The Longines Test Stakes looms as one of the must-see races and the field is packed with potential superstars.
Names like Search Results, Illumination, Zaajel, Always Carina and Make Mischief headline the field at Saratoga on Saturday and we can’t wait.
Online sports betting markets will have a hard time framing a market in what is an incredibly open Grade 1 event.
Search Results Could be a Star
In a field stacked with talent, the Chad Brown-trained Search Results is one of the shining lights.
The three-year-old daughter of Flatter scored at her first three starts before taking on the best fillies in the Kentucky Oaks. She was no match for the impressive Malathaat, but she made short work of them in her first run at Belmont in June.
Search Results won the Grade I Acorn Stakes when beating the likes of Obligatory and Make Mischief, so the form reads well and bettors have every reason to be confident of her chances.
It will be her first run at Saratoga, which can trip up some thoroughbreds. However, she is a professional filly who could be heading for super stardom, or at the very least, a Breeders’ Cup victory later this year.
The online racebook will have Search Results fancied in betting markets. We wouldn’t overlook her chances and she must enter Test Stakes calculations.
Pletcher Confident with Zaajel
Zaajel hasn’t been the easiest filly to follow, but her win in the Mother Goose stands out. She defeated Always Carina and Clairiere in the Belmont feature and trainer Todd Pletcher believes it was an important run.
Racing on the turf in the Edgewood Stakes didn’t pan out the way connections had hoped. However, it was a learning experience for all involved.
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“That made some of the difference,” Pletcher told The Paulick Report. “The race before that was an experiment on the turf that didn’t pan out. The time before that in Louisiana she misbehaved in the gate, got off to a poor start and got a little rank in the first turn.
I think she’ll handle two turns down the road but we wanted to keep her and Malathaat separated for the time being, so backing up to seven-eighths makes the most sense.”
Finishing fourth in the Mother Goose was Make Mischief, who is capable of turning the tables on Zaajel. Trainer Mark Casse is confident his filly has matured over her last three runs, which also included a third placing in the Acorn.
“When we broke her, I told Gary I thought she was a pretty good filly,” Casse said. “I think she just needed a little more ground and a little bit of time to grow up. Her races this year have been good. I kept her with Chris Englehart over the winter since we didn’t have any horses in New York at that time. He ran her right away and she won and he did a great job with her.”
The Mother Goose and Acorn Stakes are the best betting guides for the Test Stakes. Form out of those races is stacking up beautifully and bettors should expect similar results.
Can Baffert Pull One Out of Hat?
Bob Baffert has an ability to win with unfavored runners, but Illumination winning the Test Stakes seems unlikely.
The well-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has yet to win from four starts. Her most recent run was a third placing in the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita, which followed a fourth in the Chandelier Stakes.
The $900,000 Saratoga Select Sale ran third in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante at her second start, so she has shown ability.
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Part-owner George Bolton, who got caught up in the Baffert cheating scandal, believes his filly is a better prepared.
“She came back a much different horse,” Bolton said. “By giving her time in the field, she grew taller and longer, exactly what you want. She’s grown into a really special-looking filly.”
It could pay to watch horse racing betting moves with Illumination, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Baffert come up with the goods.