07/29/2008 1:19PM

Dark Day 1: 7/29/08

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Here's an amalgamation of the daily recaps from Week One. If you'd like to copy it into your own spreadsheet for further work or analysis, you can access it by clicking here.

I'd like to extend a shout-out of thanks to commenter Dan MacKenzie, who has caught several typos in these daily recaps. I appear to be in need of stronger reading glasses, but I defy even an eagle-eyed youngster to tell a 3 from an 8 on Saratoga's infield results board where they post the fractions and prices.


--Now that I've watched the replays of Monday's last four races that combined for my pick-4 score, I'm not offering to give the money back but am reminded that sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Let's go through the sequence:

Lucky2
Race 7: Since I used four mains and four backups in here, it's obviously not as if I was in love with Donna's Sandee ($21.60) and I'm just glad I made her a main instead of a backup since I would have zigzagged out of it had I gone the other way.

As one commenter noted, a caveman ticket of all my used horses would have been only $384 vs. the $320 I invested on a three-ticket main/backup play. I would only point out that it's not really that small a difference because I had the AAAA ticket for $2 rather than $1. It's been my long-term experience that it's better to press your best opinion a little bit -- you're supposed to get paid optimally when you're right. But yes, it would have been more than a little annoying to miss out with a CAAC result.

Race 8: A few of you have asked what there was to like about Over Forli ($41.60). As often is the case at least with me, you come up with 19-1 shots more because of your dislike or distrust of the favorites than because you love the particular horse. I thought the three perfectly logical horses were Windy (3-2), Silver Knockers (4-1) and Debbie Got Even (9-1) -- they were simply better than the others with recent, established form -- but all three are undependable types so I was looking for a stranger. Since being purchased out of Chile last year by Barry Schwartz, Over Forli had run only on synthetics and turf, though her best races had been on dirt in Chile. And with all due repect to Schwartz's California trainer, Eduardo Inda, he's no Mike Hushion, who scores frequently with horses the first time after they've been turned over to him. I wouldn't have been at all surprised to see Over Forli trail at every call, but in a race where I didn't trust anyone to run to par, she seemed worth a flyer. I might well have made her a backup, but since I liked the other three equally and didn't want to split them, it was just easier to go four deep on all tickets.

Race 9: Here's where I really got lucky, since I used only Kodiak Kowboy and Fidelio (who fell on his head at the start), leaving out 7-5 favorite Desert Key, who I thought was untested against quality horses and eligible to wilt if challenged early. After watching the race, it's clear to me that this was a bad opinion I was fortunate to survive: Desert Key was best. He withstood a blistering early challenge from Eaton's Gift (21.79/44.19), won that battle and drew clear, and it took perfect-trip Kodiak Kowboy the entire length of the stretch to get by him, and just barely. So I only narrowly, and perhaps unjustly, ducked telling a hard-luck tale of using 9-1, 19-1 and 15-1 winners and missing a 7-5 favorite.

Race 10: I'm not going to pat myself on the back for going six deep in a field of seven and including the winner of a painfully slow race where backup Royal Skip ($33.60) outstaggered six fellow off-the-turfers in a leaden 1:57.07 for nine furlongs. I'm just glad I picked up my four backups since one of my mains was pulled up and the other was arguably best, cutting out strong fractions before eventually surrendering during the endless stretch run.

The horrific outcome I ducked was a victory by 24-1 Milliondollar Moon, the only runner I didn't have covered, and this is why one shouldn't be driving through Ulster County while (unknowingly) alive for a score in the last leg of a multirace wager. Had I been following along, I absolutely would have made a $200 or $300 win saver on Milliondollar Moon at 24-1 to guarantee myself a $5k return for the whole mess. Instead, I left myself exposed to get absolutely nothing in a situation where that single hedge was a no-brainer.

