Best Bets – Haskell Invitational and Saratoga Opening Weekend

This marks one of my favorite weekends on the thoroughbred racing calendar – the opening of Saratoga! In addition to this special opening weekend, the Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park is set to run this Saturday as a Kentucky Derby prep race.

If you bet our selections last week, you should’ve come out on top as we went 2 for 2 selecting our feature races. This week, we’re back to give you our selections for the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga, and for the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. Good luck! And, we’re off:

Saratoga – Saturday, July 18th

Coaching Club American Oaks – Grade 1, $350,000 9 Furlongs on the dirt

Guarana, Monomoy Girl, Abel Tasman, Songbird – these are the names of last four winners of the Coaching Club American Oaks. There are obviously very big shoes to fill here. Also, keep your eye on the winner of this race as they will instantly become a top contender for the 2020 Kentucky Oaks.

Win Bet – #5 Crystal Ball (4/1 ML): Bob Baffert ships in Crystal Ball from California for her third career start and first graded stakes try. While she will face tough competition, 4/1 is simply too tough to pass up while Baffert is winning graded stakes races at a 26% clip. This filly romped in her last race by six lengths and was bought at auction for a whopping $750,000. Javier Castellano takes the mount.

Alternate Selection – #6 Paris Lights (2/1 ML): If you toss out Paris Lights’ first start on a sloppy track where she finished 3rd, she is 2 for 2 by a total of 10 lengths, including an impressive allowance win at Churchill Downs three weeks ago. Tyler Gafflione takes the mount for trainer Bill Mott, a New Yorker and Saratoga native.

$100 Bankroll

$50 Win #5 Crystal Ball = $50

$20 Win #6 Paris Lights = $20

$5 Exact Box 6-5-3  = $30

Total = $100


 Monmouth Park – Saturday, July 18th Haskell Invitational Stakes – Grade 1, $1,000,000 9f on the dirt

 Last year, Maximum Security somewhat redeemed his controversial loss in the Kentucky Derby with a victory in the Haskell. This year, things are bit different. With the postponement of the Kentucky Derby, the Haskell has turned into one of several Kentucky Derby prep races – $1M and a Kentucky Derby spot are on the line here!

Win Bet – #2 Authentic (4/5 ML):  Authentic ships in for his first race outside of the California border and gets Mike Smith aboard once again. This horse appears to be the class of this race and is 3 for 4 in his career including two graded stakes victories. Not to mention, Baffert is winning graded stakes races at a 26% clip in 2020. Yes, we are going to take Bob Baffert to win both of our featured races this weekend.

Alternate Pick – #1 Doctor Post (5/2 ML):  In his last race, Doctor Post ran an impressive but well beaten second in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. This horse has proven that he can get the distance here, but my confidence in this horse is limited as a result of the jockey change. Why is Irad Ortiz not at Monmouth Park to ride this derby contender in a $1 million race? Still my pick for second.

$100 Bankroll

$40 Win/Place #2 Authentic = $80

$10 Exact Box 1-2 = $20

Total = $100


Bonus: “Insider” Pick of the Week

Saratoga – Saturday, July 18th

Race 5 – Maiden Special Weight – $72,000

  #4 Conglomerate (7/2 ML): Conglomerate is a first time starter on the turf for Chad Brown at Saratoga. Word around the barn is that this horse is a real runner and his connections are contenders in every race they enter (Brown/Ortiz/Klaravich Stables). Tough race, but don’t be surprised if this horse wins impressively.

$100 Bankroll

$50 Win/Place #4 Congolmerate = $100

Total = $100


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