06/12/2009 10:50AM

Damp Doublecarry Day


11:50 am: Showery, sloppy and off the turf for Friday's $109k double-carryover at Belmont on the first twilight card of the season.

First post is 3 p.m., with Commentator still scheduled to prep for the Whitney in the third race, where he's 1-5 on the ML for the $65k Kashatreya Stakes for statebreds. The pick-6, unhit Wednesday and Thursday, begins one race later:

I'll update the field sizes in the chart above after scratches are posted; I'm expecting lots of them.

--Commentator, who finished second to Curlin in the balloting for champion older male last year, is the first of five multiple G1 winners running in the next three days who have been finalists for Eclipse Awards over the last two years:

I'll be back when today's scratches are up.

1:20 pm: The sun's out for a while on what's turning into a steamy afternoon. Scratches are in, including 26 of them in the pick-6 sequence. We're down to a 7x7x7x5x5x8. You can buy it for $137,200. I was planning on about $136k less.


4th: 1,9,10; 5th: 2,3,4; 6th: 4; 7th: 1,2,2b,4,6,7,8,9; 8th:1a,2,4,5,6,7; 9th: 1a,5,7,9,11

Ajacover2:45 pm: Regardless of how the pick-6 comes out, it's been a winning day: I had been bummed out that the only three days that the summer Steely Dan tour was coming through New York were the first three days of Saratoga. I schemed and checked Albany airline schedules, but there was just no way to make an 8 pm curtain without missing some racing. But this morning they added three more shows including one on August 4, the first dark day of the meeting, and I just grabbed a pair online. Early warning: I might not be back in time for the early double Aug. 5th.


4:20 pm: Well that was weird. Commentator won the Kashatreya at 1-5 as expected, but that had to be the first time in his career that he's run faster late than early. Commentator, ridden by John Velazquez, absolutely strolled to the lead, getting away with a half-length lead through an opening half-mile in 48.94, which just about warmed him up enough to run the second half-mile in 46.71 for an easy 7-length victory in 1:35.65. You'd call it a paid public workout if he'd had to work at any point. Commentator, now 14- for 23, ran his four quarters in 24.75, 24.19, 23.23 and 23.48.

The weird fractions weren't a function of the wet (now officially "muddy") track. Once race earlier, maiden claimers went the opening half in 46.93 and finished in 1:39.04, meaning the second half of that race went in 52.11.

Seven firsters in the upcoming first leg. The Rick Dutrow trainee opened as the 8-5 favorite, but the surprise was that the CO-second choices come from Todd Pletcher and Kathleen Feron. When a Pletcher and a Feron firster are the same price, that suggests a LOT of whispers on Feron, not so much on Pletcher. At least that's how I'm proceeding.

Time to put in the tickets.

4:45 pm: Guessed right with Dutrow and Feron, who ran 1-2 in that order to open up my "C" tickets later on. The play below ran $1260 -- $648 for the all-A's-andB's main ticket, and six backups totalling another $612:


Why did I single the Dutrow firster as an A? Well, in addition to my wanting to keep the play to around $1200,it was how heavily he was pounded in the multirace bets, especially in the double from Commentator -- which paid the exact same $5.30 for $2 that Cajun Jet did to win.

The Feron firster, Cayo Hueso, broke sharply under Prado and went to the lead under Prado, who looked back to his inside at the top of the stretch as if he were home free. But Cajun Jet, who'd been third behind him at the rail, had just switched to the outside and suddenly blew past Prado and Cayo Hueso, seemingly before he saw them coming, to win by 3 1/4 lengths in 57.76.

5:05 pm: I wasn't entirely sold on the Papa Jerry/Five Demon Bag entry at 3-5, but they ran 1-2 with no one else close to complete a very chalky start to the sequence.

I guess the people who pounded Cajun Jet in the 3-4 double didn't get involved in the 3-4-5 pick-3: The Commentator-Cajun Jet double paid $5.30, but the pick-3 adding a 3-5 shot paid more than three times as much at $16.40.

Berlinwall 6:15 pm: Ask me in an hour whether I'm glad that 6-1 I'llthinkofsumthin nosed out 1-1 Salt Water Reign. If I get there with my sad little 2x1 ticket, it will have been a delightful result, but with the fave I'd have been3x2 and 2x4 and 4x1, albeit preceded by four straight winning favorites.

In the meantime: Free at last! My weekend columns have been liberated from behind the paywall and you can click here to read the one in the Sunday paper. Feel free to use this blog to quarrel or huzzah about any of them, starting with this offering on why we should leave the Triple Crown alone.

6:45 pm: You only had to wait half an hour to ask. On the other hand, I'm not going to whine about not being alive to a pick-6 that would probably be paying less than I put in had an even-money shot won.  Hopeful Image was a big price at $19.20 as my third choice, but alas a B when I needed an A. The probables are $4,867 to the 12, Seek On, and $5,270 to the 10, Brockly Rob, but since all the scratched horses are listed with a probable of $5,270, those willpays may be based on Brockly Rob's having opened a slight favorite. I suspect that honor will go to Seek On by post time, perhaps changing the payoffs slightly.

7:30 pm: Brockly Rob easily, Seek On never got a call and checked in next-to-last as the favorite. The sequence paid $5,270. On to tomorrow.