​Saratoga Horse Racing Picks for Saturday 8/29/20

It's a great time to dive into horse racing, and FanDuel Racing gives you the chance to do just that.

Starting at 1:21 p.m. EST, we have 8 Thoroughbred races at Saratoga. Using numberFire’s 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.)

Basin, Race 7

FanDuel Racing Odds: 7/2

Race 7 is the Grade 2 $150K Amsterdam with a compact field of six sprinting 6 furlongs. This is the start of the Grand Slam (Races 7 through 10) and late Pick 5. Yaupon (8/5) and Long Weekend (9/5) are the two favorites, but numberFire projects Basin (7/2) to win and edge those two favorites.

Long Weekend is the speed of the speed in this race but had his three-race winning streak snapped last month, finishing second as the heavy 1/5 favorite.

Basin is trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by top jockey Jose Ortiz. He was 2-for-2 at Saratoga last summer and won the Arkansas Derby this year. Guaranteed Tip Sheet likes Basin to threaten it's projected winner, Yaupon, who enters with the top last-race speed figure in the field. Yaupon is 2-for-2 but now makes his graded stakes debut.

Premier Star (5/1) is sitting on a strong effort off his highest speed figure and -- like Basin -- will likely be racing off the fast early pace set by Long Weekend and Yaupon. Note the jockey change to Ricardo Santana, Jr.

Complexity and Lexitonian, Race 8

FanDuel Racing Odds: 4/1 and 10/1

Race 8 is the Grade 1 $300K Forgo Stakes with 11 runners racing 7 furlongs. Horse Racing Nation’s Super Screener projects much pressure running up front but not a fast pace. The favorite is Whitmore (7/2), who Daily Horse Picks projects to win followed by Fortin Hill (6/1) on the far outside for EPO trainer Chad Brown. Leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. was scheduled to ride Fortin Hill, but it has been changed to jockey David Cohen. Fortin Hill steps up off his best race, a win in early July, and will be coming from off the pace.

Whitmore has won two of his last four races along with two runner-up finishes, and he’s the top pick of numberFire. Complexity (4/1) possesses the fastest early foot and should clear the field early for trainer Chad Brown’s other runner. Jockey jose Ortiz rides, and he’s tied with his brother Irad with 45 wins to lead the Saratoga summer meet, with each winning 21% of their starts.

The Super Screener top value pick is Lexitonian (10/1), who ships across the country after narrowly missing with a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby a month ago with a strong 116 speed figure. Firenze Fire (8/1) finished last behind runner-up Whitmore in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt a month ago.

Corelli and Aquaphobia, Race 9

FanDuel Racing Odds: 6/1 and 4/1

Race 9 is the Grade 1 $500K Sword Dancer, a “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race with the winner gaining entry to the $6 million event November 7 at Keeneland. The Sword Dancer is a 1 1/2 mile marathon on the Inner Turf. Check the weather mid afternoon as rain is in the forecast and some races may be taken off the turf.

Daily Horse Picks (DHP) projects Aquaphobia (4/1) to win with Irad Ortiz, Jr. riding for EPO trainer Mike Maker. DHP also projects longshot Pedro Cara (10/1) to hit the board, while numberFire forecasts favorite Sadler’s Joy (5/2) to win followed by Cross Border (3/1).

Sadler’s Joy won the Grade 2 Bowling Green a month ago at the Spa (Saratoga) but was disqualified for interference. Cross Border finished second by a neck with a strong closing ride by Jose Ortiz, and Guaranteed Tip Sheet likes Cross Border to bring Mike Maker’s third horse in this race to the winner's circle.

Pedro Cara enters off a long layoff but is bred for this distance and has won four times in nine starts in Europe with just one U.S. start last summer in a runner-up finish. Corelli (6/1) offers value with strong stretch rider Joel Rosario in the irons. He’s racing third off a layoff, is improving and is bred to go long. His third-place finish last race left him 1 1/2 lengths off the winner Aquaphobia. We can project a move forward for Corelli.