08/22/2007 12:23AM

Dark Day #4


I didn't crunch a single number Tuesday and have yet to crack the cover on Wenesday's DRF. New York horseplayers aren't accustomed to this six-day-a-week racing, and we all face burnout from it during the six weeks of Saratoga, even those of us lucky enough to spend the first five of them in Saratoga Springs itself.
So today I slept in and then sampled some of the town's other pleasures.

There's a place on Broadway offering "New Age aromatherapy and waxing" but I wasn't quite that burned out, so instead the afternoon began with a stroll through Congress Park, where you can soak up a lot of fresh air, history and local flavor even without visiting the actual History Museum. But there's a working restored carousel, a crafts fair most Tuesdays, and lots of weird old monuments and fountains that will make you feel virtuous for having eyeballed them.

Then it was on to a screening of "The First Saturday in May," an unreleased documentary I'll write more about later this week. It's a wonderfully-crafted story of six horses (including Barbaro) and their roads to the 2006 Kentucky Derby, and it finished 2nd of 180 movies in the Tribeca Film Festival last spring in the voting for the audience favorite. (It's astounding to me that the film hasn't found a distributor yet, but neither did the funniest movie I've seen this year.)

A little shopping on Broadway followed, including a visit to Saratoga Saddlery, where the charming Australian proprietor charmed me into two unnecessary purchases. I'm a sucker for a salesman who keeps calling me "mate." He was inches away from also selling Mrs. Blog a new hat but then made the fatal mistake of telling her that the dashing chapeau was trimmed with genuine kangaroo. Talk about a deal-killer.

I won't belabor the very mediocre Mexican dinner at the new Cantina place on the former site of Professor Moriarty's, but the evening's dining was redeemed via a short walk across Broadway to Eugenio's Cafe Gelato, which does light lunches and dinners but where everyone goes for the homemade gelato, available in 15 to 20 flavors. Caramel, mango, capuccino and zabaglione varieties were sampled and met with voracious approval.

And now, at last, I feel sufficiently refreshed to ponder whether Chief's Lake can possibly get nine furlongs in Wednesday's featured Albany Handicap.

Mark L. More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the tip about Idiocracy. HILARIOUS. Final Presidential speech has to be one of the funniest movie moments of all time. Steve, have you ever considered tying your love for poker with racing? Here's my idea: DRF sponsors a day-night double-header handicapping contest followed by a NL hold-em tournament on-line. What do you think?
JMW More than 1 year ago
Steve, I'm dying to know -- can I see that documentary in town this week, or was it a special screening you were invited to? Sounds great...
wayne More than 1 year ago
Stunt Man looks like the logical choice to run down Chief's Lake and spoil his attempt to become the first winner of the NY Bred Triple Crown (not to mention bring home the 250k bonus).
Phil J More than 1 year ago
Often just as I start to feel burned out after a few months of serious handicapping/playing I'll cash a ticket that reinvigorates my horse playing mind and spirit. After a couple rough weeks at the windows and computer I connected today on a $1048 Pick 3 at Penn National of all places with a $32 dollar ticket. 4x4x1 ... winners paid $20.60 - $18.40 - $5.00 ... All the sudden I was itching for tomorrows Form and Travers Week.
bruce christensen More than 1 year ago
as recommended by steve davidowitz--divide your year into "seasons" to avoid burnout. works great for me.
D Mac More than 1 year ago
Steve -- A dark day and you didn't flop chin deep into a tub at the Roosevelt baths? After forgetting to play the $751 Pick 3 on the 3rd-5th and then losing the photo in the 7th race on Sunday that blew up my double and Pick 3 on Sunday and then a brain freeze on Monday when I did not include Desormeux's horse in 8th race in the exotics -- I was ready for a good long walk down the Avenue of the Pines and a soak in some hot brown water. It made it much easier to gather my strength for the 2.5 hour delayed Amtrak schlep back to Penn Station. BTW, remind the Pink Sheet editors to hire some fact checkers. Tuesay's headline was "Desourmeaux wins four on a day." Kent won 3 by my count.
Alex More than 1 year ago
Steve, it could be worse. As partial payment for us driving down to spend 9 or 10 days at the track over the course of the meet, I must indulge my wife, a day's shopping at the outlet malls off exit 20. Of course, she never finds a damn thing but there I am, sitting like a shmuck on a bench, nodding out until she finally gives up on the place. As punishment, I make her do all the driving back to Montreal as well as using up all of our alloted duty-free allowance. As well, one day each meet, she insists that we spend at least one lunch eating at the "At The Rail" dining room. God knows, you could fill up several columns on the track's restaurants as well as the extortionate prices of cheeseburgers ($7.25) amongst other things.
Rich_P More than 1 year ago
Steve, what I am burned out on are all these 5 1/2 furlong turf sprints. Only 2 today, but then 4 on Thursday and 3 more on Friday. That's more turf sprints than winning favorites! I was enjoying one per card, as they were apt to race when it first started being written, but this is utter overkill.
Floppydog More than 1 year ago
Congress Park is the shining sanctuary for dogs in Saratoga. Wide open grass and ponds and duckies and no, I repeat no, mean owners tossing me out. Saratoga might not be doable without Congress Park. Flop
Alltappedout More than 1 year ago
Hopefully, you've been to Leon's for Mexican; far better than that joint on Broadway, although they used to make a great bloody mary there when it was Professor's. The 9th race today is an emabarrasment.