09/02/2009 1:13PM

Day 31: 9/2/09


September1:12 pm: Sept. 2 is as late as a final week of Saratoga ending on Labor Day can begin, since Sept. 7 is as late as Labor Day, the first Monday of September, can be. The August Place To Be is now The September Place to Linger.

As you can tell from the children singing patriotic songs in the winner's circle on the simulcast signal, it's also "Proud to be an American" day at Saratoga. "Proud to be a Pick-Six Player Day" begins in the fifth race, when the sequence starts with a $45,240 carryover and a 2-year-old maiden race with two strong second-timers and five firsters. The trickiest leg is probably the third, where nine 2-year-old fillies all will be trying the turf for the first time.

The card includes two ungraded stakes for older-filly sprinters. One race before the Pick-6 starts, there's the $70k Loudonville at 6f on the dirt. J.Z. Warrior looks eligible to get an easy lead and wire it. The ninth race is the Lena Spencer (named for the proprietor of local folk-music mecca Cafe Lena) for turf sprinters. Linda Rice, who starts Week Six tied with Todd Pletcher for the training title at 15 winners apiece, sends out Canadian Ballet and Ahvee's Destiny, the likely second and third choices behind Smart and Fancy.

One of the pick-6 questions I'll be grappling with in the next two hours is whether to lean on Smart and Fancy, who was probably best running a frequently-troubled second to Ahvee's Destiny last time out, or whether to use all three favorites in equal strength and try to narrow things down elsewhere.

Smart and Fancy is a personal favorite with a dazzling set of lifetime pp's:

Download SmartandFancy

She has won 14 of 26 career starts with five seconds and five thirds, and 11 of her victories have been in stakes races, at Aqueduct, Colonial, Delaware, Laurel, Philadelphia Park and Pimlico. Her only two off-the-board finishes came in her first two career starts, meaning she has run first, second or third an astounding 24 times in a row.

2:10 pm: Captain Sword scratched with one minute to post for the 3rd race, leaving a field of three (3). 2-5 Headache was an easy winner over 3-2 Matador Run.

3:02 pm: Here's the $1302 play -- a $600 all-A's-and-B's, and five single backup C tickets costing $216, $72, $144, $216 and $54:


I easily could have put in four times as much without increasing my confidence fourfold. The first and third legs, for 2-year-olds, are wide open. The only way I could keep the play at my target level was to set it up in a way that either Chief Counsel in the 5th or Smart and Fancy in the 9th must win.

I used Royal Stocks as one of my two backups in the upcoming 5th because he took serious action in the race 4-5 doubles. The doubles from the three favorites to him dropped from $111 to $47, $138 to $83 and $91 to $48 during the last 12 minutes of betting.

3:16 pm: Well, THAT wasn't fun while it lasted all of 1:04.29. Chief Counsel off poorly, fell eight lengths back early, made a huge, wide move he couldn't sustain and fell a length short. Lukewarm Pletcher firster Bonavento ($13.40) outdueled 6-1 Fayoum for the victory. 

4:00 pm: Under other circumstances, Lovely Promise is the kind of "C" who can really make a Pick-6, a 5th/6th choice kind of horse that not many caveman tickets are going to include. For today, we'll see if she has that effect on a possible double-carryover into tomorrow. With the first two winners paying $13.40 and $25.40, it's already a distinct possibility.

5:35 pm: Canadian Ballet ($7.20) blitzed the Lena Spencer in 44.22 and 1:01.57 to put The Queen back into a tie with Pletcher at 16-16 in the trainer standings. Smart and Facy, sent off at even-money, steadied early and was wide but didn't kick in with her best and lost the photo for second to 8-1 Sly Storm. As discussed last year, Canadian Ballet is named for the ecdysiast emporia just over the Canadian border.

As for the pick-6: No live tickets, and a $209,378 double-carry into Thursday.

6:00.01 pm: It was too good to last. Three minutes to post for the Saratoga finale and it's...."Parliamo Italiano" on the Nassau OTB channel.

6:01 pm: After just 45 seconds or so of parliamoing, it switched back to Saratoga! Good thing too, since TVG is showing the third at Del Mar.

6:15 pm: Tough-to-like Mr. Enrico took the finale at $31.40 to complete a $23k pick-4 and a pair of $27k consos. Time to pick up some midnight oil at 7-11.