Evan Gewirtz More than 1 year ago
Steve, While "Manojuma Day" is very catchy and was very cleverly cobbled together by you, I prefer "Faux Stakes Day." Maybe DRF or Nyra should sponser a third Saturday naming contest. Truthfully, I think P.J.did an excellent job in crafting an interesting card.
Steven_Crist More than 1 year ago
scott, My plan was to watch the replays and have my own little "Five Minute Pick Four," but I first went online to post reader comments here and saw some discussion of near-misses in an $18k pick-4 and mention of Over Forli winning. At that point, avarice and impatience sent me straight to the charts to learn my fate. When I saw I had it, I was perfectly happy thinking I had half of an $18k payoff and didn't realize it was twice that good until I started going through the charts an hour later. yuwipi, It looks like there were $10 worth of winning tickets sold through Kodiak Kowboy, who at 2-1 accounted for about 28 percent of the win pool. Fidelio at 5-1 accounted for about 14 percent of the win pool. So maybe it would have paid twice as much? jel, I never saw will-pays. Were you looking at a track feed, where NYRA (properly) displays all will-pays and probables on the $2 gold standard, or perhaps at a TVG or ADW feed that had converted them to $1 prices? $3,169 for $2 with the #12 sounds short to me. jim, As Matt Hegarty's story notes, this was an initial hearing held by a state-mandated panel on equine welfare issues. From everything I have heard, there is very little desire on the part of NY's track operators or horsemen to end dirt racing or to install synthetic surfaces, with the possible exception of an experimental training track.
zapper27 More than 1 year ago
Steve, et al., in hopping in on the multi-race wager discussion, I have an issue. It is my understanding that once a pick-3 starts in NY (which is where I play primarily), that if a late scratch occurs in leg 2 or 3, there would be a conso, the pick-3 payout would include the scratched horse, or a refund is given. Last night I had a horse at Mountaineer racing that I have been following. I bet her to WP, and in exactas, and in pick 3's which started the race before. The pick 3 ticket was a $3 ticket, using 3x1x4 totaling $36. The first leg I got home at $10.80; a decent start. Then with around 1 MTP for the next leg, my horse gets away during the post parade and is scratched with 0 MTP, thereby causing a delay. At that point I get all my exacata and WP money back, and I expected either a refund or a conso on my pick-3, thereby, no harm, no-foul. So I watch as the 2nd choice won at 2-1. In the 3rd leg, I had the winner which was also 2-1. Then I saw the payouts not including the conso with my scratched horse. It paid $305!!!! Then I knew they took my money and whoever else used my horse in the 6th, to generate that astronomical payout for a sequence of 9/2, 2-1, & 2-1. And finally, my $36 was down the tubes, and I had a restless nights sleep. Steve, do you know what's up with Mountaineer? Needless to say, I won't be doing any multiple race exotics there any more. Thanks.
Prozac Jack More than 1 year ago
to my friend " C"...I've not only survived this game I have SUCCESSFULLY fought for change and, I can tell you this after 55 years of "been there done that" I can tell you all anyone needs as far as information is concerned is "The FORM"...This is absolutely ALL you need, because the FORM gives you the RAW facts, and the facts don't lie............
Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
July 30 - LADY CARLOCK angled out while finishing 2nd on June 28 at Churchill. Drops a few pounds today. Interesting.
Unitas More than 1 year ago
Good Lord, please tell me it's not true- NYRA looking to possibly install synthetic surfaces(Gulp!)as racing surfaces...I could live with possibly installing a synthetic surface on a training track, but on the main track-please, no, never! It's ruined the game thus far in California, and the ramifications may be felt on a global level if horsemen refuse to send their charges to Del Mar for this years Breeders Cup! Leave well enough alone here in NY! We have a multitude of problems and issues here as far as racing goes, and it would be unthinkable of how a majority of hardened NY horseplayers would react to this product if a synthetic surface was introduced. Geez, I would start to embrace the IDT @ Aqueduct(NEVER thought I would say THAT) if synthetics made its way onto the NYRA scene. No, please, no, keep the sand, waxed fibers and rubber particles away FOREVER!
mattruther More than 1 year ago
Steve, In addition to my last post I want you to know that I see the value of playing "A" tickets with more money. I always do that. When you play that ticket do the odds determine who you are going to back up. On Mondays card I would have never backed that ticket up especially considering the last race. I appreciate what you do and read everything you put out. Thanks, Matt
Mr. B-52 More than 1 year ago
LOL. I sent Olbermann the Arrrrr race and they ran it last night on Countdown -- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#25922110 ... Congrats on the Pick 4, Steve. You should never apologize for being lucky though. I remember one time a friend cashed a $10k tri when he mistakenly used the wrong number horse. He left this fact out though when telling other friends about his score. I just let the bs train run and let him enjoy his win. Enjoy the rest of the meet.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Good morning! I am a virgin to this blog but I have been following along enjoyably for several months. I have played the nags for 38+ years and feel there is something to be learned every day or relearned-and relearned-AND RELEARNED! My handicapping strengths are higher class races, insofar as to ferret out a giant overlay when it is prudent, and my biggest weakness is horizontal plays. Thanks for allowing my input.
Flipper Dawson More than 1 year ago
Saratoga, Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 Race #6: Selection: 4 # 4 Summer Patriot* Tightened and should be fresh. In last passed lots except "Gravitational" after having early trouble. Some others recent lines may look better, but they've probably seen their peak. Many here have been in for a tag while others have had too many chances to exit this condition. Logical argument against..... is that some others have raced in ungraded stakes events. Don't think it matters. Safer Bet: a) # 4 To Win, Place of Show Race # 8: De La Rosa 80k Selections: 7/1/6/8 # 7 Stormy West* Lots like #4 Carriage Trail with Prado, and also her adequate efforts in Graded Stake races. Don't think the mare is fast enough at 1 mile. Could be a close finish, but we think our favorite shows enough speed at this distance (except for 1 race on off-track), and should be nicely tightened after a game finish in last.. Safer Bet: a) # 7 to Win, Place or Show Exotics: b) Exacta Boxes: 1/6/7, 1/7/8, 6/7/8 c) Trifecta Box: 1/6/7/8 Good Luck, Flipper