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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews’ Saratoga selections for Wednesday, July 25

Best bet: SPRING ON CURLIN (10)

Best value: MASCARELLO (8)

FIRST: Officer Sydney looms the controlling front-runner in meet’s first jump race; tally ho. Mutasaawy is 1-for-1 over the Spa fences; dangerous. Lord Justice is more than good enough on best efforts.

SECOND: Hexameter compiled four tight works for first start with claiming tag. Raging Town also is training sharply and is speedy and adds blinkers; front-running threat. North End owns fast back figures; don’t ignore.

THIRD: Sport was pace-compromised when a willing second in last; more to give. Ding Dong Ditch owns fast figures and makes first start since moving to Todd Petcher barn. Electro is speedy and could prove very tough on a soft lead.

FOURTH: Rectify gets confident price boost after fast-figured, front-end score last month; pairs up. Summer Bourbon packs potent kick and could be in the garden spot if top selection hits the wall in the lane. Mr. Buff is fleet-footed and can be a tough customer on an unchallenged lead.

FIFTH: Damselfly has trained sharply since even fourth in debut; forward move predicted in field of newcomers. Bull Feathers compiled sneaky-good work tab for Phil Gleaves; very interesting. Chillinwithfriends is by a high-percentage first-out sire; follow the money.

SIXTH: Heartspoke projects as the speed of the speed in field that’s loaded with front-runners. Play Unified was a determined winner at this level in last; very dangerous. Pray for Leslie has yet to taste defeat in two starts at Churchill Downs; must consider.

SEVENTH: English Dancer is riding a two-race winning streak and has the benefit of the rail on tight-turned inner turf course. Hollywood Cat makes first start since claimed by Jason Servis; very playable. Codrington owns a win, a second and a third in three starts on Spa sod; right in the thick of this.

EIGHTH: Mascarello bested cheaper field at Suffolk Downs last time but loves Saratoga turf and could be ideally positioned in the stalker’s seat. Fox Rules is speedy and has top-notch, front-end rider Kendrick Carmouche aboard; very dangerous. Mo Diddley was second to a repeat winner in last; must be factored into the mix.

NINTH: Vertical Oak was done in by sizzling splits in last at Churchill Downs but owns two wins from three starts on Spa loam; quickest of the quick with aggressive ride from the rail. Chalon has fired two bullet works since handy win in last at Monmouth; very dangerous. Kirby’s Penny has won six of last eight starts and is 2-for-2 at Saratoga; right in the thick of this. Faypien is fresh, working sharply and could secure stalker’s seat; don’t ignore.

10TH: Spring on Curlin logged career-best number on Spa sod last summer and now drops to lifetime low and makes third start of form cycle; breakthrough predicted. Union Ranks owns speed, drops and needed last; worth long look. Moneigh Moproblems took backward step in last after strong third in prior; rebound potential. Four Knights makes first start since gelded and first start since claimed by Joe Sharp; very interesting.

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