08/13/2010 2:41PM

Day 19: 8/13/10


Better late than never. The planned early-morning departure became a late-morning departure. so here I am back at the Saratoga rental only now...but with 12 whole minutes to make a little late Pick-4 play. Back shortly to start catching up.


4:10 pm: Bah. Went five deep in the first leg to come up with an $8.10 winner: Janney/McGaughey 2-year-old Air Strike (Smart Strike-Gaze), beaten 18 lengths at 26-1 in his dirt debut at Belmont last month, but pounded to 3-1 for today's grass try. Unfortunately, my quintet included the two uncoupled McPeek firsters who ran 3rd and 4th at 22-1 and 23-1 to fill out a $10k dime super I didn't play.

A quick look back at the results of today's first five:

Race 1: We don't have many plain old open $25k claimers in New York these days, and it took two from Suffolk and one each from Philly and Monmouth to make a field of seven in the opener. The Monmouth (13-1 Matt's a Giant)-Suffolk (19-10 Winthrop House) exacta returned $91.

Race 2: Field of 10 $35k 2-year-old maiden claimers evenly composed of five firsters and five who had run, and the latter group ran 1-2-3-4-9. Sweet William ($3.90) found the drop from MSW and the fourth time the charm. I'm guessing Mr. Durkin had some fun calling Wascally Rabbit, who ran second. (If you're going to give a horse the first name of Wascally, why not go all the way and finish it with Wabbit instead of Rabbit?)

Race 3: Freud's Notebook ($5.50), a distant third to retired G1 winner Franny Freud in her only previous stakes try, held off 18-1 Rogue's Jewel by a neck to win the $70k Lake Luzerne for 3F statebreds.

Timeout for the G2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes. Used Interactif (4-5) and Krypton (9-2) in equal strength.


4:30 pm: Interactif, who won the With Anticipation here as a 2-year-old last summer, held off 9-1 Grand Rapport with Krypton third in the NMRAHOF. Now where were we?

Race 4:  As opposed to the dearth of open $25k claimers in race 1, we've got LOTS of N2L $25k claimers in New York and the local circuit supplied 7 of the 10 starters. The race, however, went to Oaklawn/Delaware shipper and Triple Crown Warrior Poet and trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who also won with a $10k claimer yesterday.

Race 5: A taxing stretch duel between 14-1 Implied Odds and 2-1 Sweat Shop worked to the advantage of Warrant Ofc. Cook ($10.80), who ran the tiring pair down with a late surge.

On to the last two, a $35k open maiden-claimer and a $20k statebred maiden claimer at the August Place to Be. I'm 1,5,7,8/4,8,9 in the chalky pick-4 and it's unclear that I'll get my $120 back if I get there. Actually my break-even number is only $110 because I booked Mrs. Blog's $10 bet on Citrus Kid in the NMRAHOF and got paid for it (she actually tucked a $10 bill into Dondo's collar and sent him into the office to pay me.) I know it sounds harsh to take the cash, but how else will the woman ever learn not to bet on every single son of Lemon Drop Kid?


5:15 pm: Splendid Behavior, beaten at this level at 7-2, 7-5 and 6-1 his last three, romped today at 16-1, beating 6-5 favorite Active Trader by six lengths in 1:17.70. Splendid Behavior looked cooked after dueling to the top of the stretch, but then widened his lead as everyone behind him seemed to be running backwards through the stretch.

Root for the 2,5,6 or 8 in the finale if you're not otherwise involved and would like to see a little carryover into tomorrow's Sword Dancer card.


5:45 pm: No carryover, as well-bet second-timer Magdalena Girl, third to Moshe Dian e in her July 30 debut, was a runaway winner at 9-5 to complete an $1,149 pick-4 and an $11,272 pick-6. 

It's a delightful 79 and sunny up here and it's supposed to be more of the same tomorrow for the 11-race Sword Dancer card. The  $500k guaranteed pick-4 begins with a loaded baby race where the seven who sold at auction went for a combined $3.98 million -- including Jess Jackson's $2.3 million purchase of Brock (Distorted Humor-Tomisue's Delite) at a February 2-year-old sale. Get through that and you've got a pair of contentious statebred turf allowances separated by the G1 Sword Dancer, where the four G1 winners in the field (Grand Couturier, Interpatation, Marsh Side and Telling) have combined to make 131 career starts.

I'll be doing "Talking Horses" with Andy Serling starting at 11:45 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.