Saratoga Special Stakes Odds & Betting Picks

Six previous winners come together for the G2 Saratoga Special Stakes at the Spa on Saturday, with impressive maiden winner Rhyme Schemes a heavy chalk over promising debut scorers Edified and Haul.

Saratoga Special Stakes

G2, $200,000, 6 1/2f dirt, 2yo, 5.06pm ET

There is a lack of quantity about the Saratoga Special, the historic second leg of the ‘Spa Triple’ for two-year-old colts, but Saturday’s supporting feature does not look short on quality with several impressive maiden winners bidding to step up.

The morning-line is all over Rhyme Schemes (4-5), who did not show a great deal on debut but was mighty impressive next time at Ellis Park over five and a half furlongs, when the application of blinkers was a big positive.

He broke on top and ran his rivals out of town, rolling gate-to-wire to score wrapped-up by nine and a half lengths. Such a dominant performance can often indicate moderate opposition, but the runner-up finished second next time and the third, sixth and seventh have all won since, so it all looks on the level.

Steve Asmussen has a good record in this race, winning it five times including two of the last six, and he sends Edified (7-2), who was an authoritative winner on debut at Ellis over six furlongs, clearing away to win by three and a half lengths. There is obviously scope for plenty of improvement and the extra yardage will be welcome.

Haul (3-1) was another dominant debut winner, getting the job done over five and a half furlongs at Belmont Park by three lengths, justifying short odds for a victory that was obviously expected. He has top-rank connections, always a pointer in this type of contest – Todd Pletcher has been in excellent form at the current meet – and there is the possibility of considerable improvement.

So too was Lasso (15-1), coming from the back to the front over five furlongs to win by three and a half lengths on a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park, going the overland route but still much too strong. The third home there has won since and it is possible he could be an overlay at the morning-line odds.

Like the favourite, the second time was the charm for Woodcourt (10-1), who was the rank outsider at 19-1 when toughing it out over five and a half furlongs at Ellis, scoring by a length and a quarter. The runner-up won next time out, a good sign, but Woodcourt’s overall profile needs a little polish in comparison with the fancied horses here. He makes his first start for Brendan Walsh.

The only one with stakes experience is Ellis debut winner Market Street (10-1), who went off at 13-1 for the 2023 G3 Sanford here over six furlongs and raced prominently until dropping away in the final furlong to finish sixth, beaten eight lengths. That experience, albeit in defeat, is a positive, but this race is no easier and he will need to turn things around fast.

2023 Saratoga Special Stakes Betting Odds

Two-year-old races are always tricky, but HAUL won well on debut and, at the advertised odds, makes plenty of appeal with improvement almost certain.

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
LassoEdgard J. Zayas+1500
Market StreetJaime A. Torres+1000
WoodcourtJose L. Ortiz+1000
HaulIrad Ortiz, Jr.+300
EdifiedJoel Rosario+350
Rhyme SchemesRicardo Santana, Jr.-125

Check out the 2023 Saratoga Special: Rhyme Schemes dominates the field

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