08/07/2009 11:56AM

Day 9: 8/7/09


12:57 pm: Fast and firm at Saratoga, where I won't be dipping into today's $42k carryover. The third rescheduled departure from Long Island is now set for 4 p.m., but it's not following-from-the-Thruway that's keeping me out of the pool: It's the two formless 2-year-old filly races, with six firsters in a field of seven in leg 1 (race 5) and nine firsters in a field of 10 in the blind leg 3 (race 7).

I'm not knocking the race placement -- Saratoga's all about debuting first-timers, and NYRA does a pretty good job of putting them in the best possible spots: Today's three firster-loaded races are the first legs of the early pick-4, the pick-6 and the late pick-4, at least giving bettors a chance to see the board before putting in their tickets. But it's too much guessing for me for a one-day $42k carry. Besides, I think there's a good chance for a two-day carry into Saturday's excellent sequence, which includes the Test and Whitney. Last week, a two-day $126k carry into Saturday attracted a fresh $626k. So my plan is to put in a spread-out late pick-4 today, load up the hounds, hit the road and root for a double-carry.

The stakes on both weekend cards look strong, and Sunday's G2 Vanderbilt came up with the best sprint field so far this year: There are only six, but they include Fabulous Strike, Benny the Bull, Fatal Bullet and Kodiak Kowboy.

The six Vanderbilt entrants have combined to win 16 graded sprint stakes, 11 of them Grade 1 or 2 events. The field of six in Saturday's "Grade 1" Bing Crosby at Del Mar has combined to win one (1). 

1:45 pm: Eight-minute delay to start of the second race when Mott firster Show the Way J, 8-1 at the time, got cast in the gate, got out safely, was scratched, but then ran off. Field was backed out, reloaded, and Pletcher second-timer Trickle Trickle wore down 22-1 Cesare second-timer Punta Nizuc got the job done at 7-10.

3:22 pm: Msjerseyroulette, Serpe firster who was fifth choice in field of seven at 9-1, edged 5-2 favorite Economic Tsunami to kick off the pick-6. Suspect I'd be no better than alive by a C thread had I played. Msjerseyroulette required 1:07.20 for the 5.5f, about 10 lengths slower than the male maiden claimers ran in the second. Economic Tsunami lost the photo but gained the moral victory, fighting off early pressure through an opening quarter in 21.98 and then battling back once passed in deep stretch.

4:15 pm: In the biggest upset since the 1980 Woodward, we're not exactly on the road just yet.

I've Got Speed, third choice at 9-2, ran down 13-1 Natural Speed to take Leg 2. Superfecta with both favorites off board and 13-1, 31-1 and 48-1 shots filling out the frame, came back at $18,344 for $2.

Here's the loosey-goosey pick-4 play:


You're on your own the rest of the way. Good luck to us all and I'll wave when I get back to Saratoga.

11:45 pm: Took 45 minutes to get over the Whitestone Bridge, but there wasn't a straw in my path on the Thruway or anywhere else. Door to door in 4:20, including bridge traffic and one stop to walk perfectly-behaved hounds. It was Dondo's first car trip of more than 15 minutes and he slept the whole way. The track looked pretty all lit up and empty as I drove in off exit 14.

Just watched the replays of the last three. Bad news: The unfortunate CBAA pick-4 zigzag. Good news: $140,940 double-carry into the Whitney/Test card. Time to burn that midnight oil..