07/26/2013 12:52PM

Saratoga Day 7: July 26, 2013



12:50 pm: Mild and cloudy, fast and firm for Day 7, a solid card headlined by the $100k Curlin for 3-year-olds who have not won a stakes race. The Curlin is sort of a secondary prep for the Travers -- this year's field does not appear to have anyone who would be competitive in tomorrow's Jim Dandy, much less the main event Aug. 24, but maybe someone takes a step forward and his connections decided to take a shot.

Today's opener looked like a good one on paper, a rematch between Currency Swap and Dr. chit, who ran 1-2 in last year's G2 Amsterdam, but Dr. Chit (and lonsgshot Spa City Fever were both scratched. Currency Swap now looks odds-on in a field of four.

With a noon temperature of just 70 degrees and a nice breeze going, I figured it was finally time to try the "NYC's Mac'N'Cheese Truck" over by the Carousel. I like my Mac as much as the next fella but it's a proposition that just doesn't appeal to me when it's even slightly warm out.

Today's menu offered four varieties of the gluey comfort food (and reputed hangover remedy): Classic, Bacon, Bar-b-q pork and buffalo-wing flavor, served in a large or small Styrofoam cup. (The classic goes for $6 small/$8 large, the others are $8 small/$10 large.) The small is big enough for anyone who has eaten in the last 72 hours, because this is dense Mac that you could use as spackle --- even more so if you go for the bacon variety and accept the offer of toasted breadcrumbs atop it all. The bacon pieces, somewhere between bits and chunks, was tasty and the crumbs were nicely crunchy but I still couldn't finish more than half my order.

I'll grade it a solid B for Mac fans, but I probably won't return until there's a chillier day after a night when I've been overserved at the bar.


1:05 pm: Currency Swap, winner of the 2011 Hopeful and 2012 Amsterdam here, was a flat third to Jake N Elwood ($6.70) and Saturday's Charm in his first start since last Sept. 22. The winner enjoyed a tactical advantage, leading through mild fractions of 23.21 and 45.97 en route to 6f in 1:10.25, but Currency Swap was right there in second most of the way and had no kick in the stretch.


1:45 pm: Race 2 did not flatter Race 1: The $35k conditioned claiming fillies ran nearly as fast as the stakes-caliber horses in the opener, with Tanglewood Tale ($17.40) going the 6f in 1:10.46, only a little more than a length off Jake N Elwood's 1:10.25 in the opener.


3:45 pm: It's pick-4 time:




5:05 pm: Transparent finished first in the Curlin with a wide sweeping move, but was disqualified for bothering fifth-place Proud Strike. Fortunately, however, those who backed the best horse were still rewarded because Transparent's coupled entrymate, Romansh, was the one who finished second and was elevated to victory. The official order of finish affected very little parimutuelly, because the change from a 1-1a-3-7-5 finish to a 1a-3-7-5-1 finish left the win, exacta, trifecta and superfecta outcomes the same. The only wagering beneficiaries were people who bet Bad Hombre (#3) to place and Edge of Reality (#7) to show.

Transparent, a Bernardini-Habiboo colt owned by Darley Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, ran 6th in the Gotham in his only previous stakes appearance and this was his first start since a fast, 10 3/4-length allowance victory at Aqueduct April 4. Romansh, a Bernardini-Cologny colt owned by Darley and trained by Tom Albertrani, was making his fourth start and his stakes debut.

5:28 pm: Quiet Ending, 7-2 fave as field was loading, scratched at the gate. Looks like pick-4 and pick-6 wagers will be transferred to #9 Tiz Teresa.


5:40 pm: Second choice To My Valentine ($11.00) wandered into the middle of the course in the stretch but had plenty left to hold off narrow favorite ($46,966 vs.$44,669) Tiz Teresa and win the 9th. Willpays, with 6 of the 10 covered in the pick-6:


5:59 pm: Professor Plum broke through the gate just before the start but was reloaded and will be allowed to run. 

6:05 pm: Oxford Street tried to wire the field at 22-1 but got the staggers in upper stretch and heavily-favored Coach Royal ($5.70) was waiting right there to inherit the lead and draw away, completing thin $394.50 pick-4 and $1,869 pick-6.

Post time is 1 p.m. Saturday for an 11-race card that includes the Grade 1 Prioress (race 5), Grade 1 Diana (9th) and Grade 2 Jim Dandy (10th). The latter two will be televised nationally by the NBC Sports Network cable channel. I'll be doing "Talking Horses" in the Carousel here with host Andy Serling starting at 11:45 a.m.


