08/26/2009 1:05PM

Day 25: 8/26/09


1:05 pm: With Mine That Bird staying in the barn, NYRA linemaker Eric Donovan has made Quality Road 8-5, Summer Bird 3-1, Kensei 7-2 and Charitable Man 6-1 in a seven-horse Travers.

The race is scheduled for 5:46 pm ET Saturday and will will be the last leg of a $1 million guaranteed all-stakes pick-4, preceded by the G2 Ballston Spa at 4:05 pm, the G1 Ballerina at 4:38 pm and the G1 King’s Bishop at 5:10 p.m. The three Grade 1's will be broadcast live during a 90-minute ESPN telecast starting at 4:30.

As for today's card, the two stakes are the $70k Pleasant Colony for open 3-year-olds, which drew a field of five colts not nominated to the Travers, and the $150k Albany for statebred 3-year-olds. Fiddlers Afleet will be well under his 2-1 ML in the Albany, and while he's the most likely winner in a thin field, he's the kind of horse I'd be looking to beat if I could find a plausible alternative -- and I'm not done looking for one.

My reservation is that he comes off a big-figure romp against weak opposition at seven furlongs and now stretches out to a mile and an eighth. In four previous starts at a mile or more (albeit two of them on synthetic surfaces he may not have liked), he lost ground through the stretch every time. Maybe he's just too good for what's up against him today, but it seems like a lot of horses with distance limitations get caught by lesser stretch-runners in nine-furlongs races up here.

1:35 pm: The early pick-4 play:


(AAAA @$3=$81; ABAA @$2=$36; AAAB @$2= $162; ABAB @$1=$54; CAAA @$1=$27; Total=$360)

The thinking:

Race 2: The only one of the ones who had run I liked was turf-bred Ms. Thanksgiving. My others A's were the George Weaver and Chad Brown firsters, because both excel at 2-year-olds making turf-route debuts. Brown, whose Zodiac Girl just won at 7-1, won this exact same race ($75k maiden-claiming turf fillies) last year with Maram, who went on to win the BC Juvenile Turf Fillies.

Race 3: Cast as wide a net as I could in this turf maiden-claimer for older males. I seem to have omitted second-choice Seattle Brew, but he has backed up late in every start beyond seven furlongs.

Race 4: I'm just not sold on 2-1 favorite Guam Typhoon as a route horse rather than a closing sprinter, so I left him out in this field of five and went with proven routers Santana Six, Sumo and Saratoga Sinner.

Race 5: A complete guess with a Steve Klesaris firster in as otherwise dismal a field of statebred maiden claimers as you'll see all meeting. Used the three in the field who have shown a glimmer of ability as backups.


2:50 pm: So far so good, though the lukewarm opening price of 7-2 on the Klesaris firster (#10, Manhattan Miss) isn't too encouraging. Clement dropper Khukuri got a perfect trip to win the 3rd, and Sumo ran back to his Sam F Davis winning the 4th. In all fairness, Guam Typhoon ran gallantly to be second, duelling from the start with Santana Six and winning that battle while losing the war.

The pick-4 probables ($2 payoffs; I have $2 to the #10, $1 to the 1, 7 and 8):

1- $4,336; 7-$2,026; 8-$10,306; 10- $2,022

3:20 pm: Right but wrong but right but....I suppose it was technically a good guess on Manhattan Miss since she won, but she wasn't even favored and is clearly not much after winning a painfully slow race. Unfortunately for me, she was exactly a length better than Lyrical Bobcat -- the one that was paying $10k -- who mounted a very late rally that fell short.

4:10 pm: Not crazy about this sequence, but here we go:


Race 7: Just believeing the board. Tiz Brian, the Asmussen firster at 5-2, is a must-use, and the Harty firster (The York on York) at 5-1 seems more "live" than the Pletcher firster (Condemned) at 9-2. So those two are my A's, with Condemned and second-timers Strictly Society and Anwar Sadat as B's.

Race 8: Split a four-horse race two and two, leaning towards Seminole Lass and Sonic Sound.

Race 9: Discussed earlier. I'm spreading.

Race 10: Really think Love for a Price has finally found a winning spot, but she's a little unreliable (10: 0-3-4) so I'd love to pick up my B's as well.

