07/31/2010 12:50PM

Day 8: 7/31/10


1:45 pm: On paper, the opening two races on the first 11-race card of the meeting were not terribly intriguing but both turned out to be eventful.

The opener, the $70k William Fasig Stakes for older statebred turf fillies, looked like a toss-up among classy veterans Chestoria, Akilina and You Go West Girl, all dispatched at 2-1 to 5-2. But 25-1 Exclusive Scheme, Chestoria's uncoupled fellow Badgett trainee, got loose early and had just enough left to hold off Chestoria by a nose and YGWG by another head.

It was hard to walk 10 paces into the track today without someone stopping you to say there was a big tip going around on Leon Blusiewicz's first-time starter in the 2nd, an open 9f older-maden race. Blusiewicz has pretty much retired from training and has started only two horses in the last five years, so it still was surprising to see his Admiral Alex, a $260k Afleet Alex gelding, open at 6-5 in a race that had drawn a pair of $1.2 million second-time starters from the powerful Zito and Darley barns.

Admiral Alex floated to 5-2 by post time, but he stalked the leaders before taking over in upper stretch, the pricey colts never got involved, and the firster scored at $7.40 to complete an unlikely $203.50 early double.

Admiral Alex's winning time was 1:49.76 in the first of three 9f dirt races on today's card. So often up here, the stakes is the only two-turn dirt race on the card, making the time more difficult to evaluate, but today we'll be able to compare the 2nd with the 7th (a N1x allowance) and the 10th, the Jim Dandy. Might be interesting since after the race Blusiewicz was talking, and not kidding, about having Admiral Alex make his second career start in....the Travers.


2:05 pm: Guess who's coming to town this week:

Recognize the 2003 Kentucky Derby winner? Funny Cide, the 10-year-old  New York-bred gelding who raced for the locally-based Sackatoga Stable, is visiting from his theberetirement home at the Kentucky Horse Park  from Aug. 3rd through 8th, taking up temporary quarters at the newly-opened Old Friends at Cabin Creek retirement farm in nearby Greenfield Center, NY. With Super Saver returning here after tomorrow's Haskell and Mine That Bird on the grounds awaiting next Saturday's Whitney, that makes three Derby winners in the Saratoga area starting Tuesday.


3:15 pm: Apparently the people who unloaded on Admiral Alex aren't pick-4 players: The sequence that began with him at $7.40 and continued through $17.40, $6.00 and $7.80 winners paid a whopping $2204 for $2, nearly triple the parlay. The pick-3 of those last three winners paid only $298.50, making admiral Alex the equivalent of 6-1 rather than 5-2 in the pick-4.


3:55 pm: A baby race with eight firsters and two who had run ended with the two "veterans" running 1-2 and the much longer price winning: Settle for Medal ($45.20), who settled for a distant bronze medal behind 12-length winner Boys of Tosconova July 2, wore down dueling 2-1 Pletcher third-timer Volcker and 8-5 Asmussen firster Astrology in 1:10.71. Rought start for the pick-6, glad there wasn't a carryover to tempt me, but it looks like there could be one to send me back to work after the Sting concert tonight.


4:15 pm: Go ahead and put up that pot of carryover coffee: Arcodoro, the irst of trainer Eric Guillot's six Louisiana Downs shippers to lift a hoof at the meet, just wired the N1x 7th at 44-1, going straight to the lead in 1:12.05 under David Cohen and drawing away from favorites Morning Line and Heart Butte through the stretch. Arcodoro, second in the G3 Cinema Handicap while a maiden last summer, won an off-the-turf maiden race at LAD two back in his only previous dirt start. He combined with Settle for Medal to complete a 733-to-1 double. His time was 1:49.43, just under two lengths faster than Admiral Alex's debut in the 2nd.


5:30 pm: Proviso's tactical speed won her a third staright Grade 1 race and the leadership of the nation's turf fillies as she won a blanket finish to the Diana. Forever Together, the sentimental (and slight parimutuel) favorite, missed an unprecedented third straight victory by a head and a nose, as 11-1 Shared Account pipped her for second.

The slow posted fractions (1:12.91 before a final of 1:47.04) probably worked to Proviso's favor, as she got first run on the favorite under a perfect ride from Mike Smith. Proviso, a Juddmonte Farm 5-year-old Dansili homebred, has not lost since being switched back from synthetics to grass this year for trainer Bill Mott. She beat males in Santa Anita's G1 Kilroe in March and then the G1 Just a Game on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

Proviso joins Zenyatta as the only three-time Grade 1 winners so far this year. Blind Luck, Devil May Care, and Quality Road have two apiece.


6:15 pm: A Little Warm and Miner's Reserve repeated their 1-2 finish in a June 29th allowance race at Delaware Park, and in almost identical style, to further muddle the muddled 3-year-old picture. Afleet Express ws a disappointing third behind the top pair and Fly Down, the Belmont runner-up, faded badly after a brief middle move as the 9-5 favorite.

A Little Warm, a Stormin Fever hombred who races for E. P. Evans and is trained by Tony Dutrow, earned a gaudy 105 BSF when he stalked Miner's Reserve and then overtook him in the final furlong to win the Delaware N2x by 2 1/4 lengths. Today he took a little longer to get by him and score by 1 3/4 lengths, with Afleet Again another three-quarters back in third.

A Little Warm ran the 9f in 1:47.98, which was 1.45 seconds faster than Acodoro's N1x victory and 1.78 seconds faster than Admiral Alex's debut.

As expected, no live tickets in the pick-6. If I look a little bleary on Talking Horses tomorrow morning, you'll know why.