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Saratoga Day 37: August 30, 2013
2:00 pm: I didn't sleep through today's first three races and neither did you: Post time for Day 37 is 2:30 pm, the lone twilight card of the 2013 meet.
The nine-race card with last post scheduled for 6:59 pm includes two $100k stakes, four races for statebred juveniles, and a showdown between the popular old warriors Caixa Electronica in a starter handicap.
Sorry I didn't post a reminder about the late post yesterday but as you may remember, I was a little distracted at the end of the day.
Speaking of which, a few commenters have asked about how I hedged my position (alive for pick-6's to the two favorites, paying $16k and $36k, on a $2496 investment). The quick answer is that I hedged it poorly but got lucky in defeat. What I probably should have done, in retrospect, was to use the late pick-4 as an insanity-insurance hedge, playing the horses that would have kept me alive into teh finale with those I hadn't used in that race, but at that point in the afternoon I was only two legs into the pick-6 sequence and not thinking hedge.
So what I ended up doing was making $2,000 worth of win bets on those seven horses -- $200 on each with an extra $200 on 8-1 Sally's Dream and an extra $100 on the four who were 12-1 to 16-1. This was not particularly smart or efficient, but things broke by far the best way for me when Hunter's Dream, twice the price of anyone else in the field, won and paid $71 for $2.
I can't honestly say I can see any scenario where I would have been alive to Hunter's Dream had I played the pick-6 differently, but she actually was a huge overlay. A couple of poor starts in a failed steeplechase-conversion attempt dirtied her form, but she had races on the flat in her last 10 starts that were as good as anyone's but the two favorites'. She won fair and square and while I would of course have preferred that Brandys Secret had held on, it was an unfortunate outcome rather than a tough beat.
2:45 pm: Free Mugatu, colt named for "Zoolander" character and winner of Aug. 9 debut from 15 lengths off early pace, capitalized on speed duel between 6-5 Ogermeister and 2-1 Sol the Freud to win the $100k Law Enforcement for statebred 2-year-olds in the opener. The Utopia colt, owned by Ken Geren and trained by John Terranova, ran the 6f in 1:11.23.
The race was named for Law Enforcement, a statebred son of Posse who raced here as recently as last summer. He won 6 of 30 career starts including the 2009 Morrissey at Saratoga.
3:15 pm: Gary Contessa, good trainer who rarely fires with first-timers (0 for his last 66), defied the stats sending out Sidearm ($13.20) to win his debut in the 2nd. Posse colt sold for $95k as a 2-year-old in April.
3:40 pm: Awful moment as popular 10-time stakes-winner Saginaw took a bad step and was eased on the backstretch as the 4-to-5 favorite in the 3rd. Dave Grening reports that a boot was placed on his left foreleg and he was walked onto the equine ambulance. Bernie the Maestro ($7.80) stole the race when allowed to walk the first quarter in 23.90, galloped over Caiza Electronica in 1:22.52 while carrying 116 pounds to runner-up's (and Saginaw's) 130.
With rare nine-race card today, don't forget that no-carryover pick-6 starts in 20 minutes with the 4th race and late pick-4 starts at 5:11 pm with the 6th.
4:20 pm: Linda Rice firster A P Johnson ($15.00) stayed clear of trouble behind in 4th, as runner-up Honey Chile and third-place First Summation hit traffic. Missy Bay, Schettino firster bet to 2-1 chalk, green and wide finishing fourth.
5:00 pm: Preliminary hopeful news via Dave Grening: "Saginaw back in stall being examined by vet. He's attacking his hay rack pretty good."
Late pick-4 play:
5:30 pm: Alas.
Grening: "I'm sorry to report that Saginaw did not make it. He fractured both sesamoids in his left foreleg."
The 7-year-old New York-bred gelding, by Peruvian out of the Devil's Bag mare Devilzene, won 21 of his 41 career starts. His 10 stakes victories included the 2012 and 2013 John Morrissey and the 2012 Gravesend against open company. He changed hands at the claim box three times during his career and made his final 18 starts for trainer David Jacobson.
[Photo left, Barbara Livingston.]
