08/31/2012 2:11PM

Saratoga Day 37: 8/31/12


2:10 pm: Just 43 races to go for Saratoga 2012, nine of them on this late-post Day 37 including the $100k Big Bambu for older-filly sprinters and the the $100k Riskaverse for 3-year-old fillies on the turf.

It's a civilized start to a frenetic holiday weekend that has 12 races for tomorrow's Woodward/Forego card, and 11 races for both Sunday's Spinaway program and Monday's Hopeful card.

Saratoga has become a 400+-race meeting, with 40 days of racing and as many as 13 races a day on Travers Day. When I started coming here 34 years ago, it was always a 216-race meeting --four six-day weeks, and exactly nine races a day each of those 24 days, even on Travers Day.


2:50 pm: My Happy Face, 2-year-old Tiz Wonderful filly who had the misfortune to run into and run second to Teen Pauline in her debut July 25, got a diametrically different situation today, meeting an untalented field of five that she trounced by 21 1/4 lengths at 1-to-5. Yankeeindixieland scracthed at the gate, prompting refunds of all superfecta wagers due to a field of five.

What exactly is the logic of this rule -- in the 60 seconds between the scratch and the start, the five riders are going to telepathically conspire to fix the race, stiffing one horse and signalling compatriots at the betting window to make a cold four-horse box? This makes about as much sense as prohibiting superfectas in any field with a coupled entry because we bettors are supposedly too dumb to figure out that you'd have to go to the fifth finisher if the 1 and 1a are both in the top four.


3:20 pm: No idea why 3-1 ML Hobbs was even-money in the 2nd --leading public handicappers picked against him, and 7-2 ML Cantonic's last two races got better figures. Hobbs and Cantonic went at it from the start, Cantonic ($9.80) finally shook him off midstretch and drew away to beat him by 2 1/2 lengths. A borderline-frivolous foul claim from Hobbs's rider was disallowed.


3:45 pm: Mildly Offensive ($5.70) was a game winner of the Big Bambu, shrugging off ealr pressure from 24-1 Moonlit Malibu through fractions of 21.69 and 44.32 and holding off 3-1 Kid Kate, 8-1 Dancinginyourdreams and 5-1 Strike the Moon in 1:15.94 for Pletcher/Velazquez.

Mildly Offensive, a 4-year-old Sharp Humopr-It's Personal filly, is a WinStar homebred who was turned over to Pletcher last month along with Turbulent Descent. Mildly Offensive had been Turbulent Descent's morning workmate preparing her for a winning effort in the G1 Ballerina a week ago, and today got her own second career stakes victory.


4:50 pm: King Ting ($7.00), claimed from West Point/Motion by Ramseys/Maker last out, a runaway winner of the 5th in 1:34.55 for the mile. favorite completed a $4771 early pi-4 anddwith a parade of distant longshots running 2-3-4 -- 51-1 Wayward Sailor, 12-1 Irish Lion and 15-1 Commitment Letter -- keyed a $14,355 superfecta.


6:05 pm: Looking possibly carryoverish after Uncle Southern ($39.80) and Conspiracy ($12.20) won the 6th and 7th. If you're alive in the pick-4, good luck.

Uncle Southern, 2-year-old filly running against statebred males, was off poorly and faded to be beaten 21 lengths in her muddy debut, but shot out of the gate on the turf today. She was engaged by 2-1 Good Look but fought that one off every step of the way to the wire. Seventh winner of the meet for Linda Rice, who also ran third with uncoupled firster Pie's First.

In the 7th, Dominguez kept Conspiracy, making his dirt debut off two mild grass tries, well off a strong pace, circled the leaders and pulled clear late over 7-2 Cape Glory, with Invocation winning a photo for third. Favored 2-1 Jokester flattened out in the stretch going from 7f to 9f in his second start, while Tiz Yankee (10: 0-8-1) tired late after contesting the pace with blinkers on.

Dayatthespa, winner of the G3 Herecomesthebride and G3 Appalachian but off since April, has opened 3-5 for the Riskaverse. 


6:45 pm: Dayatthespa ($3.00) was just too good for her competition in the Riskaverse. winning her first start since April and possibly setting herself up for tougher company this fall in either the Garden City at Belmont or the QEII at Keeneland.

