09/04/2009 1:21PM

Day 33: 9/4/09



12:40 pm: Today's pick-6 sequence at Saratoga looks a lot like yesterday's, only harder -- and you remember how easy yesterday was: so easy that there's a three-day $656k carryover into today's card, where first post is 2:30 and the pick-6 starts with the 4th race at 4 p.m.

Like yesterday, today's sequence has firster-loaded 2-year-old filly races as the first and third legs (today's are statebreds) and the last five races are all on the turf, including a tough overnight stakes.

I'm playing small, and playing at all out of obligation rather than enthusiasm. The carryover is so big that the payoff will be an overlay even if it turns out to be relatively easy and haveable. But there's nothing resembling a single in my mind, and not even a race where I'd feel like a heavy favorite to survive by using just two horses. This is no knock on the card: There are a lot of intriguing and very competitive races. To me, they're just better suited to intrarace play, or more affordable multi's like pick-3's and pick-4's, than to the pick-6.

My personal limit on pick-6 investments is $5k (Breeders' Cup Day) but I'm looking to spend more like $1,500 today. You could argue that carryovers of this size are so rare that I should be betting my max, but it's a card where I could triple my investment without raising my confidence 30 percent. There will be plenty of opportunities to invest that extra $3500 in these last four days of the meeting. And while it's unlikely, it's not impossible that this thing could carry one more time into Woodward Day.

4:09 pm: Here's the play, which came out to $1584:


(Main=$216; backups=$288, $432, $432 and $216. Total=$1584)

I saw no way to stay within budget without designating a pair of either-or singles, and the best I could come up with were Pearl River, a Clement firster in the 6th, and Thoroughly Holy, a Rice-trained turf sprinter in the 8th. That way, I was able to use 3 or 4 A's in each of the four other races.

They're at the post.

4:20 pm: Lovely Lil, Tiznow firster sent off the second choice (one of three 5-1 shots) to 3-2 Australis Princess, was a ton the best winning her debut for Schwartz/Hushion/Garcia. Lovely Lil was one of only two of the seven firsters who went off at under 19-1.

4:50 pm: Oh well. Could have used six of them, shaved it to four, and Classic Campaign got up to beat me and I'm Only Laughing at the wire:


5:25 pm: Linda Rice doesn't get extra credit in the trainer standings for running 1-2 with Gitchee Goomie and In Te Domine, but the 1-2 finish by the two firsters pulled her within one victory of Pletcher, who won the G3 With Anticipation with Interactif earlier on the card.

Pearl River, a tepid 5-2 given her $140k purchase price and pedigree (half to Incurable Optimist) ran a tepid 5th.

"Gitchee Goomie" is a phonetic spelling of the Ojibwe word for Lake Superior, made famous in Longfellow's poem "The Song of Hiawatha" ("By the shores of Gitche Gumme/By the shining Big-Sea-Water...")  "In Te Domine," Latin for "In you, Lord," are the first three words of Psalm 31  and also appear in the U2 song "Gloria" ("Gloria...in te domine/Gloria...exultate.")

Of more immediate relevance: With the first three winners paying 5-1. 5-1 and 8-5, I wouldn't get my hopes up for another carryover.

5:55 pm: Phew. By which I mean: I could have put in $5k or more and still wouldn't have used Leamington. I know she was only 6-1 and someone's going to lecture me that that "Motion is hot," but I just didn't see her in this spot. Rationalization is a wonderful thing: Now I can feel like I saved $3416 instead of losing $1584.

6:01 pm: The strains of the "Baby Elephant Walk" just started wafting from the tv, and that can only mean one thing: "Parliamo Italiano!" is back on the Nassau OTB channel instead of the last two from Saratoga. Glad I'm not alive or anything...

6:03 pm: ...but I had faith and didn't switch to TVG and after only two minutes of Italiano, the signal's back.

6:30 pm: The Queen is back in a tie with Pletcher after Thoroughly Holy ($4.90) disposed of Sweet Bama Breeze early and held Linsalata and Catty Madeleine safe late to win the 9th. FOurth winner of the day for Alan Garcia.

