08/06/2011 1:46PM

Spa Day 14: 8/6/11

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1:45 pm: Talk about conflicting post times: The Whitney Handicap goes off at 5:47 pm, and I'm due at a good friend's wedding at 6. The ceremony is scheduled to start just as the 11th race, the last leg of pick-6 with a $215k carryover, is being run.

The wedding is within a mile or two of the track, but much as I'd love to see this wonderfully contentious Whitney in person, that's living a little too danerously even for me, so I'll be cutting out early and catching it on Versus (telecast runs from 5 to 6 pm.) I'll post my tickets before the Pick-6 starts and if I make it that far, I'll sneak a peek at the iPhone right after the vows are exchanged.

And then there's the forecast:

Ought to be an interesting day.

Those pick-6 tickets are going to go up pretty close to post time because I have no idea what I'm doing in the opening leg and won't until I can see the board for a while. It's a statebred maiden-claimer with three who have run and 10 (!) first-time starters. The ones who have run have run slowly, and the firsters are a mostly-homebred grab-bag of moderate pedigrees and outfits with indifferent first-time stats. I'll probably carve them up as 4 A's, 4 B's and 4 C's once I see what the betting's like, and hope for the best.

Speaking of firsters and stats, race 2 -- a turf route for 2-year-old maidens -- just went to firster Optimizer ($57.00), saddled by D. Wayne Lukas, who had won with only 2 of his last 55 first-timers. So it's sort of fitting he paid exactly 27.5-to-1.

Optimizer is a first-crop son of grass star English Channel, who also sired the winner of a 2yo maiden turf route last week --Captain Webb. Know how that one got his name? In August of 1875, Captain Matthew Webb became the first man to swim...wait for it...the English Channel.

 

3:24 pm: 13 minutes to post for the first leg of the pick-6. Here goes:

 

3:45 pm: Meh. 6-1 Second-timer Silent Thunder outfinished 6-1 firster Goose No fruit -- the most heavily-bet of the 10 firsters in the race -- to start me off with a "B" in the big carryover. Not quite as bad as it looks as I did an all-A's-and-B's $1440 main ticket, but all the C tickets are dead and I'm 1x3x2x5x3 the rest of the way.

The fresh-money pool was $1,017,811 on top of the $215,397 carryover. Let's do the math. There's 26 percent takeout on the new money, so the $1,017,811 goes down to $773,536. Set aside a quarter of that ($193,384) for consos. Add the remaining $580,152 to the $215,397 carryover and you get $795,549 for 6-of-6 payouts -- or a $795,349 triple carryover if no one hits it. 

 

4:20 pm: Higher Court ($3.50) kept the world alive for another race with a decisive, front-running victory in the 7th, a race where the start was delayed and Tyrus was a late scratch. Duke of Naples, who broke through the gate, was along for second at 29-1.

The rain's not here just yet, but looks like any minute now. At least the last three races on the card are all on the dirt so there shouldn't be any of that surface-switch/multirace-"all" confusion.

A couple of thoughts on the 3rd race, a 6.5f maiden-special for 2-year-olds earlier today:

The 6th- and 9th-place finishes by Trade and Street Fight do not bode well for Stat, who is scheduled to run in the Saratoga Special. Trade and Street fight looked good running 2nd and 3rd in that race but could not hit the board against first-timers today.

The winner of the 3rd, Klaravich/Pompay firster Currency Swap, looked very good winning off by six lengths in 1:17.02. And there must have been some kind of a mighty tip out on Takes the Gold, a Rick Dutrow firster who was pounded to 6-5, contested the pace, and was nosed out for second by 13-1 Africanist.

And now I'm off to watch the Test and Whitney on tv and the 11th on my phone. If I'm not too badly overserved, I'll be back much later on with some final thoughts on the day. 

 

11:30 pm: it's been raining here for the last five hours, and pretty hard, so I wouldn't put a lot of time into handicapping the grassy nuances of Sunday's three scheduled turf races (1st, 5th and 11th).

Trix in the City spoiled my day and probably many of yours. Nine people used her and the five reasonable winners to hit the pick-6 for $87,301 apiece. My three consos at $318 apiece didn't get me back half my investment, but it was worth a shot: I'm guessing it would have paid about $8k to $10k if Tapitsfly instead of Trix had won the De La Rose.

Quick takes, with more expansive details on the morrow: Excellent wedding; satisfying Whitney and Test; a weird track that definitely slowed down as the day wore on and will be a tricky one figure-wise.

And no, I haven't seen a replay of the non-takedown in the 11th a lot of you are exercised about. For the record, only five horses were covered in the finale (3,5,6,9,11) and there would have been a $780k triple-carry if Wee Freudian had been put up, but I don't get why people think that was a factor. I honestly don't think the stewards consider or even notice these things. But let's pretend for a second that they're pawns of evil, greedy management -- wouldn't a takedown and a triple carryover have generated more business tomorrow than leavoing it up?

Talking Horses starts in 12 hours and 15 minutes, so it's time to get to work.