08/04/2013 10:30AM

Saratoga Day 15: August 4, 2013


11:30 am: Fast, firm, sunny and mild for Day 15, which features the G1 Vanderbilt, a $127k pick-six carryover, and a bunch of short fields during the first half of the card.

The carryover sequence is a tough one and I'm considering passing. No fooling. I've got a bunch of horses open to win almost every leg and no strong preferences among them. Perhaps going through them again on Talking Horses in 20 minutes will bring everything into sharp focus. Perhaps not.

I'm a Delaunay fan, and plan to lean on him in the Vanderbilt, but I'm surprised to see how many good handicappers are trying to beat him. I thought he had a totally legit excuse for losing his last at 3-to-10 but there's a school of thought he's over the top and declining.

Races 2 through 5 have a total of just 22 horses after scratches.

Here are my pre-scractch Talking Horses picks:

1) 7-2-4-8; 2) 5-3-7-6; 3) 2-4-1-6; 4) 3-6-4-5; 5) 2-5-3-1; 6) 9-8-2-3; 7) 1-5-7-10; 8) 9-5-8-3; 9) 3-5-2-4; 10) 8-3-5-1; 11) 1-7-4-5-8

1:20 pm: It just doesn't seem to matter whether or not money shows up for Chad Brown's turf firsters. In the opener today, 11-1 Calm Pacific ran like a good thing with a sharp late move into slow fractions to win going away at $25.00. The 3-year-old bay ridgling by Stormy Atlantic is an Amerman Racing homebred.

Back to yesterday for a moment: it turns out that a medium-sized bag of Cheez Waffies does not, in fact, obviate the need for lunch, despite the bag's preposterous claim that it contains seven "servings" of the fluorescent orange treat. So amid one of the lulls in the lengthy program, I visited the Virginia's Authentic Homemade Cuisine food truck, located between the Mac 'N' Cheese truck and the chair-rental booth outide the Carousel.

The four offerings were chicken, cheesesteak or prosciutto di parma 12-inch heroes (at $10.95 each) or a full rack of barbequed ribs for $12.95. I went for the cheesesteak and it was okay: Perfectly good ingredients but, given that it was handed to me within seconds of placing the order, already wrapped, I wasn't shocked that it was lukewarm and the cheese was no longer fully melted. They do get extra points for doing something I wish every food stand here would: Everything is served in a little to-go plastic bag so you don't have to balance a plate precariously while heading back to your seat.

1:35 pm: Speaking of Chad Brown firsters on the turf at any price, 6-1 La Reine Bourbon, $100k 2-year-old Leroidesanimaux filly, ran down favored second-timers 7-5 Ketel Twist and 2-1 Acquant to win the second. Chad-Chad double came back $154.50.

2:05 pm: Road Agent ($3.10) got through at rail on turn, opened daylight, still life and death to hold off a plucky Meet the Mets to win the 3rd.

Significant pick-6 scratch just announced: Wee Freudian (#9) now out of the first leg, race 6.

2:40 pm: Majestic Hussar ($4.90), unraced since finishing fourth as pacesetter in Orb's Fountain of Youth, outdueled 8-5 COnsortium through half in 44.78, drew off nicely in 1:09.41 to win 4th. Consortium, Carter pacesetter, stopped badly in stretch to finish last, collapsed suddenly past finish line, but got up within a minute and walked off as if uninjured.

3:10 pm: Enquette, Wertheimer homebred by Indian Charlie, probably not among Pletcher's top 10 2-year-olds but good enough to beat four other firsters in five-horse Race 5 in 1:12.04 for 6f.

Okay, okay, you twisted my arm. I'll play:

Public finding first leg as tough as I did: Six of the nine horses opened at 4-1, 9-2 or 5-1.

3:40 pm: Ugh. I think Bake Shop was best, breaking behind field and rallying for second, just short of catching 5-1 loose-on-lead Bug Juice.

4:25 pm: Still on temporary life support after Funny Money ($10.00) held off Satin Sheeks to win the 7th and give Chad Brown his third of the day. NYRA graphics went down when TV truck hit by power surge during race, odds and payoffs not posted for next 15 minutes but just came back up.

5:20 pm: Delaunay and Gentlemen's Bet renewed their rivalry with a vengeance in the early going of the Vanderbilt, dueling each other into submission through a half in 44.26 and paving the way for Justin Phillip ($8.30) to sweep to a two-length victory in 1:08.59. Bahamian Squall was up for second, with Gentlemen's Bet and Delaunay necks behind in third and fourth as Caixa Electronica trailed throughout.

It was the first Grade 1 victory for Justin Phillip, a 5-year-old by Firtst Samurai who races for Zayat/Asmussen. He was second by a neck in this race last year to Poseidon's Warrior. He won the G3 Count Fleet earlier this year and the G2 Woody Stephens as a 3-year-old in 2011.

6:00 pm: After fave Tricky Hat ($6.90) reeled in 12-1 Share Out to win the 10th,6 of the 9 in the nightcap are covered in the pick-6:

6:30 pm: Face the Race ($9.00) rallied best of all to win the 11th going away and cap a $1,330 pick-4 and $87,987 Pick-6.

Ten races tomorrow starting at 1 p.m. including a pair of $100k stakes for older fillies: the Shine On (race 8) at 6 furlongs on dirt and the Waya (race 9) at 12 furlongs on the inner turf.