08/08/2007 1:55AM

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.

Steve Cashion More than 1 year ago
First of all.. tell those 2 guys that those wide brim Panama hats have NO PLACE in a starting gate.
chisox More than 1 year ago
Brown Eyed Belle held on for third simply because Desormeaux stopped riding the # 10 Guts Game about 50 yards before the wire. Most will obviously think I am just disgruntled from missing out on the tri but I assure you this is not the case. Don't take my word on it, go back and watch the replay. He needs to be called on the carpet.....AGAIN....on this matter.
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
Tory: You're right re the pick-3. In the pick-4 and pick-6, you get moved to the post-time favorite.
Dave More than 1 year ago
Have you checked out Sperry's on Caroline St. for dinner, or is that just a given stand by for Saratoga regulars? Great Steak au poivre and other bistro classics. Fairly straight ahead fare, which you indicated as preffered, at reasonable prices. Bon Appetite
Silver Charm More than 1 year ago
Agree on NoBiz Steve. I compared him to Eddington earlier in the year when most people were hyping him as the second coming. The horse has talent, focus seems to be his biggest issue or maybe its nerves under pressure. Either way as he grows up he will acomplish much more than he has now and most of the good three year olds running now will be long gone and off to stud duty.
Dave Schabell More than 1 year ago
Another disastrous start from a gate crew that seems snakebitten at this meeting. Not to "pile on" the much maligned, beleaguered, New York gate crew, but honestly, they do seem to be the "world's worst." In fact, that is what those of us who watch and play the New York races on a daily basis have called them for some time now - "The World's Worst Gate Crew." While I respect the stewards for protecting the interests of the public by refunding their wagers in situations such as this, it was a blow to those of us who took a stand against Phone Home, who was wearing an aluminum pad for that race. (Yes, I know all about national Treasure winning with the pads last week, but you know what they say about lighning striking twice.) Not only did we lose out on the lucrative odds on Stonewood who romped (and probably would have anyway) at 5-1, but had the double whammy of getting all of the other "moron-money" dumped on our selection who became the 5-2 post time favorite in the gimmicks as a result. Makes us appreciate the fine job that the assistant starters and starter Mark Herron does here at River Downs, where we haven't had a "non-starter" declared (or rarely reviewed), since the 1937 flood. Curious how Phone Home came out of the race. It appeared that after offing J.R. that the horse attempted to scale the outer rail midway up the backstretch.
AndyScoggin More than 1 year ago
Steven, Back to the Phone Home and Stonewood race...I had both of those horses to start the 5th race Pick 3, which I subsequently completed. So, do I cash twice, once with the scratch of Phone Home transferred to Stonewood and once with Stonewood? I have not cashed my tickets at MTH yet. Also, as I watched that race, I yelled when JRV was unseated and then gasped when Phone Home tried to jump the rail and go back to his barn. Is the horse OK? It was a good day for me cashing 2 pick 3's and a pick 4. I know they weren't big but I like to use the standouts with higher price horses each race. Again thanks for the info.
El Angelo More than 1 year ago
Well, that's two Pick Six returns under $1000 in 2 days. This can only mean that we're getting a double-carryover into Sword Dancer Day, right?
Tory I More than 1 year ago
I thought in the first leg of the pick 3 if you horse scratches, you get a refund. In the second or third leg, you get a consolation payoff.
toddsincharge More than 1 year ago
Everyone should watch Ready's Echo's race. He was making his first start today. He made up about 15 lengths in a 5 1/2 race.