07/20/2013 11:31AM

Saratoga Day 2: July 20, 2013


11:30 am: It's about 10 degrees cooler today than it was for yesterday's Opening Day sweatfest, but storms are supposedly on the way and they still haven't scratched all the main-track-onlies from the five grass races that begin the Saturday card.

We got about two hours of thunderstorms here last night starting around 9 p.m. but the ground is so dry that you'd hardly know it if you slept through it. The turf is still labelled "firm" and the main track was looking fast until they began sealing it here a few minutes ago. That seems a sensible precaution since there are no dirt races scheduled until 3:35 this afternoon, and that's a lifetime when it comes to Saratoga weather.

As expected, Summer Applause was an early scratch from the G3 Shuvee and will instead run in the Delaware Handicap. No one out of the G1 CCA Oaks.

Here are the picks for "Talking Horses," which starts in the Carousel in about 20 minutes. Mike Watchmaker will be the guest tomorrow, and I'll be back on the show next Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, July 20: 1) 6-5-8-3 2) 6-4-5-12 3) 8-11-10-6 4) 13-11-2-8 5) 4-10-11-5 6) 1-10-3-8 7) 8-10-13-11 8) 4-3-1-2 9) 7-6-1-5 10) 3-1-4 11) 12-11-7-2-3


1:40 pm: Still no rain yet and last night's storms don't seem to have slowed the turf course much -- statebred fillies went 8.5f in 1:42.14 in the opener and statebred maidens went 5.5f in 1:03.23 in the 2nd. The early turnout looks a little light for a Saturday but it's finally on the pleasant side of tolerable to walk around the place.

Today's Hattie's sandwich was back to the usual high standards after yesterday's Dry 'n' Salty misadventure.


2:15 pm: If I hadn't seen the race and you'd told me that I got beat a whisker in the 3rd with 11-1 Broken Spell by 6-1 Silsita, I would have uttered some bad words and assumed Silsita had gotten loose on the lead and I'd just missed catching her. Instead, it was Broken Spell who went to the front, put competition to sleep through slow fractions, and then got nailed by Silsita. Then Broken spell actually came back at her after being passed and almost renailed her, but not quite. Either way, grrr.

The race was the $100k My Princess Jess for non-winners of a sweepstakes on grass -- kind of a consolation race for those not quite up to running in the graded Lake George next week. Silsita was the field's lone graded stakes-winner, having taken the Bourbonette Oaks on poly. The 3-year-old Macho Uno filly is trained by Todd Pletcher, who sends out the favorites in today's graded stakes later on -- Unlimited Budget and Princess of Sylmar in the CCA Oaks, and Authenticity in the Shuvee.


2:50 pm: Delayed start for the 4th after various incidents at gate, resulting in gate scratches of #1 Utopian Wife and #4 Scribbling Sarah. Once that was all sorted out, Therapy ($11.40) beat 20-1 Courageous Karen with favored Pie's first Lady up belatedly for third.

3:20 pm: Tycoon Cat ($19.60) won the 5th to complete a $4,464 early pick-4 and conclude the turf portion of the program. Six dirt races ahead, with the track labeled "good" after being unsealed and still none of that predicted rain.

Despite the lack of a carryover, I'm making a little pick-6 play given the rarity of an all-dirt sequence and my thinking that Authenticity is a flat-out single:

4:00 pm: fields for next Saturday's three graded stakes shaping up as follows, as per NYRA press office:

Jim Dandy: Palace Malice, Freedom Child, Code West, Mylute, Looking Cool, Vyjack, Will Take Charge, Perfect Title.

Diana: Centre Court, Laughing, Starformer, Stephanie's Kitten, Dream peace, Minakshi.

in the time it took me to type these two sentences.

Prioress: Kauai Katie, Midnight Lucky,Wildcat Lily, Irish Lute.


4:38 pm: As advertised, here's that rainy day. A little cloudburst just hit the track, then stopped.

5:30 pm: Authenticity ($3.00) wasn't as impressive as she was in her last two starts but got the job done winning the G3 Shuvee over Flashy American and Sea Island. Eblouissante, who would have been double digits were she not a half-sister to Zenyatta, finished last as the massively-overbet 4-1 second choice in her first start since January.

Authenticity's connections may have decided she had this field so much at her mercy that there was room to experiment with rating her. She was taken back off a very slow pace set by Sea Island and sat second until upper stretch. She went by the leader easily enough but then had to be roused to turn back Flashy American.

