09/03/2007 6:58PM

The Invisible Finale


So there I am, 0 minutes to post for the 348th and final race of Saratoga 2007, alive in the pick-4, alive for 5-of-6 through the back door, and heavily involved in getaway-race tris and supers. The field is moving into the gate: And they're.....speaking Italian?

Yes, the geniusses at Nassau OTB, or maybe a pre-programmed robot, hit the button at 6:00.01 p.m. to cut away from Saratoga to RAI International, the two hours of canned Italian-language programming that usually follows the races on channel 74 on Long Island. So instead of seeing the meet finale, I got a vocabulary show called "Qui si parla informal?"

I quickly switched to TVG, which makes a big deal of its "exclusive" live coverage of Saratoga, only to see that they're showing the "Ford Road to the AQHA Futurity" instead of the 10th at Saratoga. So I turned off the tv and that was how my meet ended.

As I later saw, when TVG showed the Saratoga replay at 6:08 p.m., Kettle Hill won the finale at 7-1, beating Biggerbadderbetter and Kent Desormeaux, which meant that Cornelio Velasquez won the riding title 44-43. Good for him. Not so good for the handful of ticket-holders who were alive in the pick six to Biggerbadderbetter for $148k or to Storm Treasure and Warn for $98k. Instead, 5 of 6 was the best anyone could do, and it was worth $8,227 per miss, thanks to the mandatory-payout provision. Getting 4 of 6, the best I could do, was worth $102.50, and a half-dozen of those did not exactly get me out for the day.

If you played with hard-copy tickets rather than through an account, it's worth double-checking your tickets carefully if you think you had some fours. It's so unusual for those to pay anything that people get confused. Don't forget that you get one conso for each permutation with four winners on it. So if you have four winners and used 2 and 3 horses in the two legs you missed, you get six (2x3) consos. You'd be surprised how many people think they're entitled to only one or two consos in this situation.

There's lots more to say about Monday's racing and the meeting-in-a-nutshell Hopeful, where Majestic Warrior (Mott) ran down Ready's Image (Pletcher), a final grace note to this year's changing of the guard. But right now it's time to call it a day and a meet. Check back tomorrow for some final thoughts on it all.

And don't stop checking back after that. Since so many of you asked so nicely, Saratoga Journal may be ending but Crist Blog will soldier on. We've got a Belmont Fall meeting and a Breeders' Cup coming up, so we might as well continue the conversation.

rick_hf More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the blog! On the note of the Breeders' Cup, what do you think are the chances of Saratoga ever hosting the championships? I mean, Gulfstream opened 2 months early for a week for the Breeders' Cup races a few years ago, and this year Monmouth is going to open up again for a week in October for the championships. So why can't Saratoga do the same? Sure, they'd have to do something about the Juvenille Races since they cannot do a 1 or 1 1/16M race, or the new BC Dirt Mile, but... why not Saratoga?
jim More than 1 year ago
AlHattab, Make sure you let steve know about salleT's place...
Ray Manley More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the news that the blog lives on. I go into depression for a few days each year after the Spa closes. Next stop for me is Keeneland. How about coming to KY for a few days in October Steve? Let me know and I would be glad to buy you dinner. Thanks again for a great Saratoga blog/season.
jim p More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed your journal for the whole meet and glad you are continuing it. I was wondering if sometime you could comment on the practice of tipping, or not tipping, the mutuel clerks when you cash a substantial ticket, especially a signer, and if you agree with tipping, how much. Thanks
Sam Ludu More than 1 year ago
Steve: I love your blog. Great to hear you’ll continue it through Belmont and the BC. Appreciated the local restaurant reviews. And your pick of Shakis in the Baruch at Siro’s. Enjoyed the column on the Travers 20 years ago. What a field! Too bad rain ruled the day and complicated people’s view of the Travers outcome. I have a feeling Pletcher is going to do everything possible to prevent Rags to Riches from running again. She’s got nothing to gain, and potentially a lot to lose. She’s got the filly Eclipse, and with Lawyer Ron, Street Sense, Any Given Saturday, or Curlin in the front tier for HOTY, she won’t get that. Anyway, I’m babbling. Take care.
AJ More than 1 year ago
Just wanted to say I am ecstatic to hear you will be continuing the Blog thru the Breeders Cup. I have really enjoyed your comments and have learned a great detail about the intricacies of horse racing (breakage, playing the Pick - 4 & 6, and the different ways to approach handicapping). Spitzer just announced that NYRA should keep the franchise. Are you willing to share your thoughts now, and if the "right" decsion was made?
Dave Schabell More than 1 year ago
Also glad to hear that you are continuing the blog. Don't want to say that I'm addicted to it - but I'm presently on the Liberty of the Seas Cruise Ship in St. Maarten, West Indes, reading the blog and posting this at 50 cents a minute. It added a whole new dimension to the Saratoga meet. Appreciate the effort.
ljk More than 1 year ago
Tom_Marin: I saw Gavin Landry interviewed on Capital OTB and he said dime supers will be available "before Breeders Cup". tony: The weather really was unbelievable.
Green Mtn Punter More than 1 year ago
Congrats and kudos, Steve, for the 2007 Spa Blog, and glad to hear that you'll keep on blogging at least through the Breeders Cup! Sounds like the Spa meet was up in handle and attendance this year, a real positive; The Wishing Well tells me they were up considerably over last season. But the continuing decline in big race day attendance, i.e., Whitney and Travers, is symptomatic of out of control Breeders Cup Mania among owners and trainers. What do you think can be done to get the Eclipse Awards back to rewarding racing performance over a season rather than being a future book on breeding fees and yearling sales prices?
John Clarke More than 1 year ago
Hit the Spa for 35 out of 36 days. Would rather not say what kept me away the one day I could not make it. NYRA did a nice job. The Crist blogs were great... very helpful, informative and funny. It is great to hear that they will continue. Horse racing is the greatest game.