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SportsHorseracingBelmont Stakes

Steve Matthews' Saratoga selections for Thursday, Aug. 23

Best Bet: BRONZE AGE (8) ; Best Value: THEODOSIA (4)

FIRST: Personal Start needed last and could play out as the main speed. Show Court was a clear-cut winner of A P Smithwick last time; dangerous. Iranistan consistently fires strong efforts.

SECOND: Stormy's Song has worked strongly since even fourth in last; forward move predicted. War Value notched swift internal and final figures when winning last; regresses today? Untaken is fresh and owns fast dirt numbers; price will be tempting.

THIRD: Handsome Chewy fired 3-furlong bullet and returns to maiden-claiming ranks; set for breakthrough. The Sicarii adds blinkers after taking backward step in last; improvement expected. Not That Brady debuts after noticeably picking up the tempo in final work; follow the money.

FOURTH: Theodosia gets much-needed class relief after bouncing last time; sitting on rebound. Rosebud's Hope tallied swift late-pace figure when winning last; worth long look. Hogan's Holiday also won last and now moves to grass; must be factored into the mix.

FIFTH: Early Retirement displayed noticeable improvement when switched to turf last out; more to come. Pipes logged two endurance-building works since tough-trip third in debut; very interesting. Graded On a Curve debuts for Chad Brown; you know the routine.

SIXTH: Won't Burn owns speed and may get the early jump in field that's light on front-runners. Our Honor was a game second at even money last time; likely underlay again. Construct has the rail and gets added ground; must be considered.

SEVENTH: Dream Passage wheels back in a hurry after late-running third this past Friday; more to give. Awesome Quick is quick from the gate and can win from off pace, as well; very playable. Souper Echo was a front-running maiden winner in last; dangerous.

EIGHTH: Bronze Age was a change-of-pace winner in most recent start and hails from streaking Kentucky-based stable; pairs up. Foolish Ghost makes peak start of form cycle after being dueled into defeat last time; very playable. D'yer Maker fired half-mile bullets since last race; worth long look at long price.

NINTH: Goodthingstaketime was too close to the pace when a front-end third in Lake George last out; return to stalking tactics is key. Tapit Today ships up from Jersey for Chad Brown after winning two in a row at Monmouth; very playable. Punked, also from Brown barn, failed to beat a runner after setting the splits in Lake George; right in the thick of this on "A" game.

TENTH: Lonhtwist is fleet-footed and gets favorable cutback to abbreviated sprint; half-mile work this past Sunday seals the deal. Shiny Copper Penny is 0-for-23 but owns speed and competitive numbers on best efforts; price will be tempting. Identity Politics was second to a repeat winner in debut; easily could take this at short ticket. Measure Twice displays work tab that culminated with half-mile bullet; could be a runner.


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