07/25/2007 3:21AM

Day 1 Preview: Clinical Insanity


1)Forget the Judge got a horrendous ride when they met on Opening Day '06. 2)When both horses got clean trips in their second starts at the meeting last year, on consecutive days, they ran virtually identical raw times and speed figures while both winning at a mile, suggesting they're very close on raw ability. 3)Massoud is 5-2 on the morning line while Forget the Judge is 15-1.

Race 5: This older-maiden grass race at a mile and sixteenth on the inner turf has more question marks than The Riddler's costume. A lot of people are picking Borobudur, a Flaxman/Frankel import, because he's a half-brother to Aldebaran and Good Journey, but DRF's Alan Shuback is highly skeptical of the colt's Euroform ("Four tries in France suggest he is not nearly in their league; a line through Fastmambo indicates he is not improving.") Virginia Minstrel is the other consensus choice but comes off a pair of second-place finishes where he was blown out late. The Churchill shippers Terror on Track and Warn have been running subpar figures for this level. So instead of that bunch I'm going with three others. Rocket Legs (4-1 ML) and All Verses (10-1) emerge from a June 10 Belmont race that may have been much better than it first appeared. Buddy's Humor, the winner, ran second in the Lexington Stakes in his next start while improving his Beyer by 12 points, and runner-up Seastate improved 14 points winning his next start by almost seven lengths. Rocket Legs ran third and All Verses was just over a length behind him in fifth while making his career debut. I'll also use Runaway Banjo, not just because he's a ckinically insane 30-1 on the ML despite two decent fifths in fast dirt routes, but also because he's got plenty of grass in his pedigree.

Race 9: I don't remember ever seeing so many big figures for a field of 2-year-old fillies in July as in this 89th running of the Schuylerville. Five of them have already run a Beyer 84 or higher, including Subtle Aly's 97 at Churchill and According to Plan's 93 at Belmont. Is this a spectacularly precocious bunch or is it possible that the 4 1/2-furlong races at Churchill and the five-furlong races at Belmont were all coming up a little crazy-fast this year? It's something worth keeping an eye on as the meeting progresses.

Race 10: This filly statebred N1x allowance is a fascinating handicapping nightcap for several reasons: 1)ML favorite Court and Spark can certainly land a minor award, but is a chronic runner-up whose last race is nowhere near as good as it looks on paper. She benefitted greatly from a very quick pace that left the early duelers reeling and flattered her late-clunking move. 2)There is virtually no early speed in the field of 12, which includes five grass-to-dirt switchers. 3)The two most likely front-runners are returning from long layoffs with excellent worktabs. Behrdine has not been out since September but has a long string of good works over the Oklahoma training track here. The Chelsea Comet, making her first start since Saratoga '04, returns as a 6-year-old off a series of brillitant Monmouth workouts that make her look like an entirely new and different animal than she was three years ago.

Good luck. We'll need it today. I'll be back after sleep, seminar and scratches.

El Angelo More than 1 year ago
Am I crazy for thinking this is a so-so card for Opening Day? Races 2, 3, 5, 8 and 9 are all very nice and interesting, but the balance should be on a different day. There's only one Opening Day each year, and it'd be nice if NYRA could step up with a better card for the occasion (maybe another maiden race and allowawnce races?). I think you could argue it either way: You could load up on higher quality because it's opening day, or maybe it doesn't matter because the casual crowd really doesn't know the difference between $20k claimers and G3 stakes. On balance, I like the card because it's challenging.l
MarcInSunnysideGardens More than 1 year ago
Not that he'll be any kind of price, but the idea of Frankel imports like the one in the fifth is that they're sent over sometimes precisely because they didn't live up to their promise overseas. It's not a fun bet, but we should expect significant improvement today. Not sure how you leave him out of multi-race wagers. Marc, I'd never leave a horse like that out of a pick-4 but that's a race where I'll go 5 or 6 deep and root against Borobudur and Virginia Minstrel. I remembered this morning that Frankel started Aldebaran on the grass here and won first off the ship and the long layoff in a little stakes at 8-1.
NewYorkGirl More than 1 year ago
Phew . . . thought for a moment you were going to make me clinically insane. Loved your first blog installment (really dug your music choice), very breezy and entertaining. But it wouldn't be summer or Saratoga without your special take on each race. So this is just to say, yay for your 7 1/2 hour-early preview of today's seminar. Couldn't face the meet without your usual brilliance.
bob More than 1 year ago
Good observation on the 2 year old fillies. Final time 0f 1.11 would have to make CD and Bel times a little suspect. What is up with NY betting? Late P4 will pays to the 7 and 12 are 3139 and 9686 which means 3 for every 1, yet when they dead heat both get the same. All other exotic payments get cut in half as they should. Pick 6 shenanigans again? With only one favorite winning (and from the 12 post) in the first five races the parlay value was app. $25000. With $90000 bet into the pool you would expect 3 or 4 tickets to be alive on the favorites. 2 were but the 12????? A 1 for 16 lifetime state bred. At 27 to 1 no one should have been alive to him and yet he DHs after a three wide trip. Even with the dead heat price of $28 the parlay value was &350K. Hard to fathom how it was hit in a $90K pool. Do they have quick pick in NY?
Matt Fidler More than 1 year ago
Steve - see you at Siro's. Hope you have a good day, because if you do, I might.
Ron Masse More than 1 year ago
I purchased DRF+ for the Daily Plays from Litfin and Free and love reading their comments after the races are done. Had a good day betting I Promise to win race 9 and under Subtle Aly in an exactor which paid $106.00 I love the summer racing and thanks for helping make it much more fun with all the great stuff from yourself and others at DRF +
Todd'stheman More than 1 year ago
Steve, I enjoy your Saratoga blogs. Can you give us your opinion on the 1:11 for the feature? Some of these fillies had good Beyer numbers coming in.
Larry Egan More than 1 year ago
Finally ... the August Place to Be and Steve's entusiasm still intact. 'May the horse be with us!'