07/31/2009 9:50AM

Day 3: 7/31/09

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10:50 am: Late-night and early-morning rain has washed all grass races except the featured Lake George (for now) off the turf. Races 1, 3, 4 and 9 will be run on the main track, which is currently listed as sealed/sloppy. First post is 2:30 pm. 


2:08 pm: It's still raining and they just announced that the G2 Lake George is off the grass along with the four other previously switched turf races. Think I'll be rooting for a double-carryover instead of playing today's slopfest.


3:10 pm: The Lake George is now down to a field of four: Be Fair, Mary's Follies, Consequence and The Best Day Ever.

The weather also knocked out the NYRA signal until just before the first race, thus the unavailability of "Talking Horses."


4:00 pm: The rain's still coming down and I can't make heads or tails of the racing over it, so instead of playing the pick-6 that's starting in 9 minutes, I'll tell you about last night's first 2009 Saratoga restaurant outing, okay?

I used to be a semi-regular at The Wishing Well but perhaps because I associated it so strongly with eve-of-meeting dinners with the late Joe Hirsch, I slacked off when Joe stopped coming up to Saratoga a few years ago. But I was in desperate need of a wholesome meal last night after two days of hurriedly eating convenience-store swill (even this man can not live by Easy Mac and peanut-butter pretzels alone), and one of Joe's good friends suggested an outing to The Wishing Well, which is about a 10-minute drive due north of the track up route 9. WishingwellEven with a reservation on the historically slowest night of the meeting, it took nearly half an hour for a table to open up, but it was well worth an entirely pleasant wait at the lively bar.

The Wishing Well has been around since 1936, run during most of that time by the late Bob Lee and his wife, Brenda, who continues to greet new arrivals. It's an older but lively crowd, heavy on horsemen and horseplayers, and nearly every overheard conversation was about the day's injustices and triumphs at the races. The cocktails are generous and a pair of them went for $13.50.

When you're seated, the first thing they do is bring out a big plate of sliced local tomatoes, and when you finish it they bring you another. The menu doesn't take long to read and you don't need anything translated. The Wishing Well is where you go for a steak or a lobster tail, not for anything with a shiitake infusion. You get baked or creamed potatoes and an iceberg salad with your steak or crustacean, and as much corn on the cob as I could have eaten were that delicacy not still on the forbidden list for recent dental-impant patients. Following Joe's perpetual advice that "Dessert wouldn't hurt a baby," I ordered the strawberry shortcake he used to favor and can report it was as good as ever. The damage for two was a very reasonable $140 for two drinks, cold-seafood appetizers, the aforementioned steak and lobster, plus coffee and dessert. I'll be back more often.


4:30 pm:  Chad Brown firster Kid Kate, third choice at 9-2, ran down 11-1 Taconic Victory to take the first leg of the pick-6 with $34k carryover. The first two finishers in the  5.5f off-the-turfer for 2-year-old fillies were homebreds making their debuts: Kid Kate (by Lemon Drop Kid) for Dell Ridge Farm, Taconic Victory for the same Willmott Stables/Hennig connections that raced her first-crop sire, Eddington (Unbridled).


6:15 pm: The sun came back about 15 minutes ago, too late to do anything about the very sloppy track. Be Fair took the off-the-turf Lake George in a gutsy effort, leading all the way, turning back what looked like a winning challenge in upper stretch from Mary's Follies, and drawing off to beat the favorite by four lengths.

Looks like there are pool-scooping pick-6 tickets alive to 4 of the 11 still in the finale -- the 9,10,14 and 15 -- for a $126k payout. Otherwise, that's the carryover for tomorrow.


7:05 pm: And the winner was....otherwise. Attractive Ride wore down favored Icetate in the final yards to capture the nightcap and give us a $126,281 double-carryover into the first Saturday of the meet. A horrible, horrible beat for whoever was alive to Icetate to take down the pool. My condolences.

Weather and signal permitting, I'll be in the Carousel at 11:45 tomorrow to go through the card on "Talking Horses" with Andy Serling and Jason Blewitt. It doesn't look easy, but what fun would that be?

