08/24/2014 12:04PM

Saratoga Day 33: 8/24/2014


12:05 pm: Like statebred racing? If not, call it a day right now. All 11 of today's Saratoga races are for New York-breds, including six stakes races in the $150k to $250k range.

I have a soft spot for these  cards, which are usually good betting events -- the usual combination of simngleable standouts and a few potential-chaos scrambles are inviting for multirace players. I also think staging this one the day after the Travers should work pretty well -- it's an entirely different kind of program the day after the big day instead of just a lesser one.

There's probably even room to enhance it with another pair or two of stakes in other statebred divisions. At least that way they wouldn't have to run a $40k maiden-claimer to come up with an 11th statebred race of the day -- not that 10 wouldn't have been plenty.

1:05 pm: Girlaboutown ($2.80) was so much the best in the N1x opener for older fillies that she won a very slow-paced race from last place. After showing speed in her two starts, today she fell back early after a slow start,  then just steadily moved up on an overmatched field and got there in 1:25.90 after a half in 47.48.

1:40 pm: Another last-to-first winner but don't go calling it a "closer-biased track" since the two winners were 2-to-5 and 3-to-2 and might well have won from anywhere on any surface including tapioca. This time it was Upstart ($5.10) in the $200k Funny Cide Stakes, lagging early as even-money Bustin It broke like a shot and opened a four-length lead in22.47 and 45.62. Upstart moved up on the turn and began to cut into the lead, getting there in the final strides.

Upstart, a ridgling by Flatter who sold for $130k to Ralph Evans here last August, won his debut just nine days ago for trainer Rick Violette. Nine days! Just like racing used to be.

2:40 pm: Verismilitude ($5.20) won the turf sprint for maidens in the 3rd, giving the Clark Brewster/Steve Asmussen combo their third winner of the weekend. (Asmussen won three on teh Travers card.)

In the 4th, the $150k West Point for older turfers, King Kreesa made a gritty and winning return to the races in his first start since last December in Hong Kong. The 5-year-old King Cugat gelding, second by just 1 1/4 lengths to Wise Dan in last year's G2 FOurstardave, played cat and mouse with Lubash from start to finish and looked beaten in deep stretch but rallied late to hang on narrowly.

Here are the willpays for some of the smallest pick-4's and pick-5's seen at the meet:

Up next is the Seeking the Ante, the 2-year-old filly counterpart to the Funny Cide in the 2nd. Theories are welcome as to why NYRA has named  a 2-year-old stakes for Seeking the Ante, who was 0 for 4 as a 2-year-old in 2004.

3:20 pm: The male 2-year-old statebreds are a LOT better than the fillies: Myfourchix won the Seeking the Ante but it took her nearly four full seconds (a mere 24 lengths) longer than it took Upstart to win the Funny Cide.(1:20.34 vs. 1:16.23).

Myfourchix benefitted when Junior Alvarado sent 3-5 Hard to Stay Notgo up after a 21.66 opening quarter. She opened a clear lead but wilted late and Myfourchix, second in her debut here July 30, was a runaway winner.

Myfourchix, a Henny Hughes-Stellluna filly, races for Clear Stars Stable and is trained by Rick Schosberg.

4:30 pm: Dayatthespa, scratched from yesterday's Ballston Spa in favor of statebred competition today, led all the way to win the $150k Yaddo. Discreet Marc, a slightly shorter 6-5 than the winner, chased from second all the way with Effie Trinket third in 1:41.93. 

Dayatthespa, a 5-year-old by City Zip, has won 9 of 16 starts including the G1 QEII Cup at Keeneland in 2012. She is trained by Chad Brown. This was the fopurth straight year that Dayatthespa has won at The pa: She took a maiden race in her career debut in 2011, the Riskaverse Stakes in 2012 and last year's Yaddo.

5:10 pm: It wasn't pretty and it took 1:53.40 for 9f, but Star Grazing won the $200k Fleet Indian to give Chester and Mary Broman their third 3-year-old filly homebred winner of the weekend. They won yesterday's G1 Ballerina with Artemis Agrotera and today's first race with Girlaboutown. Mike Hushion trained those two while Jimmy Jerkens got another stakes-winner as the trainer of Star Grazing.

Star Grazing is actually a common thread among them on the track as well as birthplace. When Artemis Aghrotera won her debut by 11 3/4 last Aug. 16, Star Grazing was the runner-up. When Star Grazing won her maiden here Aug. 7, Girlaboutown was the runner-up.

