Saratoga Betting: Best Horse Racing Picks for Spa

Friday’s $500,000 Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga looks like a showdown between the brilliant fillies Turbulent Descent (9-5) and It’s Tricky (8-5), but it appears likely only one will show up.

It’s Tricky is also entered in Sunday’s $600,000 Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga, and her trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has indicated that she likely will scratch on Friday and race on Sunday.

If that is indeed the case, that will make Turbulent Descent the overwhelming favorite in the Ballerina.

The filly came off a layoff last out to win the Deseret Stormer at Betfair Hollywood Park and was purchased privately after the race and shipped to New York where she will make her first start for her new trainer Todd Pletcher, the leading trainer at the Saratoga meeting.

Coming up on Saturday it is the biggest day of the Saratoga meeting. The $1 million Travers (G1) is the featured race on an outstanding 13-race card that features three supporting graded stakes.

The four stakes will be televised live on NBC during a two hour telecast of “Summer at Saratoga” that gets underway at 4:00 ET.

Get Michael Dempsey full Saratoga card and daily free horse racing picks at Pick Shark. Let’s head out to Saratoga for Friday’s featured race of the day:

Saratoga Race 9 The Ballerina (G1) Post time 5:30 ET

6 Turbulent Descent   9-5

5 Nicole H   4-1

7 Derwin’s Star   5-1

1 Island Bound   10-1

Turbulent Descent makes his first start for the Todd Pletcher barn after the Coolmore kids purchased the brilliant filly privately from the Blinkers On Racing Stable. In her last start the filly came off a 5 ½ month layoff to win the Desert Stormer at Betfair Hollywood Park to run her record over synthetic surfaces to a perfect 5 for 5. The fourth place finisher in that race was Switch, who came back to win the A Gleam Handicap (G2) in her next start on July 14. While she has done much of her best running on the fake stuff, she won the Test (G1) here at the Spa last summer with what was then a career top speed figure. She has worked smartly since arriving in New York for a barn that is 30% winners with newcomers to the barn.

Nicole H. made a good late rally and came up just a half-length shy of getting to Musical Romance in the Princess Rooney (G1) last out at Calder going six furlongs. The mare has now lost five in a row since taking back to back stakes on the inner track at the Big A to start off the year, but she shows up just about every outing, landing in the exacta in 16 of her 23 career starts. She has enough zip she should be in the mix early and there really is not a confirmed frontrunner in this field.

Derwin’s Star tracked the early pace from the rail and tired to finish seventh last out in the Molly Pitcher (G2) going two turns at Monmouth Park. She is better going one turn and earned a career top two back winning the Bed o’ Roses (G3) at Belmont Park going seven furlongs.  Note Dominguez was on her for that victory but the meet’s top jock lands on our second choice in here. The cut back in distance should suit this gal and she will need to run a near career top to be in the mix here.


WIN: Turbulent Descent to win at 7-5 or better.

EXACTA: 5,6 / 5,6,7

TRIFECTA: no play

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