08/25/2010 2:17PM

Day 29: 8/25/10


SARATOGA SPRINGS -- "No sane or rational person would play this Pick Six," Andrew Beyer told me Tuesday night, and I nodded in agreement. But I'm about to put in my tickets and I'm guessing he is too.

[Update: Beyer did NOT play. Guess I'm the insane, irrational one.]

It's a terrible card for multirace players, loaded with firsters and 2-year-olds trying the grass for the first time. But we're all playing with the same handicap and this is only the second two-day carryover of the meet.  The $210k seeding the pool should make it something close to a no-takeout proposition. So once more unto the breach. I'll post the play shortly, after watching the board and making a couple of final fineline decisions. I'll be focusing on the 3,5 and 10 in the opener, the only off-the-turfer of the day.


2:50 pm: The bad news is that one of those last-minute fineline decisions was to move the victorious #5 in the opening leg, 5-1 Kid Curry, from an A to a B. The better news is that most of my play was an all-A's-and-B's main ticket, so I really only lost my backups in the finale -- a scramble where I'd like as many as possible, but not the end of the world.

Here's the play. I'm alive 3x5x2x2x4:

 Today's Pick-6 handle was a whopping $988,615 not including the $210k carryover.


3:20 pm: Arggh. Never mind. Ran 2-3-4 behind perfect-trip Tiger Willie. It looked like Gamblin Fever (12-1 ML, 4-1 PT) was going to win as he pleased in upper stretch after circling the field on the turn, but Castellano slipped the winner through at the rail and prevailed in the battle between a 1-for-14 and a 1-for-20. Yeah, I coulda used Tiger Willie as a C but I would have been dead to him thanks to the Kid Curry demotion. 


4:00 pm: Late lunch today but Ontrack Restaurant Week rolls on. I did a seminar at the Capital OTB Tele-Theater at 12:30, then drove back up the Northway just in time to get the tickets in.

Some early gambling: The yellow light next to the gas gauge came on at exit 8 of 14, reminding me that I hadn't gassed up since last Friday's drive up from Long Island. I tried to remember whether the light means that I've got a full gallon left or just enough to get to the next exit, but since the needle was a good 1/32nd of an inch north of E, I kept driving and made it to the parking lot. Getting out tonight may be another matter.

So today's belated cuisine was a burger from Burgers Central, just to the right of Crepes Central and Hattie's. (I carefully avoided eye contact with the Hattie's people, who must think I've forsaken my daily breaded chicken but I swear, I'll be back Saturday.) I went for the $7.00 steakburger with cheese and went an extra dollar for the bacon, which somewhat disconcertingly arrived atop the burger in the former of a wafer-thin disc the exact diameter of the burger.

But it tasted like bacon, and the burger was big and perfectly cooked, though unseasoned. It hit the spot and earns a solid B.  Yes, I've heard the Shake Shack burgers are supposed to be  the best at the track but we'll see for ourselves tomorrow or Friday, okay?


4:20 pm: Leg 3 went to Michelle Nihei firster Silent Joy ($12.20), which was nice to her since two races earlier her firster Santo Gato was pulled up a few strides out of the gate. Silent Joy rallied furiously to nip Orangeblackandgold, a Tom Proctor second-timer who was pounded to 2-1 favoritism off an in4-1 Tiger Willie had won the second legdifferent 5th on Polytrack at Arlington.

There was an inquiry involving contact in upper stretch between the runner-up and third-place Drumette, but the stewards ruled it "did not affect the finish of the race" and let it stand. 


5:10 pm: No three-day carryover: Everyone's covered in the nightcap, at payoffs ranging from $96k to a pool-scooping $759k. I'd be alive to  four of them if 9-2 Gamblin Fever rather than 4-1 Tiger Willie had won the second leg. Maybe the consos won't be too terrible if I get there.


5:45 pm: Harlan's Ruby completed a $96k pick-six for eight skilled navigators but not before surviving a foul claim and inquiry for bumping moral victor Triune, a Jimmy Jerkens firster who pressed a hot pace, won the battle, and only succumbed in the final strides. Triune would have been a much better pick-4 and conso result for me, but the winner didn't deserve to come down: Both fillies shifted lanes in the stretch and the bumping took place once Harlan's Ruby already had the race won. Unfortunately.



