08/16/2010 12:55PM

Day 22: 8/16/10


SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Morning downpours have knocked the nightcap off the grass and prompted scratches leaving fields of four and five in the two most important races on Day 22. 

So far only the 9th race is off the grass, but the skies are still threatening and main-track-onlies haven't been scratched in other grass races on the card. There's a one-day $63k carryover in the pick-6, where everyone will probably be singling in the 8th with Tahitian Warrior, who was going to be odds-on even before Kens Cape, Spirit of Cochise and Speight of Hand came out of the field for the seven-furlong N2x race.

The G2 Special, being run as the 3rd race, lost second-choice Sovereign Default and Wetzel, so it's Kantharos vs. three: Bail Out the Cat, beaten favorite when he missed the break in the Sanford; Blue Right By, seventh in the Sanford; and Manchurian High, a first-time starter by The Daddy who sold for $1,000 (One Thousand Dollars) as a  yearling last August.


2:20 pm: Kantharos, sent off at 3-to-20, took a while to get in gear and was third of four down the backstretch, but caught up to Bail Out the Cat in upper stretch and then drew off in a 7 1/4-length romp. His final time of 1:18.63 may seem pedestrian, but this is one slow muddy main track -- in the 2nd, $60k maiden-claiming 2F's needed 1:08.36 for 5 1/2 furlongs, six full seconds off the track record.

A kantharos, since I'm sure you were wondering, is a type of Greek pottery used for drinking.

Manchurian High, the $1k firster, earned 15 times his purchase price running a distant third, 18 lengths behind the winner and is now officially Grade 2-placed.

That pick-6 with the $63k carryover starts with the upcoming 4th. Good luck if you're braver than I playing it. Coming off my two best days of the meeting, with black ink almost in sight, maybe I should be pressing on with confidence. But even with the seemingly free square of Tahitian Warrior, I've got five or six horses open in every other race and no strong convictions.


3:25 pm: Gate Scratch/Switch-to-PTF Alert: Gitchee Goomie, pounded to 6-5, was scratched at the gate just before the 5th, cutting everyone else's price and playing particular havoc with pick-6 players: All wagers running throuh GG were switched to the new post-time favorite, 2-1 Justify, who ran fourth while new second-choice High Cry ($8.50) wired the field through very slow fractions.

When you're looking back at what today's pick-6 does or doesn't pay, remember that High Cry was a lot more than 3-1 in the pick-6, and Justify was a lot less than 2-1 -- more like 3-5, considering that he ended up carrying not only the tickets running through himself but all of those on Gitchee Goomie as well.

Same goes for the pick-4, which paid a whopping $2,015 for combining winners that paid $16.60, $2.30, $8.50 and $8.50.


5:15 pm: Tahitian Warrior ($2.60) won without being asked for much once he corralled the dueling leaders. The King's Bishop 12 days hence is probably too soon for a runback, but the Godolphin gelding looks bound for stakes action of some sort.

EVeryone's covered in the off-the-turf finale, at payoffs ranging from $17k on favored D'Bigcat to $267k on longshots Little Alex and Cayo Hueso.


5:45 pm: Broken Home was the post-time favorite at 2-1 over D'Bigcat at 5-2, but D'Bigcat was an easy winner to complete the $17,996 pick-6 and $407 pick-4 and complete Week 4.

Three more six-day racing weeks to go, with 9 of the meet's 16 Grade 1's -- including the Alabama, Travers, Personal Ensign, Woodward and Hopeful -- still to go. (Some people would say 10 of 17 but I don't count steeplechases like the Aug. 26 "Grade 1" N.Y. Turf Writers' Cup, which are not part of the American Graded Stakes program but are assigned similar grades by the steeplechase people.)

I thought I was here to stay through the Personal Ensign, but Dondo's foot problem is a little more serious than we first thought. He's in good spirits and getting around just fine on his bandaged paw but it's down the Thruway again tomorrow for some more tests and x-rays.