Fifteen minutes to the CCA Oaks, where the betting so far has Unlimited Budget at 8/5, Princess of Sylmar at 9/5 and My Happy Face at 5/2.

6:00 pm: She may have been 38-1 when she won the Kentuky Oaks, but Princess of Sylmar confirmed herself as the leader of the nation's 3-year-old fillies with a strong six-length victory in the Grade 1 CCA Oaks. Her winning time of 1:51.07 was significantly faster than Authenticity's 1:52.33 in the Shuvee half an hour earlier, albeit in a faster-paced race, and she won the race impressively by running down a loose leader on her own and then drawing away. My Happy Face held second after leading to the stretch turn, with Marathon Lady third and Unlimited Budget fifth and last after a slow start as the 6-5 favorite.

The Oaks gave a sweep of the day's stakes races to Pletcher, who also trains Autheticity (Shuvee) and Silsita (My Princess Jess).

Here are the willpays heading into the finale. Everyone's covered in the pick-6 except #10 El Cuadro:


6:30 pm: Road Agent ($10.00) edged Velvet Cap to complete a $279 pick-4 and $3,286 pick-6. Racing resumes tomorrow with a 10-race card featuring the Grade 2 Sanford for 2-year-olds. No rain in the forecast, so expect monsoons.

James More than 1 year ago
the stuff about the food at Saratoga is the best part of the blog, you should show pictures like before, tell us how much it costs and do the full ratings, really good stuff
TomN More than 1 year ago
Steve, can you explain the need for turf writers to dust off their thesaurus and use the term "monsoon" when arriving in the Adirondacks. The word seems abit abused. What say you?
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Oh That Lady Hamilton. Steve, is the total handle considered to be the $ combination of "track handle, intra-state, and interstate"? Thanks.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Please drop Unlimited Budget into a Claiming race where she can compete Very over-rated
LemonDropKid More than 1 year ago
The Saratoga blog -what a welcome sight. Who would have guessed that day one would open with a Margaret Hamilton quote!! Thanks Steve. -and good luck to all.
Chris Bernard More than 1 year ago
love your blog keep it up
orsch226 More than 1 year ago
This new generation comes to the track trying not to lose, and not wanting to put any work or effort to do it. This is why scratch offs, slot machines, and other mindless gambling games are cashing in.... As boring as it would be to most horse players, I think they are going to have to go the way of sports betting, lots of heads up match ups between horses, odd and even bets , etc... all the non sense that will take no effort, the kids get what they perceive as action and a 45/55 chance of breaking even and having a fun day out. I come to this conclusion from my own experiences, I have many friends that put 2 dollars to show on a horse in every race just to have a ticket and maybe pop out a ten dollar profit.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
"I have many friends that put 2 dollars to show on a horse in every race just to have a ticket and maybe pop out a ten dollar profit." Where in the world did they get that idea?! I can see betting $5 to show on five of the six horses in a small field race, with the unbet fave going off at 1/9 (and not a penny higher), but the above is some real choice fantasizing. On the other hand, 95% of those interviewed also think that if anything happens in real life, "It was just like a movie!" Maybe my surprise is what's askew.
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Don, while your wordsmithing is a clear second to Steve's Saratoga blog it is definitely another one of the many things I look forward to during this meet. Cheers.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
I'm a claimer in the Steve Crist Stakes. Contentedly so.
Christine Race More than 1 year ago
Hi Steven...Good Seeing you on with Andy..I look forward to the summer gleaning all I can from you...and wish nothing but the BEST...and plenty of good photos and lots of $$$ your way-starting today...go light on the fried...heavy on the GOOD for you stuff...we want you AROUND for a long time...so GOOD to have you back! Cappin is always better at the Spa
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Happy Saratoga. Given that my Saturday started with a neighbor informing me at 9:30 that he t-boned my car in the driveway (don't ask how), it should come as no surprise that I still have the no-no going through 5. Insurance will remedy the former, perhaps long walks for the later. Speed on the turf is as dangerous as always. No Hattie's, no poutine, so that's all I got.
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Geez Hialeah, that's as bad as the insurance commercial where the guy saws the tree branch off and it drops on and totals the neighbors car. Here's hoping you shake it off and the ponies treat you better.
Dale Tillotson More than 1 year ago
Smoke meat and fries at Shirleys was not bad on Friday. Could use a little more meat on the sandwich but when it comes to good Montreal smoked meat their is never enough.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Any "peppery" (obnoxious) demands for directions to the restaurant this year?