING OF CARA, 12-1 ML. Not often do you get Ramon Dominguez on a double digit morning line horse in New York, especially a horse on grass hailing the North Light-Danehill sire line. Although she’s 1-5 on the turf, the best efforts (including her only turf win) have come on the tighter turns at Aqueduct. Think getting away from Belmont will be beneficial. (Alternate: #3 DRAW IT)
Saratoga Race 9: The selection is #4 DREAM PIECE, 6-1 ML. Think the filly and mare turf group all year has taken turns and drawn straws for its victories. Let’s try a new face at nine furlongs on less-than-firm turf. Three back she was third in Canada on yielding ground, and even though she was 8th last time, that was against G1 males in Singapore. Fourth in a French G3 two back going 1 1/4 miles on swampy turf. (Alternate: #6 HUNGRY ISLAND.)
Saratoga Race 10: The selection is #8 PROSPECTIVE, 12-1 ML. Toss out the two Churchill starts and the Keeneland effort against Dullahan and Hansen, and there’s hardly a blemish left. While I don’t think he’s a Grade 1 horse, this G2 didn’t come up terribly strong. I also like the rider switch to Velazquez, who should be able from the outside to let the inside speeds go on their merry way, and get a good trip behind the speeds (TEETH OF THE DOG, NECK AND NECK) to the inside, similar to his runner up effort in the Davis this past winter. (The alternate is #1 ALPHA.)