08/08/2010 2:44PM

Day 15: 8/8/10


SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Glad that today's 3rd at Saratoga wasn't later on the card, or I'd be out of the Pick-6. I couldn't have used Too Big to Fail ($50.50) without the aid of the all-button, but congrats to those who did. Nice recovery for Rick Violette, who one race earlier watched his 8-5 firster Read the Contract stop badly after bleeding.

The pick-6, which begins in race 5 with a $253k two-day carryover in the pot, starts with a firster-laden turf sprint but gets less murky as it goes on. I have to think that most people will be spreading early and narrowing late in the sequence. The featured G2 Honorable Miss and G1 Vanderbilt have fields of only 5 and 7 respectively, and the turf-sprint finale has a few who seem a cut above the rest.

How you play the two stakes hinges to some extent on your interpretation of the events of June 25 in Des Moines, where two six-furlong stakes were won in exceptionally fast time by horses who return at the same distance today. Secret Gypsy took the Saylorville in 1:08.28, earnning a 101 BSF that would make her tough in the Honorable Miss. Two races later, Majestic Perfection won the Iowa Sprint in a blistering 1:07.24, which translated to a stratospheric 117 Beyer that would win any sprint race in the world including the Vanderbilt.


3:30 pm: Here we go:


Phew. Didn't like second choice Big Bentley and made him a C and it looked like I'd be down to a thread after leg 1 as he took dead aim on favored "A" R Boy Bill with a furlong to go, but the chalk just held on in a desperate bob.

Played an "All A's and B's" main ticket ($1440) and five 5 A's/1 C backup tickets ($96, $144, $144, $48 and $288) for a total investment of $2,160.

Today's gross pool. on top of the $253k carryover, was $961,950. After 26 percent takeout, that leaves $711,843. Setting aside a quarter of that net for consos yields $533,882, added to the $253,084 carry, or a front-end payout of $786,966 if it's hit, or a $786k carryover if it isn't.


4:30 pm: Alive by only a thread (2,3/4,5/8) thanks to my mistakenly low opinion of Shehashighhopes in the 6th. Still don't get why she was only 7-2. On the brighter side, I still have no idea why La Cloche wasn't favored in the 7th, where she instead paid $11.40 as the third choice.

The early money thinks the Iowa form was legit: Secret Gypsy just opened as the 3-2 favorite in the Honorable Miss, though the multirace willpays suggest Warbling will be the public choice by post time.


5:03 pm: Sayonara pick-6, as 3-2 favorite Warbling completely missed the break and Secret Gypsy ($6.10) ran her Saratoga dirt record to 3-for-3 winning the Honorable Miss in 1:09.92. Hour Glass was second with Warbling third.

Secret Gypsy won her racing debu on August 16, 2007 at Saratoga, setting a track record and earning a 100 BSF, and won again here a year later.

So the Iowa form held up -- and Majestic Perfection just opened as the 1-2 favorite for the Vanderbilt.


5:45 pm: Majestic Perfection got a surprisingly easy lead and made the most of it, winning the G1 Vanderbilt  by daylight over Big Drama, Bribon and Gayego to complete a mirror image of Iowa-to-Saratoga form in today's two graded stakes: At Prairie Meadows on June 25th it was Secret Gypsy in 1:08.28 and Majestic Perfection in 1:07.24. Today it was Secret Gypsy in 1:09.82 and Majestic Perfection in 1:08.63.

The result stamped Majestic Perfection as the early favorite for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. The 4-year-old Harlan's Holiday colt, who sold for $370k as a 2-year-old to Satish Sanan's Padua Stable, did not make it to the races until this past January. After running third in his debut, he has reeled off five straight victories at five different tracks.

I'd tell you what the pick-6's are paying but the NYRA Rewards system is down for the first time at the meet. On the one quick glance I got at willpays, it was payfinaleat the rail to take the ing about $5k to favored Moonwalk Beauty.


6:15 pm: Moonwalk Beauty ($5.50) squeezed through at the rail to take the nightcap and complete a $4,955 Pick-6 for roughly 160 winners. Consos paid $65.

Tomorrow's nine-race card completes Week 3. The nominal feature is the $70k Waya Stakes at a mile and a half on the grass, which for some reason is being run as the 5th race. Scattered thunderstorms are in the local forecasts for the next 24 hours.