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Day 19: 8/19/09
11:45 am: Off the turf for the first race of the second half of Saratoga 2009, but the day's four other grass races, including two-thirds of the pick-6 with a $41k carryover, are still scheduled for the turf.
Saratoga finally got some needed thunderstorms last night, but nothing like what I drove through in Manhattan around 10 p.m. after the movies (the pretty good "(500) Days of Summer"). The sky was filled with double and triple forks of lightning as if the portal to Gozer had just opened up in "Ghostbusters." There were downed trees everywhere, one blockiing the 86th Street transverse through Central Park after hitting a taxicab, another lying across three lanes of the FDR Drive.
At Saratoga, the main track is listed as being somewhere between fast and good, and the turf is labelled good, with a forecast of "isolated T-storms" for the afternoon.
Here's a recap of the 14 graded stakes run during the first 18 days of the meeting, including the winning Beyer Speed Figures, and the 18 scheduled for the back 18. Note that 11 of the first 14 were won at oddds of 7-2 or less, and six were won at 8-5 or less.
Today's G2 Adirondack for 2-year-old fillies, scheduled for 5:30 pm ET, features the second career start by Dashing Debby, the Medaglia d'Oro filly who won her debut by 10 1/4 lengths in a stakes race on the Summit of Speed undercard at Calder July 11. The performance prompted Jess Jackson to buy her from owner-trainer Gerald Procino. She's now trained by Steve Asmussen, who also handles the divisional leader, Hot Dixie Chick, for Jackson's wife, Barbara Banke -- and, of course, Jackson's 3-year-old Medaglia d'Oro filly Rachel Alexandra. It's quite a broodmare band of future Brides of Curlin he's assembling.
Dashing Debby earned a Beyer of 87 for her winning time of 1:12.19, a raw time that may look unimpressive but stacked up nicely against the winning performances of older stakes-winners in graded stakes later on the card: Game Face's 1:10.74 in the G1 Princess Rooney, Easton's Gift's 1:11.25 in the G2 Smile, First Passage's 1:11.22 in the G3 Azalea and Not for Silver's 1:11.91 in the G2 Carry Back.
Beautician, second choice on the Adirondack line off her second to Hot Dixie Chick in the opening-day Schuylerville, is an early scratch due to a mild case of colic
3:30 pm: That "good" turf course is looking pretty firm: Starfish Bay just went a first quarter in 21.27 and a half in 44.63 en route to a front-running victory in 1:02.69 in the New York to Old York Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The NYTOY was the first leg of the pick-6 with $41k carryover I didn't get involved with, as I'm still scrambling to hit the road back to Saratoga before nightfall.
Starfish Bay was the 10th winner of the meet for trainer Todd Pletcher, tying him for the lead with Linda Rice -- and doing it in a turf sprint! Rice's entrant, Thoroughly Holy, ran fifth..
The disqualification of Chippewa Court from 1st to 2nd place seemed pretty straightforward: The first-place finisher drifted several paths wide in the stretch, taking the path of Speechifying, who had to check momentarily. I'm not at all convinced Speechifying was going to run her down with a clear lane, but the drift and the check were clear.
The upset victory by Tidal Pool ($23.00) in the 4th -- the first allowance race of the year for 2-year-olds -- reinforced the view that the skimpy 2-year-old racing at Belmont this summer was not of the highest quality. Tidal Pool and runner-up Miss Diane made their last starts at Churchill and Prairie Meadows, while Belmont debut winners Elaine's Pride and Union Waters ran next-to-last and last.
4:30 pm: Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Put in a little $288 late pick-4 play, went out to run some errands, just got back to see the replay of McPeek firster House of Grace winning the first leg at 23-1...as an A! No great insights, I just wanted firsters in a race where I wasn't crazy about those who had already run.
Would I have de-emphasized her had I been watching the betting? Maybe. Do I have to give the money back if I get through what's now a 4x4x4 instead of what might have been a 4x1x4? Nah.
