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Spa Day 14: 8/6/11
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.
4035.2. Foul riding penalized. (a) When clear, a horse may be taken to any part of the course provided that crossing or weaving in front of contenders may constitute interference or intimidation for which the offender may be disciplined. (b) A horse crossing another may be disqualified, if in the judgment of the stewards, it interferes with, impedes or intimidates another horse, or the foul altered the finish of the race, regardless of whether the foul was accidental, willful, or the result of careless riding. The stewards may also take into consideration mitigating factors, such as whether the impeded horse was partly at fault or the crossing was wholly caused by the fault of some other horse or jockey. (c) If a horse or jockey jostles another horse, the aggressor may be disqualified, unless the impeding horse or his jockey was partly in fault or the jostle was wholly caused by the fault of some other horse or jockey. These Steward can't even abide to their own rules!
When you see the replay from Saturday's last, then keep in mind what the stewards did last year at the Spa. One of Bond's horses knocked another horse at the top of the stretch which caused that horse to lose all momentum. Again, the top of the stretch. They ruled that it did not affect the outcome of the race. The fact of the matter is that the stewards are out of their league and remind people of the disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy. It's kind of like how the Saratoga Police patrol the sleepy town by pulling Linda Rice over on her golf cart, but let scores of people walk around town and in traffic drunk as can be. By the way, they don't do much to curb all those drunks coming out of the nearby waterholes each weekend. Or how people waving flags trying to direct you into their yards to park can freely stand in the street and cause you to dodge around them. Or how they let the same hawkers and peddlers stand by the gates each day and each year trying to sell a tip sheet or say, "I've got a good seat in the clubhouse."
The comment from Braulio Baeza is interesting. I recall race downstate which infuriated me and I didn't have a dime on it. I still have a still image of the start on my computer. I froze the replay on my DVR and then advanced frame by frame. A horse broke through the gate fractions of a second before the gate opened for all. The stewards did nothing. I had watched the race live and when they showed the head on replay after the regular replay, I believed that horse got an unfair start to the rest of the field. The stewards did not bother to post an inquiry or anything. It was and still is absurd. As for Saturday's inquiry....a tough call, but "too close to the wire.". It was BEFORE the wire. The best thing on the day was seeing Richard Dutrow on Versus and how he looked nervous. He has to know his days are numbered.
In regards to non DQ in last race @ Saratoga: The 6 should of come down, and I didn't have a penny on the outcome. The biggest problem in regards to stewards deciding on whether or not the 6 hindered the placing of the two horses involved is that their interpertation of the rules should be consistent in every race. This is the problem I find @ all tracks. Some tracks seem to allow major offensives if the stewards think that the outcome would of been the same if they took no action. I'm certain we all have had our numbers taken down and on the other hand have had our numbers put up. There needs to be a consistent system where the decision is made available to the public. Lastly, the decision has to be largely factored on whether an infraction took place or not. I regularly see horses come out of the gate and interfere with other horses and there seems to be no thought on a DQ at all. Just go by the established rules and make the ruling explained to the public. This to me, is a no brainer. Congrats to connections of Tizway, Met Mile and Whitney double is big stuff!
For a guy who has vactioned at Saratoga the last 15 years during the second week of August I am so happy to be on cape cod and not having to endure the vagaries of the decisions of the so called stewards of Saratoga race track. Now it is alright to interfere with a horse as long as they feel the outcome of the race would not have been affected. No regard for the effect the interference had on the placings of the 2 other horses involved? Is this a new approach? Love Saratoga and the game but feel bad for the betting public whose money is put at the mercy of these so called stewards. Whale Watching tomorrow.
“Well, here’s for the start of the real Saratoga season, today [08/03/11] – with the inexplicable longshots & disqualifications, the misunderstandings, missed connections, crossed signals, phony apologies, dropped whips - & all the other athletic & social event paraphernalia of what makes racing fun fun fun, if you possibly stand it.” Oops. Make that non-DQs. The Allemeuse of the early 21sat Century?
Absolutely the wrong call in the 11th race, if the RWB have any integrity they will investigate how this decision was made.....
Regarding the 11th race inquiry on Saturday August 6th. At what point in the stretch does an obvious infraction become "applicable" before the wire (too close to the wire according to the stewards) when 3 horses are noses/heads apart and clearly fouled losing momentum causing possible placings not to mention coming out 3-paths? This is probably the worst thing I have ever witnessed since the Allemuse incident which I was in attendance that day. The race had no effect on my personal gain. I now seriously question the integrity of the stewards. Good thing this didn't happen in the Whitney because it would have been a big injustice/farce on national television.
About no one caring about holding the BC at Belmont. I think the Euros care. Belmont is the only US track with a turf course larger than a mile in circumference. It is also the most accessible to Euros who want to attend. While I haven't experience at the other venues, I know that large groups from Britain have been at the BCs at Belmont.
The Stewards made the correcrt decision. Yes the 6 came in on the 12 & 13, however the 13 was not going past the 12 , and the 12 was not going past the 6. The only hores bothered was the 13, by placing the 6 behind the 13 would not have been correct. It was a judgement call, that most other Stewards would have got wrong, the NYRA Stewards should be proud that they got it right.