08/26/2013 11:46AM

Saratoga Day 34: August 26, 2013


12:45 pm: It's 74 and sunny with a 60 percent chance of afternoon thundershowers at Saratoga, where Day 34 begins fast and firm.

Today's two stakes are the $100k Smart and Fancy for turf-sprinting fillies and the $100k Saratoga Dew for statebred fillies at 9f on the dirt.

Unlike the namesakes of some recent overnight stakes here (Coronation Cup, Idle Rich), it's appropriate that the Smart and Fancy is a turf sprint for fillies: Smart and Fancy, a Not For Love filly who won 14 of 28 career starts and $826k, won five turf-sprint stakes (none in New York) including the 2007 Turf Amazon at what was then called Philadelphia Park. She was a likeable and tough sprinter.

In fact, the NYRA racing office apparently likes her so much that they ran a Smart and Fancy Stakes just two and a half months ago at Belmont. The $83k Smart and Fancy on June 13 (as opposed to today's $100k Smart and Fancy) was rained off the turf and won by Munnings Sister.


1:15 pm: Early pick-4 play:

1:40 pm: Third-timer Ocean Boulevard up late to run down Pletcher, Chad Brown, Mott and McLaughlin firsters in what appeared to be a weak (1:11.91) 2-year-old filly field. Added a last-minute 50-cent p-4 ticket with C's in the race because it was being bet so strangely -- either none of the tepidly-bet firsters was anything special or all of them were, and the first scenario is always likelier in those situations.

2:05 pm: Congrats to the weekly NTRA poll voters for getting it right and finally ranking Game On Dude over Wise Dan, by a 31-15 tally, in the wake of his tremendous Pacific Classic victory.

2:30 pm: Weather forecast improving: last of the main-track-onlies were just scratched in the 7th and 10th.

2:45 pm: Madame Giry ($4.30) outfinished Rosa Salvaje by 1 1/4 lengths to win the Saratoga version of the Smart and Fancy Stakes, a race which has now been run under that name for the third time in under 12 months. Madame Giry won the Belmont Fall version last Sept. 12 and did not contest the Belmont Spring version run this past June 13. Madame Giry, a 4-year-old Castledale (Peintre Celebre) filly owned by Nutmeg Stable and trained by Cam Gambolati, ran the 5.5f on the hard turf in 1:01.52.

Willpays into the 5th, last leg of the pick-4 and first leg of the no-carryover pick-6:

High-value exacta payoff at $29.20 for a $4.30 winner over a 6-1 third choice. If Rosa Salvage was 6-1 to win the race, how was she effectively almost 6-1 ($4.30 x 6.8 = $29.27) to win the race for second behind an even-money winner?

3:15 pm: Amber Coast a decisive front-running winner of the 5th to complete a CAAA pick-4 that paid a roly-poly $1,556 -- more than double the parlay of $13.40, $10.60, $4.30 and $8.00 winners. Bedouin Now, 2-1 favorite, stumbled start and forced wide first turn.

And I still don't believe the turf fractions on the inner course. Amber Coast, who led all the way, supposedly set fractions of 25.33, 49.78 and 1:13.70 en route to a final time of 1:36.60 -- that would be progressively faster splits of 25.33, 24.45, 23.92 and 22.90.

4:10 pm: Carryover possibilities already in the air after tough Deadicated Deal took 6th at 16-1. As for the late pick-4:

5:00 pm: Drum Roll turned out to be a good bet-against at even-money in the 8th, and Plainview wasn't at the same price in the 7th. Plainview took them all the way for his 6th victory in his last nine starts. Drum Roll won a three-way battle for the lead but was softened up by it and lost the war to 8-1 closer Bemata.

5:35 pm: Go Unbridled won the $100k Saratoga Dew to give trainer H. Allen Jerkens -- who, as Durkin announced, "has been winning races at Saratoga since Harry Truman was President" -- his first winner of the meet.

Go Unbridled, a 6-year-old Unbridled Jet mare, has won 5 of 27 career starts for owner Howard Whitbred, including last year's Saratoga Dew.

Only one live horse in the pick-6, current 8-5 favorite Coralita:

Since I'm alive to six of the nine in the pick-4 (4 units to 3, 6 and 9, 1 unit to 1, 8, 10), I'll hedge with the three I didn't use since they're currently 19-1, 20-1 and 12-1. Track was just reportedly hit by brief downpour, seems to have stopped.

6:05 pm: Spunky Princess ($9.10) led well-meant(20-1 ML, 7-1 early, 11-1 at post) Bettina Brugge every step of the way, with 6-5 Coralita bottled up early and flat late. So there's a $65,602 carryover, but you don't have to get to work quite yet: Tomorrow's a dark day and the carryover's into the Wednesday card.