07/24/2010 5:30PM

Day 2: 7/24/10




SARATOGA SPRINGS -- It's a muggy, steamy CCA Oaks Day at the Spa, but it probably would have been a cancellation day if we were still at Belmont. Delaware Park and Philadelphia Park cancelled their cards today due to the heat wave enveloping the eastern seaboard, and you wonder if Monmouth would be running it weren't for Rachel Alexandra's appearance in the Lady's Secret Stakes.

We got more rain here late last night and a brief burst this morning. The main track rmeains sealed and sloppy. Races 1 and 3 have been moved from the turf to the main track, with the 4th and 6th still on the grass.

Connie and Michael, who would have been the second choice to Devil May Care in the CCA Oaks, was scratched this morning because of an abcess in her right front foot. The connections are still hoping to make the Aug. 21 Alabama with her.


1:40 pm: The off-the-turf opener scratched down to a field of six, leaving the lone main-track-only entrant, Mineswept, a legit 7-to-10 favorite and the Mineshaft colt aired by 3 3/4.

The second, for statebred juveniles, featured a weird co-favorite in D'Sauvage, a troubled and fast-closing second as the 4-5 favorite against open company in his debut....but a debut that came in a maiden race at Mountaineer Park that earned a lowly Beyer Speed Figure of 31. He clearly could have run faster with a better start that day, which he got today, but he proved no match for Pletcher firster Never Right Joey, a Tapit colt who drew off to win by five lengths. Losing that Mountaineer race will probably prove to be lucrative for D'Sauvage, since the purse there was just $19,000 and today and in the near future he'll be running in $40k New York-bred maiden races.

Tall Tale Teller, a Tom Bush firster, was bet hard late to 7-2 but was slammed around at the start and knocked back to last before rallying late for third.  

Planning to take a light swing at the one-day $42k Pick-6 carryover, leaning on a couple of obvious heavy favorites (Ash Zee, Devil May Care) towards the end of the sequence. The first two legs looked capable of yielding some pricey winners, but the biggest hurdle is the third leg,a baby race with an obvioius standout in Soldat, who ran a big debut, and a host of firsters. If I get that far and one of them comes up a sizzler in the betting, I can always "save" in the $500k guaranteed late pick-4.


2:20 pm: Woohoo: I'm sweeping the card with my first three Talking Horses picks. So how am I stuck $84 for the day?


3:00 pm: Make that stuck $164. Didn't use Compliance Officer ($13.80) in my little 2x2x4x5 early pick-4 caveman action play.

Here's the pick-6 matrix: 



The sun's been out for more than an hour now and it's finally seeming like the real Saratoga. Heading out for some fresh air and sunshine.


4:15 p.m. Too darn hot outside, too darn tepid in the first two legs of the pick-6, the ones that looked ripe for prices. Beat bad favorites in both legs but only with second-choice Lindsay's Point ($8.00) and third-choice Spa City Fever ($12.00). So it's 4x1x1x3 the rest of the way.

NYRA reprogrammed the new infield tote board last night and got it right: It's now perfectly legible from most of the facility.


4:30 pm: First 2-year-old Monster of the Meet: Wine Police, a Steve Asmussen-trained firster by Speightstown, bet from 6-1 ML tal 3/16ths in an outstanding 17.86.o 5-2 and whistled by 7 lengths over 9-5 favorite Soldat in 1:03.36 for 5.5 furlongs -- two full seconds faster than the runaway statebred winner earlier in the day, though the track has since been upgraded from "muddy" to "good." The winner ran his final 3/16ths in an outstanding 17.86.

The winning trainer was not here; think he's got something in at Monmouth today.


5:10 pm: Back-to-back winners for Asmussen and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan as 7-10 Ash Zee comfortably held off longshot Cinco de Mayo Mio to clear her N1x allowance condition and will now probably head for stakes action. The Zayat-owned 3-year-old Exchange Rate filly, a 7 1/2-length maiden winner at Churchill last time out ran the seven furlongs in 1:22.32.


5:30 pm: Devil May Care was simply outstanding winning the CCA Oaks and may well be favored over divisional leader Blind Luck if their showdown for the 3-year-old filly championship materializes in the Alabama Aug. 21. Improving off her narrower score in the Mother Goose, a race she may have needed following seven weeks off after her Kentucky Derby misadventure, she powered away from Biofuel and Acting Happy through the stretch in 1:49.42 for nine furlongs.

Alive in the pick-6 to Equestrio ($2359), Ae Pit ($2388) and de aptly-named De Price ($6161).


6:30 pm: Argggh. A search party has been dispatched for Equestrio and Ae Pit, last seen running last and next-to-last in the early going, but salvation seemed imminent in De Price, who looked like de winner in upper stretch... but couldn't quite get by 9-1 Chad Brown firster Winning Touch in the final yards.

It's cocktail time.