08/14/2009 1:52PM

Day 15: 8/14/09


1:45 pm: A very late start on the races after a typically long but typically satisfying Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Nice little $202 early double combining 26-1 Eltish Star in the opener with 7-5 East Breaks in the 2nd.

I'll get involved much later if at all. In the meantime, enjoy the lifetime past performances below for the Hall's newest contemporary-racehorse inductees, Silverbulletday and Tiznow:

Download Silverbulletday

Download Tiznow


10:45 pm: Don't have much to say about today's races, as I watched them in two-minute workbreaks on the Capitol OTB channel from the house. I was surprised to see they're still doing this silly thing of not showing the Saratoga races live but waiting until the horses cross the finish line to show a taped instant-replay. This longstanding remnant of NYRA/OTB hostilities seems particularly ridiculous in an era where people are watching live broadcasts of those same races if they have TVG, HRTV or an online ADW with video streaming.

Courageous Cat's victory in the G2 Hall of Fame Stakes showed that he's an improving 3-year-old and also how very hard and fast the turf has gotten up here during a dry week: The time for nine furlongs on the Mellon course was 1:45.90, but before you go backing Courageous Cat in the BC Turf future book, note that only five lengths separated the first eight finishers. Also note that the first three finishers came out of minor July races at Belmont, finishing in front of the 3-year-olds who had been mixing it up in overrated graded stakes such as the Virginia Derby and Colonial Turf Cup.

Three of the nine horses in the finale one race later were covered in the pick-6 but 24-1 Suffolk Downs shipper Ready's Clyde wasn't one of them, so there's a $53,784 carryover for the third Saturday of the meet. Tomorrow's card ends with five grass races including the G1 Sword Dancer, so it's one dirt sprint and five grass races in the pick-6 and an all-turf $500k-guaranteed late pick-4.

I'm just starting the work, but first let's catch up on a restaurant review from last night, My party of five was all set for the annual pilgrimmage to the picnic tables at PJ's BAR-B-Q, home of exceptional pit-cooked chicken and ribs, when a reliable source from a major metropolitan newspaper suggested we instead try Everglades Barbecue & Seafood (no website, 827 Saratoga Road). He assured us that a 400-pound guy he knows eats there every night of the meeting, so it had to be good. We also were told that the Everglades had fried clams in addition to the usual barbecue stuff. 

The Everglades is about 10 minutes from the track, north on Route 9 in the direction of The Wishing Well and Sergio's. It's an unassuming roadhouse with two dining rooms: booths in the front and nine big picnic tables on a screened porch out back. The latter is an advantage over PJ's and its all-outdoor picnic area that can get a little buggy. Also, PJ's does not serve Fried Gator, which those in our party who don't mind eating reptiles said was pretty good. After that and some heavily-breaded but very coconutty coconut shrimp, we moved on to four different types of ribs -- plain, baby backs, country-style boneless and Jamaican jerk-rubbed -- and all were tasty and above average. Especially the Jamaican ones, which went very well with Red Stripe beer. The vaunted fried clams, however, turned out to be "fried clam strips," which were clam-like in the same way turkey roll is turkey-like.

Each order came with two sides so we got 10 of them, and the consensus was thumbs-up on the corn-on-the-cob and baked beans, less so on the cole slaw and mac-and-cheese. Don't bother with dessert: both key-lime and chocolate-cream pie triggered nearly unanimous childhood memories of My-T-Fine Pudding. Service was prompt, friendly and attentive and the $150 bill for five for a soup-to-nuts (gator-to-pudding?) meal, including 10 to 15 beers, seemed very reasonable. It was just fine -- but by a 5-0 vote, we decided it just wasn't as succulent as PJ's. Still, it's a reliable second choice and deserves a solid grade of B.

Time to crack open the Saturday DRF. "Talking Horses" begins in the Carousel in 13 hours at 11:45 a.m.