08/31/2012 1:11PM

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.