07/23/2012 12:09PM

Saratoga Day 4: 7/23/12



12:10 pm: The weather has been relentlessly perfect since Saratoga opened Friday but that could start to change this afternoon, with a possibility of isolated thunderstorms in the forecast starting at 2 pm. It shouldn't cause any off-the-turfing, though, since the card was set up with five grass races to start the day and five on the dirt to end it.

Some rain would actually be welcome in these parts, preferably on the dark day tomorrow, since the turf course seems to be getting harder and drier by the day.

Today's lone stakes, the Evan Shipman for older statebreds at 9f, is down to a field of five after the early scratches of Fiddlers Afleet and Mineswept. While Mineswept had only a dim chance of success here, his defection changes the complexion of the race because it appears to leave favorite Johannesburg Smile loose on the lead. He's a little shaky at the distance, though, and Lunar Victory could run him down late if he's ready for his best in his first start since March 3.


1:50 pm: Still sunny and dry, fast and firm, after a $174.00 1-1 double. In the opener, Decisive Moment ($10.40) beat 5-2 favorite Bravo Habibti for Tony Dutrow and Dominquez (that guy again), leading all the way in 21.62, 44.03, 55.74 and 1:01.91. In the second, 6-5 dropdown Carson Hall looked poised to draw away in midstretch but hung late and Veiled Prophet was up at the wire at 14-1. Winner was claimed last out, moving from Juan Ortiz to Dominic Galluscio, and was moving up from $20k to $35k. Glad I forgot to play the early pick-4.


2:15 pm: Lady Rizzi ($11.40), who ran down favored Eden is Burning to win the 3rd, is a horse for the course -- for those with with a long memory. The 9-year-old mare, who has spent her entire career with Linda Rice since making her racing debut in May of 2006, had won two of her previous three starts at Saratoga -- but those victories came all the way back on August 16, 2007 and August 24, 2008.


3:20 pm: 5th race was first juvenile turfer of the season after the 4th was won by one of last year's juvenile turf winners.

First, Tiz Sardonic Joe took the 4th, an open N1x turfer, for his second career victory -- his first came when he edged Dullahan (subsequent Breeders' Futurity/Blue Grass winner and Derby 3rd) here last Aug. 13th. In the 5th, for 2-year-old fillies, Clement firster Da Mi Basia Mille scored at 8-1. The Pure Prize filly's name comes from a Latin poem by Catullus and means "Give me a thousand kisses."

da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus...

Basically, he requests a thousand kisses, then another hundred, then another thousand etc. etc. What a Greedy Gus.

And not five minutes after the last turf race of the day, the rain is beginning. Loud and fierce. Weather forecasters, like handicappers, occasionally get it right.


3:40 pm: Rain's over, sun's back out. Track listed as fast for five upcoming dirt races -- three of them around two turns, only such dirt events at meet so far besides CCA Oaks.


5:00 pm: So if we'd had a triple carryover, would we now be looking at a quadruple carryover? The dirt portion of the card has been as unpredictable as the grass quintet, with eight losing favorites in eight races so far, no payoff under 4-1, and Grandpa Len just winning the 8th at $46.00.

Probably safe to say we're looking at a one-day carryover to Wednesday. 


5:45 pm: Lunar Victory ($4.40) was half past ready for his first start since March 3 and scored an impressive victory in the Shipman. Making up for the apparent lack of other early speed to challenge 8-5 second choice Johannesburg Smile, Junior Alvarado sent Lunar Victory right after him from the start, prompting unusually quick route fractions of 23.54, 46.85 and 1:10.24, 15 lengths ahead of the others, before taking over on the turn. Well in front after a mile in 1:35.15, Alvarado geared down the winner through a slow final furlong in 14.15 for a final time of 1:49.30, as Sailmate got up for second behind the tired Johannesburg Smile.

Lunar Victory, a rare New York-bred owned by Juddmonte Farms, began his career on the grass in England before moving to trainer Bill Mott and the Aqueduct winter track last December. The 5-year-old Speightstown horse has now won four straight dirt races. He appears to have the statebreds at his mercy and it will be interesting to see if he ventures into open company at some point.

