08/04/2007 1:30PM

Pre-Test

Email

--A few notes on Friday's Day 9 card:

Race 1: Great Point won this $25k N3L claimer, a far cry from where he was early last year: I did a double take when I realized this was the same horse who was flying at Barbaro in the final yards of the 2006 Holy Bull on a sloppy track. He was claimed here for $25k and moves from the Zito to Contessa barn.

Race 2: The stewards posted an inquiry and looked at taking down winning Tagg firster Rebounded for swerving into Smarteralex at the quarter pole but served justice by leaving the result alone. Horses have been taken down for less, but the incident did not affect anyone's placing and Smarteralex was probably finished when he had to check.

Race 3: Trainers Gary Contessa and Douglas Jacobson must really like Shaky Town or really not like each other. Contessa claimed him from Jacobson for $40k June 3. Jacobson claimed him back for $50k June 17. Contessa claimed him back for $45k here.

Race 6: Races 2 and 6 were split divisions of the meet's first grass route for 2-year-olds, and the fractional and final times of the two races were far apart:

*Race 2: 50.02, 1:14.64, 1:44.71
*Race 6: 47.38, 1:12.10, 1:43.13

So which race do you like better: The 6th, which was run 1.58 seconds faster, or the 2nd, where they came home in 30.07 as opposed to 31.03?

Race 8: Hats off to Burmilla, now undefeated in four career starts and a Grade 2 winner after wiring this edition of the Honorable Miss, but this was daylight robbery. She somehow was allowed to walk to the lead with an opening quarter in 23.01 on a day when claimers and 2-year-olds posted first quarters of 22.20 and 22.64. The race was as good as over.

I went through today's card at Siro's this morning and with any luck you can still listen to it here. A couple of other thoughts:

--Looking at Dr. Pleasure's pp's in the 7th race, which show his last two starts as distant finishes behind Bernardini in last year's Jim Dandy and Travers, made me think about Bernardini for the first time in many months. His career was so brief that he's out of mind, but let's not forget what a seriously good racehorse he was. He went from maiden to Preakness winner almost as suddenly as Curlin; his consecutive victories in the Preakness, Jim Dandy, Travers and JC Gold Cup comprised a terrific run; and he hardly disgraced himself running second to Invasor in the Breeders' Cup Classic with a less-than-ideal ride and trip. How much more exciting would the handicap division be this year if he were still around?

--I hurried through a recitation at Siro's of Todd Pletcher's record in Grade 1 races for 3-year-old fillies this year but the results are so staggering that they bear repeating. The Test is the 10th Grade 1 race in the division this year, and Pletcher has won 7 of the 9 run so far, with four different fillies:

Las Virgenes--Rags to Riches
Santa Anita Oaks--Rags to Riches
Kentucky Oaks--Rags to Riches
Acorn--Cotton Blossom
Mother Goose--Octave
American Oaks--Panty Raid
CCA Oaks--Octave

The other two? He lost the Ashland by a neck with Octave to Christmas Kid, and he did not have a starter in the Prioress, won by Test favorite Dream Rush. Pletcher can make it 8 for 10 if he upsets her with Cotton Blossom.

If you throw in the G2 Black-Eyed Susan, which he won with Panty Raid, Pletcher swept both the old (Ky Oaks--BE Susan--CCA Oaks) and new (Acorn-Mother Goose-CCA Oaks) versions of the filly triple crown this year.

And all that doesn't even include winning the Belmont Stakes against colts with Rags to Riches.

Bombs Away Bob Grant More than 1 year ago
What A Day! Suffolk Downs hosted their DRF/NTRA contest today, & all I can say is EVERY "Average Joe" handicapper(like me) should ENTER ONE! While Saratoga commanded most of the 'Topsider Room's' attention on TV, Suffolk's races provided the fireworks in the contest with Big Balloons all day, including Mr.Meso(Claimed by David Jacobson for $80k @ Churchill in June) going up in smoke at 3/5! Nice Buffet spread for the players(including Hot Coffee,Ice Cold Water,plus Brownies & Cookies), who ranged in age from 19 to 89. Amazingly,even at the bargain entry fee of $60, almost 80 of the 300 spaces in the contest didn't fill!
Greg More than 1 year ago
Yeah, that Pletch is hot with the filles, he is also the only trainer to to go 0 for 8 in the derby in the last TWO YEARS. How's teh Green Monkey Hot Toddy. His stats are a joke, he has all the horses.
George Melillo More than 1 year ago
Steve: Surprised you didn't comment on that nice little theft job in the 7th by Three in the Bag. Classic "pace makes a race play". Domenguez was all over him that last 16th to just hang on, but hang on he did. My style has always been to find the speed first then build your case for a race from there. Amazing to me that you can get $25 on a horse with ZERO competition on the front end like that? George
Al Hattab More than 1 year ago
Steve- Mr. Mxyzptlk's smirk looks a little like Dan Illman's in his blog photo. Anyway, were you as surprised as I was that they didn't take Texas Elegance down in the 6th today? He appeared to interfere with several horses and it looked like Gomez was trying to steer the 5 behind a swerving pace car.
mikethedog More than 1 year ago
Steve: the claiming action on Shaky Town between Contessa and Jacobson reminds me a little of the great claiming battles back in the late 70's? between Frank Martin and another trainer whose name escapes me at the moment. They used to claim just about everything the other guy ran and then run the horse back shortly thereafter and almost always got the money first time. So far, Contessa and Jacobson have been very active at the claim box at the Spa. By my count Contessa has claimed 4 horses for 120k and Jacobson has claimed 4 for 155K including 35K on Massoud in first race of meet--the horse that had to be put down. By the way, any word on the claim made by Bruce Levine on Contessa's Rumsprimga who was declared non-starter the other day? Thanks
johnman More than 1 year ago
Steven: Is there a worse trainer in North America than Jamie Sanders? How do obtain custody of Teuflesberg from her? Got to be some legal remedy under these circumstances.
Saratoga Dave More than 1 year ago
I am wondering what clock Mr. Durkin is watching since his 1/4 and 1/2 callouts during the races never match what is on the screen. He is about a half second quicker than what is posted. Is there a reason for this?
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
Larry: I rarely go to the paddock or "inspect" horses on the track. I respect those who think this is entertaining or helpful for wagering purposes, but it isn't for me. Also, since 90+ percent of my betting is on multirace propositions, I'm locked in for 5-of-6 or 3-of-4 races before the horses reach the paddock. I think it can be misleading for people who don't paddock-watch on a regular and diligent basis to draw conclusions from casual "he looks dull" or "he's on his toes" kinds of observations. Some good horses always look dull and some terrible ones always look great. What you want to know is whether today's appearance is out of line with the norm.
Flop More than 1 year ago
Bernardini ran HUGE in the Cup, manly, youth scoffing at the bias, and would've been even meaner as a 4 year old. Who didn't love Barbaro but Bernie was better. Flop headed for cover.
Larry Egan More than 1 year ago
Steve: After you have burned the midnight oil and then have 'confirmed selections' with Harvey at Siros, do you try to get to the lovely Saratoga paddock to check the pre-race temperment and condition of your selections?