08/08/2013 11:20AM

Saratoga Day 18: August 8, 2013


12:20 pm: Fast and firm for now, 80 and humid with a 50 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms, for Day 18 of 40.

Today's two stakes races are the Mrs. Ogden Phipps for filly and mare steeplechasers (race 1 of 10), and the Statue of Liberty division of the NY Stallion Series for 3-year-old filly statebred turf milers(race 9.)

Today is also the inaugural "International day" at Saratoga. The New York secretary of state, Cesar Pareles (but you knew that, right?) will present the Statue of Liberty trophy and, according to a press release, "Fans will be encouraged to dress up their picnic displays in the backyard with cultural-themed décor for the chance to win a variety of prizes."

These ethnic-heritage kind of days are sweeping the sports world. My beloved San Francisco Giants have half a dozen such events this year at AT&T Park. On a recent telecast (yes, I buy the MLB package so I can stay up until 1:30 a.m. watching them lose 6-1 to the Milwaukee Brewers), they immediately followed a promo for an upcoming "Jewish Heritage Night" by cutting straight to a shot of a sizzling grill cooking up bacon-wrapped hot dogs. No fooling.

12:35 pm: Main-track-onlies have yet to be scratched in the 10th. Might want to hold off on putting in your late pick-4's until later.

12:55 pm: Coolest news of the day: The Breeders' Cup Distaff is officially being called the Breeders' Cup Distaff again! That "Ladies' Classic" moniker that no one liked is being scrapped, the organization announced today. Three cheers.

1:15 pm: Have some other fish to fry for a while, so I'm putting in an early pick-4 for some background action. The board says the first-leg firster-fest is a showdown between Rice firster Miss Narcissist (#4, 8-5) and Clement firster Nutmeg (#6, 3-1) and who am I to argue?

The Mrs. Ogden Phipps went to Take Her To the Top ($7.90),a 5-year-old More Than Ready mare owned by Arcadia Stable and trained by Jack Fisher. When last seen on the flat, Take Her To the Top ran 5th in a turf allowance race at Aqueduct last Dec. 5th.

1:45 pm: Miss Narcissist, bet to 3-2, was "a bit full of herself" in the gate, as Durkin put it, rearing and then buckjumping after being backed out. She was reloaded and did little running as the fave. Second choice Nutmeg (7-2) dueled with third-timer Con Gee, tired at the furlong pole, and 4-1 Con Gee held off Hennig firster Blithely to win.

3:00 pm: Windswept, 5-year-old Arch horse making just his eighth career start, very impressive winning the four-horse 3rd by 9 1/2 lengths with9f in a sharp 1:48.14. Off for 18months after running 4th in the 2011 Indiana Derby (better than it sounds since the top 3 that year were Wilburn, Shackleford and Caleb's Posse), Windswept was turned over to trainer Charles LoPresti and looks stakes-bound again after winning his N1x and now N2x conditions in his last two starts.

I have seconditis today but here are the early willpays for those of you alive in the early pick-4:

4:00 pm: Once more unto the breach, dear friends:

4:30 pm: First big crack of thunder just hit; you know what usually happens next...

4:45 pm: ...and now it's happening quite enthusiastically. Track downgraded to "muddy" as the pelting goes on.

5:00 pm: Galiana, $141.50 winner here opening weekend, right back at 7-1 today in the 8th. Here are the entries for Sunday's two G2 juvenile stakes, both at 6.5 furlongs. Biggest upset already is lack of a Pletcher entry in the Adirondack -- he's waiting on the G1 Spinaway for both Our Amazing Rose and Stopchargingmaria.

Turf now listed as "yielding" as storm has passed and sun has returned.

5:30 pm: Frosty Bay finished strongly to run down favored Palace Dreams and hold off Image of Noon to win the Statue of Liberty/NYSS. Owned by Robert and Peter Rosenthal, the Frost Giant 3-year-old is trained by Dominick Schettino and ran the mile in 1:37.29 under Javier Castellano.

Nobody's alive for 6 of 6 so we'll have a little carryover to Friday:

Don't know how little a carryover because NYRA oddly does not announce it even when there are no live tickets into the last race. Guessing it's $43k since it has to be three times the largest conso (split is 75 percent carry/25 percent consos, after takeout,) unless there are two of those $14.4k consos and it's $86k.

6:00 pm: Deep closer Melody Lin came flying home over the yielding turf to win the nightcap at 5-1. The carryover to Friday is indeed $43,303 and here's what the sequence looks like:

If you like long races, don't forget to tune in for the 3rd -- that's the two-mile dirt race.