08/22/2008 3:45PM

Day 27: 8/22/08

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3:30 pm: Another beautiful/fast/firm day at Saratoga, where only the third carryover in 26 days of racing demanded my involvement in the pick-6:

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I found it a tough card to make my usual sort of multiple zigzag-tickets play, due to too many mains and not enough backups. After getting through the opening leg with one of my two "A singles" in the sequence, I now of course wish I'd spent more of my resources backing up the second one, but that's how it goes sometimes. I'm not thrilled about having channeled $1152 of my $1296 play through Mogul Man in the 6th, but I just didn't see anywhere else to do it.

4:00 pm: Ick. A photo between two of my B's went to 2-1 favorite Critical Cathy, obviously not the result I was looking for since I went six deep and relegated the fave to B status. This will amuse those of you who think me a slave to figs, but I just didn't like Critical Cathy despite her last race being 6 Beyer points higher than anyone else's: She got loose in a race where an odds-on favorite stumbled at the start and was moving up a rung in class facing more experienced veteran winners at the higher level.

So I'm left with a 1x5x2x4, effectively a $1296 win bet on Mogul Man, who just opened at 6-5. Oh well.

As for today's earlier fare:

Race 1: Thought this was a good spot to take a four-horse-box ex and tri shot against dropdown Globalization, 6-5 to negotiate nine furlongs. He tired late, just enough to produce a $107 exacta but held for third to foil a trifecta score. Oldham ($14.40), second-time DiPrima, had a career-best fig in his lone previous dirt start amid seven turf and poly tries. He swerved in at the sixteenth pole, tightening things up a little but was properly left to stand after an inquiry.

Race 2: Wafer-thin photo-finish between McPeek second-timer Dream Empress and Mott firster Dynaslew, and it ended the way Mott's 2-for-48 meet has been going: Dream Empress($6.90) by a nose.

Race 3: 1.65-1 Tight Storm beat 1.65-1 Tzipi by two lengths in this $25k filly claimer.

Race 4: Onoitsmymotherinlaw ($8.60), another Durkin favorite, wore down 8-5 Cocktail Attire in a long stretch drive. Cocktail Attire shot out to an early lead, seemed to repel the winner in midstretch, but couldn't quite shake her as the announcer added "Onoitsmymotherinlaw...just won't go away!"

Race 5: Dutrow second-timer Captain Sword ($4.40), far back early, was up just in time to catch tiring Knife and Fork by a length to keep the world alive in the opening leg of the pick-6 with $43k carryover. Knife and Fork was dq'd from second -- first takedown of the meet -- for clearly bothering third-place finisher Rock Key. Captain Sword, claimed by Dutrow from Schwartz/Hushion from his debut, was calimed from Dutrow by trainer Enrique Arroyo today.

4:45 pm: Double Carryover? Not if a friend of mine who used 41-1 Quick Comeback gets home the rest of the way with his live 2,3,8/5/1,2,5,6 ticket, in which I have a 5 percent interest. As for the tickets in which I have a 95 percent interest (we swapped 5 percents on similar investments), they're obviously dead with Mogul Man managing only a bad fifth behind three bombs and a second choice who combined for a $23k tri and $93k super. Quick Comeback's front-running victory was marred by a spectacular spill when Academy Royale and Cinder Cone went down on the backstretch but both horses and their riders appear to be okay.

5:15 pm:Okay, NOW we're looking good for that double-carry into Travers Day. Sunshine for Life ($30.60), sixth choice in a field of nine, made it back-to-back front-running grass winners from post 9, holding off late-running Viva La Flag. Sunshine For Life, a 4-year-old Giant's Causeway filly trained by Rick Schosberg, had been off the board in three previous N2x tries going shorter, but lasted going 9.5f after getting her first six furlongs in 1:12.16 on the suddenly dry and dusty Mellon course.

5:45 pm: Ginger Punch, who looked like she couldn't win down the backstretch, looked like she couldn't lose in midstretch, then looked like she couldn't win againa s the wire came up, bobed her head at just the right moment to nose out Lemon Drop Mom and win the G1 Personal Ensign in a thrilling finish.

The 5-year-old Stronach homebred, last year's champion older filly, is now 5 for 6 this season and 12 for 20 overall. The Personal Ensign was her third straight Grade 1 victory and sixth overall.

Looks like half the field is covered in the pick-6 in the finale. The will-pays are illegible on the monitors and indecipherable on the NYRA Rewards screen online, but it looks like there will be a six-digit payout if the 1,3,4,5 or 6 wins, and a carryover if it's the 2,7,8,9 or 10.

6:20 pm: By the slimmest of margins....no double-carry. Good Request just held off uncovered 20-1 Hidden Glance to complete a $106k pick-6. Guess we'll have to content ourselves tomorrow with 12 races and $30 million or so in fresh money.

I still haven't looked beyond the Travers, and everyone's telling me it's a bear of a card. Let's get to work.