4:30 pm: Well THAT ended quickly. Wildcat Nation wasn't bet in his debut, had some trouble but in a mediocre race, and while I guess he took some money today at 7-1, I couldn't warm up to him. He got a dream trip today, sitting third while firsters Condemned and Tiz Brian killed each other off through a first quarter in 21.36, then inherited the lead and drew clear.

The Travers Day card has been drawn and I personally can't agree with the commenter who thinks the all-stakes $1 million pick-4 is "pretty lame" because of heavy favorites. Obviously Indian Blessing, Munnings and Quality Road can all win, but I don't think any of them are cinches. 


6:15 pm: Love For a Price found a way to fall short again, running second in the finale to Apple Grove, who completed a lone winning pick-6 ticket worth $52k.

Derby Man More than 1 year ago
On to Rachel day, and OMG as the younger generation says. Zito has entered two, good for him and bad for us as there is no Super to play, again! So what is a vertical player to do? Rachel over Macho over Bullsbay, ITB and A Boy, like (another word the youngers love), like, 30 times?
domenick desimone More than 1 year ago
Dear Mr. Crist: Thank you for your response. I completely understand what you're saying, although to be perfectly honest you've been on a good streak with your pick 4s and I've been playing the a,b,cs incorporating some of my plays and yours together. Although I've been having some tough beats but that's how it goes sometimes. And the reason is I have to manage my bankroll. I usually start with $300 on a day when I'm playing and I know that a limited bankroll can cost you. I read your books and I understand your strategies and of course, I don't have to tell you they are excellent ones, but sometimes it comes down to who has the bigger bankroll that makes you a winner. That's the reason I don't play the pick 6 too often. I need two singles where someone else might need one. I've been using your strategy on TicketMakers - again thank you for your response and I'll be watching you on talking horses tomorrow morning. Domenick DeSimone
C More than 1 year ago
Ray, You can print off the PPs. The one thing I really like about Formulator is that you can download a card several days in advance, whereas the paper edition is only available the day before. I do admit, there's something about the print version that "feels" right, but I did get used to my printouts after a while.
bochalls More than 1 year ago
Hey Bill Ritchie, if Calvin leaves his teeth with the outrider then it will only enhance that Appalachian smile....Ray Manley, my main concern is the price of DRF. Its over $7 where i live. How much do you pay for it?
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
ray_manley: Whoa. You're misreading any "handwriting on the wall." The print edition isn't going anywhere. It substantially outsells online products and will for many years to come. callmetony: I don't follow Del Mar closely enough to play their carryover seriously. I might just take a piece of a friend's ticket for rooting interest.
Bill Ritchie More than 1 year ago
Does Rachel get 2 weight allowances in the Woodward? Both age & sex? If so, Calvin may need to leave his teeth with outrider to make weight.
Ray Manley More than 1 year ago
Last evening I completed a lengthy survey for Daily Racing Form. I am sure many of you will be doing the same. I have seen the handwriting on the wall for some time now regarding the life of the print edition. Personally if the print edition comes to a halt I will need to find another passion. And I have been in love with this sport since I was 6 (and I am 57 now) and that will be quite difficult. My suggestion is to continue the print edition and offer NYRA and California in the same issue (just like during the Spa and DelMar meets). Formulator may be great but I don't want to lug a computer around at the track. And I am not that crazy about using Formulator when I am on line. I don't have the luxury of spending an hour to handicap a single race. This summer, the powers that be took our Kodachrome away. Please don't take my DRF print edition away.
Alan Grant More than 1 year ago
Travers pace may break the clock. Race sets-up for Summer Bird.
Alan Grant More than 1 year ago
Slevin could have won. No reason for Castellano to take Slevin around to the outside when there was a gap of 2-3 lanes right behind Fiddlers Afleet. Lost more ground than difference at wire.
stephen More than 1 year ago
Hey Steve! I was just looking at the PP's for the NY Turf Writers jump race ... and focused on Mixed Up (who is probably not going to run). His form improved pretty dramatically when he was taken OFF Lasix. Can't say I have ever seen a horse going off Lasix and this is really fascinating ... given your Roundtable presentation (which was GREAT!), any thoughts??? Peace, stephen