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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Saratoga selections for Friday, Aug. 21

Best Bet:  LASHARA (6); Best Value: KNOCKOUT PUNCH (5)

FIRST: Fast Gordon is rested and moves to grass for Linda Rice; expecting fast improvement. Silver Token lost a head bob for all the money last time; logical, short-priced player. Advanced Strategy gets the meds after willing fourth in same race as Silver Token; must consider.

SECOND: Obsessed exits two sprints and could play out as the main speed in field that's light on front-runners. The Angry Man has finished second in last three starts; runner-up again? Lucky Asset regressed in last after second to a repeat winner in prior; rebound potential.

THIRD: Fauci, one of three uncoupled Wes Ward runners, is only member of six-horse Skidmore field with a win on grass; horrible excuse for a parimutuel event. Golden Pal, one of the Ward entrants, was second by a neck at Ascot last time; be no surprise. Sky's Not Falling is from a dam that has thrown two turf winners; worth a look.

FOURTH: Seven Seven holds experience edge in eight-horse field with seven newcomers; selection by default. Sonic Speed noticeably picked up the tempo in final workout; tote should offer additional clues. Citizen K debuts for high-percentage first-out stable; could be a the goods.

FIFTH: Knockout Punch logged fast final fraction when a willing second in last; call based on price. My Man Flintstone is speedy and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. Standup has finished third in last three starts; gets show dough again?

SIXTH: Lashara gets class relief after racing too close to the early pace in Lake Placid Stakes last time; amplified kick predicted at shorter route. Princesa Caroline fits the classic Chad Brown profile (layoff runner with sharp works); obvious threat. Eye of a Soldier logged two, crisp half-mile drills since game placing in last; right in the thick of this.

SEVENTH: Solitary Gem gets confident two-level price boost in first start since claimed; breakthrough predicted. Jump for Joy was a fast-figured winner on July 18; bounces at short ticket today? Lady by Choice was a tough-trip fifth in last; very interesting.

EIGHTH: Beachside is training with a purpose for return from eight-month absence for streaking Dave Donk barn; ready to roll. Freewheeler logged only win on Spa sod; dangerous. Crack Shot is fleet-footed and adds blinkers; big-time, front-running threat.

NINTH: Plink Freud is 0-for-11 but is rested and lands in weak field; now or never. Excited Feeling raced wide when a late-running sixth in debut; worth long look at long price. Kaz's Princess owns a second and a third from two starts; logical contender. Gaelic Gold packs powerful kick and could impact if pace meltdown ensues.

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