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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.
Carding a graded 2YO stakes race as the third race on a Monday afternoon card is an absolute joke
Rich: I understand your concerns about the Saratoga Special being carded as the third race on Monday as well as in general with major stakes being carded early in the program so they are not in the pick-six, but the problem is, the pick-six carryovers bring in a lot of extra handle from those who seem to ONLY play the pick-six when there is a carryover and nothing else, money you often lose when there is little or no carryover from big-time syndicates. It's the way the game is now... As for the New York Turf Writers Cup, I would solve the problem with that race by making it the opening race of an extended Travers Day program, as I would do it 15 races with first post at 11:00 AM ET as part of a series of major changes that would have a five-day, Thursday-Monday week with eight on Thursdays (3:00 PM first post and nine on opening day), nine on Fridays (2:00 PM first post) and Mondays (1:00 PM first post that would include the jumpers otherwise, Noon/13 races on closing day), and 12:30 PM on weekends (besides Travers Day) with 13 on Saturdays and 12 on Sundays. That would call for 50 races most weeks (plus the jump race on Mondays). That's how I would work around the NY Turf Writers Cup for the bettors who hate the jumpers by giving those who want to see that an incentive to get to Saratoga early on Travers Day.
Steve; The new format for the website is nice, however, there seems to be a problem with the free "race of the day" past performances. This morning, the pp's for the La Jolla say that the time has expired for this race......which goes off in about 14 hrs!! What gives? 3rd time this happened so far.
Durkin had fun with Fagetaboutitsal on Thursday, especially when he was being passed in the last 100 yards.
Congratulations to all Hall of Fame inductees. It is a shame Randy Romeo is having such a difficult time with his health. Wish him all the best. Was a great race rider.
I'm with Richhf. Very well stated. I will not be betting the late pk 4 at SAR on Sat. or Sun. MTH does a better job with race order.
Steve: What's the deal, no restaurant reviews? The racing coverage is great, however, I am from Toga, now living in Ft. Lauderdale, and have a house rented for Traver's week, give us some of the special outings. Love the hounds, I have 3 - remember my line from the last years - COME ON SON.
Yes, Tom Durkin did play with Wascally Rabbit a bit Steve. For my money though it was no where close to Marshall Cassidy's "What A Wabbit on the wail" of many years ago. Looking forward to a trip up tomorrow...
Well, the racing secretary strikes again - throwing a GRADE II as the third race of a card otherwise surrounded by abysmal just so it didn't put a 5 horse entry field in the midst of the Pick-6. The Saratoga Special does not deserve to be treated this badly. It is a feature race, treat it as such. If that means you have a 1/9 running in a 5 horse field in the middle of your pick wagers, then so be it. Maybe that will incline more to participate in the multi-race pools... Repeat this with me: GRADED STAKES SHOULD NEVER* BE SHOVED INTO THE EARLY RACES JUST TO AVOID PUTTING A SMALL FIELD OR HEAVY FAVORITE INTO THE PICK-6. * - The A.P. Smithwick Handicap, being a Steeplechase, is a fine exception. But ONLY that race.
Nothing like being in Saratoga. Two great days at the track. Got a great seat in section B in the clubhouse both days. That new area "At the Post" with the Paddock Bar is really cool. You can rest on the rail while you eat and watch the saddling. A real nice energy there. Hit 4 pick 3's, including the last 3 in a row to end the day on Wed., but didn't bet the pick 4, damn! Nice day in town on Tuesday with my wife. We went to Hatties for dinner. I had the ribs, greens, and potatoes. Superb meal, the ribs and greens were amazing.