08/05/2011 1:27PM

Spa Day 13: 8/5/11


1:25 pm: Refund Alert in the opener: All wagers on Scorch The Torch were refunded after replays show he was not given a fair start. The "for purse money only" reclassification of the 16-1 shot didn't drop prices by much and was the right and fair thing to do.

Day 13 features a $70k pick-6 carryover on races 4 through 9, and the question I'm grappling with at the moment is whether to take a shot today or sit it out and root for a double-carryover into Whitney Day. Th drawback to today's sequence is the finale, a fairly rare case of NYRA's bowing to the popular trend of putting firster-filled races as the nightcap to try to induce carryovers. Seven of the 10 entrants are firsters. It could easily have been run early in the day or even switched with the sixth race, a maiden-claimer with no firsters. That wouldn't have helped with the pick-6 but would have given pick-4 players a look at the board before betting that sequence.

On the other hand, the Whitney card looks awfully tough at first glance, including the highly competitive Whitney itself. Exactly how many horses would you feel comfortable going with in that spot on an affordable pick-6 play? I've only got the field of 11 down to 8 so far, but there's another 24 hours to whittle.


1:50 pm: Tony Dutrow is off to some start at Saratoga -- six starters, four winners and two seconds. Winner #4 was 2-year-old filly firster Singlet ($14.00), up in the final strides to nail Alydarla in the 2nd here. His other winners at the meet have been Happy Bull, Ohbabyobeyme and Jimmy Symms. His two seconds came in stakes races, with Real Feelings in the Schuylerville and Legally Blanca in the Smart and Fancy.

Grappling over. Can't play the pick-6 today. Will opt instead for a loosey-goosey pick-4 play later on.


2:50 pm: My Due Process ($10.00), Roman-trained Henny Hughes filly who raced three times at CD, won off by herself in the first leg of the carryover as the firsters came up duds, including Coral Glade, last at 3-1 for Pletcher.

One race earlier, trainer Bill Mott ran 1-2 in the Madame Jumel Stakes for older fillies who had not wona graded race last year or this year. Arena Elvira ($5.70, owned by Carolyn Wilson, scored by 1 1/4 lengths over 6-1 Acronym, owned by Juddmonte. Nice mid-race Durkinism regarding eventual fifth-place finisher Bubble Gum, who was racing on the inside: "Bubble Gum is stuck to the rail."


3:30 pm: The 5th, an N2L turfer for older $35k filly claimers, went to front-runner Ratoath Special ($14.00) after Albarado lulled his pursuers to sleep through an opening six furlongs in 1:15.39. The winner's name refers not to an oath among rodents but to the tiny Irish town that is home to Fairyhouse racecourse, home of the Irish Grand National.


3:40 pm: A little 50-cent LP4 action:


4:00 pm: Mr. Ames ($11.60) just got up at the wire to nose out a tiring Rocky Fortune for trainer Rick Schosberg, now 3 for 10 at the meet.

And in the Department of Dogs and Cats Living Together: Starting today, after decades of division, you can bet any New York harness track at NYRA's thoroughbred tracks and through NYRA Rewards.

"“Opening harness racing to more fans is a common-sense move that will increase handle and continue to help tracks across the state make up for revenue lost when New YorkCity OTB closed,” said State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini.

There's got to be a catch, right? This sounds way too sensible and good for everyone.


4:40 pm: Sanagas ($13.80), Motion-trained German import adding blinkers in his second U.S. start after a nightmare trip last time out, rallied late and wide to win the John's Call over Center Divider, Bold Hawk and favored Simmard. Second choice Bearpath, runner-up in last summer' G1 Sword Dancer, threw his rider early when he appeared to take a bad step and was vanned off after the 13-furlong turf race.

Only used Sanagas because I tried him without success in his last race at Arlington. That was the day of the Modesty (where our old friend Fantasia won and paid $9.80 in a spot where she should have paid $5.80). That began a pick-3 through the American Derby and Arlington Handicap, where I tried to get Sanagas to beat favored Tajaaweed, but Sanagas was in traffic and veering in and out. Seemed like the experience and blinkers (which he got today) might really help, and while I didn't know if he was good enough in today's tougher field, I had to include him.


4:55 pm: Today was "Rivalry Day" at Saratoga, the rivalry in question being the Red Sox and Yankees, who I guess are playing tonight or something. (I'm a National League guy and am focussed on the Giants-Phillies series.) Oil Can Boyd and Mickey Rivers were on hand for various festivities, and there was an attempted crowd singalong of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" after the 7th inning/race. This led me to look up the lyrics and discover that what we think of as a self-contained national anthem of baseball is merely the chorus to a much weirder 1908 song about a compulsive baseball fan named Katie. The complete version:

Katie Casey was base ball mad.
Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev'ry sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday, her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go,
To see a show but Miss Kate said,
"No, I'll tell you what you can do":

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names;
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."


5:15 pm: Runaway Jim ($10.00) kept the pick-4 play alive -- runner-up 9-5 Seattle Mission would have ruined it -- so alive for a 50-cent piece to six of them in the finale. Only two of the 10 are covered in the pick-6: Current co-faves Little Dale (two tix at $107k each) and Skorton (one pool-scoop at $215k). None of the seven firsters or Freudian Therapist is covered, so it's a $215k carryover if one of them wins.

