08/02/2007 5:14PM

Dinner Break


A few bits of kibble before heading off to dinner with trainer Phil Gleaves, an old friend who won the Travers 21 years ago this month with...can you name him?....think hard....answer appears at bottom of this post.

--I didn't have a nickel invested in today's 8th at Saratoga, but you didn't need a rooting interest to be thrilled by Shakespeare's successful return to the races. Now 6 years old, the son of Theatrical was tons the best making his first start since the 2005 Breeders' Cup Turf, roaring off the turn despite losing plenty of ground and outkicking recent G3 Poker winner Art Master down the lane. He's back.

--I would have used Art Master and Shakespeare in equal strength had I played the late pick four, but I passed it as a minor protest against NYRA's sticking with its goofy and confusing Steeplechase Thursday menu of overlapping pick-fours (3-6 and 6-9.) There is no need to change the expected schedule of pick-fours on races 2-5 and 6-9 just because the first is a steeplechase, and making race 6 the end of one pick four and the beginning of another makes it unappealing to play them both. Similarly, there was no need to change the expected "last six races every day" placement of the pick six last Saturday on an 11-race card, when the pick six was moved to races 5-10. I got shut out and it saved me money but the shift had to have cost NYRA more handle than my own.

--There was only one live pick-six ticket into today's finale and it was on Metro Meteor, who ran third, so there's a $57,207 carryover into Friday, just the second of the meeting. Badger Pluto will be back later to remind you that Friday is NOT a twilight card this week, and I'll be back with a doggie bag, a restaurant review, and some Day 8 notes.

ANSWER: The 1986 Travers was won by Wise Times, with Danzig Connection placed second and Personal Flag placed third after Broad Brush was disqualified from second and place fourth.