Here come the pick-6 willpays into the finale: 1: $72,858; 2: $154,486; 3: $187,467; 4: $111,977; 5: $104,934; 6: $34,330; 7: $88,747; 9: $153,069; 10: $51,023.

First person to say how gigantic those payoffs are for a 5-1 / 5-1 / 8-5 / 6-1 / 7-5 sequence is a rotten egg.

7:02 pm: Tobruk, 1 for 29,just up in the final strides to nip Here Comes Art, who nearly wired the field at 11 furlongs off a 23-month layoff for trainer William Phipps. Tobruk completed an $88k pick-6 and a $1395.

If you're playing Saratoga tomorrow, you might want to start looking now: 12 races with 147 horses before scratches. First post 1 p.m., and the Woodward is scheduled for 5:52.

WALDHIEM More than 1 year ago
Master of the obvious More than 1 year ago
Leamington? You mean the one with Motion and Rose combining after having won five of their previous six at Saratoga?
jtown More than 1 year ago
To Mike V Ditto Andy Beyer. Became a racing devotee in 1975 in Philadelphia
joel m More than 1 year ago
Steve, You've stated that you think $100-$200 is the sweet spot for investing in p4 bets. Do you have any statistical info about p4 payoffs at the recent Belmont/Saratoga meets? If I'm going to invest $150, I'd like to have some idea about the kinds of payoffs to be expected. Of course there'd be a wide range of values - but what would the average or median value be? Would the data follow some statistical pattern (e.g., the bell shaped curve)? (Yes, I'm a retired engineer!) In short, is the p4 really a good bet - recognizing that taxes would eat up about one third of the payout? Thanks for the blog. It's great fun.
doppedis More than 1 year ago
[Re] how difficult today's pick six sequence was looking: it didn't even have a jump race. Hmm...I thought moving the jumpers to the front of the card was pick six salvation.
saratoga_mike More than 1 year ago
$419k carryover at Del Mar tomorrow! Looks like a really tough card. Figuring out Saratoga and DelMar could take all night.
george quinn More than 1 year ago
Steve, I have been a regular commenter here. And I was the first one to say that Jess Jackson was going to run Rachel into the ground when I heard he bought her. I was wrong. I commend him for running her and letting us appreciate her. I also commend him for telling the Breeders Cup thanks but no thanks. Maybe just maybe it will get the powers to be in racing just to start thinking about going back to dirt. I have never been a Jess Jackson fan. I am truly behind him in his choice of not running at Santa Anita and also applaud him for giving us Rachel against the boys. Something we would have never seen according to her old connections. I was wrong Jess Jackson. Good luck in the Woodward. Impress us again Rachel. Make us put you in the same conversation as Ruffian. Turn the Woodward into a public workout. George in Tampa
micclay More than 1 year ago
I have no ill will against Linda Rice and respect her abilities and focus on the meet and correctly seeing that the most common race would be the 5 1/2 turf sprint and got her stable ready to run and win. It is however kind of sad that the game has changed to the point that she would be the leading Saratoga meet trainer based on 5.5 turf sprints. Today had a 1 3/8 Inner Turf - maybe the 4th such race carded at this distance for the meet. Sad. That distance used to be run 2 or 3 times a week. Need to get Lasix out of the game and the focus away from "hot house" horses bred for auctions. Oh, were have you gone Joe DiMaggio. PS - Just think how Joe would fair in today's 24/7 sports center, blogs and reporters in every trash can.
callmetony More than 1 year ago
I skipped it today but I wrote down my play ..... i had the 1st three and i started to worry I messed up big but then the 7th race and of course as always the LAST race put me at ease i would never have played those 2 . Whew .... As Steve stated money saved . How bout yesterday's last race winner . How can you possibly play trainers like that ? Let them win there 2 races a year . And its usually in the last race of the day .
William More than 1 year ago
Steve, can you please post the photo of the 9th race so I can show all of my friends how much I lost winning the pick-6 for $104,934 with the 5 being caught at the wire? Great. Thanks.