Saratoga Featured Race: Saturday July 28

Saratoga’s summer meeting is in full swing and Saturday’s 11-race card features a pair of graded stakes, one for talented fillies and mares on the turf, and the other for three-year-olds looking to make it to the Midsummer Derby, the $1 million Travers Stakes (G1) on Aug. 25.

A field of six fillies and mares will line up in the $600,000 Diana (G1)  going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

The race includes the defending champion Zagora (5-2), Just a Game (G1) winner Tapitsfly (7-2), and the morning line favorite Winter Memories (9-5), who has won 7 of her 11 career starts including a pair over the Spa turf.

After the Diana the three-year-olds take center stage, using the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2) as a springboard to the Travers next month.

The race drew a field of eight and is today’s featured race of the day:

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Saratoga Race 10 The Jim Dandy G2 (Post time 5:45 ET)

4 Neck 'n Neck   3-1

1 Alpha   5-2      

7 Liaison   7-2

6 Teeth of the Dog   5-1

Analysis: Neck 'n Neck came up short on the Derby Trail, a longshot in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) where the colt checked in fourth and fifth. The Ian Wilkes barn dropped him into an Alw-1 race at Churchill Downs two back and he ran big, winning by 6 1/2 lengths and earning a career top speed fig. The third, fourth, and sixth place finishers in the race all came back to win next out. Then it was back to stakes company where the colt was a good looking winner of the Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs, again earning a career top speed fig. The colt sports a couple of quick drills over the Spa main track and he is bred to handle nine furlongs. He is 0 for 2 on a wet track but those outings came early in his career.

Alpha was my early Derby pick after he won the Count Fleet and Withers (G3) and he missed winning the Wood Memorial (G1) by just a neck. He was off awkwardly in the Derby and was not a threat in a 12th place finish. He spiked a fever causing him to miss the Belmont (G1) and he shows up here with a couple of bullet works on the morning tab. The Kiaran McLaughlin barn is 27% winners (with a +ROI) with horses coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. He is reunited with Ramon Dominguez who was aboard for his two stakes wins earlier this year.

Liaison is coming off a couple of good efforts on the fake stuff at Hollywood Park, finishing second in the Swaps (G2) last out which produced a career top speed fig. The Bob Baffert trainee is 0 for 6 this year, his last win coming as a juvenile taking the CashCall Futurity (G1). The main question mark is whether or not he sees some pace in front of him here, and he does seem to do his best work on the fake stuff.


WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.

EX: 1,4 / 1,4,6,7

TRI: 1,4 / 1,4,6,7 / 1,3,4,6,7

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