TODAY'S PAPER
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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Saratoga selections for Thursday, Aug. 20

Best Bet: T LOVES A FIGHT (7); Best Value: PERSIAN QUEEN (5)

FIRST: Moscato is riding a two-race winning streak; jump onboard. Pravalaguna is speedy and could prove tough on a soft lead. Optimus Prime was a game second when just a head behind top pick last time; dangerous.

SECOND: Pago Querido gets added ground after even fourth in debut; main speed with heads-up handling. Tonal Verse owns two seconds and two thirds from five starts; another minor award? Empire Lady could make forward move with return to dirt.

THIRD: Awesome Alana is training sharply for first start since claimed by Linda Rice; ready to roll. Out of Trouble regressed in last after tough-trip sixth in previous start; very interesting. First Appeal exits sprints and drops; front-end threat.

FOURTH: Freudian Analyst passed five runners and gained nine lengths from the quarter pole to wire last time; 0-for-30 but may have finally found right field. Threepointeninenine displayed newfound speed in last; worth long look. Yousaidhello should move forward with return to turf; don't ignore.

FIFTH: Persian Queen, 2-for-3 at the Spa, made sustained rally to win last; more to come.  Leaveuwithasmile was a wire-to-wire winner in last; big-time threat. Customerexperience makes first start since claimed by Rudy Rodriguez; must respect.

SIXTH: Future Book should pack enhanced late wallop with cutback to abbreviated sprint. Red Mule was a non-stressful third in first start since six-month layoff last time; very interesting. Big Wonder is speedy and fired half-mile bullet last week; dangerous.

SEVENTH: T Loves a Fight should find ample kick intensified with turnback to 6 furlongs; primed for breakthrough. Binkster owns three seconds from three starts on Spa loam; runner-up again? Ready to Escape was a fast-figured third in last; don't ignore.

EIGHTH: Fetching is fresh, training with a purpose and should get ideal pace setup. Elegant Zip and Speightstown Gal both make peak start of form cycles, but pair dueled one another into defeat on July 25; same result on Thursday. Lead Guitar could impact if front-end meltdown ensues.

NINTH: Manifest Destiny was a determined winner at 45-1 last out; one more time. Eye Luv Lulu owns fast back numbers but takes troubling plunge into bottom-level claimers; mixed message. We Should Talk is riding a three-race winning streak; right in the thick of this. Joe's Smokin Gun has been idle since February but is more than good enough on "A" effort; let price be your guide.

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