08/28/2013 12:26PM

Saratoga Day 35: August 28, 2013


12:30 pm: Where did the summer go? It's the start of Closing Week at Saratoga, with a 10-race Day 35 card that includes the My Flag Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the P.G. Johnson Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, and a $65,602 pick-6 carryover from Monday.

I'm still undecided whether I'm playing the pick-6, and I say that without a drop of whine. It's just not my kind of sequence -- 5 of the 6 are on the grass, three are for 2-year-olds (two of them loaded with firsters) and three are for maidens. What I'm considering is an unusual (for me) and small play where I would flat-out single those first two legs, thus basically playing the sequence as a $2 pick-4.

In the opening leg, Clement second-timer Bluegrass Flash ran well enough in his debut to win most 2yo NY turf routes. In the second leg, Hushion firster Sleek meets a weak bunch and her workouts match up with those of stablemate Artemis Agroteras, who won her debut by a pole with an 86 Beyer here Aug. 16.

I understand that both will be strong favorites, that there are other interesting contenders and neither is a cinch. But if I start making backups and spending money on wacky C's, the cost spirals out of control.

Anyway, I've got until 3:08 pm, post time for the 5th, to figure it out.

1:15 pm: Guess the public knew what it was doing betting the opener, the year's first dirt route for 2-year-olds, as if it were a two-horse race between WinStar's 9-10 Commissioner and Live Oak's 9-5 Souper Lucky. The two finished a head apart in that order after 9f in 1:51.26 and it was more than 22 lengths back to the rest.

If you've been wondering why some Live Oak horses (Souper Speedy, Souper Lucky) have "soup" in their names, it's because owner Charlotte Weber (#359 on the 2013 Forbes 400) is the granddaughter of condensed-soup inventor John Dorrance and a Director of Campbell's Soup.

Has there been a horse named Souperfecta?

2:45 pm: Here are the willpays (gigantic thanks to Kimmies Lucky Star at $89 in the 3rd) into the 5th, last leg of the early pick-4 and first leg of the pick-6 with $65k carryover:

I'm playing the pick-6 as outlined earlier but backing up just a little in the first two legs. Like so:

The play comes out to $696 including an all A's and B's ticket.

Something seems to have gone awry with the commenting system today. Apologies. It's strange not getting your feedback.

3:15 pm: Yay, Clement won the first leg....oh wait, not with the 4-to-5 Bluegrass Flaah I singled, but with uncoupled 21-1 firster Blue Pigeon. Shoulda stuck with that first impulse to sit this one out.

And no, in answer to the comments I'm not seeing but that I imagine you're sending, I do not think this was some sort of betting coup by the Clement Empire. I understand both sides of the coupled/uncoupled argument. Maybe there's a case for coupling in maiden races to avoid outcomes like this.

Something went awry with Bluegrass Flash, who was perfectly placed behind the leaders and came up dead empty turning for home, finishing 6th beaten 11 3/4..

The souperfecta of 21-1 Blue Pigeon, 7-1 John Bailey, 38-1 Balderdash and 10-1 Mohican Chief came back $33,803, and the early pick-4 paid $156,761.

3:50 pm: Sleek at 3-2 couldn't outrun me, and 5-2 Miss Narcissist ran off with the 6th. The Linda Rice trainee pitched a fit behind the gate in her debut, misbehaved again today, but was all business when the race started. Donk firster Selenite made a big move on the turn and raced well in spots to be third despite swishing her tail most of the race.

4:40 pm: We're back after some technical issues made this entry disappear for a while, and the commenting system is now allegedly working. So feel free to catch up and unload.

Very good chance of a double-carryover with $44.80 and $27.00 winners in the first three legs, combining with Miss Narcissist for a $1,589 pick-3. Here's what tomorrow's sequence (races 6-11) looks like:

5:00 pm: Granny Mc's Kitten ($5.70), a nose loser to Miss Frost in her debut a month ago, caught Miss Frost with a furlong to go and held off 15-1 Duff One to win the $100k P.G. Johnson Stakes. She was the 19th winner at the meeting for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, a new record for owners.

The race honors the popular and widely respected trainer, who died in 2004. From his plaque in the Racing Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 1997:

"For 36 consecutive years (1968 through 2003), Johnson won at least one race at Saratoga. Among his stakes winners at the Spa were Geraldine’s Store (1983 Diana Handicap), Kiri's Clown (1995 Sword Dancer Invitational) and Maplejinsky (1998 Alabama Stakes). He also trained Quiet Little Table, who upset Forego in the 1977 Suburban Handicap. Johnson’s biggest victory came in 2002 with a horse he co-owned named Volponi. At 43-1, Volponi pulled off a shocking upset in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Arlington Park, winning the race by a record 6½ lengths. Johnson died on Aug 6, 2004. He won 2,315 races in his training career and earned purse money totaling $47,519,937.