Hammer More than 1 year ago
"ecdysiast emporia" I had to ask Mr. Dictionary what that meant. Nice.
aparagon4u More than 1 year ago
I was feeling brilliant yesterday after watching Success Fee come from dead last early to get up just in time in the 8th. I singled him in the Pick 4 and bet him to win. I had the three favorites in the feature with Smart and Fancy for $2 and the other two for $1. Then in the finale I was alive to the top five betting choices with payouts ranging from $900 to $3,200. It was deja vu all over again. A few weeks ago I was in a similar situation two times where I was alive to half the field in the finale with simialar will pays and I didn't think I could possibly lose but somehow both times I missed the winner in the finale. Can anyone talk me into Mr. Enrico after the fact? His only turf race was dreadful and he had absolutely no turf in his pedigree but I did look at him more then once before tossing him because he showed speed in his last race, something he had not shown in his first three races. That is an angle I use and usually it does fairly well, but when I looked at the internal fractions of the race and saw how slow they were I tossed him. Like Steve said this horse was tough to like but if anyone saw something I didn't please let me know. Had I not bet Success Fee to win I would have felt like a dunce. To me the $16.40 win mutuel was a gift. The reason I ended up on this horse was his form was darkened by his four races at Aqueduct. He lost twice on the main track and twice on the inner. Prior to that he had three good efforts, one at Saratoga and two at Belmont and those three races fit in well with the field he was facing yesterday. To me he looked like a horse that didn't care for Aqueduct. He also had a string of solid works and he was a closer in a race loaded with speed. So while I did ok with the win bet I am still upset I missed the Pick 4. Lenny
cjgrant More than 1 year ago
Almost forgot.While not a breeding note,Linda Rice has Meriwether Jessica in the 6th going sprint/route turf.She's 5/6 with this angle at the meet,the lone loss was a coupling(Precision Farming in the 8th) whose entry mate won and was,you guessed it,also going sprint/route.
cjgrant More than 1 year ago
Breeding notes for Saratoga (9/3): 3rd-Maker has another Ramsey/Kitten's Joy 2yo in this stakes.He's alredy 2/2 at the meet with the same combo,both going 2 sprints/route.Only difference is both wins @MSW and with males but at 5/1 morning line worth a shot. 5th-Trombetta sends out a Speightstown juvy @ 8/1.Sire already has several 2yo winners at meet including one yesterday at this distance.She should be easy to spot as all Speightstowns are huge. 7th-Another KJ 2yo this time Pletcher.However going 5 1/2 on turf, a distance for which they've shown a remarkable dislike.Hopefully will draw some money away from Rice firster and others. A bet against. Good luck.
Pete from the Thumb More than 1 year ago
Steve, thanks for the new vocabulary word! Outstanding: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ecdysiast Also, just hit me that the past three catastrophic jockey accidents I've heard about - Rene Douglas (paralyzed from the waist down), Michael Straight (likely paralyzed from the waist down) and Dale Beckner (facial lacerations, skull fractures, slight bleeding on the brain) - all occurred on synthetic tracks. There was also that sad story about another breakdown during training hours at Del Mar. Great to hear about Harty and others rushing to help stabilize the victim, but another sad result. I know they had a meeting at Arlington that actually delayed the start of the card a few days back, reportedly to discuss track conditions. Anyone know the outcome of that meeting, or what's to be done with these problems plauging synthetic tracks?
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
Peewee: I was channeling H.L. Mencken, who coined the word. You're channeling Gypsy Rose Lee, who said of Mencken's coinage in a 1940 interview, "Ecdysiast, he calls me! Why, the man... has been reading books! Dictionaries! We don't wear feathers and molt them off... What does he know about stripping?"
Virgin Queen More than 1 year ago
suffolk downs aka suffering downs aka chalk city. 4.00 3.40 2.80 4.80 7.20 5.00 2.80 5.40 4.80
Evan Gewirtz More than 1 year ago
Wow! What a dilemma we would have been presented with if someone had taken my prop of 4/5 that RAI would pop up at 6:00. As you noted Steve, RAI did pop up at 6:00.01 but they went back to NYRA and the 10th was shown live. Literally, I think I would have won but substantively I clearly lost as the race was shown. We would have to go to the RAI cut-off rulebook. However, something tells me this would have ended in a wicked court battle. Steve, all meet long Saratoga's 10th and Del Mar's 3rd have been colliding and the california biased TVG has shown the Del Mar race first every single time.
Jim More than 1 year ago
Past The Point will give Rachel a target to run at, but what is Zito doing entering Da'Tara? Da'Tara is another Noble Causeway. The latter was scratched by Jerry Bailey earlier this decade because he believed the horse to be not right. Zito entered the horse a few days later, and the horse was pulled up a furlong into the race. Da'Tara showed nothing in its last and looked as if he was a horse suffering from Swine Flu. Macho Again may pick up some baggage as they reach the final sixteenth. Past The Point is going to be winging it on the front end .............and how.
peewee More than 1 year ago
Ecdysiast emporia EH ? You trying to boost our vocabulary on your blog ? OR showing off your Harvard education on the subject ?