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Steve Matthews' Saratoga selections for Friday, Aug. 23

Best bet: OPPORTUNIST (8)

Best value: JOE'S SMOKIN GUN (6)

FIRST: Single Verse, from a dam that has thrown three turf winners, gets Lasix for first grass start. Jen's Battle is speedy and could prove very tough on a soft lead. Deeply Analytical debuts for Chad Brown; a no-brainer.

SECOND: Jimmy Jazz earned fast late-pace figure when second in most recent; more to give. Daring Disguise was a tough-trip fourth in last; very playable. Waynes Footsteps owns two seconds and two thirds from five starts; logical.

THIRD: Behind the Couch logged four tight works for first start in nine weeks; rates close call. Newly Minted has won three times in four starts; be no surprise. Kid Is Frosty moves to dirt after winning two straight on turf; right in the thick of this.

FOURTH: Tapizearance was gelded and worked five times since poor start in debut; improvement predicted. Lord Camden moves to dirt after late-running sixth in turf debut; worth long look. Scilly Cay concluded training tab with crisp 5-furlong drill; stay tuned to the tote.

FIFTH: Wegetsdamunnys overcame soft splits when a hard-charging winner in last; pairs up. Fifty Five delivers strong efforts with machinelike consistency; paltry price is the problem. English Soul is speedy and could prove a very tough customer on an unchallenged lead.

SIXTH: Joe's Smokin Gun is riding a forward line on the numbers; sitting on breakthrough with return to grass. Veterans Beach regressed in last after fast-figured placing in prior; rebound threat. Call Me Harry drew off to visually impressive score in debut; worth long look at long price.

SEVENTH: My Italian Rabbi has yet to taste defeat in two starts; call based on price potential. Fierce Lady lost a head bob to top selection when 35 cents on the dollar on July 18; beaten favorite again? Violent Point was a six-length maiden winner in last; don't ignore.

EIGHTH: Opportunist tallied rapid late-pace figure when surging winner in debut at Gulfstream; ready for prime time. Bull of Bayern has trained sharply since front-running maiden win on June 26; speedy and dangerous. Theitalianamerican owns two seconds and a third from three starts; must be factored into the mix.

NINTH: Voodoo Song makes peak start of form cycle and projects as the controlling speed. Dot Matrix packs solid late kick and will be in the garden spot if top selection hits the wall in the lane. Therapist is another that would be aided by pace meltdown; very playable.

10TH: Bankit notched swift late-pace figure when winning NY Derby at Finger Lakes last time; loves Spa loam, as well. Kazmania was a wire-to-wire winner in last and could play out as the dominant speed once again; very interesting. Blindwillie McTell owns fast back numbers; right in the thick of this on "A" effort.

11TH: The Happy Giant came up small on dirt last time but tallied fast final fraction on turf two starts back; primed for best. Sobersick N Sorry moves to turf after making forward move on the numbers in second career start; price will be tempting. Wacky Pal is fleet-footed and makes first start with maiden-claiming tag; dangerous. Big Wonder nearly stole it on the lead when third at 48-1 last time; don't dismiss.

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