07/21/2012 11:56AM

Saratoga Day 2: 7/21/12



12:50 pm: Five minutes to the first race and first stakes of the day -- the $100k Willard Straight for turf sprinters at 5 1/2 furlongs. Who was Willard Straight?

How quickly we forget. The Larry Goichman homebred son of Lion Cavern made 25 of his 27 career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, winning seven times including two stakes -- the 2003 King Cugat at Aqueduct and the inaugural running of the Troy at Saratoga at Saratoga. The latter victory earned him namesake status for today's first race because the Willard Straight is now the prep for the Troy later in the meeting.

Day Two begins with working wifi, PA and plumbing, and has a $60,316 carryover for the pick-6, which begins with the 6th of 11 races.


1:05 pm: Fiddlers Patriot, NY-bred who has blossomed into a top-rate turf sprinter, was a runaway winner of the Willard Straight in a blistering 1:00.63, just 0.04 off his own course record. The 6-year-old Proud Citizen gelding got a perfect trip behind a duel between 4-5 favorite Bridgetown and first-time-turf Zero Rate Policy but was much the best. Perfect Officer was second with Bridgetown holding third in a field of six.


1:25 pm: Preliminary Beyer Speed Figures from opening day: Kauai Katie got a 100, a spectacular figure for a debuting 2-year-old filly; Pacific Ocean got a 103 for the G3 Marvin, and So Many Ways got a 79 winning the G3 Shuylerville.


1:45 pm: First race of the meet for juvenile colts just went to Spurious Precision ($15.20), High Cotton firster from Violette. Chased from second, took over in upper stretch and held off Asmussen third-timer Show Some Magic in 1:03.49. Fast-working Zito firster Hot West (Elusive Quality-Xtra Heat) bet to 7-2, chased from fifth and flattened late.


3:15 pm: Little carryover merits a little play:

The damage is $424.

The 3rd through 5th here were not championship racing but were entertaining and competitive races with good-sized fields of 9, 12 and 14. If you hooked up Spurious Prediction in the 2nd with Clear Pasaj ($8.80), Sam's Buck ($11.20) and Basalt ($27.20), you got a $5,066 for $2 pick-4. Mr. Smartaleck here used the three bigger prices but not 3-1 Clear Pasaj.

Lunch report: Hattie's redux. Was going to branch out, but -- and here are seven words I never expected to write -- the line for poutine was too long.


3:50 pm: Lea ($5.20) is a grass 3-year-old with a future. A rallying second in his Churchill debut to an up-the-rail winner, Lea went to the front today, turned back a midrace challenge from Ruthless Alley, and they sprinted away from Night Site through the stretch. The First Samurai-Greenery colt races fro Adele Dilschneider and and Claiborne Farm.


4:25 pm: Everyone was waiting for Image of Disco ($31.00) to stop but he never did, setting strong fractions on the nard turf and pulling away through the stretch to win the 7th. With some deep, tough races ahead, not too early to be thinking about the C (carryover) word. Today's pool was $385,987 on top of the $60k carry.

Time to reload and put in the bottom two-thirds of the pick-6 play as a late pick-4, moving some C's to B's and hoping for some prices.


4:55 pm: Adios Nardo ($16.20) benefitted from being near the front while well-meant Colonel Bill got going too late, completing a $1,221 for $2 pick-3 on the first half of the pick-6. Klaravich/Mott dropdown Reserve Currency, 3-2 in the gate, 7-5 on the first turn and 6-5 down the backstretch, chased from foiurth and faded late.


5:20 pm Shrewd One ($8.50) pulled away from Spin Out to win the 9th, a race that featured perhaps the most bizarre favorite of the metting: Can anyone explain how and why Won Kool Aid, 6-1 ML, was the 5-2 favorite at post time? The Michael Mareina trainee was a debut winner at Belmont last month, beating a mediocre field in moderate time. He broke on top, was close up early, but fell back when the real running began and finished 8th. Weird.


6:07 pm: Questing threw her hat into the crowded ring for leadership of the nation's 3-year-old fillies with a dominant 4 1/4-length victory over Mother Goose winner Zo Impressive and Black-Eed Susan winner In Lingerie in the CCA Oaks.

Questing became the eighth different 3-year-old filly to win one of this year's eight Grade 1 races in the division. The seven previous winners were Eden's Moon (Las Virgenes). Willa B Awesome (Santa Anita Oaks), Karlovy Vary (Ashland), Believe You Can (Kentucky Oaks), Contested (Acorn), Zo Impressive (Mother Goose) and Lady of Shamrock (American Oaks).

Questing, who paid a surprisingly generous $9.80 as the third choice, will try to secure leadership of the division in the Alabama next month. The question will be the 10-furlong distance for the pace-pressing daughter of Hard Spun, who drifted badly through the stretch, but that's a challenge for all of them. Zo Impressive has faltered in both of her tries around two turns. In Lingerie, who made a strong middle move today off a two-month layoff, may have needed today's race and could improve next time out.

Five of the 12 runners in the finale are covered in the pick-6 -- looks live 9 live tickets to the favored #6, six tickets to the #12, and one each (at $280k) to the 3, 8 and 9. Anyone else and there's a $280k carryover into Sunday:


6:30 pm: Cozy App ($29.60) was not one of the five covered in the pick-6 (though the next three under the wire in the finale were), so there's a $280k carryover into Sunday's card. Get to work.