5:30 pm: Double carryover! Image of Disco's front-running victory at 14-1 in the 9th killed any live tickets. The front-running speedball looked like he was going to get run down by yet another Kitten (Sneaky Kitten) but just held on while clearly tiring -- though the Teletimer claimed he ran each of his four quarters successively faster. Willpays into the finale:

I'm guessing the carryover is in the neighborhood of $275k, given that there are consos paying $69k, which would be one-quarter of today's after-takeout pool. So that's about $210k, plus the $65k carry from Monday. I don't know why NYRA doesn't announce it immediately when there are no live tickets, and I'm not just saying that so we'd sell a few extra newspapers to people on their way out. Why not alert people and generate a little excitement?

Speaking of excitement, here's the field for Saturday's Woodward:









Ron the Greek (FL)

J Castellano


W I. Mott



Successful Dan (KY)

J R. Leparoux


C LoPresti



Fort Larned (KY)

B Hernandez, Jr.


I R. Wilkes



Flat Out (FL)

J Alvarado


W I. Mott



Paynter (KY)

R Bejarano


B Baffert



Mucho Macho Man (FL)

E S. Prado


K Ritvo



Alpha (KY)

J R. Velazquez


K P. McLaughlin


6:00 pm: Lasso ($11.20) took the finale, and the carryover to tomorrow is $273,760. Get cracking.



Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Waiter There's A Trainer In My Soup. Darn. Way too many letters. Let's petition the Jockey Club ("Yale AND The Jockey Club could use an international airport") for an exemption from the 17-letter limit for new names. It might have been Ed Wynn who, when adapting himself from stage to radio performances about ninety years ago, found out to his dismay that being in a silent studio with no audience deprived him of his "rhythm" that he needed to time his ensuing punchlines. Neptune had the same problem when they eliminated the sea shore waves, I also have been informed. Steve, thanks for providing the cost of the bet today. It provides an indispensible context, much like Wynn's audience & Neptune's waves. Bill Mott wins a race on his birthday almost every year. We in this fetid downstate financial foxhole are setting another odd record in that about 80% of the time for the past 20 years, horses that we would have bet - had we been at the track - are winning in the week prior to our coming to Saratoga for the last week of the meet. So far this week, 2013 is no exception. Mott could be resented for consistently getting the better of these two concurrent deals, but he's too good of a mentsh to warrant holding even the slightest grudge. And now, back to the fewer-than-17-letters E.B. White classic, Charlotte's Web.
Nyra StretchRunner More than 1 year ago
Pardon me if I sound too much like a novice, but how do I read the Pick 6 ticket that you put up ? The three columns A, B and C: does it mean that there are three separate bets you make ? Thanks for your help. {No, it is not three tickets. For a full explanation, go here: http://www.drf.com/store/drf-ticketmaker-user-guide -SC]
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
I've always been a big silks guy and watched those colors on many favorite horses from Medieval Man to To Honor and Serve. Wasn't until a few years ago that I was made aware of the Campbell's soup history behind the outfit. Every time I've seen a Live Oak horse since I'm thinking of the white and red of the can. Crazy. Stood on the second floor of the Belmont grandstand more than a few years ago and watched a Monmouth shipper do a front end smoke job on a tough stake field. A guy walks up to me and says "now that's a fast horse". A fifteen minute conversation ensued. That guy was P.G. Johnson. Nice things like that you just don't forget. Great to see his daughters presenting the trophy today. All you P6 players hit 'em heavy tomorrow!
thomas j More than 1 year ago
How about these names for Charlotte Weber's horses. Souper Sales, Souper Douper, Super Looper.
tim More than 1 year ago
Steve- Good luck in the pick 6 tomorrow. And thank you for your incite full and entertaining daily blog. You are great! Cheers.
Andrew More than 1 year ago
Anybody notice Flash Foward at 2-1 was the highest pick three probable in the race he won. Obviously the people that used the all button to nail the longshot singled the other 2-1 horse or were playing longshots and used longshots that race too.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Good point.
Ryan Cale More than 1 year ago
i don't think that is 'obviously' the reason. surely you don't either? there is another more obvious reason.
gowanusbaseball More than 1 year ago
Although explainable for several reasons, there's something amusing about the Pick Four will-pays being higher than the Pick 6 consos for most of the horses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks like a tough sequence tomorrow. Hoping you're loaded for bear and we get to see you hit the P6.
Nick Christian More than 1 year ago
steve, I think the total PK6 pool today was $277K.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Maybe the technical problems Steve had earlier were related to what happened yesterday when an MTA worker stole a truck and took out a ton of power lines near Elmont, plunging 6,000 or so people into darkness. It's an unbelivable story and from accounts of people there numerous roads were closed because of that. Just a mess as I understood it.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
NYRA finally has their golden alibi for their toteboards going on the fritz. What I don't understand is how, when this deranged man drove under the wires that his upright crane ripped out of their poles, the electrical currents didn't ignite the truck in a ball of flames.