08/27/2010 12:12PM

Day 31: 8/27/10


SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Today I'm going to be that annoying guy who kibitzes a Pick-6 carryover race by race without actually playing it. I haven't seriously handicapped today's 10 races and am going to put my time into tomorrow's 13-race Travers card and Sunday's 11 including Rachel Alexandra's return.

The Friday sequence, scheduled to begin with the 5th race at 3 pm and a one-day carryover of $67k, includes five grass races and a field of seven (scratch Nownownow)in the G2 Bernard Baruch Handicap. I don't know why they even bother making it a handicap any more, as there's virtually no handicap turf racing in this country and the weight spreads -- a range of just 114 to 118 today -- are so small. Get Stormy, who has won 6 of his last 7 including a G2 and two G3's is the highweight at 118, just two pounds more than Sudden War, a loser of five straight who has never won more than a N2x allowance race.

Get Stormy is the 9-5 ML favorite but might be worth trying to beat today, for two reasons. The turf course has a lot more give to it after the rain earlier this week than when he won the FOurstardave here Aug. 1 in a scorching 1:39.09 for 8.5f. also, today's race is half a furlong farther than Get Stormy has tried in his 15 career starts. Baletti, who looked good winning the Fort Marcy two back and the classy veteran Whatsthescript seem the likeliest upsetters. 


3:30 pm: Let the kibitzing begin. (And sorry for the earlier misspelling of "kibbitz" -- turns out it's kibbutz with two b's but kibitz with just one. Who knew? It has also been pointed out to me that I have been consistently misspelling "aficianado" with two f's.)

Leg 1(race 5): Excited ($9.80). How'd he pay that much? I woulda singled him! No, seriously, this Tabor/Pletcher/Giant's Causeway firster was obviously well-backed at 7-2 against 9-5 Mott second-timer Erma Lee and McPeek fourth-timer Tiz My Time, who was third of 22 in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot. Other than tickets singling one of those two, hard to believe Excited knocked out too many plays. Think that makes THIRTEEN 2-year-old winners at the meet for Pletcher.

On to the 6th, a treacherous-looking $16k conditioned claimer where Tall Poppi has opened the 5-2 favorite in a field of 11.  


4:00 pm: Stealth Missile ($19.20) was one of my favorite moves -- the old route-to-7f-sprint turnback (in his case after 14 consecutive starts at a mile or more) -- but this was almost certainly a spread race for everyone so an 8-1 sixth choice isn't a knockout horse.


4:45 pm: Peahi? Peahi?? I know we're only halfway through it but I'm calling a double-carryover. Sent off as the 8th choice in a field of nine, Peahi lulled the opposition to sleep creeping through six furlongs in 1:13.13 and kept on going. I couldn't have used him if I'd gone six deep. Maybe seven. 


4:57 pm: Favored Counterspy a late scratch in the 8th. If you used him in the pick-4 or pick-6 you're probably getting switched to Jockey ridge (now the 5-2 fave with 1 MTP.)


5:05 pm: Yup, you got switched to 2-1 Jockey Ridge, who missed by a head to Spanish Fortune, who paid $8.70 as the second chice but for p-4/p-6 purposes was more like 4-1 as the third choice. 

Lunch note: Working from the house today so no ontrack dining review, but a good opportunity to share and plug a little-known gem (with free delivery!) that I've probably ordered 100 meals from over the last decade: The Spring Street Deli and Pizzeria (132 Spring Street). You can choose from 24 subs, 11 salads, 19 pizza toppings, seven vegetarian choices, 11 eccentric "house pies" and 17 sandwiches that are named for famous races horses ranging from  the Seabiscuit (blackened chicken, bacon, cheddar, cajun mayo) to the Behrens (steak with provolone, red peppers, red onion and A-1) and my personal favorite, the Alysheba (open-faced turkey with stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce.) Sorry, forgot to take a picture of it before consuming.


5:45 pm: Get Stormy ($3.80) got a target to run as National Kid outsprinted him for the lead, settled in nicely and drew off impressively. I'm pretty sure Balletti and Wheresthescript were in the starting gate but I do not recall seeing either one of them thereafter.

So maybe I was premature calling that double-carry. Sue me. Looks like 19 live tickets with half the field of 10 covered in the finale and payouts ranging from $38k on favored Brampton to a lone-winner $228k on Elleway. Covered: 2,4,5,6,8. Uncovered: : 1,3,7,9,10. 


6:00 pm: No double-carry, as 5-2 Brampton held off uncovered 22-1 McPeek firster Jazz Life to give trainer Allen Jerkens his first winner of the meeting and complete a $1,447 pick-4 and $38,362 pick-6 (6 winners).

On to Travers Day. First post is 11:35 a.m., and I'll begin dispensing up to 13 bad opinions on an early edition of Talking Horses starting at 10:20 a.m.