08/17/2012 11:21AM

Saratoga Day 25: 8/17/12



12:20 pm: Fast and firm for now for Day 25, which for some reason is also "Fabulous Fillies Day," meaning that all 10 races are for fillies and mares. On the Saturday card, not also known as Magnificent Males day, 10 of the 11 races (all but the G1 Alabama) are for the unfairer sex.

Today's two stakes races -- the $100k Summer Guest for non-Alabama-worthy 3-year-old fillies, and the $150k Yaddo for statebred filly turfers -- are being run as the 2nd and 4th, due to a 96-hour weather forecast that might actually turn out to have been a fortuitous stab: Rain is still expected later in the day, with allegedly a 95 percent chance of thunderstorms by 5 p.m. That might explain running the Yaddo at 2:39 pm; carding three of the day's final four races on the turf, not so much.

Peace Preserver and Ainsley are already out of the Summer Guest, which looks like a showdown between Ciao Bella and Moment in Dixie, both coming off mile-and-70 races at Monmouth last month -- Moment in Dixie was a troubled 2nd as the 3-5 favorite in the Serenas Song July 15, and Moment in Dixie was a 4 1/2-length winner of a N1x allowance at 2-to-5 two weeks later.

The Yaddo continues the Gitchee Goomie-Hessonite rivalry, whose last two chapters ended with half-length victories by Gitchee Goomie, in the Mt. Vernon at Belmont and the G3 Penny Memorial at Parx.


1:45 pm: An eventful and surprising running of the Summer Guest, as the longest shot in a field of five ended up in the winner's circle with the 4-to-5 favorite a distant fourth.

Lady Cohiba ($29.60), dull in two starts this spring, returned from a 10-week layoff with a career-best effort. Third early as Harbor Mist set the pace and 7-5 Moment in Dixie chased the leader, Lady Cohiba made a brief bid for the lead inside Harbor Mist nearing the stretch turn, then backed out and appeared finished. Moment in Dixie made her move, caught Harbor Mist while going wide, but then had trouble putting that one away. And suddenly Lady Cohiba was resurgent under Joel Rosario, running them both down from the outside as Moment of Dixie held second.

Ciao Bella, sent off at 4-to-5, was fourth early and then came up completely empty when asked for run around the turn. A winner of her first two starts by 11 3/4 lengths, the Giant's Causeway-Bella Belucci filly $37k of the $57k in the show pool, setting up big show prices in her absence from the top three: Lady Cohiba paid $29.80, $8.00 and $8.10, Moment in Dixie paid $3.30 to place and $4.10 to show, and Harbor Mist paid $7.10 to show.

Lady Cohiba, who added blinkers today, is a Broken Vow filly owned by Live Oak and trained by Christophe Clement. She ran the 9f in 1:49.66.

The opener went a lot better for the Pletcher stable, as it added yet another victory with a debuting 2-year-old when Unabashed ($5.60), a $200k Elusive Quality yearling, was a daylight winner in 1:04.09 for 5.5f.


2:25 pm: Now admit it: If you bet Stack the Storm in the 3rd, and watched her throw her rider twice in the gate, prompting two scratches, then repeatedly balk at being reloaded before being blindfolded and shoved into the stall, you spent the entire race saying it was a disgrace that she was allowed to run and she should have been scratched and the public was robbed again. And you only stopped caterwauling when she got up at the wire to win and turn every $2 bet on her into $14.20.

The sky's getting dark and the wind's picking up.


2:45 pm: Ortiz, thrown from the subsequently-scratched Corinzia in the 3rd, taken to Saratoga Hospital with an unspecified ankle injury.


3:00 pm: Hessonite ($4.60) finally got the better of Gitchee Goomie after finishing behind her three straight times, getting the better ride and trip to win the Yaddo with Gitchee Goomie a troubled fourth.

The two 6-5 shots ($95k on GG, $91k on the winner) were fifth and sixth early behind mild fractions with Hessonite outside her rival. Nearing the turn, Dominguez got the jump, taking Hessonite outside the leaders and getting a clear path to bid to the lead. Alan garcia kept the favorite at the rail, waiting for a hole that never quite opened, then took her outside too late.

Hessonite, a 4-year-old Freud filly trained by David Donk, became the first two-time stakes-winner at the meet -- she won the Irish Linnet here July 27.


4:25 pm: Easy victories by favorites in the 6th and 7th. first it was 3-5 Dance Card, 3-year-old Darley filly, taking the N1x 6th in 1:50.51, about five lengths off the clocking for the Summer Guest earlier on the card. In the 7th, for 2-year-old statebred filly turf sprinters, Schettino firster Heading to Toga (by King Cugat) led all the way. Couldn't get involved in a dismal late pick-4 sequence with rain on the way -- good luck if you did.


4:30 pm: ....and that's why. The 10th race was just taken off the turf. NYRA arguably did everyone a favor by waiting until the 7th was run to make the change -- as I understand the wacky rules, you would have been stuck with your turf selections if the race had been switched with even a minute of betting remaining. The "all" provision for a surface switch only kicks in if the change is made AFTER betting closes. So it's an "All" race in the pick-4 and pick-6 but a live race in the upcoming 8-9-10 pick-3.


5:30 pm: Jitney ($28.20) won a three-way photo from Akira and Quiet Ending to win the 9th and determine the following willpays. Remember the finale is an ALL race for pick-4 and pick-6 purposes, which is why the willpays are the same for every horse:

That doesn't mean there was one live pick-6 combo to every horse. It could be 10 tickets to the same horse. If someone was alive to three horses, he wins three times at $5,327 apiece. It's over. If you had the first three winners in the pick-4, you're a $658 (for $2) winner for every horse you used in the finale, scratched or not.

But it will be kinda weird if the #1 wins and the pick-3 pays $13k while the pick-4 pays $658 and the pick-6 pays $5,327.


5:55 pm: Full of Intent, 4-1 early but banged to 5-2 favoritism late, easy winner over 3-1 second choice Zero Yield in the (suspenseless for pick-4 and pick-6 players) finale.

Racing resumes at 1 p.m. tomorrow with an 11-race card featuring two G1 $600k races -- the Sword Dancer (9th) and the Alabama (10th). I'll be in the Carousel for Talking Horses starting at 11:45.