All the talk about today’s 2nd race at Saratoga, a six-furlong dirt sprint for maiden juvenile fillies, centers around Rachel’s Valentina. A daughter of champion Rachel Alexandra out of Bernardini, she certainly has the breeding to be a pretty good racehorse. She certainly has the connections, as well, with high-flying Spa pair Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez behind her.
Of course, she will also be chalk.
Instead, I’m going to look to Renown (5). 15/1 on the morning line, Renown stands to fly under the radar with so many other high-flying babies for high-flying New York connections in the field.
This Street Cry daughter out of the Storm Cat mare Miss Kate has been working regularly through the spring and summer. Most of her works have been four furlongs, though she has a recent five-furlong move as well. Rider Kendrick Carmouche has a 21% win rate and a +$0.38 ROI with Brisnet “NA” types — suggesting some prowess as a rider of inexperienced maidens.
Though trainer George Arnold has been just two for his last 74 with first-time starters, he did get Renown’s half-sister Katerbug (Pulpit) home first-out at age two. That is one of my favourite contrarian angles. Half-brother Heron Lake (Bernardini) also got the job done at first asking, albeit in January of his three-year-old year for a different barn. This further suggests precocity in the pedigree.
This is speculative — but, really, what pick in a two-year-old maiden race with so many first-time starters isn’t? Rachel’s Valentina may be the buzz horse, but the value sits with Renown.