08/10/2007 1:01AM

The Fake Stakes


There are 22 more days to go at Saratoga and 144 left in 2007, but it's probably not too early to nominate Thursday's Statue of Liberty New York Stallion Stakes as the worst $150,000 race that will be run in North America this year.

The SOLNYSS is not your typical statebred turf stakes. Those usually feature fun, full fields of veteran New York-breds, popular locals who come back for them year after year. Races such as the West Point and the Yaddo have become lively Saratoga fixtures.

Those races are open to all registered New York-breds, the best of whom tend to be the products of out-of-state stallions. The NYSS races, however, are open only to qualified offspring of stallions standing in the state. The result, especially in the two bizarre Saratoga NYSS races, which are for 3-year-olds at a mile and an eighth on turf, is usually short fields of mismatched and unaccomplished qualifiers.

Thursday's race had six starters with a combined record of 11-for-58. Daughters of City Zip, Freud, Western Expression, Halory Hunter, Intidab and Good and Tough finished in that order. The winner, Tishmeister, was a maiden-claimer in Florida in April and an 0-for-12 maiden a month ago. The second and third finishers, Don't Mind Me and Western Sweep, were making their first starts beyond sprints. Bathhl, who ran a close fourth, was coming off a $40k maiden-claiming graduation at Delaware last time out.

I'm sure they're all lovely animals and anyone would be privileged to own any of them, but the idea that this group ran for a $150k purse and stakes credentials just seems absurd. The race was timed in a dismal 1:50.16 over an inner turf course that had produced a mile in 1:35.94 for N3L conditioned claimers earlier in the day.

--Thursday's overall racing was almost as motley as the SOLNYSS, with four statebred races, a maiden claimer, a conditioned claimer and a steeplechase on the card. Yet there was value in both of the day's overlapping pick fours. The races 3-6 sequence, where winners paid $6.80, $4.80, $21.00 and $7.50, somehow returned $1594, more than double the parlay. How'd that happen? My guess is that the $4.80 winner, a Rick Dutrow dropdown in a maiden claimer who was pounded late and won by eight lengths, was more like 4-1 in the pick four. The races 6-9 quartet, at $7.50, $4.50, $7.40 and $8.70, paid $592.40, another bargain.

And best of all: Carryover! There's $47,584 gathering dust until at least Friday, where the trick will be getting through the blind third leg of race 6, a perfect mess of a pick-six race on five different counts: it's a (1) 5 1/2-furlong (2) turf sprint for (3) 2-year-old (4) statebred fillies with (5) eight first-time starters in a field of 10. Good luck to us all. And remember:


Wake up! Friday post time this week is 1 p.m.

EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
I like using the Hook & Ladder's in the NY-bred races.
Vince Mathews More than 1 year ago
I know that Pletcher is based at Belmont, and that he is pretty sure he will run Any Given Saturday next in the Brooklyn on September 22 (with a $150K purse). I wonder if he knows about the Mass Cap (since it hasn't been run in a couple of years), which is run the very same day at Suffolk. Since he has won 2 graded stakes at 1 mile or farther (Dwyer and Haskell), including the Haskell being a Grade 1, he would take a winner's share of $400K for the race! I would head over to East Boston for an extra $310,000, even if it means Pletcher can't use his one-turn route to two-turn angle that he mentioned.
Teresa More than 1 year ago
Can anyone offer any insight into the prevalance of sprints at Saratoga this summer? Days go by without a two-turn race on the dirt. What's up?
Mikie_C More than 1 year ago
I've got to add my whine (though a day late) concerning Friday's early pick 4. Sky High Flyer (and Leparoux) ruined my day as I had most of my tix (and $) keyed on him only to come up a nose short at the wire. I realize it must be difficult to get a sense of pace while travelling at 35-40 mph on horseback. But why, in a 6 horse field, allow yourself to fall 6 or 7 lengths behind a dawdling pace???
johnman More than 1 year ago
Thurs card was a joke. Lots of purse money was wasted on races that could have been carded at Aqueduct on a Sat or Sun. Can you imagine how competitive the racing would be at Churchill if they could offer this purse money? In fact, why dont they?
Dave Schabell More than 1 year ago
I can't help myself! I just have to comment on how devestated the connections of Twistaway must have been when their steed grew restless after standing in the gate for forty days and forty nights while the WWGC (World's Worse Gate Crew) tried to get Don't Mind Me's head straight. Twistaway could finally stand no more, breaking through the starting gate and running off, necessitating a late scratch and negating this unfathomable opportunity for a slice of the NYSS $150,000 pot of gold. I will credit the WWGC for hanging on to Laurentide who also attempted to match race Twistaway after growing old waiting for the break. I further thought that we might see our first DQ following the running of the SOLNYSS, as it appeared (to me)that the 4 horse, Don't Mind Me, triggered a chain reaction event at the top of the stretch, which sent the 7, Laurentide, who had to overcome enough in the race already, ricocheting into the hinterlands. But as Mr. Durkin has been prone to state quite often this meet - No Change!
Shawn More than 1 year ago
Steven, Ironically the day after the "Fake Stakes" we have Friday's 5th which is an ALW/OC but could be a Stakes with the likes of Hesanoldsalt, the old war horse Evening Attire and Minister's Bid who has failed to win ONLY when Bernardini was running. It will be fun to watch...and bet. Shawn
Floppydog More than 1 year ago
Those handsome greyhounds would've run 1-2 in yesterday's Statue of Liberty, with yours truly pluggin' along to complete the tri. Flop