07/22/2013 12:58PM

Saratoga Day 4: July 22, 2013


12:55 pm: Fast, firm, mid-80's for Day 4 with a forecast of "thunderstorms developing around late afternoon."

The main attractions today are the featured Evan Shipman for New York-breds and a trio of 2-year-old maiden races early on the card, including a turf route that begins a pick-6 with a $57k carryover. I'm currently on the "pass" side of the fence on playing it -- it's a tricky sequence with a small carry. But I've been known to change my mind and shall keep you apprised if I do.

Wired Bryan received a Beyer Speed figure of 80 for his 5 1/4-length victory in yesterday's Sanford, consistent with the impression that it was a subpar edition and one where no one except the winner did any running in the race. Bern Identity received an 80 winning last year's edition, and Desert Party got only 1 78 in 2008 but every other Sanford in the last 20 years has gotten a better figure including triple-digit performances from Kelly Kip, More Than ready, Chapel Royal, Afleet Alex and Ready's Image.


1:10 pm: Take that, Mayor Bloomberg: Big Sugar Soda ($12.00), Asmussen second-timer, beat the gate and then ran away from some more heavily-bet firsters to win the opener for 2-year-old males in 1:03.59. The winner, third in his Churchill debut June 28, is a Ready's Image colt and was a $45k yearling purchase.


1:45 pm: Whomping Willow had the misfortune to catch Bahnah in her debut and Brazen Persuasion in her second start, running second both times to the fillies who dead-heated in last Friday's Schuylerville. So she was 4-5 in today's second race, despite switching from dirt to a turf sprint. Whomping Willow chased 11-1 Ward firster Ruslana to upper stretch but then began backing up through the field and it was chad Brown firster Ready to Act ($17.20) who caught Ruslana at the wire. Whomping Willow ended up 7th.


2:45 pm: Chance Encounter ($8.70) split the leaders nwith a sharp move on the turn and drew off to win the third in a romp over. $20k claiming fillies. In the 4th, Weaver second-timer Joe Can Gallop came up inside Kingston Bay to win a turf sprint for older maidens with 7-5 Mongol Boss a flat third.

On to the pick-6 which I'll let y'all carve up among yourselves -- or mess it up and give us a double-carry to Wednesday with a dark day to handicap it. In the first leg, the upcoming 5th, Clement firster Sea Queen has opened the 5-2 favorite with Pletcher second-timer Candy Kitty at 3-1.


3:20 pm: Early money was right on Sea Queen ($10.80), who drifted from opening fave to fourth choice at post time but comfortably outfinished 5-2 Kitten Kaboodle and 9-5 Candy Kitty. Hillhouse High ran fourth but was running for purse money only after losing a shoe at the gate. So you were switched to Candy Kitty in the pick-4 or pick-6.

3:55 pm: Thomas Hill, claimed by Mitch Friedman from his last, bet from 12-1 ML to 7-1, prevailed over Ziptronic and Southern Tier to win the 6th and make the pick-6 a little more interesting.

On to the pick-4, where I'm putting in this play for afternoon amusement:


4:30 pm: Stop Sign turned back Dapper Draper in upper stretch ad then held off Foggy Road late to win the 7th as the slight favorite in a field where five of them went off from 3-1 to 5-1.


4:55 pm: Can't be many pick-6 tickets left alive after Angel South somehow wired the field to win the 8th at $71.50. Not the kind of race where too many people hit the all button and I don't see how else you could have had her. This wasn't a slow-pace theft job where someone opens a big lead and the closers come too late: Angel's South led the field to the top of the stretch and the cavalry came closing in as expected but the leader just kept going as everyone else sputtered.

5:35 pm: If you're alive in the pick-6, you're lying. Bigger Is Bettor's 11-1 upset victory in the Evan Shipman just wiped out the last living tickets, and there's a double carryover into Wednesday's card. Bigger Is Bettor, rallied up the inside to edge favorites 2-1 Aweasome Vision and 3-2 Read the Bylines with Groomedforvictory a close fourth. Bigger is Bettor is a 5-year-old Chester & Mary Broman homebred sired by Grand Reward and trained by Rodrigo Ubile. The winner had not raced on the Saratoga main track in 23 months....since winning the 2011 Albany at 26-1.

The willpays:

Single asterisks mean 5-of-6 consos, double asterisks mean 4-of-6 consos.

6:05 pm: Starship Gambler ($4.30) opened an eight-length lead down the backstretch and coasted home an easy winner -- even so, 5 of 6 was worth $4,858. The carryover to Wednesday is $245,278. Take half a day off tomorrow and then get to work. That's my plan.