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Saratoga Day 17: August 7, 2013
By Steven Crist
12:15 pm: Fast and firm, 74 and cloudy with a 30 percent chance of late-afternoon thunderstorms, for Day 17 of 40.
It's a local-produce day on the stakes front, with a pair of restricted hundred-granders for 3-year-olds: four NY-bred sprinters in the 2nd, the Claramount, and seven turf milers sired in New York -- six NY-breds and a Louisiana-bred -- in the 5th, the New York Stallion Series.
Here's a quick look at the cards for the next two days:
That's not a typo on the distance of Friday's 3rd: The race is at two miles on the dirt.
1:20 pm: Could be a thin early pick-4 with legit heavy favorites in the bookend stakes, but action is action:
That's right, no C's.
Race 1, complete guessing game among eight firsters going 5.5f on the turf, went to Clement-trained Peachtree homebred Belly of the Whale ($11.60, Red Giant-Miss Nashwan.)
1:50 pm: Four-horse Claramount Stakes for 3-year-old statebreds went to second choice Bond Vigilante ($7.60), whose experience at a mile helped him run down 6f specialist and 4-5 fave Marriedtothemusic in the final furlong. Bond Vigilante, a 3-year-old Salute the Sarge colt owned by Klaravich/Lawrence and trained by Chad Brown, ran the 6.5f in 1:16.09.
2:10 pm: I don't hit the "all" button in the pick-4 too often, but today's 3rd seemed to call for it and for once it worked out: Wisdom of Oz, longest shot in the ragtag field of 8 at 27-1, chased 8-5 fave Mononoke, powered past him midstretch and held off the closers. What made this race so weird, and potentially wheelable, was that 6 of the 8 statebred maiden claimers were moving from grass to dirt, and it wasn't going to take much to beat the two coming off dirt races, including 8-5 Mononoke, especially going 7f. Still got two races to screw it up, but so far so good.
2:45 pm: Only needed one more race to screw it up: Drum Roll poutduelled Upward early and just kept going to win at $15.20. Drum Roll, who has fallen on hard times since running in graded stakes last year, raced for the Coolmore group through his last start but today trainer Todd Pletcher was listed as the owner. Favored Favorite Uncle (2-1) lost contact with the field early, trailed throughout with no energy in a peculiar effort.
3:20 pm: Orino finished first at 12-1 in the NYSS but was disqualified and placed second behind 3-to-5 favorite West Hills Giant for impeding him down the stretch. Orino, forwardly placed, outfinished the favorite while racing in the two path down the stretch, but West Hills Giant was in tight on his inside and appeared to bounce off the railing while in tight quarters. You can, and will, debate whether Orino actually did anything wrong and whether the favorite was actually impeded or just in a very slim path.
West Hills Giant ($3.20), a 3-year-old Frost Giant colt, has won 4 of 11 starts and over $420k for Long Island Racing Stables and is trained by John Terranova.
The pick-4 paid a horrifyingly large $9,144 for $2.
3:55 pm: Not playing the late pick-4 -- the races are just a muddle to me -- but there's a goofy longshot in the upcoming 7th who might merit a stab: Color Blind, who is 30-1 on the morning line.
Color Blind has been beaten 59 lengths in her last five starts but those were all on dirt or synth, and today she returns to turf. She has three career starts on turf, and the only one that shows in the last-10 pp's is a 9th, beaten 14 lengths in the Ticonderoga.
That, however, was against fillies who would be 1 to 10 in here (Hessonite, Shakeira, Gitchee Goomee,) and her two off-the-page turf starts are not bad: a four-length defeat in open (not statebred) allowance company, and a statebred N1x win at Belmont that got a Beyer of 80, better than the favorites here usually run.
4:25 pm: COLOR BLIND, off at 35-to-1, assumed a position at the back of the pack immediately, galloped along listlessly behind slow fractions down the backstretch, swung 12 wide turning for home and failed to make any impact whatsoever, beating one rival.
5:30 pm: Here are the willpays into the 10th after favorites Thinking of Girls ($5.80) and Console ($5.50) took the 8th and 9th. Seven of the 10 appear covered in the pick-6:
I love horseracing and have since the 1970s but the sport has been watered down and babied for too long?except for a few select meets and racing days the nags they put on the track are horrible! case in point SARATOGA for years no maiden claiming-I really do not mind Fridays 2 mile race cause variety is good and leads to good handicapping and discussions-old days 9th races mile aand half 5 claimers pancho martin?old days Forego 134lbs.- today a horse gets any type of stakes win boom retired with some kind of injury?-1pound over 126 trainer scratch -if a guy is willing to put their few bucks on a horse do not insult their intelligence with an inferior product and hype it up with a bobble-head or t-shirt
Steve, doesn't that pick 4 ticket cost the same a gorilla ticket unless the all A's ticket if for say $2 and the B combo for say $1 [I did AAAA for 4 units, AAAB and BAAA for 2 units, BAAB for 1.5 unit. -SC]
Oh well, unless someone names his horse "H.H. Asquith," that's the first and last opportunity for the former prime minister to gain entree into the DRF conversations. Know anyone who's stumped for a good name and would listen to the suggestion? Sorry again about the twists of today's racing. Dirty pool is the occasional name of our game. Silver lining: At least Edgar was the beneficiary of the DQ.
The controversy re the 5th today is ridiculous. Stewards made the right call. Orino left him room up the rail. You can't put the horse into the rail when he's a head behind, even if you only bear in modestly. Stewards had no choice.
In my opinion that was a terrible DQ. I have seen much, much, much worse stand.
The rider of Orino had to pull his horse off of West Hills Giant twice as he lugged in then he mistakenly switched hands with the whip and hit his horse twice right handed. That was when Orino quickly lugged in and bumped West Hills Giant to brush the temporary rail. If the rider hadn't changed hands to whip there would have been no foul.
Just to clear up at least one thing: Track Record - Saratoga: 1M Key Contender 115 1:34.72 8/9/1992 - YES! - half-way on the turn (Hialeah ran 1 1/16th for 1980 - also a failed experiment). Remember boxing the 1-2-3 in the 1st half of the double (and ex) on 8/2/92 and having Staple Queen (that Mark Hopkins gave out at the Carousel) come rolling home for a nice one!
Remember Spicer Cub's crazy ride ? - going wide, then rejoining the race, then veering towards the stands and then running in between the parked starting gate and the rail, finally (miraculously) finishing 2nd, nearly winning the race. Today, it paid $29.60 to win in Delaware's Race 8. (It may be the only "Cub" to win an athletic contest in the month of August, 2013.)
Wasn't invested in the DQ race in any respect. Seemed like a bad call. Orino barely came down and I think the 2 made his own trouble. Jockeys that choose to save all the ground have to know that it might be hard to get through at the end, that's the risk/possible reward they take.
SC When you find the P-4s inscrutable or uninteresting, do/don't you ever consider conjuring up a P-3 just to have the action ... especially if you have a solid single in the P-3? BB [Sometimes, but I didn't see anything resembling a solid single in 7-10 today. -SC]
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