08/15/2010 1:45PM

Day 21: 8/15/10


SARATOGA SPRINGS -- You learn a little something new every day at the racetrack. Today I learned that a race for horses "which have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2008-2010" is in fact open to horses who have NOT started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2008-2010.

It came up in today's first race, run under those conditions, because one of the things I like to do in handicapping these starter-allowance races is to look at horses' lifetime pp's in Formulator and see how snugly they fit these conditions. So I went back on the first horse in the field, Poovey, and her last five starts in 2010, seven starts in 2009 and eight starts in 2008 did not include any races where she was available to be claimed for less than $20,000. She ran for $12,500 on Dec. 20, 2007, but that's 11 days outside the 2008-2010 requirement.

Turns out that there's a longstanding practice -- and it's explained somewhere deep in the catacombs of the condition book -- that if you've run in one of these races during the time period, you're automatically eligible to run in another even if you haven't "renewed" your eligibility by doing what the conditions say you must. So because of Poovey's appearance in a Feb. 10 version of this race at Aqueduct, she could run again today without actually having run for $16,000 since 1/1/08.

Poovey ran second, caught at the wire by her uncoupled stablemate Malibu Artiste.


4:30 pm: While I was out:

Right after I pushed the button on the above entry, I got a call from Mrs. Blog at the house that Dondo had chewed or otherwise busted open something between two of his toes and should probably be seen by a vet sooner rather than later, but the only canine vet clinic open on Sundays is about half an hour north of here off Exit 17. So I bolted the press box, drove back to the house, handed over the car keys to the houndmobile, and will be watching the balance of the card here with Popeye on Capital OTB tv while Dondo gets x-rayed and patched up.

So before all that, I played the early pick-4 and got knocked out in the first leg like almost every one else by 29-1 Moon Raven, but then I did something I don't usually do: Instead of licking my wounds until the late pick-4 started, I went ahead and "resubmitted" the remaining three-quarters of my pick-4 play as a $210 pick-3 investment on races 3-4-5, making  a $20 8/4,8/1,4,9 and a $5 1,2,7/4,8/1,4,9. Went to the smaller $5 "backup" ticket right away when Payout ran out at 2-5 in race 3, but Who's Willie Fitz (#2) got up at $44.80 for a decent start.

Then the phone rang about the hound and I forgot about wagering until things settled down an hour later. By then, Happy Week (#8) at $4.00 and Fancy Fiona (#9) at $19.20 had completed a $1248 for $2 pick-3 -- and a $50k pick-4 I could never have had but would have found highly annoying had I not played the last three legs separately.

It reminded me of Harvey Pack's frequent advice about playing the last four races of the day: Play the pick-4. If you get knocked out, play the late pick-3. If you get knocked out, play the late double. If you get knocked out, play the triple in the last. If you lose that, there's always simulcasting.

Apologies for today's erratic dispatches. Dondo update later on.


5:45 pm: Position Limit ($5.10) looked dominant winning the G2 Adirondack for Starlight/Pletcher in 1:17.30, which looks like good time next to the day's other sprints (1:12.39, 1:12.65, 1:24.25, 1:24.79.) Position Limit, a $55k July yearling purchase sired by Bellamy Road, won her debut in the mud at Belmont July 14 by 6 3/4 lengths earning an 89 Beyer. Second choice Alienation, a $60k Rock Hard Ten April 2-year-old purchase for the Baffert family, was clearly second best in her dirt debut.

No live pick-6 tickets into the finale, so there will be a little one-day $63k carryover into the nine-race card tomorrow that is last racing day of Week 4. The G2 Saratoga Special is being run as the 3rd race, out of the sequence, but the 8th race features an odds-on favorite anyway in Tahitian Warrior. 


