07/22/2012 11:55AM

Saratoga Day 3: 7/22/12


12:55 pm: About two hours and 15 minutes to the start of the Pick-6, which begins with a $280,319 double-carryover after no one picked six the first two days of the meeting.

It's not easy, but what fun would that be?

The biggest stumbling block for me is the second leg, a statebred maiden race with two favorites who have experience and seven first-time starters. The racing office continues to card these races in multirace-unfriendly slots like this. Had the race been carded as the 5th instead of the 6th, bettors could at least have seen what sort of betting action there's going to be on all those firsters. Now the only clues, and they will be scant, will be found in the few dollars of early double betting on races 5 and 6. The race, like many firster-filled maiden events, would have been best carded as the first or second, two races (including a stakes) that would have been perfect later on the card and would not have interfered with either pick-4 or the pick-6.

Today's two stakes are the Duluth (race 2), where Summer front will be odds-on, and the G2 Sanford (race 9), which drew a deep field of fast maiden winners.


1:10 pm: Paper Plane ($8.30) took the opener from gate to wire, flying to the early lead in 21.94 and just lasting over 2-1 fave Victory Island through 6.5f in 1:16.93. Summer Front has opened at 1-to-9 for the Duluth.

Daily Lunch Report: I haven't figured out my pick-6 play yet, but I have cracked the mystery of what a "Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich" is. Avoiding a dish labelled only as "meat" would seem to be common sense, like never eating at a diner called Mom's or playing poker with a guy named Doc, but it turns out that the ambiguously-described sandwich, $8.95 at the new Shirley's Poutine stand next to Hattie's in the carousel food court, is basically a regional variation on corned beef or pastrami. It's smoked and salted brisket, and Shirley's serves it on seedless rye slathered with mustard. Not at all spicy or peppery and a tad bland, but not bad at all.  


1:45 pm: Summer Front ($2.90), scratched from yesterday's $600k Virginia Derby for this, was tons the best winning the Duluth. Despite lagging behind slow fractions (24.54, 49.26) and going widest around the turn, he mowed down the leaders with a strong late burst to run his turf record to 5 for 5.

Preliminary Beyers from yesterday include a 91 for 2yo Spurious Precision and a 98 for Questing in the CCA Oaks.


2:30 pm: Trio of 3-1 shots 1-2-3 under the wire in the 3rd with Driven by Solar ($51,084 to win) beating Little Mike (($47,709 to win) and Silver Timber ($48,625 to win.)

Best use of the phrase "simplifies the handicapping process" comes from these minutes of a recent California Horse Racing Board meeting: "The Board approved an amendment... allowing the ADW company to offer an additional wagering service. The new Website will offer pari-mutuel wagering that simplifies the handicapping process by encouraging wagers based on such factors as colors and numbers."


2:50 pm: Rigby ($9.40), third winner in four races for Ramon Dominguez, scored by a long ways vs. $20k claimers in a snappy 1:08.59.

Note that the 10th race will be run on the Mellon tiurf course, not the inner course as originally carded.


3:05 pm: Here's the pick-6 play. Obviously leaning heavily on the favorite in the first leg:


3:25 pm: Ran 1-2-3-4 but not the way I'd hoped for, as even-money Current Design took the overland route and ended up an unthreatening second to Hardrocker ($15.20) with Rangey third and Br. Alexander fourth. Beats being dead, but now I need 0-for-6 Smokem's Charm to win the upcoming 6th to stay alive.

Pick-6 fresh handle today handle was $1.06 million on top of the $280k carry, making for a potential 6/6 front-end payout of over $800k after takeout and consos.


3:52 pm: Oh well. Twelfth time was the charm for Readthebyline, who finished three lengths behind Smokem's Charm last time out but won off by himself today as the firsters were nothing special and Smokem's Charm was dreadful. Plenty of people are surely alive with a 6-1 and a 7-2 in the books but I alas am not among them. On to the late pick-4.


4:30 pm: Three of the four favorites in the 7th were emrging from close-up finishes in the June 17 Belmont race won by Lady Yellow Tail, and none of them ran 1-2-3; potential negative key race?

Other favorite, second choice Temper in Command ($8.60), fourth of the day for Dominguez, who still has live contenders Reach for a Peach in the 8th and Wet One in the 10th.

Just noticed tomorrow's card is one of those weird ones where the first five of the day are on the grass and the last five are on the dirt, usually a sign that long-range forecasts called for late-day rain.


5:00 pm: Make that five for Dominguez, as Reach for a Peach ($6.90) ran down Schillerette to win the 8th.


5:40 pm: Bern Identity ($5.60) got the job done to win a Sanford that was fast early, slow late, and not very pretty. Handsome Jack, who dueled through blazing fractions of 21.60 and 44.70 with Brave Dave, was brave to hold second as Onetwentyeight was up late for third with Brave Dve fourth. Bern Identity ran the six furlongs in a very ordinary 1:11.13 as the race came apart late and no one was finishing strongly. Rose Junction, the 2-1 second choice, looked well-positioned down the backstretch but failed to fire.

Of the three six-furlong races on the card -- the other two for $20k claimers and NY-bred maidens -- the Sanford had the fastest opening half-mile (44.70 vs. 45.00 and 45.98) and the slowest final time (1:11.13 vs. 1:10.13 and 1:08.59).

10 of the 12 in the finale are covered in the pick-6; the posted willpays don't really add up correctly (Canadian/Panamanian currency-conversion issues?) -- how can there be three winners at $299k (899k total) or two winners at $443k ($887k total) or one winner at $905k ($905k total) from the same pool? -- but they're probably close and here they are:


6:15 pm: Dominguez got his 6th, tying John Velazquez's Saratoga record, as slight favorite Wet One ($8.20) ran down 10-1 Sheerflakesofgold to win the finale and complete a $28,666 pick-6. Believe me, you didn't want this thing to carry again. Looked at tomorrow's card yet?