07/25/2010 5:15PM

Day 3: 7/25/10



SARATOGA SPRINGS -- More rain overnight, but the heat wave seems to have broken. The three scheduled turf sprints (5th, 8th and 10th) have been moved to the main track; the 1st and 8th remain on the turf, but the opener has been moved from the inner to the Mellon course.

1:45 pm: Devil May Care's visually impressive four-length victory in Saturday's CCA Oaks earned a modest Beyer Speed Figure of 96, but given how the weather and track condition were changing throughout the day, it's a figure that might require a few grains of salt. There was just one other route race on the card, an off-the-turfer three hours earlier, and while that race seemed to merit a faster variant than the surrounding sprints, it's hard to say with confidence that the track was the same six races later.

Blind Luck, scheduled to face Devil May Care in the Alabama Aug. 21, will be coming into that race off an even tougher-to-quantify effort, her Delaware Oaks victory July 10 that was run on a very sloppy track where it was imposible to give several consecutively-run stakes routes the same variant without awarding absurdly high or low figures to some of them.

The race was given a 95, which people unfamiliar with making figures have mistakenly criticized as somehow being unfair or insulting to Blind Luck. Applying the same variant to her race as to the surrounding ones would have given the Delaware Oaks a patently ridiculous figure of 116. Even if you think Blind Luck is capable of such a thing, how about the three undistinguished locals who were within three lengths of her at the finish, who would have earned Hall of Fame figures of 116, 113 and 110?

In any case, a Blind Luck-Devil May Care showdown figures to be a thriller if it comes off, but not because it's a last-out 96 vs. a last-out 95. These are two exceptional fillies who have dominated the division this year, together accounting for the Las Virgenes, Bonnie Miss, Fantasy, Kentucky Oaks, Mother Goose, Delaware Oaks and CCA Oaks.

Wine Police, the Speightstown 2-year-old who looked so good winning his debut by 7 3/4 lengths Saturday in 1:03.36, got a 90 Beyer for that effort and appears headed for the Hopeful Sept. 6.

2:45 pm: They're running races here today, honest, I just couldn't get too excited or involved with the trio of statebred races that opened the Sunday card.

In the first, a rider switch to the ever-patient Ramon Dominguez was probably the winning difference for Starjetta, a chronic ground-loser through the stretch but a rallying winner today after Dominguez wrestled her back early.

Kimmel firster Risk a Chance was pounded to 11-10 in the 2nd, but she was off a step slow and didn't do much running thereafter. Meanwhile, Chad Brown first Yawkey Way was winning off by 5 1/2 lengths at 5-2.

In the 3rd, Cody Samora, off 10 months since winning her debut by 16 1/4 lengths in an Oct. 4 Belmont off-the-turfer, prevailed after turning back a challenge from 27-1 A Smart Judge.

Jockey Javier Castellano made it three straight taking the fourth, a tough open N2x allowance, on Desert Key. If the name sounds familiar, that's because Desert Key ran second in both the Amsterdam and King's Bishop here in 2008. After two defeats at 4 and two more this year, it seemed his carer had stalled, but he looked good holding off Be Bullish and Mesa Sunrise today in a long stretch drive.

3:30 pm: Four in a row for Castellano, this time on 3-2 Fiddler's Chaparito. The all-Javier early pick-4 paid $181 for $2.

3:50 pm: Make that FIVE in a row for Castellano, and not with another chalk but with off-slow last-to-first Stand Proud -- trainer Chad Brown's third winning firster in the last seven races going back to yesterday's unfortunate nightcap.

4:25 pm: First track record at the meet: Fastus Cactus, a 4-year-old Cactus Ridge gelding running for a $25k tag, just won the off-the-turf 7th in 1:02.51, crushing J Be K's 2007 mark of 1:03.13 at the infrequently-used 5 1/2-furlong distance on the main track. Castellano had no chance to win a sixth straight race as he had no mount. He returns in the upcoming 8th on 10-1 Peace Wine.

5:05 pm:  Every year trainar Tom Voss comes here with horses who look like they're a notch below the competition and every year it takes a winner or two to remind me not to leave them out. This year's first reminder: Followmyfootsteps ($29.00), a 6-year-old repatriated Giant's Causeway gelding, who lost his rider in a lone steeplechase race and then ran twice on the flat at Delaware. Today, Dominguez put him close to favored Mikoshi's mild early pace and he took over at will when the favorite faltered. Peace Wine, bet down from 10-1 to 5-1 by six-crazed Castellano followers, was third early but had nothing late.

5:30 pm: After favored Bail Out The Cat reared at the start and jockey Alan Garcia lost his irons, 9-1 Maybesomaybenot wired the field to win the G2 Sanford in 1:10.97 for six furlongs. The Sunday  Break gelding, a six-length maiden winner at Churchill July 3, scored by 1 1/2 lengths over the maiden Nacho Saint, who registered his third second-place finish in as many starts. The stewards posted an inquiry regarding the favorite's misadventure, but after reviewing the tapes decided he had been released properly by the assistant starter.

Only one live pick-6 ticket, to Tidal Slam in the finale, otherwise a $48k carryover into Monday's card.

6:15 pm: Annual Appeal mowed them all down at $12.40 as Tidal Slam faded after rushing up from a slow start, so there's $48k in the kitty for tomorrow's pick-6, with five of the races in the sequence scheduled for the grass.

Only two winning 5-of-6 consos were sold, so at least the person who was alive for $48k to Tidal Pool got one of the $8,098 consos.

The sequence looks very tough tomorrow. (And don't forget it starts with the 4th since it's only a nine-race card.) I was planning to cut out midway through the card and drive back downstate for a couple of days before bringing the rest of the household up later in the week, but following a pick-6 from the Thruway never works. So I dunno. Decisions, decisions.