07/28/2014 11:38AM

Saratoga Day 10: 7/28/2014


12:35 pm: Sloppy and off the turf again after heavy morning rain  at Saratoga, where the nine-race, Day 10 card features the G2 Honorable Miss and a one-day $37k pick-6 carryover.

There was a key early scratch in the feature: Red Velvet, who might have guaranteed a blistering pace with her early speed to challenge La Verdad and R Free Roll. Those two could still hook up early, but Red Velvet would have ensured a real dogfight.

At least there were only four grass races to lose today, as opposed to yesterday's six. Even with multiple scratches in the off-the-turf 4th and 7th races, the pick-6 sequence held together pretty well. The remaining 8x4x7x8x6x9  still offers 96,768 possible permutations.

2:00 pm: Early double of off-the-turf layovers Classic Sense and Good Luck Gus may have been a big overlay at $12.80, considering parlay of $3.90 and $3.40 winners was only $6.60.Good Luck Gus, statebred 2-year-old maiden who was a good second in his debut, is from first crop sired by Lookin at Lucky.

Chalk made it 3 for 3 in the 3rd when Mr. O'Leary wired the field at $4.20.

Here's the p[ick-6 play. The sequence starts with the 4th race at 2:34 pm.

2:18 pm: The sealed main track has been upgraded from "sloppy" to "muddy."

2:40 pm: Pick-6 began with second choice Darley dropdown Frame ($7.30) putting away Secret Ops in midstretch and then easily holding off Mekr firster War of Honor and even-money A Touch of Poetry.

Considering the card began with three favorites at $4.20 or less and a second choice, the early pick-4 and pick-5 willpays aren't bad. (Note that NYRA continues to display double and pick-3 willpays in $2 increments, but now regrettably posts pick-4 and pick-5 willpays on a 50-cent unit, which makes for confusing comparisons.)

3:15 pm: Four-horse 5th race ran in both program-number (1-2-4-6) and parimutuel (4/5-8/5-5/1-5/1) order, as Repole/Pletcher dropdown Village Warrior led all the way in 1:51.94.

3:30 pm: A little more rain, so the track has been re-downgraded to sloppy starting with the upcoming 6th.

4:00 pm: Another 4-5 Pletcher dropdown as Pecorino ($3.70) dueled with Forest Boy, drew off and had enough left to hold off Act of Heroism, who got going way too late.

4:15 pm: The two longest shots in the field ran 1-2 in the 7th as 13-1 Takajo got by 22-1 Run For Logistics in a strangely-bet race. Father Johns Pride, whose previous dirt races were uncompetitive, was pounded to 2-1, shot to the lead with blinkers on, then was pulled up around the turn.

Takajo, 5-1 on the ML as one of only two main-track-onlies, earned a competitive figure winning his last but was jumping from $16k N2L to N1x company today. I stay alive by 3x2 thread (1,5,7/3,9).

5:00 pm: R Free Roll got a free roll on the lead and wired the field in the G2 Honorable Miss. I got a more-than-square 5-1 on My Wandy's Girl and an astounding 10-1 on Merry Meadow, but they could manage only 2nd and 3rd behind the front-running winner. Speedinthruthecity, hammered to 3-1, was fourth, beating only Calistoga and La Verdad, who lost for only the third time in 12 career starts.

R Free Roll had three triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in her pp's, three more than anyone else in the field, but appeared to have been getting easy leads against much weaker company in Florida. She easily overtook La Verdad early, got an honest but comfortable half in 45.15, and stopped the timer in 1:10.12.

R Free Roll, a 4-year-old Rockport Harbor filly, is now trained by Danny Gargan after making her previous starts for Kirk and Ralph Ziadie in Florida.

Everyone's covered in the pick-6 at payoffs ranging from $5k on favored Zoebear to $77k on Captain Keon:

Don't forget to take a day off tomorrow. Racing resumes Wednesday on another card with an early start for a steeplechase, at 12:25 pm.