08/03/2009 1:55PM

Day 6: 8/3/09



2:45 pm: Missed the first three while driving back to Long Island. Not a straw in my path until I hit the Whitestone Bridge, crawled home from there. Track-to-track driving time, Saratoga to Belmont, including two rest stops, was 4:15:32.30. Guy I know who likes to bet on anything wanted to go over 4:07 for $1,000, but I didn't bite. Good number, though.

Dondo seemed happy to see me back at the desk, though disappointed there were no Cheetos in my laptop bag.

Didn't get involved in the all-maiden early pick-4, but the plan is to get tied on in time for the late pick-4 and the excellent renewal of the G2 Amsterdam.

What a pleasure to have the NYRA signal back on the Nassau OTB channel after the blackout from June 3 through July 26.

4:15 pm: Tough but fascinating sequence. Couldn't get around going three-deep in the six-horse Amsterdam with Everyday Heroes, Quality Road and Capt. Candyman Can. I'm rooting for Quality Road to return in the pink, but have no confidence he's going to be 100 percent off an injury-induced layoff and a barn change. Capt. Candyman Can is a very solid 3-year-old sprinter, who would benefit from a possibly hot pace, but may just be tuning up for the G1 King's Bishop at his preferred 7f distance. If the doubts on both come true, Everyday Heroes is the logical alternative. I even wavered on including Custom for Carlos, who comes off a big-fig effort in the Jersey Shore, but just can't see him winning the battle AND the war.

Here's the play:



4:40 pm: Ugh start. In a race I thought was teeming with intriguing bombs, second choice Pull Dancer was clearly best, paying $8.00 as just a B.

By the way, that was a nice performance by Dance Gal Dance winning the Fleet Indian Stakes for statebred fillies in the 6th. She dueled with Doremifasolatido through fractions of 22.38 and 44.66, and pulled clear to win by two lengths in 1:21.71. Dance Gal Dance now has six victories and two seconds in eight career starts.


Also, I'm well aware I owe you a bunch of answers to a bunch of recent questions (Rachel, My Man Lars, Cheese Waffies etc.), and we'll get to those tomorrow on the dark day before I head into the big city for the Steely Dan concert. In the meantime, if you hadn't heard, Rachel Alexandra's magnificent Haskell got the biggest Beyer Speed Figure of the year: a 116.

5:10 pm: As Quality Road came to the winner's circle after a splendid return winning the Amsterdam by 2 1/4 lengths, announcer John Imbriale said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we do know that Quality Road is a particularly fast 3-year-old, but I don't believe those times on the board are correct. But we'll check it out."

He was looking at posted fractions of 22.45, 44.95 and 1:06.85, and a final time of 1:13.45 for 6.5 furlongs, which would have lowered Topsider's track record by a full second.

The opening quarter and half look reasonable given Dance Gal Dance's splits, as does a final sixteenth in 6.60, but the third quarter in 21.90, and the posted six-furlong split of 1:06.85, don't pass the smell test. However it turns out, it was an excellent judgment in the heat of the moment by Imbriale to question the times.

In any case, Quality Road is back but where does he go now? Stretching out from 6.5f to 10f in the Travers seems a bit ambitious, but the King's Bishop seems a bit redundant. Interesting choices ahead.


5:44 pm: Dave Litfin is reporting over on The Inside Post that track officials are now saying the final time of the Amsterdam is correct and that only the six-furlong split is off -- it should have been 1:07.22 and not 1:06.85.

Everyone except the 4 and 11 is covered in the pick-6 in the finale.

Calling it a day. Back tomorrow with the items mentioned above -- plus the incredible-but-true story of Badger Popeye's spleen.

6:00.01 pm: Glad I'm not alive in the pick-4 or anything. Three minutes to post for the last race of the day and the Nassau OTB channel just switched to the Neapolitan hip-hop strains of "In Italia" Italian-language programming. Yep, I'm home.

6:05 pm: Over to TVG for the nightcap. 44-1 firster Tri Polar lost the lead in deep stetch to 8-1 firster Cleric, but came again to eke out a victory worth $41k to one pick-6 ticket-holder. Tri Polar, a 3-year-old Newfoundland gelding, is owned and trained by Suffolk Downs-based Giuseppe Iadisernia. Nice way to end opening week, if you had him.