08/20/2009 1:30PM

Day 20: 8/20/09


1:30 pm: A bunch of key scratches in today's $178k double-carry Pick-6, leaviing fields of just 6, 9, 6, 10, 8 and 8. That doesn't mean it's easy, and in a couple of cases the defections made things harder. The finale, an N2L filly turf sprint, is particularly inscrutable. It's a thin enough bunch that you can't even take a stand against the just-transferred-to-Linda-Rice favorite desite its shaky form.

The featured Saratoga Special is a good and tough race to handicap, with 2-year-olds coming in from a variety of different tracks and surfaces. I'm leaning towards those who have shown some finishing kick in a race that appears on paper to have ample one-way speed. So I picked the race Quick Zip, D'Funnybone (first-time Dutrow) and Fearless Cowboy (first-time McLaughlin), and they'll be my A's.

3:20 pm: There was $687,351 in fresh pick-6 handle poured on top of the $178,903 carryover, $1872 $2088 of it from me:


It's a straightforward, five-ticket, single-substitution play, one that flowed from my inability to find a single "single" on which to lean. So I'm 2 and 3 deep with A's in each leg and a little light on backups, lifelines I can go to only once. In the first leg, I guessed with the two firsters in the field of six, especially after they opened as the favorites against four proven disappointments, and favored Bobbi O. (McPeek) was an easy winner.

3:55 pm: The skies opened for one of those end-of-the-world 10-minute flashstorms you get used to up here, then it all stopped just as the horses went into the gate for the 6th. Favored Whirling Thunder, a nine-time loser in special-weight company, enjoyed the drop to maiden-35, shaking off an early challenge from 36-1 Roma di Notte, opening an insurmountable lead in upper stretch, and then tiring but holding off Dukinfield and Magnificent Max, the third and second choices.

4:20 pm: Just started getting emails that this hasn't been posting today. Think it's working now. MAnaged to get two boring favorites home in your absence.

4:35 pm: Hope whoever's unloading on these Flying Zee horses has some toll money set aside. It came pouring in again today on Smooth Transition, 6th at 8-5 in debut, and now fifth at 7-5 in his second start. That action probably inflated the price on 8-1 Golly Day, third winner of the day for trainer George Weaver, and a pretty logical firster to like on the Saratoga grass: Her dam, Wake Up Kiss, won a division of the Yaddo here in 2003.

Her victory left me alive 2x3x6 the rest of the way. 

5:40 pm: A few of you, and the tote board, threw a scare into me about Tiny Woods, a horse I never considered using, and those fears mounted when he rocketed to a clear early lead. Fortunately for me, he folded his tent as soon as D'Funnybone came at him in upper stretch, and the race turned into a 10 1/2-length runaway as no one else really ran and my A's ran 1-2-3.

I'm really not trying to be a smart aleck, but why was Tiny Woods the favorite? Baffert and a funny name? His winning debut at Del Mar earned a mediocre figure and was visually unimpressive as he bore out and lasted by just a head.

Anyway, I'm alive to 6 of the 8 in the finale, ranging from $3287 on The Queen's Beso Del Sur to $9k to $22k on the others. And with my two uncovered horses currently at 10-1 and 22-1, it's an easy hedge. Actually, one of them is completely uncovered -- triple-carryover if #3, Approved by Mom, finds a way to win.


6:10 pm:  Talk about your Worstcasescenarios.

Of course the other A, the one paying $17k, had to run second to the indomitable Queen and the horrible $3k payout. Resistance is indeed futile, and you could see it unfolding the second Beso Del Sur was clear in fifth on the stretch turn.