The 3-year-old by City Zip, owned by Jerry Frankel and partners and trained by Chad Brown -- winning a grass stakes for the third straight day -- is now 4 for 4 in 2012, all in stakes races. She was second to Assateague until the top of the stretch, overtook her despite spinning wide on the turn, and had plenty in reserve to hold off 9-1 Peace Preserver.

Five of the nine are covered in the last Saratoga race of August, each with what appears to be one live ticket despite the differing willpays. For whatever reason, #10 Into the Fray and the scratched horses are listed at $61k with the other covered horses at only $54k:


7:10 pm: Second choice Bravo Habibi won the 9th, and you'd think he was one of the five horses covered in the pick-6....but he wasn't so we have a $54k carryover to Saturday. Second-place finisher Shotinthefog WAS covered despite being 15-1.


The Saturday sequence is on races 7 through 12 and includes the G2 Bernard Baruch, the G1 Forego, and the G1 Woodward, which carded as the 8th, 9th and 10th. I'll be playing.



Jason Sikorski More than 1 year ago
Island bound in the first race today is sitting on a big one. The rail horse will be over bet in this wide open affair and is likely to get run over at the furlong mark. I think pletcher will also be over bet in the first and Clements horse might get in the money at 10-1. I'm wrestling with what to make of Jackson bend in the forego. Is his experience training likely to impact him.... Because he looks great on paper and zito finally has his contingent running at the spa. Emcee in that post shift has more options too and is still my pick for the bc sprint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Steve, Not kissing up here but I have really enjoyed your insights this summer...Thanks!!
charming idiot More than 1 year ago
steve, my first time was in 1970 to see the travers and the hopeful. i saw most of the important stakes through 1987 when i moved from boston to ft lauderdale. now it is a rare occasion when i get to see a race there live. i love the meet and follow it mostly through your blog and tvg/hrtv when i'm at home. my best bet of the meet was lea on thursday. i think he will be a graded stakes winner at longer distances. i learned today that woodbine has $.20 pick 4 bets. i refuse to bet any track with a synthetic surface but i would love to see the bet available at a real track. what are your feelings on this?
kevin r More than 1 year ago
I hit the first 2 pick 3s and first pick 4; all chalk or 2d choice but still profited $200 today. Love Saratoga.
Alan Stern More than 1 year ago
9 wasn't covered. Nice surprise for pick 6 players.
thomas More than 1 year ago
steve: after willy beamin won the Test, i was shocked. he should have been 50:1. i suspect extracurricular activities... i may never bet on horses again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it was the king bishop!!!!!!!!!!!!!
daveb More than 1 year ago
Have watched a majority of the Saratoga races this year. Was that the first foul claim by a jockey this meet ?
Alan Stern More than 1 year ago
The first one should have been made by Rosario about 10 days ago. My guess is that he couldn't be bothered. Probably had a softball game to attend.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
I seem to remember one other, but the claims of foul are few and far between. The big "to do" was on 8/5 when Ramon was unseated in the 3rd after a rainstorm, as apparently he didn't have a foot in one of the stirrups. Opps! As for today, Rosie came over on the #1 and bumped and then came over some more and she actually looked back at the 1/16 pole. After she got off the phone with the Stewards she looked real nervous - so she did something and she knew it. Enough to take down? Probably not - but unless a gun is involved the jocks don't really have to worry about a whole lot here. It should have been looked at - and was. OMG:) Some changes are coming down the pike - nationwide - but the BEST will continue to do just fine. In my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The purses are so good now that everyone is eating quite well....and rightfully so....
Dan Adler More than 1 year ago
Steve, If you were in charge of NYRA would you go back to the 9 race cards for 4 weeks? Did you enjoy the shorter meet & less races per day?
Michael Verrastro More than 1 year ago
and just curious, when you say "leading public handicappers," would you mind sharing who they are that you are referring to?
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
Dave Litfin in DRF and Andy Serlin of NYRA did not pick Hobbs 1-2-3 and had Cantonic on top. Dave Grening of DRF also picked against Hobbs
Michael Verrastro More than 1 year ago
Hobbs bet down from Repole money coming in perhaps? That foul claim was ridiculous....wonder if it was something Rosie said on Andy's radio show last night?
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
If so, he crushed the early double too because it was paying only $6.50 to Hobbs.