08/26/2013 12:46PM

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.

Dingle More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Congrats on recent successes. I still want to suggest, yet again, that reading through your blog (admittedly sometimes hours or maybe even days later, while NOT being intimately familiar with every entry and/or stumble you're referencing) is at times like having horse numbers listed on the program, but NOT having numbers on the saddlecloths (thus rendering the program numbers {and/or those on your ABC chart} relatively useless at the time). It would be so useful to readers everywhere, and for years to come, if you would devote the effort presently directed toward putting the win price near to each winner, to adding his/her saddlecloth number (for matching to your list, as readers go along). Maybe we should be given the saddlecloth number, and made instead to look-up the win price if it is important to us. We would like to seemingly 'ride along' and track whether you're "alive". I'm sure you see those reading in eventual hindsight as being not too great a concern, but c'mon, even "Instant Racing" replays old races in seeming 'hindsight' rendering them reusable and important to at least someone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I believe that the number appears before the name of each winner in the Google sheet that Steve posts at the top of each day's blog. For some reason the sheet that appeared on Monday's blog seems to have disappeared but it was there during the day. The sheet for Sunday's blog remains posted and I have had no problem following Steve's plays during or after the contests.
Bill Opalka More than 1 year ago
Is it me, or have your Pick 4 layouts become more "spready" this year? Also, "Exotic Betting" advised two or three A's and now I see you'll go up to five. I also seem to remember you playing AABC, if I'm not mistaken, but no longer. That would be quite expensive in the current configuration. Are these functions of fine-tuing your approach, or is it the related to previous discussions about too many cheap races with bad/unreliable fields? Thanks. [You're right. The grass racing at this meet has been very competitive and I keep hitting a lot of races where I really can't separate 3-5 horses. -SC]
Jack More than 1 year ago
...Managements concern about creating a Pick-6 carryover,has turned this once "Thinking Mans" game into a four legged lottery..Yes,one does NOT have to Play but management advertises the HELL out of it.For the VAST majority of player's THAT money NEVER comes back to them.What GRIPS the Hell out of me is the FACT the "Little Guy" that puts in his hard work Handicapping ALL night WILL end up with 4 winners and MISS the Race that contains Horses that YOU can't Handicap at all, Manipulated by Management. When the BLUE Collar worker can come to the Races and Make 2 or 300.00 over the weekend, He will be BACK every weekend.and those EMPTY grandstands will be FULL.
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Two P4's for yourself and "The Chief" in the winner's circle. That's a pretty nice day by any measure. Hope the P4's keep falling like dominoes. I'm ruing not heeding your Travers long shot as it cost me a juicy ticket in a bet I rarely play. A very nice call. I see the Coolmore people have purchased the Klaravich horse Due Diligence. The Due Diligence of the 1970's was a pretty fair race mare. Surprised to se the name allowed again. I know it's been almost 40 years and there are only so many names, but still.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
We need some possible outcome from the breeding shed involving a name from the fusion of the bloodlines of Dullahan and Due Diligence and you will come up with a better gag than mine.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Steve, You are white hot brother the WTC helps the confidence and bankroll. Took down a good late Pick 4 whats next closing out the meet with a pick 6 score. Ride it out buddy you are the AUTHORITY/TEACHER. Continued good luck
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Matt, your tussle with Little and Mr. B. has been most entertaining. Sorry about the Abe Lincoln allusion, but then again, I meant it as a light-hearted compliment.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
I hear you and thanks for your explanation. I do try and call it like I see it with some strong possible offensive comments. Guess that stirs the interest
Frank Kulcsar More than 1 year ago
When I used to go to Saratoga --it was my favorite time of year--miss the area and track--but the racing seems to be like any other venue now--think I,ll stick in Florida-Tampa Bay Downs
Bob Marr More than 1 year ago
Steve thank you for the late pick four..... I only bet a dollar but it was a nice hit. I love reading your blogs as well. Thank you again.
kevin r More than 1 year ago
Steve, great job hitting both Pick 4s. The one day I don't play with your bets.....
Bradford Lawyer More than 1 year ago
people bash the system but it works. They should at least barrow the book before they bash it. I believe a quote I remember well is multiple good opinions to play any exotic or multiple race wager. Also when you are correct (ie all A ticket) you want to be rewarded by making it pay more than a lesser ticket caveman style I did get burned travers day when I forgot to hedge in the travers. Rookie mistake. All the bets are one net to make a profit! lol Steve always a reading pleasure
Richard Walsh More than 1 year ago
Steve, What is the ROI that you shoot for on your Pick 4 bet outlays?

[I don't. Every there's the possibility of a total loss, a breakeven or a score. I try to put myself in position for the latter as often as possible. -SC]

CrystalB More than 1 year ago
Good handicapin Steve! As for the comment about the abc method being dumb-it is alittle confusing at first but if u take the time to handicap and evaluate each horse it is a much better bet than the caveman approach.