08/07/2009 12:56PM

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..

Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Today's Monmouth Park Motto: "Great Weather - When It Doesn't Matter." Almost simultaneously, Show The Way J (SRC Race 2) flipped in the gate & was scratched - & Two North Road in Monmouth's Race 3 dumped Jose Velez Jr. in the post parade, ran off, & was scratched. This made for an unusual double partial refund on our two triple box bets - the day's highlight on our trip to MP. From then on, the Wrong Way Spiral went wire-to-wire. Two races later, when TJ's Trubs (4th at 96-1) at the wire clunked past the abruptly stationary Separate Checks (9-1), our last Dime Super Bet (otherwise correct) was given the bum's rush. ***** An aside: Super Oddities, or "Who Do You Like In The Fourth?" - Tough Holiday in Race Two came in 4th at 96-1 & TJ's Trubs in Race Four was also 4th at 96-1. But in the 9th, That's No Frere disgraced her pedigree by coming in 4th at a puny 89-1. Which means that it is possible that someone today, somewhere, made three DSBs - & then all three in succession were ruined by the longest shot on the board. ***** We threw in the towel early, with our losing streak now having surpassed the longevity of firewood (even my Orphan Brigade at Arlington, the favorite, managed to run out - in a field of four). But we did linger to watch Race Six before leaving for the Atlantic Highlands Clam Fest, & that's when we finally caught a break. The entries that we would have selected in a triple box wager finished 1st, 3rd, & 4th. The (not on the ticket) favorite MattieAndMorgan (#4) came in 2nd. The numbers went up . Let's leave. "Wait." On The Tote: "#4" is blinking. "There's a jockey's objection; the rider of the 5th place finisher, Walton Place, is claiming interference against #4...". If M&M is DQ'ed, it will be placed behind the 5th place finisher. And the unbet triple box runners (respective odds: 7/2, 11-1, & 9-1) would now be the new order of finish. "#4"...Dark..."#4"...Dark... "#4"...Dark... "#4"...Dark...Not Good. A lengthy inquiry usually means...oh, you know what it means. The Driver: "Come on, this is Monmouth. They're not going to DQ an even-money favorite out of the money." She was right. The results stood.
str3268 More than 1 year ago
Steve, I stay on Saratoga Lake when I am in town and I purposely take that night time drive past the track to go home. It is beautiful! Though I have not looked at Saturday, yet, I must disagree with the opinion that the cards are terrible this year. In comparison, the last 2 or 3 years were quite a bit worse I think. Unless I am mistaken I have not seen a claimer under 20k and it seems we had a steady diet of 16k and 14k the last couple years. Hey the fields have been big and hard to decipher and lots of $10-plus winners. I think we had just one Pick 6 double carry last year and now we have had 2 in the first 10 days. As Steve would say: "that is why they call it gambling."
Sean N More than 1 year ago
Agree with Beyou that the card is not that bad. Although maiden claimers have no place at the SPA on a weekend--could have just had a 10 race card and carded that race for Monday. P6 is a bear! I have many 10-1 to 20-1 horses marked up as live. I am going to dive in, but think this could carry for a 3rd day, especially if Commentator doesn't win (I am leaving him off my P6). Good luck to all and am very curious to see Steve's matrix!
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
My buddy got stuck for 1.5 hours trying to get over the Whitestone on his way to the Spa last Friday. Clearview is the way to go until they fix that ramp on the Cross Island, even if it is a tad out of your way.
e_s More than 1 year ago
I agree, C. I think the racing secretary must card races that reflect the horse population, and truth be told, New York has a strong breeder program, so there are many NY breds looking for action. Like you, I have nothing against claimers, even find good betting angles in many claiming races. It is the NW1L that can be hard to fathom, but the answer is simple, pass on betting them!
C More than 1 year ago
Do you guys want everything to be a stakes race? They can't all be top of the line races. How many truly good horses are there in the country? The answer is a lot less than the number of races Saratoga, or any track, has to fill. Honestly, I don't think most of the horses running in today's stakes races would've even been considered stakes caliber 25 years ago. ... I don't really like playing those state-bred n1x races where every horse is 1-for-35 either, but what's wrong with claiming races? I actually like them, but maybe I'm alone there. Really though, take a close look at many of today's "stakes" horses... they are no more consistent than the claimers.
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
beyou: You know as I got further into the card I kinda warmed up to it. I have to admit that when I reached the NYSB Mdn Claimer in Race 5 it flipped my switch. I'm certainly willing to meet you half way on the issue. Winners for all!
joe More than 1 year ago
steven_crist said, "Philadelphia Park can offer a gigantic purse, since they have more slots money than they know what to do with." One thing we do know is that they don't want to give it to the Horse bettor. (30%takeout. WOW!)
c mac More than 1 year ago
Left Bayside Queens at 5.15 flew over Throgs Neck Bridge and encountered minimal traffic on Cross Bronx to Bronx River and had a great ride up the Thruway.What are the chances? Hope good luck continues.
Jeff Moss More than 1 year ago
Somewhere Frankie Brothers is smiling. Mi Sueno (Pulpit-Madcap Escapade)just demolished the Sorrento field by 7. I would give the $830 I won on the horse to win for a night with that Pick 4 Posse though.