As my father used to say, it beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. But not by much.

joseph r monaco More than 1 year ago
i thought Jess Jackson was a sporting man but i am wrong. he bought Rachel for his ego, which is OK, how ever he continues to pressure the race tracks to increase the purses for the races he wants to run. his comment in the daily news 8/20 that nyra treats him well but the purses could be better is way off base. the travers is 1 million but the distance is a mile and a quarter, he seems to be looking for the easiest spots with the highest purses. he can not win out the purchase price which was way over priced,he owns the horse and her value will not increase no matter how many times she beats the boys. history says that fillies who are good on the track are not good in the breeding shed. genuine risk, Serena's song, winning colors all bust in the breeding shed, so Jess just run and lets see if she is as good as ruffian and become the greatest filly of all time.
alan More than 1 year ago
Steve, How many 5/6 did you have? I estimated 25.
Seeking the Gold More than 1 year ago
If you look at Linda Rice's horses, many are just bred for this 5 and a half turf sprints. Many city zips and sprint oriented sires. Many other trainers seem to throw their horses in these races as a last resort while the queen aims for these races. Just a thought.
djr More than 1 year ago
Steve, congrats on your p6 handicapping and too bad the lowest payoff came through. One question. I hit 5 of 6 for a lousy $48 while the p4 paid over $300. Why the discrepency? It seems like you need to play both to make a profit. Any thoughts.
rick More than 1 year ago
Steve- With all the debate, what was the return on your pick 6, with all the consolations? Interested from an education standpoint. Thanks.
daveyshines More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve. Do you think it's possible (in the long run) to make money at this crazy game? Steve Wynn (Las Vegas casino owner/entrepeneur) said on 60 Minutes recently that he's never known a gambler to be 'up'. I guess if you look upon it as a form of entertainment it can be justified. But many people have gone broke and ruined lives 'chasing the dragon'. Your thoughts?
peat moss More than 1 year ago
I agree with ap in ky. I have hit p6 on a ticket as small as $4 to $96,they have paid several thousands. To spend 2k-3k on a p6 and then get a tax form and get less then even money payout is a bad bet
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Steve, good to see that your one "asset" on an otherwise "polluted" day came home in the stretch straight as Man O'War! No need to feel bad about the other "A" running 2nd. What you won would be a most welcome entry in my YTD totals (wiping out the current negative balance, & then some). It's a great stepping stone; more importantly, it's perfectly timed, coming as it did in the 4th week of the meet. Rejoice! One explanation for "Tiny Woods" as an otherwise inexplicably overbet horse could be that Baffert (recent heavy publicity re Hall of Fame) had entered a horse with a name that - by complete coincidence - ran only four days after Tiger Woods wilted in the stretch on Sunday in the PGA Championship. (The pejorative implication is obvious.) Horsers routinely play these angles, & even more so at this time of the year when its summer & the feeling is, "any thing goes." Did this particular "hunch" bet become a mania? Profit Dandy: Split your P3 wagering into a 50% Pick Three NYRA wager & 50% "Parley Them Yourself" (Rick Lang's wonderful phrase, coined back when he was the NY Post lead handicapper). It may take more time. But it does reduce your exposure to "winning" P3's that come in at a negligible percentage of what the actual parlay paid. And should your 1st or 2nd legs flop, what wasn't wagered with the "PTY" angle is now available for later use. AP From KY: I'm dissenting with the majority opinion on this one. I wouldn't have sent in what you did, but it's is always good to toss a few grenades into what otherwise can become a party-line forum of "me too's." Being candid is a timeless virtue.
Dutrow Fan More than 1 year ago
Steve: Nice hit! What were your hedge bets on the 2 uncovered horses? And how many pick 5 consos did you take down? After all was said and done, your profit was?
C More than 1 year ago
mlnj, 21-1... what?!? All, While the low payout is obviously not Steve's fault, I'm sure he'll be the first to admit that today's P6 probably didn't get him even for the week (only considering the P6, no other bets). In fact, even the best-case $22k hit might've still left him in the red since his last 6/6 hit (correct me if I'm wrong, Steve). However, playing the P6 on a regular basis for serious money (like Steve does) is a much different daily grind compared to more recreational horseplaying. It's all or nothing. The goal is not to nickel and dime the track with small hits here and there. Of course, you take the 5/6s and small hits (like today's) when you get them... but the goal is to hit a real life-changer (ie, one that puts you up for a long, long time) and that might take years or never come at all. More risk means lower lows and (hopefully) much higher highs. It's just a different grind.