6:00 pm: From 0-for-66 to 2-for-2: Gary Contessa sent out his second debut winner of the day as 11-1 Fancy Boss wired the 2-year-old filly turf sprinters in the 7th. Instrumental, Chad Brown firster bet to 3-to-5 and smashed in multirace bets, in traffic early but wasn't gaining once free and settled for third behind the winner and Ribaudo firster Aesthetique. Looking like a very good chance of a carryover to Woodward Day with $15.00, $21.40 and $25.80 winners already home in a no-carryover sequence.
6:30 pm: Midnight Watch, pacesetter against much better in G2 Lake Placid, had little trouble wiring the field to win the $100k Riskaverse on the speed-friendly turf. Teen Pauline was always close and ran second, while Unbelievable Dream ran the best of the closers to snare third at 14-1. Midnight Watch, a Darley homebred trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, completed the mile in 1:35.29.
Only three of the nine in the last are covered in the pick-6: #1 Powder Springs, #4 Mr. William and #5 It's Huge. Otherwise, a $73k carryover to tomorrow's 12-race card, where the sequence includes the G2 Baruch, the G1 Forego and the G1 Woodward.
7:05 pm: No carryover as 2-1 Mr. William completed chalky finale and one-winner $73k pick-6. Post time returns to 1 pm tomorrow for that 12-race, stakes-rich card.
Nice hit on the p4,unlike the redboarding you did losing the p 6. [I don't think it's "redboarding" when one says "I can't imagine any scenario under which I would have had it," but perhaps we define the word differently. -SC]
I feel betrayed by Gary Contessa. One of the neat things about Saratoga is that there are consistencies that occur through the years that give us folks, who do their homework, read the previews, watch the seminars, read the blogs, and make copious notes etc., etc.. One of those consistencies is that Contessa does not send out his firsters with the intention of winning that particular race, but in giving the horse a tightener and a good experience. He has said so publicly in the DRF over the years. Today I considered the win by Sidearm in the 2nd an abberation (until I saw the mob in the winners circle), with the race falling apart and the Contessa trainee picking up the pieces. HOWEVER, the win by Fancy Boss was orchestrated. He was put over on us, with every intention of collecting a nice payday. Riding Abel Lezcano contributed to the setup, who rode the horse on a mission of winning. My complaint is that for someone who plays every day, where is the edge is thing like this are going to happen??? What next Mott, Albertrani, Wilkes, Lucas, etc going to start popping at first asking??? AP Indys going to start winning 5 1/2 furlong sprints??? This game is tough enough...
What is the deal with a condition book that loads these guys up with 130. Very sad about Saginaw.
Steve, wondering if you have any thoughts about the news out of the recent NYRA board meeting. Especially wondering why racing is now expected to operate at a without-VLT profit when they made a deal with the state to basically turn AQU into a slots shop. They want to privatize; who's going to buy the franchise without the slots revenue? They can just overturn a prior, legal agreement because Andrew Cuomo never met a regressive tax he didn't like or a progressive tax he didn't hate (hey Wall St prez campaign donors! lookee-mee! I'm bidness friendly!!), and getting 100% of the slots dough into the general fund furthers his own aims? It's looked to me for awhile like Cuomo just wants to make a naked money grab for the slots moolah, and that he hates racing (maybe it's related to his father's feud w/the scions back in the day - they say Andrew holds a grudge like no one's business); it's all a bit concerning to me, wondering what you and others are thinking. [I agree with a lot of what you say and I'll be writing about it in the weeks ahead. -SC]
sad news about SAGINAW r.i.p. old warrior
Do agree with the sentiment NYRA should name a stakes race for Saginaw. I would look to do one perhaps the Saturday of the week following Thanksgiving (Dec. 7) as a $75,000-80,000 overnight stakes event at a mile, possibly as a starter stakes event (horses who have perhaps started for $40,000 or less since January 1, 2009). That to me would be a fitting tribute to Saginaw and allow many of the other warriors who raced for a tag at one time or another in their careers to also run in it.
Too many breakdowns which have occurred far too often this meet, especially in the last couple of weeks. I am done. I am out. Not sure if I will ever be back. Good luck everyone. Be safe!
It looks like the one is covered in the P6 also. Good luck getting the P4 home. [Thanks, fixed it. -SC]
I think there are three covered. The 1, 4 and 5...
time for a cocktail Steve?