09/01/2012 11:55AM

Saratoga Day 38: 9/1/12




12:55 pm: Six on the grass, six on the dirt for Day 38 of 40, with a $54k pick-6 carryover into a sequence that includes the G2 Bernard Baruch, the G1 Forego and the G1 Woodward Stakes.

Shackleford, the 9-5 ML favorite for the Forego, was scratched this morning because of a cough, leaving a field of seven where Jackson Bend and Emcee will vie for favoritism. The Baruch, where Data Link is the 7-5 ML favorite, is down to a field of six after the early scratches of Crimson China and Alma d'Oro.

In the Woodward, Mucho Macho Man is 8-5 to win his first Grade 1 race and stake a claim to being the nation's top older horse after winning two former Grade 1 races. the Suburban and the Gulfstream Park Handicap, earlier this year. To Honor and Serve, a dull fourth as the 7-5 favorite in the Suburban after running third as the 8-5 favorite in the Met Mile, is next on the line at 2-1.


1:10 pm: Channel Lady ($24.40), off since January, made a sharp return, shooting past early leader Scenario Analyisis in upper stretch. Off Limits was up for second with Scenario Analysis holding third.

Channel Lady was trainer Todd Pletcher's 33rd winner of the meet (six more than Chad Brown), and only one of those has been a longer price (Colony Strike at $30.60 on 8/22.)


1:40 pm: Yet another Repole dropdown proved a money-burner in the 2nd as Winter Now, descending from $50k to $20k, moved to the lead at the top of the stretch but steadily faded to 6th as 10-1 Sam's Buck, 5-1 Ambit and 19-1 Chilton led a cavalry charge of closers.


2:10 pm: Greeley's Law just lit up the toteboard when the 3rd race collapsed late, and the 54-1 shot prevailed in a three-way photo from 5-1 Starforaday and 10-1 Overextended. The pick-3 on the first three races -- Channel Lady at $24.40, Sam's Buck at $22.00 and Greeley's law at $110.00 -- returned $32,031 for $2.


2:40 pm: A favorite finally hit the board, and the winner's circle, when 52 Lily the Pink outbobbed 10-1 Divine Luck to win the 4th by a nose. Multirace willpays into the 5th:


3:10 pm: Public got the 5th race right in a big way, pounding 3-1 ML Hillswick down to 6-5 in a seemingly tight race on paper. Hillswick took over with a swepe on the turn, openhed daylight, then held off closers 6-1 Isthmus and 5-1 Sam Sparkle .Favorite completed $34,131 early pick-4 -- easy as all/all/favorite/favorite.


3:45 pm: Six down, six to go after Devoted Wildcat won the 6th at 4-1. Pick-6 time:

If I put all those horses on one caveman ticket, it's an $18,000 investment. Instead, I'm spending about 10 percent of that and hoping to zigzag my way through it. It's a conventional ABC play with one twist -- if Data Link wins the 8th, I can have an unlimited number of B's. Otherwise, only two B's allowed.

Don't know why Gulfport opened 3-5 and Apex 5-1 for the 7th -- I woudl expect them to be virtually co-favored by post time.


4:15 pm: Repole/Pletcher firster Micromanage ($13.60) beat 5-2 Apex and 6-5 Gulfport in 1:23.01 to start the pick-6. Micromanage was a little flat on the board, going off as the fourth choice behind not only the two obvious favorites but also Pletcher's El Duro (who ran 4th). Micromanage, a Medaglia d'Oro-Catnip colt, sold for $170k last September.

I probably micromanaged the ticket by not making him an A, but the combination of the 7f distance and the lack of board support made me downgrade him to a B, killing all the C's and leaving me alive on two tickets:

1/4,6,7/3,6/7,8,10,11/5,6,9,10 or



4:45 pm: Third of the day for Pletcher as Dominus won the G2 Bernard Baruch in his grass debut, setting a slow pace in a speedless field and having plenty left to hold off Data Link. Leparoux, who got back on Dominus as Velazquez got off him to stick with Data Link, got away with fractions of 24.29, 48.63 and 1:12.26 over the fast turf, then finished up in 28.06 for his final five-sixteenths to stop the timer in 1:40.32.

Dominus, a 4-year-old Smart Strike ridgling, won teh G2 Dwyer last summer and then was 3rd in teh Jim dandy and fourth in the King's Bishop while trained by Steve Asmussen. He was off nearly a year after that race and transferred to Pletcher by owners George Bolton and Stonestreet Stable.


5:20 pm: Emcee ($5.10) got an overdue stakes victory and did it in a Grade 1 when he ralluied after bing passed and won the $500k Forego over Hamazing Destiny and Jersey Town.

Emcee, a Godolphin 4-year-old by Unbridled's Song who was making just his seventh career start, raced outside Pacific Ocean down the backstretch and put that one away around teh turn, but Jersey Shore slipped through at the rail and looked like a winner. Emce, however, still had a run left in him and overtook Jersey Town in midstretch, the Hamazing Destiny cam up late to get 2nd.

The disappointment of the race was Jackson Bend, last year's Forego winner, who ran last with no apparent excuse.

Emcee, who ran the 7f in 1:21.00, is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, who was winning his fourth Grade 1 of the meet: He sent out Questing to win the CCA Oaks and Alabama and Alpha to a dead-heat in the Travers.


6:00 pm: To Honor and Serve, the beaten favorite in the Met Mile and the Suburban, redeemed himself by gamely holding off 4-5 Mucho Macho Man to win the $750k Woodward. It was his first G1 victory since the Cigar Mile last November.

It was also the third time he has beaten Mucho Macho Man in four career meetings. The lines have dropped off the 10-race pp's, but To Honor and Serve and MMM ran 1-2 in both the Nashua and the Remsen two years ago when they were 2-year-olds.

They were running 3rd and 4th behind Rule and Trickmeister most of the race, with To Honor and Serve pressing from the outside and MMM waiting for a seam in fourth at the rail. To Honor and Serve surged to the lead in upper stretch, and MMM got a clear path to run at him with a furlong to go but To Honor and Serve held tough while drifting to his right. Cease was up for third whiole Stay Thirsty, surprisingly bet down to 9-2, settled for 5th.

To Honor and Serve, a 4-year-old son of Bernardini, is owned by Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation and is trained by Bill Motrt. He ran the nine furlongs in 1:48.56.


6:25 pm: Frontrunning Neatie the Cat got the bob by a whisker from 14-1 Western Tryst to win the 11th and get me alive to the #5 ($9,730) and #10 ($10,382) in the pick-6. Everyone's covered in the finale, including single-ticket $311k payouts on two longshots:


7:00 pm: Oh well.  Katie Malone looked like a winner with a furlong to go but she hung, and I couldn't have used the victorious 36-1 A New York Phillie if you'd given me eight of them and a wad of Confederate money. Congrats to the two people who did and took down $155k apiece.

So no double-carry to tomorrow's Spinaway card, but there's a mandatory pick-6 payout Monday for the closing-day card so we'll get one more whack at it.