09/02/2010 1:12PM

Day 36: 9/2/10


Another turf festival at Saratoga today, with 7 of 10 on the grass totalling 71.5 furlongs including two divisions of the Riskaverse Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. I can't remember the last time we had a two-division stakes race around here, but the Riskaverse -- an ungraded and unrestricted mile for 3-year-old filies -- drew 58 nominations and 23 entrants.

Today is Day 36 of the meet, which would have meant Closing Day in recent years but in 2010 brings us only to the 90 percent mark of the expanded 40-day meeting. Three of the four remaining card safter today have already been drawn, and entries for the final Labor Day card will be taken tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow, don't forget that it's the second and last Twilight Card of the meeting, with a 2:30 rather than 1:00 start. I completely forgot about it when, a couple of days ago, I saw that Donald Fagen is playing at Jones Beach on Long Island tomorrow night (with Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs) and I snapped up tickets online for a 7:30 show. I remembered about the late post time about three milliseconds after pushing the button to complete the purchase. So, possible hurricane permitting, I'll probably be cutting out just before the 8th of tomorrow's 9 races. At least it won't be the conclusion of a five-day $5 bazillion carryover.

As for yesterday's carryover festivities, thanks to you all for your support and sympathy. You can call off the suicide watch; the game goes on. And I couldn't help noticing that after unsuccessfully trying to root home the Tom Voss-trained steeplechase-to-flat Sharps Island in yesterday's finale, the trainer returned in today's opener to win the final steeplechase of the meeting with 18-1 Easy Red. If you go back 19 races in Easy Red's past performances, you'll see a Sept. 2008 allowance race at Laurel where Sharps Island beat Easy Red by 1 3/4 lengths.


2:55 pm: You've got 19 minutes to get into the final $100k guaranteed Thursday pick-6 of the meeting. I'm passing, with no carryover and a tough bunch of 2-year-old maiden races in the sequence. It will be interesting to see what the handle is. On the five previous Thursday guarantees, there were carryovers three times making the guarantee moot, and the two other times than handle just cleared the mark at $112k and $108k. Those two days make the experiment a success, as the normal non-carry weekday handles are usually in the $60k-$85k range.

Awesome Maria, making her first start for Pletcher and her first since finishing second by a head to Devil May Care in the G1 Frizette last Oct. 10, won the first division of the Riskaverse in 1:35.06 by half a length over second-choice Snow Top Mountain.


4:33 pm: Technique ($8.60), a half-brother to Godolphin's Tahitian Warrior, held on to win the baby-race 7th but was fortunate to do so. Cane Garden Bay, a well-bet (9-2) Rockport Harbor firster, came roaring down the center of the track from far back to miss by just a head and it was only another long neck back to Rice second-timer It's Truly Ahvee, who checked and altered course behind the winner.


5:45 pm: Queen of the Creek ($10.40) wired the field through strong fractions to win the second and much faster (1:33.94 vs. 1:35.06)division of the Riskaverse.

Lisa's Booby Trap, the even-money favorite off her 4-for-4 dirt record and media-friendly backstory, was fourth early and faded badly late to finish last of 10. I got involved in tris and supers trying to get her off the board at such a preposterously short price, but couldn't come up with either 34-1 Ultimate Class or 25-1 Kittilicious, who ran 2-3 to complete a $2,386 trifecta and combined with 16-1 Doe Run for a $10.795 super.

Six of the 10 in the finale are covered in the pick-6, though not deeply: three winners at $38k to the favored #3, two winners at $55k to the 6 or 10, and one winner at $110k with the 1,2 or 5. If the 4,8,9 or 11 get home, there's a $110k carry into tomorrow's twlight affair.


6:05 pm: The racing guy at Cablevision or Nassau OTB must be on vacation: Four minutes to post for the last at Saratoga and Channel 74 just switched to "Settenote Musica." So I clicked over to TVG, where four minutes later the screen says it's post time at Saratoga but we're still watching horses warm up for the 3rd at Del Mar.


6:07 pm: The cable guy's vacation might have ended early. Saratoga's back on Channel 74 and it looks like favored Theresmyeverything ($6.60) won the finale to complete a $212.50 pick-4, a $38,835 pick-6, and Day 36.