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Saratoga Day 24: 8/16/12
By Steven Crist
3:35 pm: The plan was to be here about an hour and a half ago, but trips are everything: I was off slowly, checked early (Cross Island Parkway), steadied repeatedly (Whitestone Bridge), in tight quarters (Cross County Parkway), clear thereafter with some late gain.
But since it's an 11-race Thursday, I've got until almost 5 p.m. to cobble together a late pick-4 play, so I'll get tied on and caught up and be back shortly.
3:50 pm: Just watched 0-for-7 Fact, everyone's Best Bet of the day, run second for the fourth time in eight career starts in the 5th and I'd make a snide comment about taking 0-fers at short prices except that he ran second to 0-for-12 Superestrella, who paid a whopping $8.00.
On to the 6th, where 6 of the 8 statebred 2-year-olds are making their debuts in the first leg of a no-carryover pick-6. As expected, the Pletcher, Levine and Dutrow firsters are all taking some money but the early price that jumps out at me is the 5-1 -- as opposed to a 12-1 ML -- on Suffolk Downs-based Ambrose Pascucci firster Acadian Connection.
4:24 pm: After two steeplechases, a maiden-special and three maiden-claimers, it's on to the "quality" portion of the card -- two conditioned claimers, a starter allowance, the West Point and a statebred maiden race.
Stoneless was an easy winner of the 6th for Roddy Valkente and Bruce Levine, who campaigned his first-crop sire, Bustin Stones. Badgett second-timer No Nukes ran second at 19-1 with Dutrow firster Jerek Deter (not a typo) third after breaking behind the field. The Pascucci firster was an even fourth at 5-1.
4:45 pm: Here's that late pick-4 play, with 10 minutes to spare:
The upcoming 8th is a sort of reunion for the lesser lights of the Pletcher stable: Three of the seven entrants were claimed from Pletcher when he dropped them down in their last starts, all for $20k: Dan and Sheila (to Juan Carlos Guerrero), How Do I Win (to Nick Canani) and Big Creek (to Randi Persaud.)
5:10 pm: Dan and Sheila($7.20) put away How Do I Win in upper stretch after slow early fractions, and then held off fast-closing 9-2 Photon as the ex-Pletchers ran 1-4-6 in the 8th.
5:40 pm: Plainview, front-running winner of his last two for $20k, figured to be part of sizzling speed duel with Primo and Brown Indian in the 9th, but Jose Lezcano gunned him to an early five-length lead, gave him a mid-race breather, and had enough left to hold off the cavalry at 5-1.
5:50 pm: It's pouring now, just in time for the featured West Point.
6:15 pm: That rain may have changed the turf, as they just ran the West Point nearly 10 lengths slower (and on the Mellon vs. inner) than the starter-allowance for maiden-claiming graduates (1:43.61 vs. 1:41.92). All the speed collapsed in the West Point and third-choice Lubash loooped the field from last place to score easily, with 17-1 Minnie Punt up for second and 4-5 Compliance officer a struggling third.
The #8 Bunhead was a late scratch -- 4:26 pm, according to the NYRA website, though they took my pick-4 bets including her at 4:43 pm -- so those payoffs could change depending on who goes off as the post-time favorite. In any case, it's pretty weird that #9 Yes It's Pink, 5-2 ML favorite and second choice in all multiraces, is apparently one of only four uncovered horses in the pick-6.
6:45 pm: The favorite put the kibosh on any carryover as Kibosh ($4.30) was a runaway winner of the finale over 3-1 Yes It's Pink to complete a $9,557 pick-6 and $676 pick-4 that you might have had an extra time if you used Bunhead.
Racing resumes with a 10-race card tomorrow at 1 p.m. Don't sleep in if you want to see the stakes, which have been carded as the 2nd (the $100k Summer Guest) and the 4th (the $150k Yaddo.)
Had to return to read the opening paragraph once again. 'Betting on Myself' was a fantastic read and I wish Steve would write a similar book about his experiences once again.
Steve- Not sure if you had p4 once or twice or not at all. I've seen you with all A's and B's or A's and C's. Hope it was twice and thanks for letting us play along.
Nice intro...rough trip! If your agent I'd remain loyal. Lezcano wins again today on the turf in the five-eight to one range. Thirteenth time (seventh turf) 1st or 2nd in that range, sixth winner. Then wins again on turf at lesser odds. Mr. Grass.
Steve, what is up with QUALITY riders just saying "That's it" when beaten for win/place in stretch, & get nailed for Tri/Super coasting late? i've always Keyed Bombs 3rd/4th in Supers, not just for price, but because they usually have hungry riders that keep horse moving thru the wire. Rosie in 11th latest example. Don't Steward bring riders in for lack of late effort anymore?
Steve: did you save any money by making the 2 and the 5 as C selections in 10th race? Or was the thinking to get more action on your priority picks? I played with Ticketmaker using your picks and there was no increase in cost when I moved the 2 and 5 and made them B's. Am I missing something?
I like the clever description of your trip in the 3:35 post. Perhaps you should have altered course after "checking" on the Cross Island and taken the Throgs Neck.
I had mentioned Wilmer Garcia, and how impressive he has been in seemingly bringing longshots to life this meet, in yesterday's blog. How do you feel about this, and do you see a bright future for this kid?
Hi Steve - sorry about your mom. I see the State is going to report that casinos don't help improve attendance and handle at racetracks. This is the first step in taking away slot money. From my experience the conclusions of any State Report is determined before any fact finding. Enjoy this meet. The money will no longer be available.
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