08/17/2007 12:49AM



You wouldn't have expected to see any track records set at Saratoga Thursday, given a dreary card where seven of the eight flat races were for maidens, statebreds or claimers, And you wouldn't have expected Saratoga's newest track-record holder to be a 13-1 shot who was bought for $10,000 three months ago. But that's exactly what happened when a 2-year-old filly named Secret Gypsy won her debut in the 6th race, scoring by 6 1/4 lengths and stopping the timer in a record 1:03.26 for 5 1/2 furlongs. The time was 0.06 seconds faster than the mark of 1:03.32 established on Opening Day in 2001 by Mayakovsky in a maiden race for 2-year-old males.

Secret Gypsy was a pretty well-kept secret, showing three half-mile Saratoga works of 48, 48-2 and 49 after four similar breezes at Churchill Downs. On Thursday, she kicked up a fuss about loading into the gate, then rocketed to the lead in fractions of 21.70 and 44.59, widening her lead at every call over well-meant Zito firster Overandabeauty. Secret Gypsy, a daughter of the Storm Cat stallion Sea of Secrets and the unraced Rahy mare Miss Utada, was purchased in May for $10k at a 2-year-old in training sale. and is trained by Ronny Werner.

Werner, best known for his work with Badge of Silver, Ermine and Unbridled Sydney, has long been renowned for getting young horses to run fast races. He has won with 28 first-timers from 188 starters over the last five years, though only two of those paid more than Secret Gypsy and most paid 4-1 or less.

Secret Gypsy's race was the lynchpin on an overlapping-pick-four Thursday, completing an an early sequence that paid $840 (including a race with multiple late scratches where the 4-5 winner was effectively 2-5) and kicking off a $4,108 late sequence where the other winners paid only $10.20, $6.80 and $7.70.

Secret Gypsy's record time earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99, the second highest by a 2-year-old filly in North America this year behind the sidelined Rated Feisty's 103 at Churchill Downs May 3. The day that Mayakovsky set the previous mark, the track was deemed a bit slower than Thursday's and the colt earned a Beyer of 104. (Trivial digression: Who was the runner-up to Mayakovsky that day, earning a 99, who later ran second at long odds in a major Grade 1 race? Answer below.)

Secret Gypsy's 99 was one point better than Kodiak Kowboy got for winning the G2 Saratoga Special against colts an hour later in his fifth career start. Kodiak Kowboy waited for room on the turn before bursting through to score by 3 lengths over The Roundhouse in 1:15.95 for 6 1/2 furlongs. The day's only other dirt sprint was an unimpressive-looking 2-year-old statebred maiden claimer where firster Piquante Cat ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.51, 2.25 seconds slower than Secret Gypsy.

Trivial answer: On July 25, 2001, Mayakovsky scored by 1 1/4 lengths over Thunderello, who 15 months later ran second at 48-1 to Orientate in the 2002 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington.

--Weekly reminder:


Wake up! Post time is 1 p.m. Friday.

Dave Schabell More than 1 year ago
At least they still allow horses to run on real dirt in NY. I used to love betting the Del Mar meet but SoCal racing has become artificial like arena football. Don't be too sure that polytrack won't be invading the spa before long. On a recent (last weekend) broadcast that preceeded the Siro's Seminar, a high-ranking NYRA official who was being interviewed stated that they were "looking into" the possibility of transforming the main track at Saratoga to poly AND reconstructing the present turf courses into a large single course where they can better adjust the rail settings to preserve the course for the entire meet.
wayne More than 1 year ago
Doggies, the St. Francis/St. Charles allows pets, no extra charge. Not a fashionable place, but convenient. Stadium cafe allowed us to sit on the patio and eat. Again, not fashionable, but solid. There is a "cocktails with canines" night at one of the downtown pubs the name of which escapes me, but ask around. Check dogfriendly.com. While on the subject of dogs, the Toddster has not been the same since returning from his recent mandated vacation. Could be coincidence but..
race More than 1 year ago
Steven--I've got an Australian Shepherd that I take to work with me, do you take your dogs with you as well everywhere?
birdman More than 1 year ago
I seen it with my own eyes .and it was awesome.......the time was deffently on the money
C.Rich More than 1 year ago
Steve, NYRA is doing such a great job this meet. The horses have a hard time getting out of the gate and when they run fast nobody believes that the times are correct. At least they still allow horses to run on real dirt in NY. I used to love betting the Del Mar meet but SoCal racing has become artificial like arena football. Are there any rumors/reasons why Pletcher's horses have fallen off so drastically? Has he overexpanded his operations?
mikethedog More than 1 year ago
IT'S MOTT MY FAULT Mott had three entries today and won with all three. A $20 win parlay on the three returned over $2,200.00.
miethedog More than 1 year ago
Steve: no other way to put it than this: the card on Sunday, 8/19 absolutely stinks. Might be the worst card for a weekend racing day up here that I have ever seen. To wit: the first three races of the day are maiden races---five of the ten carded races are for maidens, and two of those five are for state breds ---- of the, other five races, two are allowance races for state breds. I mean, c'mon. Couldn't they have carded some of these races for the last week of the meet? This is pitiful. Your thoughts,please?
Silver Charm More than 1 year ago
Two dirt Track Records in one meet. Hmmmm. Could there be more coming. Can't wait to watch and find out. Last time I saw a two year old bulldoze his way through like Kodiak Kowboy did was Summer Squall in the Hopeful. Starting to see more and more exciting two years olds as the Saratoga meet moves on. I think there are several more to come.
Floppydog More than 1 year ago
Flop is deeply concerned that your magnificent Friday post time reminders aren't allowed with you everywhere, or at most places, in Saratoga. You'd think a horse-worshipping town would extend its love to well-behaved doggies like me, but that's just not the case. The Holiday Inn's cool. They always allow me, albeit on the 93rd floor. They're the best in town but they're often booked. The Grand Union said fine, with an extra charge, but then asked me where the crate was when I checked in---that was promptly settled (guard-dog mode, lip lifted). Most restaurants won't allow me to sit on their patios; I have to be tied to the curbside tree or over the border, where shade seems as often as a three-day carryover. Oh, Steven Crist, as my houndy eyes begin to mist, take up the cause, a cause for the paws, and lead with your fist. Loyal readers of your blog must rally to the fight like Turkoman going six at Hialeah, or Ghostzapper going seven at this dog-dismissing town just a few years ago. Where can I stay? Where can I eat that doesn't have me sizzling in the August son like chicken fajita. Flop needs you! And you! And you and you!
bemo More than 1 year ago
Sunday August 19th - DUBLINER runs again. Do ya think he will be favored by the savvy New York crowd? Again?