As expected, no live tickets in the pick-6, so a little carryover to Wednesday, when racing resumes here:

I'm guessing that's one live conso to the #7 at $18k which would make the carryover three times as much at $54,234.

If you're thinking of coming up here for a long next weekend, remember that Friday's post time is 2:30 pm. I'm headed downstate tomorrow, will play and blog from Long Island Wednesday and Thursday and be back up here Friday in time for that late early double.

George Escowitz More than 1 year ago
For Wed. 7/25 : Either Forbes Firsters or DRF has the breeding wrong: NYRA: ROSSWEISSE (2yo chestnut filly, Majestic Warrior—Rough Water, by Stormin Fever) DRF: Has the #3 and #4 Dams switched?? Just thought you could clear it up Steve. Regards.
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
DRF has it right. Rossweisse is out of Til Forbid by Temperence Hill, not Rough Water.
Todd Roberts More than 1 year ago
Steve - I am late to the party here, but I am very interested in your thoughts on the new rule limiting the field size to 8 in 2 yo races? I guess I understand the thinking behind the rule, but limiting field size to 8 seems a little too over-zealous to me. I agree - - lining up 14 may be too many, but I think that 10 would have been a much more sensible number.
W.G. More than 1 year ago
Todd: Where this rule will see its greatest benefits is later in the year and early next year. By limiting fields to eight for most maiden races (and 10 for two-turn turf races) for two year olds, there will be more winners. That will in turn come September and October allow NYRA once back at Belmont to card the occasional N1x Allowance so two year old winners won't have to go in stakes or claiming races, and then become more so at Aqueduct in November and December. Come 2013 when these horses turn three, it likely would allow NYRA at Aqueduct to even occasionally card a N2x Allowance for three year olds and not force such horses as early as January to have to face older horses if they already have gone through their N1x condition. That's where the real benefits of this will come if this is done right.
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Todd, Know you solicited Steve's opinion, but just for your information these are the numbers for 2 yr old open company sprints from the 2011 meet. 39 races run: (excluding Stakes which are excluded from the new policy) 19 races went with under 8 starters including several with 5 or 6 with no scratches. 5 races went with 8 starters. 6 races went with 9 starters 5 races went with 10 starters 2 races went with 11 starters 2 races went with 12 starters Doesn't look to me that too many oversized fields are a problem so I've been puzzled by the whole business. I do agree totally with your thought that cavalry charges in baby races are not a good idea. Just don't think that's been the reality at Saratoga lately though.
Sal Carcia More than 1 year ago
I am having trouble connecting to the DRF to make comments. I am posting a little late here on some comments made about a negative key race. It's the Belmont June 17 race where Lady Yellowtail won. I wanted to point out that Alwaysinmycircle did win out of the race. Other than that I agree as they bunched at the wire. Another race that seems to be negative is the July 1st Belmont 10th race where Ornellia won. So, far some of the horses that appeared to be closing quickly in that race are not coming through next out.
Charley More than 1 year ago
Does anyone know whats happened to Leparoux? He hasn't won a race lately and he doesn't seem like he is riding with any confidence.Something isn't Kosher........
Mike Rutledge More than 1 year ago
So much for a price. Cancelled bet.
ADW More than 1 year ago
After the scratches it became essentially a 3 horse race, as the 1 & 3 have never even sniffed a beyer good enough to take that race, so you really couldn't even dream of 8/5 on a best case scenario, what did you expect $9.00???
Vincent Condeni More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, I hate to be negative especially on a beautiful Monday afternoon! But here is the unfurnished truth: The Saratoga racing is unplayable with so many Maidens and State Bred races. the Purses are unwarranted and unsustainable, the Plant is in shambles with failed PA Systems, and many other short comings. The model for Racing is Keeneland! I have visited the Track for the last 50 years and each passing year there are more beautiful improvements in the Plant and Racing! The Staff is friendly and helpful, low takeouts, quality racing, and quality food & low prices. Steve, have a winning session at Saratoga! Keep Blogging - You're Simply the Best!
