08/08/2013 12:20PM

Saratoga Day 18: August 8, 2013

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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.

Elliott More than 1 year ago
Heading to Saratoga next week. In the past thought the restaurants in town (Broadway) were mediocre. Any strong recommendations?
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
If you do forget to tune for the 3rd race tomorrow, turn on your TV. It will still be in progress.
Jeff More than 1 year ago
Hey Steve..... I hope your enjoy another great meet at the Spa. Quick question....I know your are the master of the multi-race wager, but you never mention any P3 bets. Is there a particular reason you don't play them? [They don't pay enough. ;> -SC]
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Trevor WAS a special track announcer. He makes mistakes on the regular now. He flubbed a Del Mar grass race so bad 2 weeks ago it was embarrassing. The horse he called as the winner had stopped to a walk around the far turn. Even the TVG folk felt sorry for him.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Agreed. And he's gotten into the unfortunate habit of pronouncing each sentence as an uninterrupted string of words (unintelligible commentary) that sounds like a Cuisinart's calling the race. A shame, he's such a real gentleman.
Nick Christian More than 1 year ago
Have to like the diversity in the Adirondack. A TX, VA, LA, and MD bred but no NY bred.
Irma Garcia More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Almost halfway home. Even with extension to 40 days the meet flys quickly. The good weather has helped, but the cards have been abit iffy. The Stakes have been great, but some of the claiming races are not bettable for me. With the horse shortage, why not card the traditional 9 race cards- wouldn't this ensure full fields and have more options for ALW races? In regard to Giants, you have had a great run considering the gap from their last WS win 1954-2010. They are intown, 3 game set with Mets 9-17-9-19/ 3 game set with Yankees 9-20-9-22- plenty of tickets available- more for Yankees . They then have last 3 game set with Dodgers @ ATT 9-24-9-26. I would think if making trip it would have to be the Dodgers visiting to get maximum enjoyment. Good Luck with your P-4's and P-6's @ Good Luck to All.
Chuck Seeger More than 1 year ago
The cards have been a "bit iffy"? That's the best line I've heard since Bagdad Bob gave his last press conference.
Chris Colcord More than 1 year ago
Apropos of nothing--lazy midsummer, after all-- but did you ever get to "Lord of Misrule?"
Bob McGeehan More than 1 year ago
hey steve, comin up tomorrow with my buddy (rainbow pk6 winner!!) will try to bump into you before or after seminar. he wants to meet you.. bob m toga
Jeremy Denierio More than 1 year ago
Just used Ticketmaker for the first time. Very slick Steve. Don't know why I was so bullheaded so long. Nice work [Thanks! -SC]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I try to follow your Saratoga blog every day if I can but I have not posted in quite awhile because I rarely have much to add or correct due to the excellent job that you do. That being said, my brew crew won 6-1 last night not 4-1. Scored an extra 2 in the ninth after the four run eighth that probably sent you to bed. Goof luck tonight! [Unfortunately I WAS awake and forgot about the insult-to-injury portion of the program. -SC]
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Saw a baseball cap - nothing special, really - on sale for $40 at the Brewers' ballpark last year. Stunned. People actually can afford to pay that much for such a mundane thing?