07/25/2007 8:56PM

Opening Day Notes

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a 75. Even if you split the variant to "help out" those later races, it's impossible to give the Schuylerville better than an 80 -- this in a field where five of the entrants had run figures between 85 and 97 winning maiden races. And how much do you really want to improve the 70 or so a non-split variant would properly give the finale, a chaotic affair that ended with a cavalry charge, a blanket finish and a dead-heat?

Was it a "closers' track" or is that just the way the races unfolded? I tilt toward the latter, given that the fast-paced races were the ones that slowed down, and that some pace-pressers and front-runners were right there at the end, including near-miss runners-up Westwon at 42-1 in the eighth and 11-1 I Promise in the Schuylerville.

--NYRA President Charlie Hayward asked me before the Schuylerville and the 10th-race dead-heat between a 16-1 and a 27-1 whether it looked like there could be a pick-six carryover into Thursday. I told him it was a cinch. Sorry, Charlie. There was one winning ticket for $57,228, and unless the Drexel boys are back in business, it sure looks like one person whose Social Security number must look something like 11-1-12-10-5-12. Not only was the parlay somewhere north of $300,000, but there were only eight 5-of-6 consos, suggesting the winning ticket was a small one, and it's hard to imagine a serious handicapper hitting the thing for less than a five-digit investment. But if was you and you're simply that smart, please accept my heartfelt apologies and congratulations.

--Todd Pletcher had a miserable opening day, running 5th, 7th, 3rd, 5th and 6th with his five starters, but the most surprising thing involving his horses was that his Lady Chace was 4-1 and not 40-1 in the Schuylerville. Lady Chace was the weaker half of an entry from which he scratched the stronger New York City Girl, and it was as if the announcement had never been made. In a race where, as mentioned above, five entrants had previously Beyered in the 85 to 97 range, Lady Chace was coming off a 65 winning a five-horse race at Monmouth. Lady Chace finished sixth beaten a predictable 10 lengths, even in a slow renewal.

--A few people complained after the finale that the pick-4 payoff was the same regardless of which of the dead-heat winners you used. They're absolutely right, and this is yet another of the long, long overdue rule changes that the state Racing and Wagering Board needs to address for all multirace wagers. Let's say there's a pick-six where there's one live ticket for $500,000 to a longshot and 10 live tickets for $50,000 each to a heavy favorite. If there's a dead heat, all 11 tickets pay the same $45,000 or so. The pool should instead be split, with the longshot ticket paying $250k and the chalk-eaters getting $25k each.

I haven't even cracked open the Thursday pp's except to glance at the Sanford, and it's almost time for the unmissable Rescue Me which I have to watch live since I haven't figured out how to work the DVR in the house here. I also haven't figured out why the landlords have a new HD tv but a cable box that doesn't get the HD channels. Maybe the picture is still so much better than their old one that they actually think they're getting HD.

I am similarly technologically challenged about responding to all these nice comments that y'all are leaving. So until I figure that one out, along with the tv situation and tomorrow's nine (well, eight excluding the steeplechase) at Ye Olde Spa, please accept my blanket thanks for your kind words. Don't ever change.

DinneronPhilastreet More than 1 year ago
I pounded I Promise (11-1). I had a sneaky feeling though that one horse would nip him at the wire. So I bet $1,000 to place. Anyone who witnessed his first start would have known that overlays rarely get any bigger than this. Previously, I keyed him in the pick three. Day one at Saratoga. Plus $2,900.00
Tony More than 1 year ago
hey . I'm the guitar player who met u last year @ borders . Here again from downstate for the great spa meet . I too have an hd tv up here and to tell you truth it has a lot to do with time warner up here . There clue less . I was supposed to have a cable box for hd and they gave me the wrong one even though IM payin for the hd box .Just kind of the way it goes . Why didn;t I play that tom bush horse in yeasterdays 10th ? Thats what I want to know . Enjoy the meet
Dave Rarey More than 1 year ago
Steve, Awesome stuff, thanks so much for doing this blog! Between your blog and Dan's, I really don't need to read anything else... Dave
Maggie Furbay More than 1 year ago
Not a good opening day for Graham Motion's barn; Massoud was a classy, elegant fellow. But looking forward to another great meet - can't wait to get up there. Enjoying every word of your journal, as usual!!
Mike Muscato More than 1 year ago
Mr Crist, The traditions that I have enjoyed over the years at the Spa continue: Watching LET IT RIDE on the Tuesday before opening day, B'fast in the AM, and reading the wisdom that is Steve Crist. Does it get any better??
Jason Allman More than 1 year ago
Steve, Thanks for the diary. I live and work in Europe now and this, along with the Derby and Del Mar, really gets you missing home. jason