Thursday’s Saratoga picks – July 23

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What’s that cliché, the more things change the more they stay the same?

Such is the scenario so far at the 2020 Saratoga meet with The Saratoga Special’s handicappers with John Shapazian off to a lightning-fast start after another big day to start Week 2.

John picked five of the 10 winners Wednesday, including the first three races, to improve his season mark to 21-for-51 or 41.2 percent. He leads by two wins over Tom Law, who led going into Sunday’s card but is back to a familiar spot behind Shapazian heading into Thursday’s card the features the Grade 1 A.P. Smithwick steeplechase and Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Series. Tom heads into Thursday with a record of 19-for-51 or 37.3 percent.

Charles Bedard and Rob Whitlock are tied for third with solid records of 14-for-51, 27.5 percent.

The handicappers dig into Thursday’s 10-race card and they’re divided on the Smithwick – two for Moscato, one for Optimus Prime and one for Gibralfaro – and united on the Statue of Liberty with even-money favorite Fresco from the hot-starting Christophe Clement barn a unanimous selection.

Don’t forget the handicapper’s picks appear in the Wednesday and Saturday digital editions of The Saratoga presented by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. Make sure you sign up for our email list to get notified for all daily picks, or to download all the 2020 or prior year editions here.

JOHN SHAPAZIAN (21/51, 41.2 percent):
1-Optimus Prime, Moscato, Pravalaguna.
2-Wonder In, Invest, Thomas Shelby.
3-Plum Ali, Mo Normal, Anamuya.
4-Fresco, Dixie Cannon, Officer Hutchy.
5-Ahead Of Plan, Irish Front, O’ Trouble.
6-Primacy, Simplicity, Kitten By The Sea.
7-Bertranda, Big Q, Fierce Lady.
8-French Reef, Its A Wrap, Obsessed.
9-Honest Mischief, Admiral Lynch, Captain Scotty.
10-Deputy Flag, Financial Stability, Continuum.

TOM LAW (19/51, 37.3 percent):
1-Moscato, Optimus Prime, Gibralfaro.
2-Wonder In, Carthon, Thomas Shelby.
3-Mo Normal, Uptown Flirt, Aunt Mary.
4-Fresco, Nicky Scissors, Dixie Cannon.
5-Ahead Of Plan, O’Trouble, Instinctive Rhythm.
6-Primacy, Balon Rose, Simplicity.
7-Fierce Lady, Big Q, Bertranda.
8-French Reef, Modesto, Its A Wrap
9-Honest Mischief, Mihos, Wendell Fong.
10-Financialstability, Continuum, Deputy Flag.

CHARLES BEDARD (14-for-51, 27.5 percent):
1-Moscato, Bellarius, Optimus Prime.
2-Wonder In, Carthon, Northern Haze.
3-Lost Lake, Mo Normal, Uptown Flirt.
4-Fresco, Nicky Scissors, Dixie Cannon.
5-Ahead Of Plan, Instinctive Rhythm, O’Trouble.
6-Primacy, Balon Rose, Kitten By The Sea.
7-Bertranda, Bustin To Please, Puffery.
8-It’s A Wrap, Union Colonel, Ethos.
9-Honest Mischief, Captain Scotty, Admiral Lynch.
10-Financialstability, Continuum, Mine The Coin.

ROB WHITLOCK (14-for-51, 27.5 percent):
1-Gibralfaro, Pravalaguna, Redicean.
2-Carthon, Wonder In, Thomas Shelby.
3-Mo Normal, Lost Lake, Uptown Flirt.
4-Fresco, Dixie Cannon, Officer Hutchy.
5-Ahead Of Plan, Irish Front, O’Trouble.
6-Primacy, Simplicity, Kitten By The Sea.
7-Fierce Lady, Jc’s Shooting Star, Big Q.
8-Ethos, French Reef, Union Colonel.
9-Mihos, Admiral Lynch, Honest Mischief.
10-No Lime, Continuum, Prince Of New York.