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Day 34: 8/30/10
HEMPSTEADATOGA -- Made it back downstate in under four hours, just in time to watch, but not handicap or play, today's Spa pick-6 with a one-day $100,847 carryover. The sequence starts out with three races for older maidens, followed by three (two for statebreds) allowance races, with all but race 9 on the grass.
In the first leg, the upcoming 5th, trainer Gary Contessa is sending out the current 6-5 favorite, Cranberry Queen. Contessa, struggling through a 3-for-74 Saratoga thusfar, has already had one losing favorite today in 9-to-10 Insightful, who ran 4th to Delta Thunder ($11.60) beaten 9 3/4 in today's first race.
Contessa then claimed the winner of the 2nd race, Dutrow firster Hasten to be King ($7.50) for $16k.
3:25 pm: Cranberry Queen, hit late to 4-to-5, checked in fifth as third choice Yan Yan ($10.60) held off 7-2 Truth Will Tell. Yan Yan, who completed a $791 early pick-4, was the fifth winner of the meet from 18 starts for trainer Rusty Arnold.
4:00 pm: Did we just see the first Australian-bred first-time starter to win at Saratoga? Senor Dehere, a 4-year-old making his belated racing debut, broke sharply, took back to fifth, and then finished like a shot under Leparoux to raise the distinct possibility of a two-day carryover into Wednesday's card. The gelded son of Dehere and the New Zealand-bred mare Senorita Lucy ran the 5.5f on the turf in a sharp 1:01.15.
Turf sprinting is a bigger deal in Australia than here, and two of its Grade 1 turf sprints -- the T. J. Smith at Randwick April 10 and the Manikato at Moonee Sept. 24 -- are "Win and You're In" races for the Grade 2 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.
5:05 pm: That Aussie's 1:01.15 looked sharper before another 4-year-old gelding, Fiddlers Patriot, won the 8th in a course-record 1:00.59. Fiddlers Patriot ($14.20), making his sixth career start and first since Jan. 2, led all the way in the statebred N2x allowance.
The parlay through the first four legs of the pick-6 is just over $5k; could go either way.
5:45 pm: Two-day $443,274 carryover to Wednesday! They haven't run the finale but it doesn't matter -- no live tickets into the nightcap (and it will pay on 4 of 6 if the 7 or 10 should win.)
Once again, five of the six races in the pick-6 sequence are on the turf including the featured P. G. Johnson stakes for 2-year-old fillies. The rest are maidens or claimers.
Taking the dark day off. See you in September.
Steve, Thanks for the great blogs all summer - too bad you don't stay for the last week of the meet - weather is great and 10 races almost every day. Agree with one of the prior commenters - the new paddock bar near SS and BS is great - nice spot to see the horses exit the paddock while enjoying a microbrew. Next season you should try strolling over to the backside for a grilled chicken sandwich. At $4.75 it's a nice option - but Hattie's still gets the majority of my lunch action!
Steve, thanks for the great work on the blog, from the racing to the food revues to the doggie tips, each a great read. Was only able to get up there for the Jim Dandy weekend but feel like I haven't missed a beat (well not really, but at least I have a sense of the scene). Good luck Wednesday, hoping you hit a good one to cap things off.
Now that we’re temporarily in between big races where veteran jockeys mysteriously morph into rookies & get involved in “insane” speed duels… “Had a…a very good (if pricy at $6.75 retail) milkshake.” Well, it’s nowhere near a racetrack. But if you’re anywhere near Warwick NY (close by Greenwood Lake, sound familiar?), on Route 17A at the top of a small mountain is… The Bellvale Creamery is run by the Wisner family (farming there for 10 generations). The coconut milkshakes they create with the freshest of ingredients are great. And the price ($5.00) is very reasonable. So if the weather is good (mandatory) & you’re returning home to NYC from Saratoga heading west via Interstate 88 (to see the great scenic views) – At Afton NY, get off & onto Route 41 South; hook up with Route 17 (runs east for a little while & then roughly south) & at the Chester exit, glide onto Route 94 (going SE - check Google maps before leaving Saratoga). You’ll get to Warwick. The creamery is in the next little town over, named Bellvale. As you ascend the steep hill on 17A, approach it slowly & turn off into their parking lot - where you will immediately see a breath-taking panorama of beautiful farming country below. Have a shake.