Ben More than 1 year ago
NYRA race replays can be viewed on nyra.com without having to be a Rewards member. Just click on the Video Replays link under the Broadcast section and login with your free user name and password.
bobm toga More than 1 year ago
rough day yesterday.. i loved louisville in the sanford and also thought i was home free. i actually spoke to steve asmussen 2 minutes before the race as he was walking thru the grandstand (i always see him there, he likes to watch the big races from out at the benches..) he said the 3 was the better horse but the 2 had the speed.. of course it was his 2 that beat me out for the exacta with the winner !! anyways on to a new wet day, again.. 3 horses i like today.. 5th race.. french onion soup (6-1) drops to mdn clm for levine and maragh.. big tomlinson for mud and he is 37% on the drop 6th race. maraschino red (6-1) may have really turned the corner last time out . proven on wet and garcia already hot... may get lost in the betting as only real good race was last out.. 8th race lake george.. lady shakespeare (8-1) also looks to be improving and attfield can train turf horses. likes to win and i like the rail here to sit the trip with kent who is hot on the grass right now.. good luck to all.. still looking for first winning day at the spaaaa
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
The Fish: The difference is that most racemeets in the UK are very short and rotate among different tracks. No one there holds racing over the same courses for 36 out of 42 days as Saratoga does, so here there's a greater concern about not chewing up the turf and ruining it for the rest of the meeting.
the fish More than 1 year ago
Here's my question...why do we pull races off the turf when it rains? They race on the turf rain or shine in the UK. What's the difference in the US?
bobm toga More than 1 year ago
a few selections for tomorrow 7th race broad river (8-1) has the speed to sit either on the lead or on the inside in 2nd or 3rd and that is key in a big field like this. he has already gotten thru this condition and is now in for the 50k tag as maker and ramsey try to rack up wins.. 8th race vivis book (15-1) i have him in my horse watch off the awful trip he had last out. i wish he was in nw2 allow instead of tough stake. however what you give up in a weaker field you will get in the price which i think will be over 20-1 by post time.. 9th race rutherienne (6-1) looks like a great fit with garcia as he seems better last 2 than all those 3rds last year.. afraid of forever but i think he clearly can beat all the rest and ill take 6-1 over 6-5 anyday. 11th race actors groove (15-1) comes off maiden key race victory and closed on a early speed type of day on the grass at belmont, which makes his run even more impressive. i like di prima off the claim and there are many 1 for 15 types in the race. so 15-1 for an improving horse against proven losers is worth the gamble.. good luck to all as it is a great card tomorrow.. where in the world do you get big competitive fields throughout an 11 race card.. seminars are ok, but sound system is awful. you cant hear anything throughout most of the facility, even shaky inside the carousel.. but i still miss harvey.. noone there to put little adny in his place..
Ralph Conterr More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the early infor. Hope your having a great time up state. I can't wait to get up there in a few weeks. Ralph
Forego76 More than 1 year ago
Steve: Back in the 1970s and 80s when I was in college and after that when I worked at Green Mountain Race Track, my friends and I always planned our annual reunion date for Hall of Fame day. We would meet at workouts at 7, followed by breakfast at Mother Goldsmiths. Then it was on to the induction ceremony and the track. The Wishing Well was next. They'd make a big setting for 15 or 20 of us and bring out those big plates of tomatoes and cucumbers. The prime rib was the size of a small canoe and always cooked just right. But you had to save room for the shortcake. I always ordered half blueberry half strawberry. After that it was on to the sales to hobnob with the elite. I had not been back there in a while until a few years ago when I took my spouse. The prime rib was still excellent, and the lobster bisque with a little spot of sherry added by our waitress was out of this world. We can't make it back for the meet this summer so thanks for allowing us to enjoy the experience vicariously through your excellent review. By the way, kind of funny story. The first time I was there I walked right up to what I thought was the hostess desk and asked to be seated. The person I thought was the hostess who was just sitting there behind what I thought was the desk looked at me like I was an idiot. Turns out I was an idiot. The "desk" was the piano, and the "hostess" was the player. A sort of "don't order from me, I'm just the piano player" moment. My old friends still remind me of it whenever we get together during the meet.
e_s More than 1 year ago
Hey Steve, Two quick comments: 1) If you are looking for a decent steak in town, try Doc's. Not too pricey, drinks are reasonable, and the salad bar, while mediocre, at least provides part of your 5 and 5 per day. 2) Waiting to enter on Thursday morning, a kind person offered me a $2 discount coupon to the grandstand or clubhouse. I entered the clubhouse entrance with coupon in hand, and no one could figure out how to accept it. I ended up leaving it at the ticket window (not that I am crying over $2 bucks, but if they print coupons, they should accept them!)...it is the little things that NYRA seems to screw up on a regular basis! At ;east the crowds were lively...
C.Rich More than 1 year ago
I feel just as sad as Lenny as I was alive in the Pick-4 with the 10-14-15. 16 never showed that kind of speed going short. Thought Leparoux gave a horror show ride by gravitating to the rail where no one wanted to be. If he stayed wide and kept Alvarado wider he might have won.
Saratoga_Mike More than 1 year ago
Callmetony, Do you really think the $6.75 beer keeps the young people away from Saratoga? They can bring in their own beer in coolers - many do. As a point of reference, a beer is $9 at SPAC (the concert venue in Saratoga)- sorry that's for a domestic beer, imported is more! I can assure you plenty of young people attend SPAC, and NO outside beer is allowed inside. Finally, the economics of running a racetrack and a casino are radically different. It's virtually impossible for a track to offer the same comps as a casino.