08/16/2009 2:58PM

Day 17: 8/16/09


3:00 pm: The pick-6 with a $262k double-carryover starts in about 45 minutes, but we might already have seen the most impressive performance of the day when Mythical Pegasus upset the 3rd race at 11-1.

Now a 4-year-old, Mythical Pegasusmade a little splash in the 2007 Belmont Futurity, battling for the lead before settling for third to subsequent G1 stakes-winners Tale of Ekati and Kodiak Kowboy. He didn't stretch out successfully during a brief ride on the Derby trail, then ran into some physical problems and had started only twice in 20 months before today and was in off a six-month layoff.

In a very tough N1x, Mythical Pegasus got into a protracted early duel with John Kelly and B Z Warrior, and looked cooked after winning the battle of 21.79, 44.06 and 1:08.81. Somehow he held on another half furlong, holding off last-to-second deep closer Top It by half a length in 1;15.69. Mythical Pegasus homebred Fusaichi Pegasus-Lilly Capote colt, is a James Spence homebred who spend most of his career with D. Wayne Lukas and is now back with his original trainer, Ralph Nicks.

As for the pick-6, it looks manageable if you're willing to lean on the same two heavy favorites as everyone else -- Siren Serenade in the 8th and Banrock in the 10th, the featured West Point Handicap -- but first you've got to get through a pair of firster-loaded maiden races. And while Siren Serenade and Banrock look like they should win, there's at least one significant drawback to each.

Siren Serenade comes off a strong-fig, key-race performance that trounces anything her opponents have done, but she's had six chances to win and faces several second- and third-time starters with licenses to improve. Banrock towers over his rivals on figures and accomplishments, but there's one possible chink in his armor: In 25 lifetime grass starts, he's 7-for-12 on good/yielding/soft turf and only 2-for-13 on firm courses, the kind he'll get today. My plan is to lean on both of them but also give myself a chance a beat one or the other on backup tickets.

4:00 pm: They bet another $1,037,132 on top of the $262k carryover, and I was around two-tenths of one percent of "they." (i.e. $2k). My graphics are being a little balky right now but I'll put up the whole play when I can. First-leg winner One Note Samba, the $5 favorite, was one of two A's for me. The whole world is alive, as I shall be regardless of what happens in leg 2: I've got all 9 of them tiered this way: A-1,2,8; B-4,5,6; C-3,7,9.

Astounding money showed up (as it sometimes does for Flying Zee Stables runners) in the first leg for second-timer Mineswept, 12-1 on the line but 5-2 at post time despite finishing four lengths behind One Note Samba, and with a better trip, when both made their debuts here July 29. Mineswept was a distant third today.

4:30 pm: The biggest-priced A got home in leg 2 -- 7-1 Sackatoga/Tagg New York-bred (vs. open) Seattle Mission -- keeping me alive on six tickets that go as follows the rest of the way:







So I can beat either Siren Serenade (#2 in the upcoming race) or Banrock (#7 in the penultimate one), but not both of them.

5:00 pm: Didn't know which way to root in the third-leg photo between an even-money A (Siren Serenade) and a 10-1 C (Whisked Away). Which do you want, the short price and 79 live combos, or the big price and only 12?

Whisked Away held on at $22.80, so I'm down to one live ticket: 1,2,4,9/7/7,8,9.

5:30 pm: Well, it's getting interesting. Citifest, longest price of my quartet, got up at 7-1 to win leg 4. So it's Banrock into three in the finale -- not as much coverage as I would have liked, but the payoff should be good if I get there.

6:00 pm: Phew. Banrock by a few whiskers. Alive for $56k to We're Hooked, $64k to Private Battle, and $69k to Latest Secret. At least I didn't leave out Linda Rice (We're Hooked) in a turf sprint. C'mon, Queen, one more time. 

6:40 pm: Rats.

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. As Woody Stephens used to say after a disappointing defeat: "What are you gonna do, go home and shoot yourself?"

The pick-6 paid $119,797 with $6.20 favorite Smart Trade. Congratulations to the seven winners.