trackster More than 1 year ago
sunday produced winners from ferraro,corrao,glenney,disanto.if i just woke up and saw results i think biga mid january
cjdstable More than 1 year ago
Thanks fellow bloggers for the P4 will pay information and the tips on where to find them next time. cjdstable
bob hope More than 1 year ago
the explanation of the eligibility defies logic and is not a long standing practice
Dunque More than 1 year ago
ASO - I'm aware of the date distinctions. I only mentioned N1Y and N2Y to point out that I saw this seeming over-eligibility in both conditions. Also, I did not see anything about exclusion of races less than $X. Is this perhaps another case where the condition book has more detail than the Form? If so, that should be corrected.de
ASO More than 1 year ago
Dunque - Got ya. Some people aren't, so I just wanted to be clear. I know for a fact that the exclusion of races for less than $X are typically included in condition books but do not make there way into the form. I have seen this oversight at multiple racetracks over the past few years. I'm in complete agreement that it should be included because it is very important information in many cases.
ASO More than 1 year ago
Steve - Would you mind doing some more research as to why Poovey was eligible for that race? I know that starts a horse makes in starter allowance races are counted as "claiming races" in the NYRA preference date system but was under the impression that you still had to run for a claiming price (in this case 16K or less since Jan. 1, 2008) in order to regain eligibility for the starter allowance conditions. I see that this race was not originally in the condition book so it must have been an extra. Is it possible that the race was actually written as an extra with a strange 2007 date simply to include Poovey and it wasn't properly transferred into the pps and/or overnights? My time spent in racing offices around the country tells me that something more must be going on here. RE: Dunque - In reference to your question regarding races at Delaware, there are two scenarios to explain what is going on. 1. Sometimes N1Y and N2Y races actually have a different date: Feb. 1, Feb 15, etc. so victories early in the year do not count. 2. Other times, N1Y and N2Y conditions exclude victories below a certain claiming price. For example, the racing secretary may write a 10K N1Y race where races contested at or below the 5k claiming level don't count against the horse. Thus, a horse that has a victory in a 5k claimer would be eligible for the 10K N1Y. This can give horses from a lesser circuit a chance to win at a bigger track. Long story short, conditions have become much more specific in the past few years. Thanks Steve.
Pru More than 1 year ago
Jorge Chavez is riding like it's 1999! You have to give him credit, he doesn't have the outfits he once had, but always gives his horse the best chance to win. Love it when he goes to the lead. Also, seems like some of the jockeys have begun to get the idea of playing catch me if you can on the turf course. I used to run track in hs and at Brown. At times, I would stretch out to the 400m from the 100m and 200m. I played it the same way go out fast and come get me. You get a rail trip and don't have to worry about traffic. Chop chop did it today and a few weeks ago with Spa City Princess. Speaking of front runners, I believe Wishingonadream was coming out of the race where Durkin called the Linda Rice front runner a 1/16 of a mile in front on the backstretch. It might be an interesting handicapping angle as some of these horses come back. I took a chance with that horse and got lucky he got up in the finale. In the turf races, the trips and "race shapes" are the key factors in providing value on the tote at the spa. Mr Crist, good luck to you in the Pick 6 carryover tomorrow and I wish Dondo a speed recovery!
south florida tom More than 1 year ago
To cjdstable.......You can see the possible pick 4 payouts by going to nyra.com>saratoga and clicking 'toteboard' link before the 5th race and before the final race. You'll have to wait until tomorrow to try it...........Tom
Figless More than 1 year ago
cjd - will pay to; 4 = 3,319 9 = 1,654 sorry, really tough beat. a little secret, you can find will pays for the final race on nyra website well after the end of the days racing by clicking on toteboard link, not sure how long they stay up but there are there right now at 907pm ET. Steve, hope the doggie is ok. since I also travel with my dog to saratoga the Sunday vet info is important (althought I hopefully will never need it), another reason i love this blog.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the push on the #10 in the last on Talking Horses. Huge day today.
bobm toga More than 1 year ago
hi steve, just finished great weekend at the spa. hit for about 5k. absolutely loved how splendid behavior looked on the track prior to win at 16-1 on friday.. win bet plus nice exacta with favorite.. also had big win bet on telling at 10-1. the horse seems to only like it in the northeast and when you eliminate that california trip and churchill, horse seems to really perk up at mth and toga. (plus the race just wasnt that tough the more i looked at the field .. ) lost on sunday. came real close 3-4 times and kept losing the photos. hard to win 3 days in a row.. glad to hear you got boarding for yourself and the hounds for day after travers. (my phone is ringing off the hook with people who never stayed for sunday after travers now want to stick around for rachel.. she really will bring in a great crowd) hope the pooch is recovering.. back to jersey tomorrow in time to play early double ...