Saratoga: The best way to bet the Bernard Baruch

Profile Picture: Keeler Johnson

July 25th, 2020

Trainer Chad Brown is so dominant with turf horses, handicappers have a tendency to look favorably upon any horse he enters in a graded stakes race on grass.

It’s a wise approach, because Brown boasts a phenomenal record in those races. He has been particularly dominant with fillies and mares. He has won with 25% of his female starters in graded turf stakes, which is amazing, considering how many times Brown enters two or more horses in a single race.

But Brown is a bit less dominant with male grass stars and strikes at a 20% rate in graded stakes races. This could be something to keep in mind when Brown saddles #2 Good Governance (9-5) in Sunday’s Bernard Baruch H. (G2) at Saratoga.

A son of talented turf miler Kingman, Good Governance has shown promise in his three starts. Beaten a neck in the 2019 Saranac (G3) at Saratoga, Good Governance recently returned from a long layoff to rally and win a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Belmont Park by 3 3/4 lengths.

But from a Brisnet Speed rating perspective, Good Governance will need improvement to keep up with his Bernard Baruch rivals. An 89 stands as his best figure, and the 101 Brisnet Late Pace rating he posted in his comeback run doesn’t stand out in this competitive field.

Does this mean Good Governance can’t vie for victory? Not necessarily. There’s a chance he’ll show improvement in his second start off the layoff. But as the 9-5 morning-line favorite, he doesn’t offer much value.

Instead, I’ll favor #6 Halladay (2-1), a speedy frontrunner who has developed into a classy miler for trainer Todd Pletcher. After he wired a 1-mile allowance at Gulfstream Park in the excellent time of 1:32.65, Halladay cruised to a comfortable victory in Gulfstream’s 1 1/16-mile Sunshine Forever S., where he led all the way to score by 1 1/4 lengths in a blistering 1:38.66.

The latter performance was especially noteworthy, because Halladay beat terrific competition. Runner-up Aquaphobia later won the United Nations (G1), third-place finisher Social Paranoia recently claimed the Poker (G3), and fourth-place runner Admission Office came right back to win the Louisville (G3).

Against just five rivals in the Bernard Baruch, Halladay figures to work out a clean trip on or just off the pace. With a pair of 102 Brisnet Speed ratings, Halladay will be tough to catch Sunday at Saratoga.

Let’s bet Halladay to win and key him over Good Governance in a cold exacta.

$20 to win on #6 Halladay
$10 exacta: 6 with 2

Good luck!