Upcoming Match-ups

Saratoga Predictions & Odds – Schuylerville Stakes, Diana Stakes & More Horse Racing Picks

Dave Friedman

by Dave Friedman in Horse Racing News

Updated Jul 13, 2023 · 3:06 PM PDT

In Italian winning the Just A Game Stakes
The $500,000 Just a Game Stakes, (GR 1), for four year-olds and up fillies and mares, going one mile over the turf, Friday, June 9, 2023, was won by In Italian with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons for trainer Chad Brown.
  • Thursday’s Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course begins their 40 day boutique meet
  • The Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes Thursday and three graded stakes Saturday highlight the first week
  • Where can we find betting value at “The Graveyard of Favorites” to begin the season in our Saratoga predictions?

When the starting gate opens shortly after 1 pm ET Thursday at Saratoga Race Course, 160 years of history will be rekindled. Long known as the Graveyard of Favorites, champions such as Man o’ War, Gallant Fox, Secretariat, Rachel Alexandra, and American Pharoah all lost at the Spa. Will there be more upsets this week in the Saratoga odds?

Unlike any OTB, sportsbook, arena or stadium you have ever been to, Saratoga is different. For less than $10 you can get in, bring with you whatever food or drink you desire, and watch the best athletes the sport has. At the same time, plenty of the nearly 27,000 fans that attend daily never bother to watch the horses directly. They sit at the picnic tables in the backyard, enjoy the atmosphere under the trees and on the lawn, tailgate, people watch, shop at the many tents from local merchants, bet, and view the races on big screens.

However you enjoy Saratoga, it has the best racing in the country. Thursday’s Schuylerville Stakes is the traditional Opening Day feature, and Saturday has a trio of graded stakes races. Let’s break them down and see where there is betting value present for our Saratoga predictions.

Expert Horse Racing Picks at Saratoga

Race Pick Odds
Schuylerville Stakes Sugar Treat +600
Diana Stakes In Italian -250
Kelso Stakes Casa Creed +250
Sanford Stakes Gold Sweep -167

We’re focusing on four of the biggest races this week at Saratoga in our horse racing picks above. The picks come from the Schuylerville Stakes, Diana Stakes, Kelso Stakes and Sanford Stakes. While Saturday’s odds aren’t posted yet, our best, Sugar Treat, pays out at +600 in the Schuylerville Stakes on Thursday.

Located about a half hour from Albany, and 180 miles north of New York City, Saratoga regularly gets bad weather. Highs are expected to be in the 80s this weekend, with a 60 percent chance of rain Thursday afternoon though it could hold off until after the races conclude. There is a 40 percent chance of precipitation on Saturday. All Saratoga races are televised by the Fox family of networks. Fox Sports 2 has coverage Thursday and for the final three stakes on Saturday. The Diana will be on Fox Sports 1.


Get Your First Bet Back - Up To $1,000 On Caesars!

$1,000 BACK


Schuylerville Stakes Prediction

Baby races, for two year olds, are a huge part of Saratoga. Often times the horses we will follow on their way to the Triple Crown races debut at The Spa. The six furlong Schuylerville has been run since 1918. The grade three stakes has been won by trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher a record six times. Both have strong contenders this year.

Pletcher’s Wine on Tap (+250), a $600,000 son of Tapit won his debut June 18 at Belmont Park by three lengths. From a speed figure standpoint, it is the best race any of the horses in this field have run.

Lukas, who last won the race in 2004, counters with Saratoga Secret (+400). A $200,000 son of Arrogate, he beat five rivals at Ellis Park by three lengths on June 23.

Carmelina (+500) dominated seven overmatched rivals at PARX on June 18, and did so in a speedy manner.

Sugar Treat (+600) was bred for five grand, and then sold at auction for $120,000. He debuted on a synthetic track at Gulfstream Park in June, had racing trouble, and still won. Trainer Mark Casse has had success at Saratoga when two year olds switch surfaces.

