The Monday Special & Picks – Sept. 5

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Leave No Trace, a $40,000 yearling purchase last year, rolls to victory in Sunday’s Grade 1 Spinaway for WellSpring Stable, trainer Phil Serpe and jockey Jose Lezcano. NYRA Photo.

It all comes down to this.

Closing Day at Saratoga Race Course. There’s rain and a chill in the air, along with champagne on ice for the soon-to-be (again) leading handicapper at The Saratoga Special, John Shapazian. He takes a big lead into Day 40, and it would take a complete collapse and total miracle for John to not walk away with his umpteenth crown.

Meanwhile, Phil Serpe and his team celebrated winning Sunday’s Grade 1 Spinaway with Leave No Trace. Some of our team might have crashed the winner’s circle photo – from behind the fence of course – and celebrated the win for one of the good guys from slightly afar.

Closing Day means it’s time for the Hopeful. Nobody likes winning it more than Steve Asmussen. He sends out Gulfport, while D. Wayne Lukas goes for his ninth Hopeful win with 8-length Saratoga maiden winner Bourbon Bash. You read that right, too, Lukas with eight Hopeful wins so far.

Here’s the final edition of The Special for the 2022 Saratoga meet. See you in 2023. Safe travels and good luck.

Worth Repeating
“It wasn’t like we were 3-5, but the odds almost don’t matter in races like this because you just don’t know who these fillies are yet and some of them are going to get better.”
Trainer Phil Serpe after winning the Spinaway at 14-1 with Leave No Trace

“This is like a stroll through Congress Park.”
Announcer John Imbriale as Annapolis neared the finish of Saturday’s Saranac Stakes

“It never was.”
Jockey Junior Alvarado when asked if the 1 ¼-mile distance was a concern for Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Olympiad

By the Numbers
5: Win advantage for Chad Brown over Todd Pletcher entering Day 40 of the meet. Brown leads the trainer standings with 40 victories.

6: Wins at the meet for trainer Phil Serpe, from 15 starters including Sunday’s Grade 1 Spinaway with Leave No Trace.

53: Wins for leading jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. heading into the final day of the meet.

27,434: Attendance Sunday at Saratoga.

40,000: Dollars spent by WellSpring Stable to buy Spinaway winner Leave No Trace at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale.

Monday’s Saratoga picks – Sept. 5
John Shapazian continues to slam the door on any would-be challengers to his unofficial King of Saratoga handicapping title. He heads into the final day of the meet with an 11-win lead over Tom Law. John has 135 winners, three shy of his winning total last year.

Here are the picks for Monday, Sept. 5. Labor Day. Closing Day. Good luck.

1-Boogie Down Bronx, Atomic Girl, Luna’s Song.
2-Blame It On Daddy, Uncle Marty, Impressor.
3-Mouillage, Dynadrive, City Man.
4-Crowding Out, Unlock, Union Dolly.
5-Backyard Money, She Caught My Eye, Aidanike.
6-Sweet Mystery, New Ginya, Schwartz entry.
7-Sounds Spooky, Nobilis, Radio Red.
8-Gentleman Joe, American Tattoo, Air Attack.
9-Bold Victory, Digital Software, Reckless Spirit.
10-Shalimar Gardens, Len Lo Lady, Jane Grey.
11-Gulfport, Mo Strike, Blazing Sevens.
12-Ribot’s Valentine, Tosconova Beauty, Sue Ellen Mishkin.

TOM LAW (126/405):
1-Souffle, Kara Para, Three Girls.
2-Mr. Marlin, Blame It On Daddy, Atlanta’s Acuna.
3-City Man, Mouillage, Dynadrive.
4-True Empress, Unlock, Crowding Out.
5-Aidanike, Daily Briefing, Backyard Money.
6-Caramocha, Stella Mars, Whatlovelookslike.
7-Leftembehind, Sounds Spooky, Arctic Arrogance.
8-Air Attack, Pioneer Spirit, Portos.
9-I Am The Law, Bold Victory, War Strategy.
10-Jane Grey, Big City Momma, Shalimar Gardens.
11-Mo Strike, Gulfport, Bourbon Bash.
12-Fancy Feline, Sue Ellen Mishkin, Tosconova Beauty.

1-Souffle, Luna’s Song, Reign Of Thunder.
2-Blame It On Daddy, Impressor, Uncle Marty.
3-City Man, Emaraaty, Mouillage.
4-Crowding Out, Mostly Harmless, Silken Dollar.
5-Backyard Money, Aidanike, She Caught My Eye.
6-Schwartz entry, New Ginya, Russiarussiarussia.
7-Radio Red, Leftembehind, Nobilis.
8-Gentleman Joe, Air Attack, War Stopper.
9-Bold Victory, Digital Software, Reckless Spirit.
10-Shalimar Gardens, Cocktail Moments, More Ammo.
11-Gulfport, Forte, Mo Strike.
12-Sue Ellen Mishkin, Juliana’s Rose, Tellaperfecttale.

ROB WHITLOCK (115/405):
1-Souffle, Showemyourheels, Luna’s Song.
2-Blame It On Daddy, Impressor, Mr. Marlin.
3-City Man, Mouillage, Emaraaty.
4-Crowding Out, Crosstalk, Smokin Hot Kitty.
5-She Caught My Eye, Aidanike, Backyard Money.
6-Sweet Mystery, Schwartz entry, Waterville.
7-Radio Red, Sounds Spooky, Pagett.
8-Portos, Night Ops, Grumps Little Tots.
9-Bold Victory, Digital Software, Reckless Spirit.
10-Minute Waltz, Big Hot Mama, Wicked Hot.
11-Gulfport, Forte, Mo Strike.
12-Juliana’s Rose, Fancy Feline, Tosconova Beauty.

1-Bode’s Girl, Atomic War, Luna’s Song.
2-Mr. Marlin, Impressor, Uncle Marty.
3-Mouillage, Ocala Dream, City Man.
4-Union Dolly, Crowding Out, Mostly Harmless.
5-Sister Supream, She Caught My Eye, Spooky Road.
6-New Ginya, Whatlovelookslike, Russiarussiarussia.
7-Sounds Spooky, Radio Red, Arctic Arrogance.
8-Portos, American Tattoo, Night Ops.
9-Reckless Spirit, Splendid Summer, Digital Software.
10-Wicked Hot, Jane Grey, Big City Momma.
11-Gulfport, Mo Strike, Forte.
12-Tosconova Beauty, Steal My Heart, Juliana’s Rose.