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Day 25: 8/20/10
Is there anything more obnoxious than a guy who walks in more than halfway through the card and starts marvelling at how the payoffs were so big before he got there?
I felt like that guy when I finally got here mid-afternoon after what seemed like a day and a half on the Thruway and gazed in wonderment at an early pick-4 return of $5,171 on winners who paid $16.60, $6.60, $8.90 and $17.40, no piece of cake but still a mere $2,180 parlay.
As usual, it was clearly tougher than the win odds suggest.
The first winner was a Pletcher firster at $16.60. Since when did his firsters start winning at 7-1 instead of 7-5? This one,Tap for Luck, would have paid 7-5 or less last year because he would have been coupled with his other starter in the race, 19-10 Cadazzle.
Next came Moontune Missy at just $6.60, but she hadn't been out since October and her two-length victory came at the expense of the only odds-on favorite in the sequence, 9-10 McVictory.
Funky Munky Mama ($8.90) romped by seven, but you didn't know when you played the pick-4 that all five firsters in the race would be dead on the board. And the capper, Persuading at $17.40, was the sixth choice in a clearly inscrutable field of nine where eight of them went off between 7-2 and 9-1.
And that's how a Pletcher firster, a 2-1 shot, a 3-1 shot and a 7-1 shot turn $2 into $5,171. Hope you had it.
5:10 pm: In their prep for today's featured Yaddo, Chestoria and You Go West Girl ran second and third as the favorites behind 25-1 Exclusive Scheme. In today's main event, they switched positions but still ran 2-3 as the favorites, as third choice Meriwether Jessica won the Yaddo over You Go West Girl, with Chestoria checking in third.
All but two of the nonet in the finale are covered in the pick-6, a sequence that included four maiden claimers. Pick-6 bettors responded to that lineup with a paltry handle that will yield only a $39k carryover if one of the outsiders wins. By comparison, Wednesday's card yielded a one-day carryover of nearly $61k.
5:45 pm: Just like yesterday, the only horse to which there was more than one live pick-6 ticket won the finale: Conspicuous ($4.50) ran down Keith's Kitten late to reward five players to the tune of $7,922.
A Pletcher first-timer named Forty-Ninth St. scored @ 49-1 w/ Mike Smith up. That was about a decade ago. I remember it well. Perusing that morning's NEWS while standing on the corner of 5th Avenue and 49th St. @ Rockefeller Center, a lightning bolt struck me as I came upon the colt's name in Tom Cavanagh's Graded Entries: Forty-Ninth St. And I'm standing on the corner of 49th St.! A quick check of the watch and I relaxed as I had plenty til the 1st race. I sauntered one block over to the OTB on 48th St. across from Rockefeller Center and the ice rink. The colt had opened somewhere in the 20-1 range. I asked an old-timer if I could check out a horse in his FORM, and he let me. DRF listed a .49b. Man, I started to think, this is getting too cool. An old bag woman standing nearby asked me if she could look @ my paper. I handed it to her, my concentration glued to the bet. She then asked me who I liked, and I said the number. At that point, I wanted to get away from her and asked for my paper back. She was glancing up and reading @ the odds and when she realized the horse I liked was like 35--1, she called me "Crazy!" and flung my paper on the floor, and stormed off. The odds kept drifting up and up. With less than a minute to go, he was 49-1. "This is too much," I said to myself, and went to the window and bet a wad more. By this time, Old Bag Lady, a regular in that joint obviously, had proceeded to go around and point me out to what seemed like an army of giant strangers all in leather jackets, with menacing glares. "He's crazy. He's crazy," I could hear her saying over and over. Some really big and not so friendly looking guys now were giving me the eye. The race was 6 furlongs. "Smitty" sat cozily in the catbird seat all the way down the backstretch. He tipped the Pletcher colt out on the balcony, then roared down the stretch and won going away. $100 winner and the exacta to boot ! Three Indian guys were watching the same monitor. As Smitty crossed the wire, I leaped in the air and hollered out "Who's crazy now, *#@+& ! Who's crazy now!" The three Indian guys all were smiling and laughing because I had told them all about the crazy hag. They came over and one patted me on the back. THey seemed to really enjoy the whole victory. That Old Bag Lady and a $100 Todd Pletcher colt named Forty-Ninth St. I could play horses 100 years and never beat that one.
Hi Steve, wanted to get your expert knowledge of exotic payoffs from a DMR situation today: I had both of the dead-heat finishers in R7 (the 3 and the 4), then hit the P4 for $1 to what was published as a $112.50 payout. But upon further review, my acct. actually wound up $225 richer for the deal. Did I get it twice, once for the 3 and once for the 4?? Never had that go down in a multi-race sequence like that. Thanks!!! [In p4 and p6 most places, there's a single payout regardless of the odds of the dead-heaters. You got it twice.]
I agree with the poster who complained about the pink saddlecloths. Look, if someone wants to draw attention to breast cancer, tie pink ribbons around whatever you want at Saratoga, but don't mess up our ability to follow our horsies at the races. We thought that there was a horsie no. 8 on the lead in every race! Seriously, NYRA, if you want to favour some cause, do so, but not at the expense of horsieplayers' ability to follow their horsies!