With a $13.20/$15.20/$48.40 start, good shot at a double-carryover, though House of Grace might have been shorter than 23-1 in the pick-6 in a blind, firster-laden race where anyone who played seriously probably spread out.
5:40 pm: Four wasn't deep enough in the Adirondack and I don't know that I would have come up with Worstcasescenario ($29.80) if you'd given me a couple more -- but boy was she best. The 2-year-old Forbidden Apple filly, winner of an off-the-turf sprint in her debut at Belmont, dueled 4-5 favorite Dashing Debby into submission in 21.49 and 44.32, drew away with six furlongs in 1:09.65 and finished up with an understandably slow final sixteenth of 7.07 for a 4 1/4-length victory and a final time of 1:16.72.
Needless to say, no one's alive for 6-of-6. The covered pick-4's are paying $19k and up, and there are two 3-of-4 runners in that pool.
Tomorrow's double-carryover: $178.902. It's going to be a late night.
Re: Bruce's Breakfast Picks... You left out the best! Beverley's on Phila Street. Premium Priced but totally worth it. A sleeper that I discovered last weekend is the snack shack located near the first tee at the Saratoga State Park golf course. Terrific bacon and egg, ham and egg sandwiches.
Dashing Debbie's prior owner/trainer was Gerald Procino, who was a standardbred trainer/driver in NY years ago. I would imagine he made more money with this sale than he did in several years of driving at Roosevelt and Yonkers.
To Unitas, I can tell you how it happened, because this game is IMPOSSBIBLE. I hear that from very few horseplayers. I have been one all my life, but now only go about 4 or 5 times a year to eliminate the horror stories just like you blogged. I attend big days now, DERBY, ETC... That is it. Who can afford a steady diet of the races? Not me. I make about 80 k a year so how can I? George in Tampa
My nominee for worst Saratoga storm is the day of Birdstone's Travers. It got real dark a few minutes before post time, the race was run in darkness and a torrential storm, they cancelled the race or two that followed, and we had to take off our shoes to walk to our car in knee deep water.
Steve: it comes up so rarely that it can't be an issue more than once or twice a year, but I'll ask anyway--had one of the horses that were uncovered in the Pick Four won the finale yesterday, would that also mean (like the conso P6's) that if you missed the first race but had the next three winners you cashed?
Brutally tough p6 carryover card today. As we know, there always tough, but this one has me dizzy......love the ticketmaker...fantastic addition to the site. Thanks Steve.
Bruce you are very generous with your "marginal" service rating for Spa City Diner. I have been around a long time and their service is literally the worst I have ever seen. My severely hung over buddy was seated at a table quickly then ignored for twenty minutes before practically tackling a coffee service guy for a cup, then waited another full ten minute for a waitress. Half hour, before ordering, at 10am on a Saturday.
time to make another pot of coffee,,,, any help in the 9th Thursday will be appreciated... yes I realize there is an all button BUT...
Steve, Do you think Dashing Debby will pull a Hot Minute? Lenny
How the hell did Wishingonadream get beat in today's nightcap? Made a great move up the rail, got to the #2 inside the 16th pole, PASSED that rival, and seemed to hang in the final 30 yards. I couldn't believe it! Was alive for a $20 double to the #9(paying around $690.00 for a duece), as well as the #7 and #10, and I knew the #10 was done at the top of the stretch, and I figured correctly that the #7 made the lead too soon and would get caught. I had a smile from ear to ear when I had realized that the #9 was the monster closing on the rail, & had plenty of time to get past the #2, which he did. Rarely do you see closers on the grass make a move like that, go past the leader in deep stretch, and then let that rival go back in front a few jumps from the wire. Did Cornelio think he had the race won and stopped riding? Or did Javier just refuse to let his mount lose today? Either way, I lost on my was- to- be biggest score of the meet thus far. Some things never change...