08/31/2009 12:48PM

Day 30: 8/31/09

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12:45 pm: Four of today's five scheduled Saratoga turf races remain on the grass with only the 7th switched to the main track and the 10th moved from the inner to the Mellon.

The afternoon's stakes fare is a pair of nine-furlong races for fillies -- the $70k Mollie Wilmot for open company and the $112k Saratoga Dew for statebreds. Sea Chanter, who would have been odds-on the Wilmot, instead ran (7th) yesterday in the Personal Ensign. In her absence, Platinum looks odds-on.

Here's a startling stat: When With Flying Colors, Sea Chanter and Unbridled Belle brought up the rear yesterday in the Personal Ensign, they extended Todd Pletcher's record in New York Grade 1 stakes to 0-for-43 over the last 23 months. The streak began with Lawyer's Ron's narrow defeat to Curlin in the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 30, 2007, an afternoon when Pletcher had won the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic with English Channel and the G1 Beldame with Unbridled Belle in the two preceding races.

Of those 43 starters, only five were 2-1 or less, including Munnings and Quality Road last Saturday.

In all fairness, the streak includes the disqualification from 1st to 2nd of Harlem Rocker in the 2008 Cigar Mile, and those 43 starters do include six seconds and nine thirds. Also, he has won eight Grade 1 races outside of New York during that time, including the 2007 Breeders' Cup Turf with English Channel, and this year's Princess Rooney (Game Face) and Secretariat (Take the Points.)


4:30 pm: Just not feeling it today, so treading lightly with minimal action. Put $240 into the early pick-4 and had only a buck of it, so got back $226.50 for a net loss of $13.50. (I went three-deep in the Mollie Wilmot, not being sold on Platinum, who jogged at 1-2.) Put $240 into the late pick-4 with a sloppy caveman play (1,5,10,[13]/1,3,7,11/1,5,6,9/2,3,4,5,6) just to give myself a reason to watch the last few.

Meanwhile, Linda Rice re-tied Pletcher at 15 in the trainer standings after winning the 6th with Sigmondo.

If you can't tell, I'm tired and lazy today. I attribute it to HFCSWS -- Hattie's fried-chicken-sandwich withdrawal syndrome. I tried a Tendergrill from the local Burger King. It was like drinking Champale.


5:40 pm: Obviously one shouldn't handicap while suffering from the mind-numbing effects of HFCSWS. The only good news: 1)I kept my handle low and 2)We've got a $45k carryover, regardless of who wins the Week 5 nightcap, and a dark day to rest up for it.

Good luck if you're alive in the pick-4, where the smallest payoff is $9k for $2 and there's probably only one dollar alive to #4, Absolute Return (to whom I gave a small shot off his off-the-page 2008 grass form.) If he wins, the payoff will be posted as $413,624 but I'm pretty sure that's a single $1 ticket. 


6:03 pm: I don't want to jinx anything, but it's 6:01 pm and there's still horse racing instead of the scheduled "Parliamo Italiano" on the Nassau OTB channel. Same thing happened yesterday. Is it too soon to raise a toast to Nassau OTB?.


6:10 pm: Congrats to commenter iron frog, whose three live horses in the pick-4 included narrow post-time favorite Jamaludin, who held off second choice Ruff and Ready for a $10,410 for $2 payoff. I'm sure he'd be even happier if it had paid $411 less, so there would be no tax withholding on a $1 ticket, but it beats losing.