08/05/2007 12:37AM



--Dream Rush is one nice sprinting filly and she demonstrated it again winning Saturday's G1 Test Stakes by a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths. It was the second straight Grade 1 victory for the daughter of Wild Rush following her romp in the Prioress last month, and stamped her a top contender for both the new Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint race and the new Eclipse Award that will be given this year to the nation's champion filly sprinter.

She outbroke and then outran Akronism, the other speed of the race, and pulled clear with no urging while carving out legitimate fractions of 22.26 and 44.59, then extending to a five-length lead after six furlongs in 1:08.94. She was understandably tiring after that and needed 13.48 for her final furlong, but the outcome was never in doubt. She earned a Beyer of 101 for her effort, her fourth straight triple-digit one.

The sizzling fractions and slow final furlong flattered runner-up Boca Grande, but it was a breakthrough effort for her. Last year's Demoiselle winner had been slow to improve this season and was dull finishing a distant 4th in the Acorn and a fading third in the Mother Goose without exceeding her figures as a 2-year-old. Here, however, she jumped up from a previous career best Beyer of 85 to post a 97 in the Test. Her dam, Country Hideaway, is a half-sister to Pleasant Home, who won the 2005 Breeders' Cup Distaff at 31-1 in a similar late-blooming effort. Boca Grande, who responded to first-time pilot Julien Leparoux's letting her make one big run, is a dangerous filly for the fall.

--Majestic Warrior, a Kinsman Stable 2-year-old firster who won the 2nd race Saturday in his racing debut for Bill Mott, is a son of A. P. Indy and Dream Supreme, who won the 2000 Test (and Ballerina). He's also a full brother to A. P. Dream, a 3-year-old filly who is the favorite in Sunday's third at Saratoga.

--The other stakes race on the card, the restricted $80k Glow for 3-year-olds who had not won an open stakes on the grass this year, went to Pays to Dream, who carried the colors of the late Allan Dragone's Decmber Hill Farm. Iron horse Teuflesberg, prepping for the King's Bishop Aug. 25, ran second in a blanket finish where it was only 3 1/2 lengths from first to last in a nine-horse field. Teuflesberg's defeat ran trainer Jamie Sanders's record this year to 3-for-171. Outside of Teuflesberg, she is 1-for-163.

--Can you stand my first bad-beat whine of the meeting? It wasn't even at Saratoga. I played the four-percent-takeout Ellis Park pick-four, which included the two biggest Claiming Crown races. Had One-Eyed Joker in the first leg, the Claiming Crown Emerald, at $44.40. Had Miami Sunrise in leg two, the Jewel, at $13.40, and Mallabar at $7.60 in the next. What an easy game. I was alive to the only two horses who could possibly win the finale. Only they didn't, running second (by a nose) and third to an $8.80 winner who completed a pick-four worth $19,507.40 for $2. Rats.

The payoff illustrates the value of lower betting minimums. The Ellis pick four is available at a 50-cent minimum and the announced payoff was $4876.85 for 50 cents. That slips just under the $5,000 threshhold for IRS withholding, so anyone who hit it on a 50-cent ticket got to keep the whole payoff. At a $1 minimum and a $9753.70 return, $2,438.40 would have been withheld. This is what would have happened to me had I been so unfortunate as to hit it, because if you bet through NYRA, you are not permitted to make bets of less than $1, even on simulcast tracks that offer 50-cent pick-fours and 10-cent supers.

The last time I ranted about this in a column, and blamed the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for not enacting lower minimums, Board chairman Dan Hogan told me that he was unaware of any state regulations mandating a $1 minimum bet and that this was NYRA's and not the state's policy. If so, it needs to be changed immediately.

--Zyxt, the topic of a previous post, finished 11th at 67-1 in Saturday's 8th race. He did, however, improve on his debut Beyer Speed Figure of 39 while earning a figure of 55 in defeat.

Phi More than 1 year ago
Steve, I took a tough beat on that Ellis P4 as well, had the 5 that ran 2nd getting caught in the last couple jumps, singled Miami Sunrise, and had the last two legs 3X3. Thanks to NYRA not having the 50 cent availability, I also would have been subjected to the tax had the 5 held on.
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
Tom N: I didn't know the photo was that close and at least I didn't have to suffer through the five-minute wait. I got the results just by sloooooowly scrolling through the results on the website, gorwing more and more excited with each tap of the "down" cursor, until I hit the winner of the last.
Tom Nichols More than 1 year ago
Man you have more patience than myself Steve! I too played the "Pea Patch" pick 4! 10th race was my downfall,[Miami Sunrise]...went with Contessa,and 2 others! I was shocked when I saw the payout! Did you know it took a good 5 minutes or longer to post the result of the 12th?! Continued good handicapping!
John More than 1 year ago
Steve, I would like to hear your take on the stewards decisions on Saturday.I thought both horses (#7 in the 6th, and the 9 in the finale)should have come down.I feel the 4 horse in the 6th was affected costing him the place,and the horse would have won anyway theory is aload of nonsense.I can make many examples of that not being the standard (Judy Soda) etc. The last race speaks for itself.Politics.Thanks
Jeff More than 1 year ago
I've played 10 cent supers on simulcasts at Saratoga Raceway. Looks like it's just NYRA.
Michael More than 1 year ago
Steve, Absolutely love the new blog form that you are using. Its so much nicer to enjoy your comments daily instead of twice a week. I realize that the three non calls by the stewards over the last two days probably involved three horses who were going to win anyway, which makes them less controversial. The non call in the last race yesterday was alarming to me though. The winner clearly committed a textbook definition of a foul by coming over and bumping a horse who was still very much in the hunt to hit the board, and hitting him so hard that he was turned sideways and almost crashed into the rail. For those of us who have watched these same stewards take many horses down over the last year for ticky tack bumps, its hard to rationalize that the horse who won the last race yesterday was left up. The message that they have sent with these three non calls in two days to me is that unless you kill or maim someone, if you are perceived as a horse and rider who were "going to win the race anyway" that you will not be dq'd. This is really alarming, because part of race riding is strategy. If a rider chooses to save ground in behind horses he gets the bonus of a shorter trip but always runs the risk of not gettiing a hole to open up whereas those who take the wider route pay the penalty of lost ground in order to get a clear run. I fear that the stewards recent decisions will cause more agression with riders trying to go through holes that aren't there. I also fear that in response to some criticism over these non calls, that the stewards will react as they have in the past by taking down a ticky tack foul in the upcoming days to "show that they will take a horse down". Any thoughts on this?
david grossbarth More than 1 year ago
the minimums don't matter because of the nyra's idiotic aggregate withholding. why does the nyra aggregate and not the regional otb's ?
Rick_Q More than 1 year ago
What's the minimum bet at Ellis Park for a W-P-S bet? I was seeing the simulcast from EP and they were showing the pools and horses had cents for money wagered on them?
Adam More than 1 year ago
Ydy, stablemate to Zyxt broke its maiden today in the 2nd at Suffolk Downs on the grass. At least the weekend wasn't a complete loss for Dr. Meadow.