Texas bred Closing Act (+1000) is trained by Steve Asmussen, who has conditioned more winners than anybody in US racing history. Closing Act is the only horse with two victories, beating maidens at Churchill Downs, and stakes horses at Belmont park

Schuylerville Stakes Picks: Sugar Treat (+600)

Diana Stakes Prediction

Only five high end fillies and mares are signed up for this mile-and-an-eighth grass Grade 1. While every contender in the race is coming off a graded stakes victory, In Italian (-250) is nearly certain to be on the lead early on, and four times in her last five races she has been first at the finish line too.

YouTube video

Over the last 12 months In Italian has run five times, has four wins, and her only setback came in the Breeders Cup. She led almost all the way in that one, yielding to Tuesday in the final sixteenth of a mile, and finished second. She won this race last year, and has earned over $1.9 million with seven wins in 11 starts.

Chad Brown trains In Italian, he also conditions Marketsegmentation (+400), Fluffy Socks (+800), and Whitebeam (+500). Marketsegmentation has won three straight and four of five. The four year old daughter of American Pharoah won the Grade 1 New York Stakes the day before the Belmont Stakes. Fluffy Socks won off a long layoff on the Kentucky Derby undercard. In three tries at Saratoga, she has two second place efforts. Her career best race may have been a runner up performance in last year’s Balston Spa Stakes at The Spa. Whitebeam has run twice in America, just missing in New York in April, and winning on the Preakness undercard in Baltimore two months ago. The horses that finished second and third behind her at Pimlico have both returned to win.

The lone entrant not trained by Brown, Fev Rover (+1200) scored two weeks ago at Woodbine. Twice a Grade 2 winner for Mark Casse, this is her American debut after two wins in four starts in Canada.

Diana Stakes Picks: In Italian (-250)

Kelso Stakes Prediction

There seems to be ample speed signed up for this Grade 3 turf mile for older males. A strong early pace could be good news for Casa Creed (+250). Though the seven year old has not won since Saratoga’s 2022 meet, his last five tries in the US are against Grade 1 competition. Two of his last three races have been loses to the seemingly unbeatable Caravel, and he just missed in a Grade 3 in Saudi Arabia in February. Perhaps the six furlong race following the long trip home from the Middle East was designed by veteran trainer Bill Mott as a nice prep for longer races this summer. He’ll be flying late.

Making his second start as a four year old, and first since Kentucky Derby week in Louisville, Annapolis (+160) rarely gives a bad effort. He finished second in the Grade 1 Saratoga Derby Invitational last August, crushed a small field in the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes at The Spa in September, and won the G1 Turf Mile at Keeneland before a disappointing Breeders Cup Mile. His effort at Churchill Downs to begin this campaign may suggest more big things are coming.

YouTube video

Annapolis has made $1.3 million in nine career starts including six victories.

Filo Di Arianna (+500) finished second, with Anaconda (+600) fourth in a blanket finish in last month’s Poker Stakes at Belmont Park. After three straight wins, Filo di Arianna has just missed in back-to-back races. Filo di Arianna is likely to be near the lead, which Big Everest (+500) is sure to push hard. Anaconda, like Annapolis, will look to get the first run on Casa Creed and the deep closers. Anaconda lost to Big Everest by a nose in April, won a stakes race at Belmont in May, and was right with Filo Di Arianna in the Poker.

Kelso Stakes Picks: Casa Creed (+250)

Sanford Stakes Prediction

Like the Schuylerville, two year old boys go six furlongs in this Grade 3 event. If Gold Sweep (-167) runs like he did winning Belmont’s Tremont Stakes last month, he should win this too. In fact, his debut at Churchill Downs in May, a second place performance, was probably quicker than anyone else in this field has run.

Don’t get too confident with babies. Horses can take major steps forward, or regress, very easily. Market Street (+1200) romped in his debut at Ellis Park just over two weeks. The son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense is trained by Lukas and was impressive on debut.

Top jockey Irad Ortiz rides Call the Cavalry (+800). A Florida bred, he won easily at Belmont debuting at five furlongs in early June.

Belmont Derby Picks: Gold Sweep (-167)

Author Image