Star Grazing, a 3-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa, edged 9-5 fave Flipcup by three-wuarters of a length with 18-1 Canal Six four lengths back in third.

5:50 pm: Carryover to Monday? Maybe, after Summerdale got through inside to win the 9th and pay $61.

6:15 pm: So Lonesome, dropping from graded-stakes to statebred company and switching from grass to dirt, wired the field to score a dominant victory at 9-1 in the $200k Albany for 3-year-olds.

So Lonesome, an Awesome Again gelding owned by Patricia Schuler and trained by Tom Bush, most recently chased the pace in the G2 Hall of Fame and the Manila against open company. He also was 7th in the G1 Blue Grass and 9th in the G3 Palm Beach earlier this year.

Only one of the dozen in the chaotic-looking finale is covered in the Pick 6. So if anyone except #2 Cody's Notes wins, there's a $71k carryover to Monday. If you're looking ahead, tomorrow's sequence is on races 5-10, five of them on the grass including tthe featured Smart N Fancy Stakes at 5.5f for older fillies. [Note that the payoffs below are for 6/6 with Cody's Notes and 5/6 with the others. It would be nice if NYRA could distinguish between them.]

6:50 pm: Cody's Notes burst through a seam in the stretch and looked like a winner and carryover-killer, but along came last-to-first Born in Brooklyn ($23.60) to send the $71k into Monday's kitty. I'll look, but no promises.

Bruce More than 1 year ago
Steve, have you noticed anything different in your handicapping/betting from away versus on site in Saratoga? I wondered if being in Saratoga, in and around the action, helps or hinders your results. Any thoughts?

[Other than the perhaps-imaginary semi-mystical benefits of Being There -- somehow picking up on the vibe or rhythm of things -- I don't see a difference. You miss out on some "tips," but that's probably a good thing in the aggregate. I miss the camaraderie with some colleagues, but don't miss the incessant chatter of non-working press-box hangers-on. However, the chicken sandwiches at Burger King do not hold a wishbone to Hattie's. -SC]

Preston Simms More than 1 year ago
Steve big fan of your blogs and books especially "betting on myself" , love to have your email address to ask a few questions if you have the time, hope you are having a speedy recovery . Psimms15@hotmail.com
David Schabell More than 1 year ago
Girlaboutown not only broke slowly, she went to her nose for about three strides. It was amazing that Ortiz was able to stay abord. Watch the head on, and I think you will agree that it was one of the toughest starts to overcome, and then she ran past everybody. Pretty gutty performance.
Stephen Mercier More than 1 year ago
omg look at those pick 3 will pays !
Stephen Mercier More than 1 year ago
the ALL- 6 ALL pick 3 that I didn't buy looks pretty good right now

[You've gotta root against the 6 then. And if the 6 wins, root for the fave in the finale. -SC]

gary More than 1 year ago
Steve any thoughts on the pacific classic?

[I can't wait to see it, albeit at 8:56 ET. Shared Belief is undefeated and eligible to get even better, but if good old Game on Dude is in front turning for home, I'll be rooting for him. What a warrior he's been. I also am delighted that this is one of the very last Grade 1 races that will be run on a synthetic track. -SC]

hialeah More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Have to agree with your Travers assessment that, "Bayern popped out to the lead" and then, what I saw ,was Joel R grab his reins and point the snout of Tonalist at Bayern's butt and ask his horse to chase the speed with a mile to go. Which was way too early, in my opinion. Anyway, a NY-bred day-after is an OK choice, as the fields have dwindled like the days remaining in the meet. One makes their adjustments and, as always, that's horse racing. Shared Belief could really shake up the 3yo Division with a win today!

I think it would take a BC Classic win by Shared Belief to wrest the title from Cal Chrome. There have been 16 Derby-Preakness winners since 1970 and all 16 of them got the title even if they never raced again (I'll Have Another, Smarty Jones. -SC]

hialeah More than 1 year ago
Agreed - could make for a heck of a Classic!
Ryan Stanzel More than 1 year ago
P5 - one chalk goes down and the playoffs ballon. 176 pretty good for sequence that went 1-2, 3-2, 8-5, 5-2
Alexander Morris More than 1 year ago
WOuld be nice to see The Big Beast and Bayern matchup at say 7-8 furlongs?
Stephen Mercier More than 1 year ago
steve u playing the pick 6 today? [No; no carryover. -SC]