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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Saratoga selections for Thursday, Aug. 22

Best bet: FREDDYMO FACTOR (7)

Best value: COTTONWOOD FALLS (3)

FIRST: Winston C won Grade 1 A P Smithwick last time; pairs up. All the Way Jose is speedy and could go all the way on an uncontested lead. No Wunder is competitive on best efforts.

SECOND: Lucky Bet is speedy, returns to dirt and drops; wire to wire with aggressive ride. Eddy Dirt has the benefit of the rail and could be in the garden spot if top selection wilts in the stretch. Purchasing Power is training sharply and owns fast back numbers; dangerous.

THIRD: Cottonwood Falls has worked with a purpose since logging deceptively fast late-pace figure in most recent start; breakthrough predicted. Silver Shaker was an even fifth in first start since seven-month layoff last time; very playable. English Soul nearly stole it on the lead last time; serious, front-running threat.

FOURTH: Grit and Glory compiled seven tight works for first start in 55 days; primed and ready. Derby Memories fired 5-furlong bullet since 14-length maiden win in last; very dangerous. Sargeant Drive returns to main track and owns fast back dirt numbers; must be factored into the mix.

FIFTH: La Negrita adds blinkers after speed and fade in debut; improvement predicted. Positive Power is from a dam that has thrown a turf winner; don't ignore. Las Ramblas is training consistently for first start for Wes Ward; follow the money.

SIXTH: Crossing the Moon dons the shades and returns to dirt after tough-trip seventh in last; forward move anticipated. Casse entry: Lucky Curlin started career with two sprints and should be favorably positioned near the front at longer trip and mate Enforceable was compromised by wide trip in last; potent pairing. Imperare makes first start for potent first-out barn (Al Stall); worth long look.

SEVENTH: Freddymo Factor has worked sharply since displaying improved speed in most recent start; primed for career best. The Great Johanna was a late-running sixth in first start since yearlong layoff last time; very interesting. Tatterazzi was well bet when a non-threatening seventh in debut; improvement expected.

EIGHTH: Storm Prophet makes first start since second to a repeat winner on June 20; call in wide-open NY-bred optional claimer. Fiery Opal is 1-for-1 at Saratoga and Thursday's added ground should play to strength. Calculated Risker owns a win and a third in two starts at Spa; starting from rail adds to appeal.

NINTH: Ionic is speedy and projects as  the dominant front-runner with heads-up handling. Catch a Bid delivered strong efforts in both starts; potential paltry price is the problem. New and Improved overcame soft pace flow when a hard-charging winner in debut; very dangerous.

10TH: Deft is fleet-footed and training swiftly for first start since 57-day freshener. Perceived, another that is working strongly, tallied fast late-pace figure in debut; very dangerous. Noble Spirit gets Lasix and drops into maiden claimer; wake-up possibility. Azzedine is 0-for-18 but owns competitive numbers on best efforts; don't ignore.

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