Predicteform Analysis of Saratoga Special


Mr. Z, inside finishing second in the Sanford Stakes, is a top contender for the Saratoga Special Stakes on Sunday. (Photo by NYRA/Chelsea Durand)

In-depth analysis of the Saratoga Special Stakes, including Pace Figures and Form Cycle Pattern of each starter. Please refer to the Legend or Pattern Guide for back-up definitions and patterns.

The $200,000, Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes, run at 6 1/2 furlongs for 2-year-olds at Saratoga Race Course, takes place on Sunday and will be televised during the 5 p.m. ET telecast on Fox Sports 1. In its 114th year, the Saratoga Special is an important step toward the Breeders' Cup Juvenile as well as an early indication of who might get nominated for the Kentucky Derby.

Note: Many of these runners are coming off a Negative Spread Form Cycle Pattern (NEG). This pattern applies to only first time starters, and while regression is expected for runners with a 7-10 point spread, the quality of horses and the fact that these are just 2 year-old colts, means significant improvement would not be unexpected. Therefore, NEG patterns has less importance in these races.

Get the Pace Figures for the Saratoga Special Stakes here, and get the Past Performances for the Saratoga Special Stakes here.

I Spent It (7-2 Morning Line)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: 150-1

A $600,000 purchase from the Fasig-Tipton March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training, I Spent It is by freshman sire (first year as a sire) Super Saver, who stands for $17,500 and is off to a hot start in his career as stallion.

I Spent It’s only race at Belmont was visually impressive. He was able to rate from off the pace, which is a tough skill to master for a 2-year-old. He came on at the top of the stretch and was able to cruise by the leader once he straightened out (from the head-on replay it looks like he clips heels and almost falls). He’s got a good workout pattern following his one race with a bullet workout (fastest workout of the day at the distance) on Aug. 4.

He ran a 70.4/79.6 (final/4f) figure while putting up an 82 2f figure, which is right in the mix with these, though he draws the rail (which is a negative at 6 ½ furlongs).

The Play: Contender - His proven ability to rate (which is tough for young horses) plus Saratoga’s leading jockey Javier Castellano, who has a record of 5 wins from 7 starts when riding for trainer Tony Dutrow.

Lord Tyrion (30-1)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: N/A

A $110,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton sale of summer selected horses of racing age, Lord Tyrion is by Discreetly Mine, who stands for $10,000. Notice in the past performances that he changed trainers (from Eddie Kenneally to Ian Wilkes) after his June 5 race, which took place after he was sold and in the hands of new owners.

He’s got two career races and most recently ran a 69.2/71.7 (final/4f), which shows improvement from his first effort.

The Play: Too Slow – Final, 4f and 2f Pace Figures are all on the lesser side of the field.

Mr. Z (5-1)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: 200-1

A $135,000 purchase out of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale in 2013, Mr. Z is by Malibu Moon, who currently stands for $95,000 (though was at $60,000 when he was bred). One of three horses coming out of the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes, jockey Corey Lanerie ran into significant trouble on the far turn having to check him and losing all momentum. Mr. Z then rallied back and banged his way through the stretch before losing by a nose at the finish line.

He ran a 70.4/78 (final/4f) which was a good forward move off his first lifetime start of 68.6/84.5, narrowing the dirt spread from ~16 to 7.5. The biggest concern is his jockey's record of 3-for-48 (6% winning) at the Spa.

The Play: Contender – experience and proven abilitythat he is a tough runner is an important part of a 2-year-old with potential.

Tizcano (8-1)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: 250-1

A $710,000 purchase from the Fasig-Tipton sale of summer selected horses of racing age, Tizcano is by Tiznow (theeighth-leading sire by money earned in 2014) and another runner who changed trainer hands (to Peter Miller) after he was sold. Peter Miller is one of the top trainers in California but rarely sends runners to compete on the East Coast.

From a Pace Figure perspective, his only start at Gulfstream Park on June 22 was a 71.0/80.9 (NEG Pattern) with a 94.7 2f figure. And while he does have the fastest final and 2f figures, it was run at only 4.5 furlongs. Inconsistent and slow workout pattern are also negatives.

The Play: Regressor – 2f and 4f Pace Figures show a runner who likes the front end, in a race laden with speed he could likely be a causality of a fast early pace.

Rod McLeod (20-1)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: 300-1

A homebred (meaning the horse is raced by his breeder), Rod McLeod is by Roman Ruler, who stands for $8,500. His first race figures were 68.9/76.8 at 4.5f at Churchill Downs in late June. While he did take off a full month before his next workout, which is a negative, his most recent workout was a bullet at Saratoga on Aug. 7. A hard workout a few days before the race, this could be considered a negative though it is trainer Dale Romans who has an uncanny ability to bring horses back quickly after a workout or race.

The Play: Too Slow – All things considered he looks like a step down from this field, though he could be another worth a look for fourth in superfectas as a longshot.

Nonna’s Boy (4-1)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: 150-1

Another homebred, Nonna’s Boy is by Distorted Humor, who stands for $100,000. He is trained by Todd Pletcher, Saratoga’s leading trainer, who dominates the 2-year-old ranks.

