08/08/2007 12:55AM

Into Each Life


a little rain must fall, even at Saratoga. It's been coming down steadily for about three hours now, and the fortunetellers over at weather.com are predicting more of the same until noon tomorrow. That probably assures we'll be fast and firm by post time, but you might want to check for surface-switches and scratches before placing your Wednesday wagers.

--On the 12th day of Saratoga, my true love gave to me: seven winning favorites and two second choices. The Monday card didn't look all that easy going in, but by the time the chalk dust had settled, there were meet-low pick-fours paying $233.50 and $181 and a $335 all-favorites pick-six. A few notes:

*Race 3: In the coals-to-Newscastle department, Todd Pletcher now has another stakes-winning 3-year-old filly after he took the $82k Weekend Surprise Stakes with Featherbed, who was a maiden winner here last summer and second by a head in the G1 Matron Stakes last fall. The Smart Strike filly earned a 98 Beyer winning by half a length over Allude, who was 4 1/4 clear of the rest.

*Race 5: Another disastrous start from a gate crew that seems snakebitten at this meeting. Favored Phone Home and John Velazquez were completely unprepared at the start, the rider was unseated shortly thereafter, and Joaquin Memphis was also bothered. The stewards declared Phone Home a non-starter, and at least those who used the favorite in pick-fours or pick-sixes got a free pass when Stonewood became the post-scratch favorite and romped by 7 lengths.

*Race 7: Chatain's best distance is not six furlongs, but the lightly-raced 4-year-old showed his class beating Bound Notebook and Court Folly to win this N3x allowance by two lengths. Chatain, making his first start since April, won the G3 Hal's Hope this winter and was beaten just 2 1/2 lengths by Invasor when fourth in the G1 Donn. The 4-year-old Forest Wildcat colt is being considered for the new Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and NYRA Mile this fall.

*Race 8: Nobiz Like Shobiz looked overeager and hard to handle throughout his grass debut in the G2 Hall of Fame Stakes but simply asserted his superiority over Marcavelly and Distorted Reality to prevail by half a length in a blanket finish. Becoming a graded winner on both dirt and grass increases his appeal as a stallion prospect but it's hard not to hope he returns to the races next year and tries dirt again. He still seems like a very talented colt who hasn't entirly gotten his act together yet but could still bloom into a serious handicap horse. His second in the Dwyer to Any Given Saturday last time out sure looks better after last Sunday's Haskell.

*Race 9: Brown Eyed Belle ran one of the bravest races of the meeting in this statebred-filly N2x sprint. The front-running 3-year-old by Storm Boot set a wild pace of 44.83 (compared to Featherbed's front-running 45.59 in the Weekend Surprise), tired badly down the lane, but somehow managed to hold third despite laboring through her final quarter in almost 28 seconds.

--The third restaurant foray was a Monday-evening visit to the Beekman Street Bistro, west of Broadway. It's a very pleasant spot in a refurbished old building with a big porch on a quiet street with plenty of parking. The food was fresh and generally excellent, with entrees running from $15 to $28. If you like a full-strength cocktail with dinner, though, you should bring your flask, as only beer and wine are available. The only other problem was that when the check for four arrived, it seemed a bit high, and was -- the waiter had added $145 worth of food to $72 worth of weak alcohol to come up with a pre-tax total of $317 instead of $217.

Always check your tickets.