08/19/2013 11:29AM

Saratoga Day 28: August 19, 2013


12:30 pm: Sunny/fast/firm for Day 28 of 40, a 10-race, 77-horse card where the nominal feature (race 5) is the $100k Union Avenue for statebred fillies.

The Union Avenue reunites five of the six fillies who ran in the Lottsa Talc here July 25th when Clear Pasaj held on by a nose over Willet with Miss Valentine another nose back in third. Clear Pasaj led at every call going 7f that day, and there appears to be no other early speed in the field again, so Willet and the closers may have to move sooner today to catch her as they shorten up to 6f this time.

Four of the day's first five are on dirt, then the card ends with five on the grass. It will be interesting to see what sort of fractions are posted in the turf races after highly improbable ones were put up in yesterday's last two races, which have yet to be officially adjusted or corrected.

1:15 pm: Early pick-4, with the emphasis on the all-A line:

2:15 pm: Three races, three losing favorites at even-money or less.

In the opener, Thug Daddy, third in a slow race in his debut, managed only fourth behind clearly well-meant Capuano shipper/firster So Lonesome ($6.50). In the 2nd, Flores Island was 3-to-5 off a good second in the July 29th edition of this filly N1x, but tried going to the lead instead of rating today, and was stalked and collared by stretchout Sheer Drama ($11.00). Then in the 3rd, Hot Stones was overbet at 3-to-5 off a moderate maiden victory and managed only third behind Make the Moment ($9.80) and Sweet Maxine.

And that's how you end up with a $188 pick-3 on two second choices and a third choice, all of whom could have been liked as much as the three favorites, who would have produced about a $24 pick-3.

2:45 pm: Ouch. Bozique at 8-1 looked like she was going to nail 2-1 Hot Tempo two strides from the wire, but she didn't quite get there. Still, a triple-A start into the Union Avenue:

Turf fractions in 4th, run on inner with rails out at 18 feet, looked plausible and normal: 23.58, 47.56 and 1:12.54 en route to mile in 1:36.79.


3:15 pm: Willet laid closer this time and Beautiful But Blue put some early pressure on Clear Pasaj and that allowed Willet to sweep to a dominant 1 3/4-length victory in the Union Avenue for the all-A $445 pick-4.

Willet, a 5-year-old Jump Start mare, races for Jimmy Islein and partners and is trained by Iselin. She now has a 5-4-1 record in 11 career starts and is 8: 5-3-0 in statebred company.

All grass and no stakes racing the rest of the way. The late pick-4 looks tricky and wide-open, and I'll be back in half an hour with a spready play.

3:50 pm: Eriugena split horses midstretch and won 6th as 5-2 second choice. Third winner in a row for Rosario, who has four more mounts today, after losing 2nd and 3rd on odds-on favorites.

Here's that late pick-4 play, where I obviously have lots of open horses in every leg and will be trying to zigzag my way through it:

5:20 pm: She's Not Lazy, longest shot in 9th at 18-1, and 7-1 Keening ran around the track together through a mile 49.08 and 1:13.24, leaving them with enough to finish 1-2 in that order as no one could pick them up. As a result, nobody's alive in the pick-6 and the pick-4's are paying $9k to $158k:

So there's a $60,741 carryover to Wednesday. I intend to prepare by sleeping in tomorrow and then eating as many hot apple-cider donuts as I possibly can at the Washington County Fair.