Gregory More than 1 year ago
Steve, Seems like you usually enter an all A's and B's ticket now? Have you more or less reduced your strategy to 2 categories? AB's and then C's? Previously and in the case of a pick 4 for example I thought you'd play tickets with all A's,2 A's and 2 B's,3 A's and 1 C? Does it just depend on how many you have in each rating category? [It really depends. Sometimes when I don't have many B's, or I have just one or two B's in multiple races where I'm deeper on A's, it just doesn't cost that much more to do an all-A's-and-B's instead of doing six permutations of only-two-B's-allowed over four races. I'm less likely to do it when B's outnumber A's because then you're giving too many horses equal value and getting close to caveman territory. -SC]
TURFDOCTA More than 1 year ago
Loved Hatties last year, but this year seems much saltier. Burger Central has very good burger although sometimes over-cooked. The best is still the sausage and peppers with that great spicey juice. That and one of those over-priced but totally deliscious lemon aids really gets the job done on a hot august day at the spa. Love your Blogs!
bigjcc526 More than 1 year ago
It should be clear to everyone that extending the spa meet doesn't work. There's a horse shortage,the economy is bad which means less disposable income to play,and quite frankly,I've never seen as many low quality cards here. They should run no more than 30 cards,8-9 races on weekdays,9-10 on weekends,and no way they should run 6 days a week.Monmouth has the right idea,less is better,and they should be a model for the entire country. Too many tracks running too many races.The excitement isn't there playing 'toga anymore like it used to be
Figless More than 1 year ago
Is there any point where the presence of the "players' pools", or syndicates, begins to diminish the value of the carryover in your opinion? It does in mine. While the payout still exceeded the parlay by far, if this were a one-day carryover someone holding a winning ticket on a day when not a single favorite was victorious would expect to take close tothe whole pool. I would have been somewhat disappointed in the payout. Yesterday's card seemed crafted to attract those large investors. The lack of form on the card screamed out random result, which favors those that can hit the "all" button in multiple races. Their presence kept me out of the pool more than the lack of pp's on the entrants. So pros like the sane and rational Beyer, and yourself (mostly sane and rational), sit on the sidelines and essentially concede the pool to a group of less skilled players. Thoughts? [I see your point but I personally don't think the value is diminished and I never "concede" the pool to anyone. There is no syndicate that is routinely taking down these pools in NY. And I think you're being paranoid about the card being "crafted" to attract any particular type of player: when Wednesday's entries were taken Sunday, nobody knew there was going to be a double-carryover by Wednesday. -SC]
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Race 3 (08/26/10, on the day following this blog): “What is the point of a three-horse race?” Failed Defense (for which the lawyers still billed for their services, regardless of verdict), at trial: “Well, there was all that money - purse money! - just sitting there…” (You nor I could not make this up : One word of the words to be typed - in the defense against spam - was: 'Docket"!)
Figless More than 1 year ago
"Crafted" was a bad choice of words, obviously should not be implying intent, lets just say it was perfect for those types. And you played so you did not concede, of course. Sometimes I wonder whethar the increased competition on double carryover days offsets some the advantage of the zero takeout. If a five A, one C result occurs the pool gets split many times, where a similar result on a non-carryover day will often take the whole pool. Mathematically, obviously not, but I still wonder if I personally would be better off playing big (for me) on a non or single carryover day.
tony v More than 1 year ago
Well I had the late pk4 and I'm happy . But I missed the 1st 2 legs of the pk 6 . 96K wow ....... Whomever said if you get knocked out the pk6 then play the pk4 . I'd like to thank .
Ryan More than 1 year ago
Steve, according to your spreadsheet you had Harlans as a C, so you did not hit the conso correct? [Correct.]
don More than 1 year ago
Thought the Burger Central was far superior to Shake Shake, in fact found it the best of the foods this year. Had two Chicken Sandwiches from Hattie's this year and neither one was eatable, a sad experience after last year.
Terry F More than 1 year ago
I tried Shake Shack a couple weeks back and was underwhelmed. Burger was decent but nothing special, fries seemed like just standard Ore-Ida jobs, and not very many of them at that. With a soda it was almost $15 to boot, not exactly recession-busting prices. I won't go running back.