The three graded stakes races preceding the $1.25 million Grade 1 Travers Stakes on Saturday afternoon will be on the undercard of a super day of racing at Saratoga Race Course. The Grade 2 Ballston Spa Stakes for fillies and mares three-years-old and up will start off an all-stake Pick-4 followed by the Grade 1 King's Bishop, a 7-furlong sprint for three-year-olds and the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes, a 7-furlong test for fillies and mares three-years-old and up will highlight the undercard on the Spa's signature day.
There will be 14 races in all with the first race going to post at 11:35 a.m. The Ballerina and the Travers will be on NBC Sports Network (4:30 - 6:00 p.m.) with the Travers scheduled to go off at 5:45 p.m. local time. A Travers preview will be in Saturday's print edition be sure to check it out. Let's take a look at the three undercard races and some thoughts when building a Pick-4 ticket that starts with the G2 Ballston Spa in Race 9.
Race 9 - Grade 2 Ballston Spa: The morning line favorite is 7-Filimbi (2-1) who held off 5-Dayatthespa (5-2) in the $100K De La Rose Stakes earlier in the meet at the Spa. Those two should be the class of the race, but I'll toss in 4-Strathnaver (6-1), who lost the Just a Game on Belmont day by a nose. He was jostled early in the Diana earlier in the meet and should be in the mix with a clean trip.
Race 10 - Grade 1 King's Bishop: Let's try and beat the favorite 8-Coup de Grace (2-1) with 2-Wildcat Red (4-1) who should return to his winning ways at the shorter distance. I'll also include 7-The Big Beast (5-2) as insurance who enters after two big efforts for trainer Tony Dutrow. 6-Fast Anna (6-1) is intriguing, but unproven, so he'll be my last toss.
Race 11 - Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes: Grade 1 winner 1-Artemis Agrotera (5-1), a daughter of Roman Ruler is interesting enough to include after bouncing back from a rough effort in the Acorn. 2-Better Lucky (4-1) and 4-My Miss Aurelia (3-1) battled to the wire in the Shine Again and would be hard not to include. Looking for a price, we'll go with hot jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and 8-Hot Stones (6-1) as our fourth filly.
Post Time $0.50 Pick-4: 4,5,7 with 2,7 with 1,2,4,8 with 7,10 (cost $24)