Jim, your post reminds of the cold & dismal winter day when Bailey won a numerically significant race, # 5,000, or whatever it was. He had been stuck at 4,999 (fake #) for a while, & had had the chance to get just one more while he was riding in California for a day or two on a weekend. Who wouldn’t want to get it where the sun is warm & the stands actually had people sitting in the seats? No dice. So he came home & then on the following day, won that “one more” - at AQ, a cold, broken-down & empty racetrack. The seagulls applauded & then resumed fighting over the bagel rinds in the parking lot.
I read the first line of the above, and not reading any further, thought: “I’ve GOT to lower my voice. Steve can hear me from 180 miles away, screaming that the prices I hoped to see tomorrow at Monmouth are hitting today!” And in other news: “[He] published his memoirs, Jimmy Reid: Reflections of a Clyde-built Man, in 1976. Latterly he lived on the isle of Bute.” (From a recent British obituary.) Just in case you thought the word only meant…
Walt P AND I agree...what do we have to do to get on the NYRA board? Linda Rice was a lock in the 1st (at least for me).
Rich F: The allowance racing this meet has been absolutely dismal, but I believe that is in part because trainers of better horses don't run their horses as much as they used to in addition to the purse situation at Monmouth (where trainers are assured $1,500 just for starting a horse!). That's one reason why I would be looking aside from cutting back to a five-day week and the season from 40 days to 35 (seven full weeks) next year, I would also be looking at taking a week and a half off before and after the Saratoga meet. Doing such next year have the Belmont spring meet end July 9 with the fall meet subsequently beginning September 17 (and again in the latter case, because of the Sunday after Labor Day next year being the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 I would be looking at taking that extended break anyway after Saratoga). As noted before, to compensate for the later start to the fall meet and early finish of the spring meet at Belmont, the fall meet would go to Election Day (in 2011 that would be Tuesday, November 8), with racing then going back to Aqueduct the following Saturday. That has the side benefit of being able to extend the turf season in New York up to the Christmas break (since they would not be back on the turf at Aqueduct until mid-November) and even possibly being able to continue on turf past Christmas if we happen to have a mild November-December (since there would be depending on the year a 1-2 week break in December). These changes I suspect would get more allowance races to fill and at least allow NYRA to up the claiming bottom at Saratoga back to least the $16,000 level it had been at prior to this year (with the maiden bottom at Saratoga increased from $16,000 to $20,000) and reduce the depenece on state-bred races that NYRA has obviously needed in recent years to fill out programs at Saratoga, and maybe even reduce the depenence on (class-wise) restricted claimers, running more open claimers in their place.
Rcih F. (from the previous blog): While I realize NYRA should be carding its features in the traditional slot during Saratoga, there is a 60% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Sunday. If those hit before the Lake Placid (Grade 2) is run, then there is a good chance that race, which only has six entered to begin with could come off the turf and scratch down to 3-4. That's why NYRA carded it as the fourth instead of the traditional feature race slot, not only because of the Pick-6, but to best assure that race is actually run on the turf as scheduled. The real disgrace to me is Saturday's card. While I realize some connections might be at Arlington and didn't want to run horses on Saturday at Saratoga as a result, this has to be the worst Alabama Day card I have ever seen at Saratoga. This is where I think Monmouth and their inflated purses have really taken horses away from Saratoga, as some outfits who in the past would be at Saratoga are instead at Monmouth, running for the bigger purses. Hopefully, the VLTs will finally begin at Aqueduct and NYRA will be able to put more money into purses next year, but I do think I would be also looking at seriously cutting Saratoga back to a five-day, Thursday-Monday week while cutting the meet next year from 40 to 35 days as well, with a week and a half off between the end of the Belmont Spring meet and Saratoga and another week and a half off following the conclusion of Saratoga and start of the Belmont fall meet that would have a September 17 start in 2011 as I would do it, in both cases so horsemen have full stables at both ends of the Saratoga meet and are more likely to make at least three starts with their horses then (and in the latter case, the week and a half off between the end of Saratoga and start of Belmont is something I would do anyway next year for another reason: The Sunday after Labor Day next year is the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, a day I would have no racing next year regardless).
I remember when Kent Desormeaux rode his 4,000th winner which, like so many other jocks, happened at the Spa. I was standing in the clubhouse near the entry door to the kitchen, and a young man walked by with a cake which read something to the effect of "Congratulations Kent Desormeaux on your 4,000th victory." This was as they were loading into the gate. Desormeaux, riding Bella Attrice, stalked the pace and then drew off to win that 4,000th time. Now, for today, the first race is Linda Rice Appreciation or something to acknowledge her winning last year's training title, I guess. Interestingly, the owner of Linda's entry is none other than her father. The horse has not run in about a full calendar year. Guess who won?
I refuse to play Friday's card, as the imbeciles upstate, in their quest to make us all "feel good" about doing something for breast cancer (why do we revel in meaningless gestures, anyway?) have put pink bridle sashes on every horse! Except for roans and whites, it is damn near impossible to figure out where your horse is in a race, even with Mr. Durkin's fairly accurate calls. Couldn't the jockeys have simply worn pink sashes on their arms, or, let's get really creative, come up with pink whips?