I am still thinking about Rachel Alexandra's race. This was the longest race of her career, and Borel sent her into a speed duel. He had been rating her in the shorter distances. To me, the ride was insane. I thought they wanted a prep for the BC Classic. Then you rate her, and see how she finishes at a mile & 1/4. They are ruining her legacy this year. No way she should have run in an ungraded stakes after the big win at Churchill, and that was in 100 degrees at Monmouth. Then they stretch out to the classic US distance for the first time, there is only 1 other mare with any speed at all in the race, and they duel with her. The annoying part to me is that she rates well. Now she will never have a win at 10 furlongs, and this was the softest spot they will ever see. Just sit off Life At Ten and wait. What is that jockey thinking? Borel thought he was on Discreetly Mine.
I'm boycotting all NY racing, until the racing secretary SYOPS carding all turf races. If I wanted all turf races, I'd bet Colonial Downs.
Maiden voyage. Love the new web-site format. Just read your pre-race article on Rachel. Sounded like you were expecting some difficulties. I was one of many who didnt think 10 furlongs was the answer for her. Beyer also wrote an article saying that her current year performance didnt take away from her 2009. I think that one of the reasons the Queen Z/Rachel controversy has such legs is that many writers have declared Rachel in 2009 as the greatest (or as good as any) female racehorse ever when lots of fans believe she could never beat the Queen at 10... last year, this year or in the hereafter. Hopefully, the Z can win two more and continue to stoke the debate. [OZ: I don't recall seeing any, much less many, turf writers calling Rachel the greatest female racehorse of all time last year. One of the best 3-year-old fillies? Yes. Maybe the most historic 3-year-old filly campaign ever? Yes. First-ballot Hall of Famer? Yes. But that's about as far as I saw any reputable turf writer go. -SC]
Looks like there is a good chance for a triple carry over for Thursday's Pick Six .Wednesday's card is very competitive nothing realy stands out.The 2 year old stake in the middle of the card is a toss up. In any event,I look forward to, and enjoy reading your blogs and in depth articles. Thank you for your astute and forthright opinions.You are one of the bright spots in the industry.Thank you for many hours of provocative and enjoyable reading...NR
Steve, The blog has become one of the highlights of the meet for me. Can't imagine Saratoga without it. A litttle dissapointed we didnt get a shake shack review though. [Did a Shake Shack preview/review on the eve of the meet. Quick version: Had a very good pulled-pork sandwich and a very good (if pricy at $6.75 retail) milkshake. And there are people who have a religious devotion to their burgers. -SC]
Steve,again thanks for blogging us all thru the meet . I was there today and it was very quiet and kind of nice with the small crowd it almost felt like Belmont . I just want to know where did Summer go ? My god that was fast . Great weather this year . All the best to you and Ms Blog and the doggies . Hope all is well . Tony
Steve, Question that may have been answered already but.....as I was getting pounded today at the windows I finally spoke out loud about the "new and improved" stewards "explanation" on objections/inquiries. I was reading "why" they took no action(i think it was the 6th or 7th race). They made the correct call but on the TV screen read something like "the objection was addressed and then not allowed"!! What kind of garbage is that?? If they are going to put that on the TV screens for all to see then why dont that at LEAST explain WHY or WHAT their thinking was for keeping up/taking down(more so on the not allowing an objection). I was thinking what would happen if the refs in the NFL would just come out after a replay and say "the play stands" without a reason why. The place would explode with complaints. Thanks.