Nonna’s Boy ran most recently in the Grade 3 Sanford, where he put in a good run but couldn’t keep up with the leaders and regressed to fourth. His Pace Figures of 69.1/80.3 are actually down from his first start of 70.6/83.6.

The Play: Regressor – While tough to eliminate from the “contender” position given that these 2-year-olds can dramatically improve, his slight regression is a big enough knock to pass.

Cinco Charlie (9-2)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: 125-1

A $190,000 purchase from the Ocala Breedres’ Sales Co. March sale of 2-year-olds in training, Cinco Charlie is sired by Indian Charlie, who stands for $75,000. Indian Charlie passed away in 2011, which makes this crop of 2-year-olds his last group of runners.

He is one of two starters with three starts, which means he has the racing experience. Looking at his Pace Figures, he ran back-to-back 74 final figures, which is tops in here, although in his last race he did regress to 69.7/80.4. Another runner out of the Grade 3 Stanford, he ran a 91.3 2f in a race that was very fast on the front end. Also note he has only one workout since, a mediocre drill that ranked 17th of 28 at the distance on Aug. 3.

The Play: Regressor – He might be the fastest out of the gate in this group, but his decline in final figures is not what you want to see from a lightly raced horse.

Stanford (12-1)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: 260-1

A $500,000 purchase from the Barrett’s March sale of 2-year-olds in training by Todd Pletcher on behalf of his current owners, Stanford is by Malibu Moon, who stands for $95,000. His only start was at Monmouth Park, where he ran a 64/74.7 (NEG Pattern).

The Play: Too Slow – Final figures are not competitive at this point with this group.

Cleveland Sound (15-1)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: 125-1

A $300,000 purchase out of the 2013 Fasig Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings, Cleveland Sound is by More Than Ready, who stands for $50,000 and is the lone Florida-bred in the race.

From a Pace Figure perspective, his 67.7/72.5 (NEG Pattern) is a bit slower than these, although his trainer, Graham Motion, has been on fire at the Saratoga meet and warrants consideration on that merit alone. Visually speaking, he rushed up from the rail (which is a touch place to start at 5 furlongs at Delaware Park) and was headed a few times but never gave up the lead while lengthening the winning gap at the finish line.

The Play: Fringe Contender – Worth a shot in the bottom of exactas at a price.

Majestic Affair (8-1)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: N/A

A $12,000 purchase as a yearling in 2013, he is Kentucky-bred by Majesticperfection, who stands for $10,000. He originally was bred and bought back by trainer Doug Oliver and then sold privately, probably after his first start on July 6.

He moves to the barn of Chad Brown, one of the country’s leading trainers, which shows Majestic Affair could have the makings of a serious horse. Visually speaking, the jockey was practically standing up in the saddle as he easily drew away from the field. However, it was at Canterbury Downs and the second-place runner from that race came back to run an awful seventh against the same group.

The Play: Too Slow – From a Pace Figure perspective, his 68.9/76.6 (NEG Pattern) is not backable against this group of 2-year-olds.

W V Jetsetter (10-1)

Kentucky Derby Future Odds: 250-1

A $29,000 purchase as a yearling in August 2013, W V Jetsetter is by Jet Phone, who stands for $1,250 in Texas. The lone Texas-bred in the field, the trainer change (from Bret Calhoun to George Weaver) indicates he was sold following his July 12 win.

Weaver is another trainer who has been running well at Saratoga and his most recent workout at 5 furlongs was the fastest of 28 runners at the distance. Visually speaking, he got a perfect trip in his last race and pushed his way through horses to draw away at the finish line. The outside post is a negative however.

From a Pace Figure perspective, there are things to like. He has three starts with improving Final Pace Figures (from 63.8 – 72.2 – 72.7). Also notice that his last race was a NPT Form Cycle Pattern. The New Pace Top designation is a good indication of forward progress as it notates the fastest 4f figure of a horse’s career without a lifetime top final figure.

The Play: Fringe Contender – The NPT pattern combine with trainer and works make him a viable longshot.

$200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes
Saratoga Race Course, Sunday, August 10, 2014, Race 10
6 1/2 furlongs, dirt, 2-year-olds







I Spent It

Javier Castellano


Tony Dutrow


Lord Tyrion

Julien Leparoux


Ian Wilkes


Mr. Z

Corey Lanerie


D. Wayne Lukas



Cornelio Velasquez


Peter Miller


Rod McLeod

Robby Albarado


Dale Romans


Nonna's Boy

John Velazquez


Todd Pletcher


Cinco Charlie

Shaun Bridgmohan


Steve Asmussen



Joe Bravo


Todd Pletcher


Cleveland Sound

Irad Ortiz Jr.


Graham Motion


Majestic Affair

Jose Lezcano


Chad Brown


W V Jetsetter

Joel Rosario


George Weaver

Tune in to Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 10 for the Saratoga Special Stakes
and on Aug. 17 for the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes.

The on-air duties will be handled by Greg Wolf, Richard Migliore, Andy Serling, Simon Bray, and Alyssa Ali. In conjunction with the broadcast, Racing 101's Joe Kristufek will be hosting a live fan TweetUP - @ABRLive #TJC Tour - beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

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