Saratoga Racetrack: Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks

Joseph CiracoCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2011

$250,000 Grade 1 at Saratoga
$250,000 Grade 1 at Saratoga

Five very talented fillies are entered in today's nine-furlong feature at Saratoga.

Buster's Ready is the most experienced three-year-old in the field, with four wins in nine career starts. In her last race, she stalked an honest early pace and cruised home to win the Grade One Mother Goose at Belmont. Without a lot of other early speed, John Velazquez should be able to be near the lead without pushing her a lot.

Bob Baffert ships in this talented horse from California and she appears to be in top form. Despite finishing second in her last start, Plum Pretty won her prior two starts, including an incredible 25-length win on March 27. With a solid victory at the distance and an exceptional six-furlong work on July 17, I expect Plum Pretty to be a major factor.

Joyful Victory is the long shot in this race, but she's only 6:1, so she has the ability to win this race. Anytime leading New York jockey Ramon Dominguez is on a live horse, you should take notice.

Joyful Victory has been good, but not great in her last two races, finishing just third and fourth. However, the distance today is probably best suited for her late-closing running style.

Royal Delta has been awesome in her last two starts. Jose Lezcano remains aboard this solid horse and her only defeat was when Lezcano wasn't riding her. Her last race at Pimlico on May 20, Royal Delta romped home in 1:49.3 for nine furlongs, so she will have no trouble with the distance today.

The only things that scares me a little bit are the added five pounds today and the mediocre work over Saratoga on July 18.

It's Tricky that is really tricky to figure out. After winning her first three starts like a champion, she ran an absolute clunker at Gulfstream Park, where she lost by over 20 lengths.

On June 11, she rebounded to run her best race at Belmont but it was over a muddy track, where her breeding indicates a real like for that sort of surface. She's undefeated her in New York, but she's facing a good group today.

I'm going with Royal Delta. I see her stalking a fair but not fast early pace (despite the track being lightning fast) and passing Plum Pretty and Buster's Ready in the stretch. I won't be shocked if this race is run in about 1:49 flat.

Even though the size of the field is small for this $250,000 race, I really believe any of the five can win.