Seattle Mission has now lost eight straight races at 2-1 or less, with five seconds, two thirds and a fourth during that stretch.


5:45 pm: Little Dale outsprinted them early but bore out badly and tired late as a handsome gray firster named Sportswriter -- outstanding name for a racehorse, in my totally unbiased opinion -- ran him down at the wire, paying $14.40 to win, completing a $5,649 late pick-4 ($1412.25 for those of us in the 50-cent seats) today, and giving us all a $215k carryover to chase on Whitney Day. 

Brad dillion More than 1 year ago
Just curious Steve, what was the total bet on the Friday late pic 4? [Handle was $353,587. You do know you can look these things up yourself in the results or charts? -SC]
Diceman More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve. I fully agree with your compelling analysis regarding Breeders Cup Site Selections. However, there is one critical element any objective decision maker must consider in this process: The WEATHER in Novemnber! I have attended the Breeders Cup Races in NY (Aquaduct and Belmont,) Ky (Churchill Downs) and CA ( Hollywood and Santa Anita,) The Weather was always near perfect in CA and the Racing Atmosphere and Amenties were more enjoyable than the other major sites. Also, the Folks attending in CA werre more pleasant, smiling, happy and always well dreessed for a beautiful Fall Day! Having cast my vote for CA, I strongly believe Belmont and Churchill are capable of presnting a Beautiful Breeders Cup Day if the Weather is Clear and the Track Fast! In the meantime, let's enjoy the Outstanding Saratoga Racing Card today! Diceman
Schenectady Blue Jay More than 1 year ago
Regarding your piece on the 2012 BC, a little surprising not in NY since Tom Ludt has financial interests in the state now taking over Empire Breeding for his Vinery operation and the Simon family. Surely must be something more to it than logic as they all have their hands out and fading memories when it comes to the truth and what the public wants. The good old boys must have been promised something that would have lured them back to CA, since the Kentucky contingent always protects their own turf.
ML/NJ More than 1 year ago
If you think Poly is bad,or at least different, be advised that night racing is worse. Many classy NY horses ran inexplicably poor races when shipped to the Meadowlands back when they tried to run reasonably high level races. It is my opinion that night racing is just as different from day racing as Poly is from dirt. Some horses can do both and some cannot.
Matt More than 1 year ago
The BC, long ago, was a fun event!
SStone620 More than 1 year ago
Steve, Congrats on P4 play, some of us try to emulate the criss cross of you A/B/C and can see that you have coverage and hit this wager - is there any way you might indicate how many tickets you punched and the total investment to hit this P4, I think it helps to know if it is taking 100 bucks or 300 bucks to get live to some of these hits. Thanks, check the Saratoga blog everyday, really enjoy your writing.
SamG More than 1 year ago
I was named after my uncle Dale and growing up I was Little Dale so I thought that was an even more outstanding name for a horse.I would've liked a better price but how do i pass that up? (SamG is a name I use online and just sounds like a good name for a horseplayer) I don't usually play hunches but my dad and brother are named Jim so I was alive in the double.
richard More than 1 year ago
Since when do we refund because of so called fair starts? New rule? [Nothing new. It's always a stewards' discretion call, and there have been many similar refunds when a horse is inadvertently held by the starter or there is a gate malfunction. -SC]
fort marcy More than 1 year ago
Good job Steve. The pick 4 came back very strong for the sequence. Go get them tomorrow. In regard to Blogger Grassland- the differnece in using the ABC method or variation of, you indeed save "a lot" over the long haul. Just add Steve's play today- if you put everything on one ticket it would of cost you 432 for 1 .50cent ticket. Using the ABC method Steve played, it only cost 180 for 1 .50 cent ticket. This is to me is very clear and logical. I have been doing a variation of this for years, starting with pick 3's and progressing into pick 4's and 5's etc... Of course there are times you hit with a C in first leg and then a B comes in whenever and knocks you out except in pick 6's, where there is a conso. But that is part of the game. I feel you need to take a stand in every race to some degree, and you are rewarded in this system when you are right and still covered to a great degree when you not 100% right. Good Luck to all!
brad m More than 1 year ago
Steve I have to agree and disagree with you on the selection of Santa Anita to host Breeders Cup for the third year out of last five. Yes it is not fair to Belmont and East Coast Players that want the Cup close to home however I have attended the last two Breeders Cups at Santa Anita and the last Breeders Cup at Belmont along with several other friends. To the man everyone said Santa Anita did a much better job as the host site and just how about the weather. It is a factor even if you don't want to admit it. Chicago, Monmouth, Belmont, how is everyone's memory about the weather ??? Freeze your tail off or rain, even at Churchill too darn cold most of time in November. I am from Indy and friends from Chicago and we are so glad we are going to Santa Anita and not rolling the dice with bad cold weather at Belmont.So come out to Santa Anita and enjoy the nice atmosphere, weather and hit a Pk 6 or a couple of Pk 4's.