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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Saratoga selections for Saturday, Aug. 4

Best Bet: HERSH (6); Best Value: TRICKY ESCAPE (10)

FIRST: Hembree is training strongly for first start since 49-day freshener; owns a win and two seconds in three outings on Spa sod. Vigilante packs potent late kick and could be in the garden spot if pace meltdown ensues. Makarios is rested and owns fast back numbers; price will be tempting.

SECOND: Casa Creed moves to grass after useful debut on dirt last week; forward move predicted. Brittas Bay is speedy and could prove very tough on soft lead. All American Hero concluded work tab with swift half-mile drill on July 25; could be the goods.

THIRD: Our American Star tallied improved pace figure in last after logging solid final fraction in previous start; puts it all together on Saturday. Ragnar Lothbrok rushed into hot pace and faded in debut; tighter and dangerous. Rogue Nation compiled eye-catching work tab for debut; follow the money.

FOURTH: Scatsuku exits clear-cut maiden win in last and owns faster back numbers; more to give. Outrageous Bet should possess intensified wallop with cutback to abbreviated sprint; worth long look. Belleville Spring is quick from the gate and could lead these around the track if allowed soft flow; must consider.

FIFTH: Uni logged sharp work slate for first start since April; starting from rail seals the deal. On Leave owns a win and two seconds from four starts on Spa turf; very dangerous. Pas de Soucis is 1-for-1 on Saratoga grass and makes peak start of form cycle; right in the thick of this.

SIXTH: Hersh tallied rapid late-pace figure when a hard-charging second in debut; more to give. Business Cycle logged bullet-riddled work tab for first start since November for Chad Brown; very dangerous. Alkhaatam also is training sharply for return from layoff for Brown barn; could be the one.

SEVENTH: Mucho compiled eye-catching work tab since strong second in debut at Belmont on June 10; Bill Mott barn is off to hot start at Spa meet. Larceny gets Lasix after tough-trip fourth in debut; improvement expected. Justice of War was bought for $550k this past spring and hails from white-hot Steve Asmussen stable; stay tuned to the tote.

EIGHTH: Minit Stardom owns stalker's style that should be well served in speed-filled Test Stakes. Mia Mischief was dueled into defeat last out but could prove a very tough customer if able to shake clear from other front-runners. Alter Moon makes first start for Chad Brown after winning last two starts by a combined 19 lengths; right in the thick of this.

NINTH: Diversify was ultra-impressive when winning Suburban last time; more to come in unplayable Whitney Stakes. Good Samaritan packs solid kick and could be in the garden spot if pace meltdown ensues. Backyard Heaven returns from seven weeks of R&R for Chad Brown; must consider.

TENTH: Tricky Escape overcame dawdling fractions when a visually-impressive winner in Grade 3 stakes at Delaware last time; ready for the big time. Summersault needed last and owns fast back numbers; very interesting. Mom's On Strike hails from streaking Joe Sharp stable and won five of last seven starts; must be factored into the mix.

ELEVENTH: Zennor loves Spa sod and is training with a purpose for first start in nearly a year; call based on price potential in wide-open nightcap. Ticonderoga consistently logs swift late-pace figures; big-time threat. Ballagh Rocks is fresh and should be favorably positioned near the front; dangerous. Mr Cub is speedy and owns fast numbers on best efforts; very interesting.

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