Wonderagain More than 1 year ago
We have a new restaurant out here called Stacked. There specialty is Mac. Neat idea using iPad's on each table. You swipe your credit card to begin then each person gets chance to custom create own Mac, burger, pizza, etc. on the iPad. Lots of choices on ingredients and how your order is plated. When done simply submit orders thru iPad to the kitchen and your food arrives shortly. When done you pay bill on iPad w/credit card swiped earlier. The food is good if not great, including the Mac, and the use of iPads on each table is the real winner. Always a long wait to get in. Tired of perusing pp's and always enjoy Steve's Spa food reviews.
walter stampfel More than 1 year ago
Unlike every other one since the start of the meet, both Pick Fours came back near or below the price of the parlay. Do you see any rhyme or reason to these playoffs or is there no real explanation for it.
David Schabell More than 1 year ago
Curious why, when #4 Quiet Ending was scratched at the gate, that the Number Four stall was left empty and they did not re-adjust it, taking out the 4 slot. Isn't this an advantage to those two horses breaking on either side of the empty stall??? Even at the cheapest of tracks, in the event of late scratches, the gate crew removes the number above the scratched horse's stall and the field consolidates to compensate for the scratch. Not at Saratoga today. They simply left the stall empty, despite the fact that the field was not loaded at the time of the scratch.
David Schabell More than 1 year ago
OFF TOPIC - Don't know if my comments had any effect, BUT the Gulfstream PPs are in the Midwest edition of the Racing Form Today. Thanks, DS
PSU More than 1 year ago
As a regular eater at Saratoga I feel compelled to also comment on the Mac truck. My review is a little more positive than Steve's. It's a fantastic addition to the track eating scene. Not for everyone, everyday. I totally understand that. But their Mac & Cheese is fantastic. The MacBites...$5...are one of the best food values at the track. 10 fried mac and cheese wedges are quite filling. Had them today actually. As Steve points out, they would probably be better served to have smaller portions of mac and lower the price to something like $6. But don't let that fool you...the mac is excellent fare.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Anonymous food reviews, however sincere, are always suspect.
Angelo Bitsis More than 1 year ago
Years ago if one part of an entry got DQ'd, they both came down. I was not aware that had changed. Steve, that brown stuff in your pic certainly did NOT look like any mac 'n cheese I know of! (Big smile). At least it tasted good.....
J Mc More than 1 year ago
Steve -- I am sure you have covered this topic previously (so apologies for asking) but.....why don't they pay P-4 consos instead of giving you the favorite? It works for P-3s. Less than $2500 (in a pool approaching $300K) separated the 9 and the 12 in the third leg when Quiet Ending was scratched. I had no idea when they crossed whether I was alive or not (turned out I was not). Just annoying. [The thinking is that potential payoffs are so high in the p4 and p6 that the customer would rather get switched to a pt favorite and still have a chance for a big hit than to get a conso. -SC]
MICHEL More than 1 year ago
What is that call by the stewards dq the 1 (Transparent) and leaving the 1A a winner, worst call I ever seen. Next time I´ll get two of my horses as an entry and send one of them with a 5 foot whip to "kill" the competition while the other one wins easily.
WMaier More than 1 year ago
I dont understand that rule either. I hate races with entries.
Bill Duncliffe More than 1 year ago
What's the problem if the entry mate ran 2nd. Michel -in your scenario you'd have to make sure the 5-foot whip holder ran 2nd. Seems unlikely if they are mainly focused on punishing the opposition.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Agreed. There's just too much potential for this sort of thing that negates the possible benefits from such a system (of creating entries). Mr. McLaughlin might be especially irritated... Seeing as how the same thing happened a few weeks ago - only, both horses, the winner who was DQ'ed and the place horse moved up to first, were trained by the same trainer (was it Albert Stall in LA Downs?). This time, today, when the winning trainer got DQ'ed, he really got DQ'ed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the 1a didn't do anything wrong. whats your point?
Bob Marr More than 1 year ago
Are you taking a shot at the Pick 4 today Steve ? Curious who you like in the feature.
Christine Race More than 1 year ago
I am vicariously living thru your eating adventures...seeing as how my own swallow is cut to nill. Thanks for a fun column. LOOKING FORWARD to more more more !