TP More than 1 year ago
I was up last week Weds-Sunday and [a trainer] spent 5 or 6 hours a day courting his girlfriend, a bartender...You just can't make it up and I've started to wonder how you become qualified to train and why people would trust their horses/investment with some of these clowns.
ML/NJ More than 1 year ago
MAJOR SPORTS YESTERDAY (From NYT Sunday Aug 18, 1940) http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f167/Lisa_Simpson/1940/August/0818/0818-wouldaidbritainh.jpg
str3268 More than 1 year ago
Hope the hound is OK! All these trips up and down the Thruway, don't you wish you could ride that helicopter from the NYRA days?
peewee More than 1 year ago
I concur with other posters here " NYRA needs to set up an "alternate" horse system and quickly." I was also taken out of the p4 yesterday by the late gate scratch of the 7 Gitchee Goomie and put on the 1 Justify who I already had covered in my play . This need for a rule change for p4 and p6 substirutions of giving the bettor the posttime favorite is dire and in need of a Steven Crist push in an editorial to the NYSRWB powers that be. They changed the rule of the switch of surfaces to an "ALL" for bets made when a race is taken off the turf after wagers are in, and they can now address this issue which has bettors crying out for attention. PLEASE HELP. Thanks
Will More than 1 year ago
Dondo's a sweet-looking dog, and I wish him a speedy recovery. Perhaps a saved bit of those Hattie's fried chicken sandwiches would help!
Henry B More than 1 year ago
Steve: Best wishes for your dog, at least he is not taking the bandage off. Bruce Levin has another California shipper in for Thusday. That was a beauty he put over on Sunday in the first race. The horse never ran on dirt, looked like a turf horse. Was bet down from 10 to 1, to 7/2. Pressed the uncoupled stablemate all the way around the track then beat him on the wire. Good one Levine. Is this another one?
John More than 1 year ago
What a Beautiful Dog.Glad to see U have your priorities straight. Good luck with your feline friend. I'nve never had one break my heart, sorry 1 did, EASY GOER in 1989. Drive safe.
Nick Milosevich More than 1 year ago
...The audacity with which bettors were screwed in today's 5th was really breathtaking. No need to rehash the story, but would like to add some numbers to what happened. Keep in mind, the 5th was run by slightly classier horses than the 6th, albeit over two different courses (that happen to be within a few yards of one another). Here are the fractions: 5th - :25.29 :51.05 1:15.92 1:38.85 1:44.78 6th - :23.58 :47.75 1:12.62 1:37.21 1:43.40 The whole thing was quite appalling, a stunt I would expect to see in Louisiana, not in the middle of a pick-6 carryover at Saratoga. Again, that it took place was not surprising. But to scratch the fave, send everone to a dead horse, then run a race that on paper was loaded with speed and not have any horse within a length and a half of the leader at any point despite those fractions is amazing...
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
I agree something needs to be done so an alternate choice can be put in on P6 tickets: In my case, the method I use came up had its picks unchanged (Gitchee Goomie was the last horse picked), but I can totally understand the frustration of what happened to many who got screwed in both the P6 and early P4 (and SC is right, the $2,000+ payout for that was a whopper considering the prices of the winners involved). Alternate picks need to be allowed in case of scratches, especially in the first leg, where the wager itself has technically not closed. As for the idea of getting rid of the Adirondack and Saratoga Special, I have a better solution for that: 1. Unless we see a nine-week meet at Saratoga, bring back the Astoria and Tremont late in the Belmont meet, and have both at six furlongs four weeks before the Adirondack and Saratoga Special, which in turn I would run one week earlier in the meet and be the first dirt stakes of the Saratoga meet for two year olds. Perhaps the Curlin, moved to the turf and run with conditions similar to the Oceanside (Del Mar's long-time traditional opening day feature) can replace the Schuylerville as the opening day feature). 2. Although some traditionalists may howl, move the Schuylerville and Sanford to the end of the Saratoga meet and also to the turf at 1 1/16 Miles. In turn, the P.G. Johnson and With Anticipation, both shortened to seven and a half furlongs or 1 Mile on turf, can be the preps for those races four weeks earlier. If we are going to have Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies races on turf in the Breeders' Cup, this would help strengthen that program by having two such stakes durintg the Saratoga meet, along with the Miss Grillo and Pilgrim during the Belmont fall meet lead-up to the BC Juvenile turf events. Speaking of two-year old turf racing, what about early in the Saratoga meet carding races at seven and a half furlongs around two turns on the inner turf as opposed to running such races at 1 1/16 Miles? Late July to me is a little early to be running 1 1/16 Miles on turf for two year olds, and I think seven and a half (15/16ths of a mile) would be better (if necessary, limiting such races to eight starters as opposed to 10).
slewobarney More than 1 year ago
Hey, Dondo, here's to a very "speedy" recovery! Steve, ever take your dogs to Dawgdom on Broadway? I believe a couple of rescues are still helping out behind the counter. We visted very dog friendly Saratoga Springs last year and stopped by to say hello with our Golden Ret, Benny. Hopefully, we'll be visiting again at the end of the month!