Saratoga Racecourse Picks – Saturday, August 29, 2020

| August 29, 2020 12:00 am PDT

Four stakes races—the Saranac, the Amsterdam, the Forego, and the Sword Dancer—highlight the 11-race card presented by Saratoga Racecourse for Saturday, August 29, 2020. That’s over a million dollars in purses up for grabs in stakes races alone.

The future may be bright for the competitors of these stakes races, but the weather is going to be ugly: A 90% chance of thunderstorms, with temps in the mid-70s and winds around 10 mph.

Be that as it may, it’s time to move on to my Saratoga picks and betting tips for these four big-purse stakes races.

Picks for Saratoga Racecourse Race 3

This is the Grade III Saranac Stakes, a race for three-year-olds running a distance of one mile on turf for a purse of $100,000.

Now that the dazzle of seeing all these top jockeys in one race has subsided, I find myself like the fourth-favored (5/1) L’Imperator, with Javier Castellano in the irons. Statistically, this colt leads the field, with money finishes in all four of his career starts, three of them wins.

And at 12/1, consider a show bet on Irish Mias with Mannie Franco aboard. This gelding moneyed five of his eight career starts, winning one of them.

  • Win: L’Imperator 5/1
  • Show: Irish Mias 12/1

Picks for Saratoga Racecourse Race 7

This is the Grade II Amsterdam Stakes, a race for three-year-olds running a distance of six furlongs for a purse of $150,000.

When I see a race with both Ortiz brothers competing, I immediately assume I’ll be writing about one of them as my winning pick. Not so in this race—I’m going with the 8/5 morning line favorite, Youpon, with ace jockey Joel Rosario aboard. This colt won both of his career starts. ‘Nuff said.

The only long odds in this race—Wondrwherecraigis at 10/1—cry out for a show bet, if only because his jockey is Javier Castellano. Just as important in the betting decision, though, is the fact that this gelding moneyed all three of his career starts, winning two of them.

  • Win: Youpon 8/5
  • Show: Wondrwherecraigis 10/1

Pick for Saratoga Racecourse Race 8

This is the Grade I Forego Stakes, a race for four-year-olds and upward running a distance of seven furlongs for a purse of $300,000.

Okay, both Ortiz boys are in this race, and this time I’m backing one of them with an on-the-nose bet on the 6/1 Fortin Hill, piloted by Irad Ortiz, Jr. This four-year-old colt finished in the money in all four of his career starts, winning three of them. There may be more experienced horses in this stakes race, but there are none with a better record. Nor a better jockey.

There are a couple of 20/1 longshots in this race with good records and top jockeys, but I don’t see either of them finishing ahead of the top three morning line favorites.

  • Win: Fortin Hill 6/1

Picks for Saratoga Racecourse Race 9

This is Grade I Sword Dancer Stakes, a race for four-year-olds and upward running a distance of 1-1/2 miles on turf for a purse of $500,000.

I like the morning line’s second-favored (3/1) entry in this race—Cross Border, with Jose L. Ortiz in the irons. This six-year-old ridgling moneyed 15 of his 26 career starts, nine of those wins.

And at 10/1, Pedro Cara—with John R. Velazquez—is undervalued enough to make a show bet worthwhile. This four-year-old gelding finished in the money eight of his ten career starts, winning four of them.

Best Bets:

  • Win: Cross Border 3/1
  • Show: Pedro Cara 10/1

Want More Betting Tips for Today’s Races?

I’ve assessed the profit opportunities at two other tracks for Saturday, so check out my tips, predictions, and picks for these.

J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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