HORSE RACING

​Saratoga Horse Racing Picks for Thursday 7/23/20

Saratoga features 10 races Thursday. Which horses should you bet on at FanDuel Racing?

With most of the sports world on pause, it's a great time to dive into horse racing, and FanDuel Racing gives you the chance to do just that.

Starting at 12:50 p.m. EST, we have 10 races at Saratoga. Using our numberFire projections as a guide, here are some of the best bets.

As always, check the program for scratches and changes, and check the weather and track conditions.

(I will reference Equibase's Speed Figure in selected races, which tells you how fast a horse has been running in each of its races -- adjusted for track, distances, and conditions).

Nicky Scissors, Race 4

FanDuel Racing Odds: 7/2

Race 4 drew seven runners for the $100K New York Stallion Series Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the Inner Turf. This is restricted to three-year-old fillies, and the heavy favorite Fresco (1/1) is a Maiden facing winners in her fourth career start. Irad Ortiz Jr. rides again after this fine filly just missed by a nose coming from off the pace last month. Fresco posted an 80 speed figure, which is the highest last race ESF of this group.

The top pick at numberFire is Fresco followed by Officer Hutchy (8/1), who just raced four days ago for trainer Linda Rice and missed the money. But she has two wins and two runner-up finishes including in a NY Stallion Series race last December at Aqueduct with an 83 speed figure. Guaranteed Tip Sheet likes her, and notes that trainer Rice has won four of her last nine races bringing her horses back on five days or less.

Dixie Cannon (9/2) was eased in her 2020 debut last month and looks to rebound. Two wins and best speed figure (80) last fall.

Nicky Scissors (7/2) is one to watch having been claimed last race by EPO trainer Brad Cox. She gets a ‘boost’ now having been in his barn for five months, and was a front-end 10-length winner in January when posting an 80 speed figure.

Instinctive Rhythm and Irish Front, Race 5

FanDuel Racing Odds: 3/1 and 9/2

Race 5 is the start of the Empire Pick 6. A Maiden Special Weight race at six furlongs. The favorite Ahead of Plan (5/2) has Jose Ortiz riding for EPO trainer Chad Brown. FanDuel Racing odds imply a 29% chance to win, but numberFire picks New Frontier (6/1) on top followed by O’trouble (7/2), who makes his second start off a layoff and has room to improve.

Ahead of Plan is a lightly raced 4-year-old who makes his first start since last August and also as a new gelding. A consistent training pattern in place since June, and leading trainer Chad Brown has six wins during the meet and tops all trainers with 83% in-the-money finishes. We'll still try to beat. New Frontier is 0-for-13 but has hit the board in six of his last seven starts with a handful of 90’s speed figures.

We’ll fire at Instinctive Rhythm (3/1) with Javier Castellano riding in the colt's debut for trainer George Weaver. Five straight bullet workouts for this $350K OBS purchase as a 2-year-old. Live runner out of the gate for the first time.

Irish Front (9/2) is a threat making his second start and 2020 debut for EPO trainer Todd Pletcher. Working sharply and noting he ran on the lead for a half mile last summer before fading against a solid group of in-the-money finishers.

Its a Wrap and Ethos, Race 8

FanDuel Racing Odds: 3/1 and 9/2

Race 8 is a Maiden Special Weight with 9 runners sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. We’ll include the two outside horses It’s a Wrap (3/1) and Ethos (9/2).

It’s a Wrap is the top pick at numberFire and he has a pair of in-the-money finishes in three starts, including last month when he just missed winning and was disqualified to third coming from off the pace from the far outside post. She dug in gamely down the stretch after angling six wide at the top of the lane.

Ethos is working well in the mornings for her 2020 turf debut. She has good turf breeding and the meet's early leading rider Joel Rosario jumps on for admirable trainer Jimmy Jerkens, who has a much better chance in this race than his runner in the ninth race going against four EPO trainers.

Not interested in betting the favorite French Reef (2/1) with EPO trainer Chad Brown turning him back from a route to sprint despite showing front-end speed last November. Makes his 2020 debut. Easy to root against.

If you like to include a longshot in your Exacta and Trifecta wagers or perhaps the late Pick 3, then the aptly-named Souper Energizer (12/1) could pick up speed having posted three mid-80’s ESF’s in six starts. He should do better second off a layoff last month. A pace presser dueling early.