08/02/2007 6:14PM

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.

Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
Mikethedog: We discussed the race but there's honestly no inside info to impart (except that she's named for Phil's son's birthday.) Phil co-owns the filly and is thrilled to be running her for a $56k purse. She's the 3-1 ML favorite, she's got the top Beyer in the race, Dave Litfin picks her, and she's the DRF consensus-box choice. In my opinion, she's the most likely winner of the race. Her biggest challenge may be to avoid getting into a mutually-destructive early dogfight with Sultry Sue, who breaks just to her outside.
mikethedog More than 1 year ago
Steven: any words from Mr. Gleaves over dinner about his entry on Sunday in the 7th (Ninth of July)?
D-Mac More than 1 year ago
O What fools these mortals be! Me especially, for puzzling long and hard over Shakespeare as the single pick in my late Pick4 and settling instead on ArtMaster -- I couldn';t figure out a long layout of a great speedster? Still got it? What's up with this? This cam on top of a tough beat on Shakepeare's 1/2-sis Fantastic Shirl yesterday too when I got the post-time fave after Roshani scratched -- I'm 3 outta 4 in P4s these past 2 days, a realk sting insofar as I had the fairly obvious Ruban Bleu as the hard leg of the P4 -- These bad beats will knock my doping confidence into a pile of Jello if it persists. So tell me, if anyone can - how does one handicap a layoff horse right?
Steven Crists More than 1 year ago
David: No one would love seeing NYRA go to a 72-hour draw, especially for weekends, more than DRF. As it is, when the Sunday entries don't come up until mid-to-late Friday afternoon, it's a real crunch for the analysts, handicappers and pp quality-control guys to get the Sunday paper on press Friday night for Saturday-morning delivery and distribution. You get a few more scratches off a 72-hour draw but I think that's outweighed by the convenience not just for us but for players.
David More than 1 year ago
How come NYRA is the only major circuit in the country that has not yet posted their entries on drf.com for Sunday? It is 1:25 p.m. on Friday and many of us would like to print out PPs for the ride upstate to the Spa. For those of us who prefer this option compared with the traditional print medium, this is a major inconvenience. Any thoughts?
Billy More than 1 year ago
Steve, Thanks for the clarification on Illman's blog regarding the Pick Six carryover/takeout question I had. You answered my follow up as I was slightly concerned that they might be getting away with double dipping the takeout on carryovers. I just finished your book (Exotic Betting) so I find myself thinking more and more about pool size, multi-race bets and where my money (and everyone else's money) goes. Thank you for opening my thought process on each bet I make. I have to admit - I am thinking more and more about "how" I bet and less on "who" I bet on and have had mixed results. Hopefully I will be able to put the how and who together a little more. On the plus side - at least I thinking more about the how. What a great game. Because of your blog I am already planting seeds with the girlfriend for a trip to uptsate NY next summer - I only have one big trip in me a year and this year it will be Del Mar. But next year - look out Spa - here we come. Keep up the good work. Thanks for being so accessible.
Mikethedog More than 1 year ago
Steve: enjoy the daily commentary from one of my favorite racing guys of all time. (also look forward to your restaurant reviews--check out a place called Dine) Question: why do we no longer great handicappeprs like Andy Beyer and Paul Cornman at Saratoga? Technology? Internet? Or is there better racing somewhere that we don't know about? Thanks
Green Mtn Punter More than 1 year ago
Steve- Interesting column today in re the Claiming Crown- I guess I've been asleep for too many years as this is the first I've heard of it. Sounds like a great event and run by horses who earn our respect, admiration, and indeed, love, as the true journeymen of the sport, noble veterans who come back year after year. Now if only the owners and breeders of the blue blood steeds could learn from these guys! Hope the tie-in with the retirement program gains steam, it's long overdue.
ml/nj More than 1 year ago
The 1986 Travers was my 20th consecutive Travers. I'm hoping to extend the streak to 41 in a few weeks; and maybe I'll have my fourth winner!
Alexander Morris More than 1 year ago
One of the talking heads at TVG stated that Art Master had a brutal trip in the 8th today. Was he not on the hedge the whole time while Shakespeare was 4 wide entering the stretch. I will now use the vastly underrated mute button.