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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews’ Saratoga selections for Saturday, Aug. 11

Best Bet: SOUTHERN PHANTOM (2)

Best Value: ALWAYS A SUSPECT (9)

FIRST: Bootlegger, 1-for-1 on Spa turf, is riding a forward line on the numbers and makes third start of form cycle. Prognostication compiled eye-catching work tab for first start since October for Chad Brown; very dangerous. Lemonist owns fast back numbers and makes first start since gelded; right in the thick of this.

SECOND: Southern Phantom tallied solid late-pace figure when fifth in debut; half-mile bullet last week seals the deal. Unionizer adds blinkers and has trained sharply since non-threatening seventh in first start; improvement predicted. Chief Executive is training sharply for debut; follow the money.

THIRD: Sue’s Fortune visually impressed when winning debut by more than eight lengths; more to come. Lyrical Lady was just as impressive when taking first start by more than five lengths; very dangerous. Virginia Eloise lived up to heavy tote support when winning debut by an expanding five lengths; right in the thick of this.

FOURTH: Teachable Moment logged swift final fraction when third in sprint debut; added ground plays to strength. Winning Factor bested top selection by a head when a game second on July 8; big-time player. Opry is working swiftly for debut for Todd Pletcher; could be the goods.

FIFTH: Dr. Edgar battled through scorching splits when an ultra-game second last out; more to give in second start since 10-month layoff. Lunaire is rested and owns fast late-pace figures; worth long look. Rapt consistently delivers strong efforts and makes peak start of form cycle.

SIXTH: Road Home passed six rivals from stretch call to the finish when a solid second in debut; added furlong adds to appeal. Derby Date displayed speed and faded in valuable race over the track on July 28; worth long look at long price. A Thread of Blue noticeably picked up the tempo in final two workouts; very interesting.

SEVENTH: Queen Mum gets favorable cutback to sprint and makes third start since seven-month absence; sitting on breakthrough. Munchkin Money is fresh, training with a purpose and packs potent kick on “A” efforts; very dangerous. La Naturel has hit the board in all seven starts; must be considered.

EIGHTH: Divisidero made sustained rally to win Grade 3 Arlington Handicap last out; ready for prime time. Voodoo Dancer is speedy and 4-for-4 on Spa sod; very dangerous. Made You Look, 1-for-1 on Saratoga turf, is fresh and owns fast figures.

NINTH: Always a Suspect tallied solid final fraction when a determined winner on Day 2 of meet; pairs up. Patternrecognition owns fast numbers but has finished second in five of eight starts; runner-up again? Spikes Shirl packs strong late kick and could be in the garden spot if pace meltdown ensues.

TENTH: Zennor has been sidelined for more than a year but owns two wins on Spa sod and notched swift half-mile drill on Monday; all systems go. Projected owns fast late-pace figures and is favorably posted on the fence; very playable. Mr Cub owns positional speed and competitive numbers; don’t overlook.

ELEVENTH: Shanghai Dreams has trained strongly since better-than-it-looks fourth in debut; needs scratches to escape AE list. Hit a Provisional, also below AE line, made strong rally for second when eight wide entering stretch in debut; very playable. Grand Banks, another that’s on outside looking in, is 0-for-20 but owns fast figures; must factor into mix. Super Mama is training consistently for first start in more than a year; don’t ignore. Crater Rim was compromised by slow fractions and wide trip last time; price will be tempting.

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