orsch226 More than 1 year ago
too bad they run keeneland on rolled up rubber tires which throws handicapping out the window.
soto More than 1 year ago
Dirt handicapping.
ADW More than 1 year ago
The purses might not be sustainable at this level at AQU for sure, and BEL, the 7th race NYSB maidens on a Monday just pulled in $1.1 million in handle, and lets not pretend KEE doesn't run it's share of Maidens, maiden claimers, and 8,000 claimers to fill out the card not to mention they do it over 17 days spread out over 3 weeks twice a year not 6 consecutive weeks
Fred Reardon More than 1 year ago
"rolled up rubber tires", hahaha. No wonder horses that achieve a "Top Fig" out of Keeneland usually "bounce". No one told me it was "double digit day" at the SPA. Fun, as always.
TomN More than 1 year ago
Fred,fyi if you put quotes around double dgit, you have to reference John Dooley[Arligton/Fairgrounds announcer. In his former life he guest host on the old Harvey Pak show and he coined the term when refering to Steve "double digit" DiMauro. May the horse be with you
TomN More than 1 year ago
Vince, here's a tip..take a look at the entries before you go. Saratogas' "MO" is 2 yos...has been for a hundred yrs. +, but they have the best cards in the Country bar none
soto More than 1 year ago
The addition of so many Maiden races in the last 2 years have made my plays at Saratoga very limited. One or two a day, fine, but 4 or 5???
W.G. More than 1 year ago
Speaking of which, why doesn't NYRA go to 50-Cent Pick Threes and 50-Cent Trifectas? The Kentucky tracks have had them for some time now, and I think it gets more people to wager on those. Other things I would add to the wagering menu are a 50-Cent Pick Five (with carryover in no one picks all five) on the last five races (which I don't think would canalize the Pick-6 too much) and a 50-Cent Super High Five (again, with a carryover if no one picks it) on the last race (also keeping the super on that race). I suspect you could see some big carryovers on the Super High Five from time-to-time on that one.
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
I'm with you on the 50-cent tris and pick-3's, if only to keep a lot of payoffs from being IRS reported. Super High-5 has been a dud pretty much everywhere it's been tried.
W.G. More than 1 year ago
The Super High Five is more to have a second jackpot wager. Even as a 50-cent wager, I would not expect it to be hit too often. Perhaps in NYRA's case, the Super High Five could be done the same way Arlington does it, as a Jackpot wager where the carryover is only paid out if there is one winning ticket (as I would do in that scenario, 45% of the pool) and the rest (55%) if paid out regardless of whether anyone actually has the first five in exact order.
rstanzel More than 1 year ago
Steve I love the 50% increments in NY on the P4...had stopped playing P4's entirely in NY before that...but it's getting a little frustrating with the diluted pools when chalk wins especially compared to the P3... Yesterday's R7-9 P3 paid $197 for $2...the last race winner was a 3-1 shot in a FULL field. P4 paid $680 for $2? On one hand, I'm thrilled to get $170 payoff for 50 cents for 3-1, 5-2, 9-5, 3-1...on the other hand, I was thinking much more after I saw the P3 payout for the Sanford. Same reason you almost can't play P3's in Kentucky anymore...Tri's either...it's nice to pound the smaller amount for more $...but when the payoffs are so diluted, it sometimes doesn't make it worth your while. Thoughts?
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
I think yesterday was not a case of a diluted p4 payout but of a weirdly high p3 payoff on 7-9. In the long run, I think you want more players in the pools and that opening them up with smaller increments is going to work to the advantage of a successful handicapper.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Steve- Wondering if you're gonna play the 5th today- seem to remember quite a few bombs last year with this condition.
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
I only play these 2yo maiden turf races when I have to and got lucky a couple of times last year when I virtually wheeled them. They're probably the single most unpredictable race condition up here. Very glad we're not starting a triple-carryover with the 5th.
Alec Sharkey More than 1 year ago
steve, Great to have you back.By the way since your anniversary blog, Im wondering how you ended up with a midwest girl? Im from Decatur and it figures you got a good downstate Illini to keep you grounded.Keep doing a great job.It makes those of us out here in computerland feel like we are at the track with a friend.