08/02/2010 2:18PM

Day 10: 8/2/2010

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2:10 pm: Like 5 1/2-furlong races? Then you're in hog heaven at Saratoga on Day 10, where the first four races, and five of the first six, are at 11/16ths of a mile, two on dirt and three on grass.

The first two turf sprints, both statebred allowances, went in 1:02.12 and 1:01.89. While the memory of the opening-day downpours here are a bit too fresh to make anyone actually wish for more, the turf course could use a drink and there's plenty of dirt being kicked up on the turns a quarter of the way through the meeting.

Lookin at Lucky's four-length Haskell romp, and whether or not he'll run in the Travers Aug. 28, were the talk of the track today. The slight leader of the 3-year-old division became its clear leader on Sunday, perhaps so clear that winning the Travers now seems strategically unnecessary to his camp, which might instead wait for the  Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 25.

 

3:30 pm: Not that the Monday card isn't holding my rapt attention, but the above paragraph got me wondering: does winning two or more of the "Big Five" 3-year-old races -- the Triple Crown, Haskell and Travers -- pretty much make you the 3-year-old champion male regardless of what (if anything) you do against older horses in the fall?

Well, you know what usually happens around here when I get to wondering: Chart Time!

Here are the last 20 years of results for those races, with the eventual 3-year-old male winner highlighted in yellow and the three fillies who won them -- all voted champion 3-year-old filly -- highlighted in blue: 

So the quick answer is yes. Other than Sea Hero in 1993 and Street Sense in 2007, the only horses who won two of the five and were not voted an Eclipse Award did so in years when somebody else won two -- Birdstone vs. Smarty Jones, Lemon Drop Kid vs. Charismatic, Coronado's Quest vs. Real Quiet, Touch Gold vs. Silver Charm, and Tabasco Cat vs. Holy Bull. Nobody but Lookin at Lucky can win two this year unless Super Saver were to win the Travers.

Some other nuggets:

--Point Given is the only horse on the list to win four of the five. Big Brown, War Emblem and Thunder Gulch each won three.

--The Preakness -- the race people want to "fix" by moving it farther away from the Derby -- is the runaway leader in crowning 3-year-old champion males: 13 of the last 20, compared to 9 for the Derby, 6 for the Belmont and 5 each for the Travers and Haskell.

--The only time during this span the 3-year-old champion did not win any of the five races was in 2000, when five different colts won the five races and Tiznow trumped them all by winning the Breeders' Cup Classic. None of the four other 3-year-olds who won the Classic but none of the Big Five races earlier in the year -- Proud Truth in 1985, Concern in 1994, Cat Thief in 1999 and Ravens Pass in 2008 -- was the champion 3-year-old.  

 

4:45 pm: Traner Gregory DiPrima was on a 0-for-27 streak at Saratoga, including a 0-for-19 meet last year, but in the space of three hours won two races here today: the 3rd with Mighty Tuff and the 7th with Australis Princess.

 

5:15 pm: The last time Discreetly Mine raced at Saratoga, he won a maiden race by 6 1/4 lengths against a first-timer named ... Super Saver. Eight months later, Discreetly Mine was 13th at 31-1 in Super Saver's Kentucky Derby, but now he's been reinvented as a sprinter and a very good one: In his Saratoga return, he just won the featured G2 Amsterdam Stakes by 8 3/4 lengths in a sharp 1:14.27, and now it's on to a rematch with D'Funnybone in the G1 King's Bishop here Aug. 28.

D'Funnybone beat him in both the Futurity last year and the Woody Stephens on Belmont Day, but got a poor ride in the latter start, dueling early with the uncontrollable Eightyfiveinafifty before winning the battle but losing the war. Since being switched to jockey John Velazquez for his last two starts, Discreetly Mine has rated off hot early fractions and finished strongly, winning the G3 Jersey Shore last out and now the Amsterdam.

Discreetly Mine is by Mineshaft (!) out of the Private Account mare Pretty Discreet, making him a half-brother to the brilliant Discreet Cat.

 

6:15 pm: Even with Zapparition ($25.00) winning the finale, the pick-6 was hit by nine people and paid $4890. (It would have paid $678 with favored Zodiac Girl.) Off to do some (window-)shopping at the yearling sales.