08/08/2011 12:39PM

Spa Day 16: 8/8/11


12:40 pm: The upcoming Gleaming Stakes is the only one of today's five scheduled grass races left on the turf. Races 4,7,8 and 10 are now all going to be run on the main track, with the two 5.5f races staying at that distance and the one-mile races cut back to 7f.

The rule for distance changes on off-the-turfers are 1)5.5f races always stay the same; 2)8f races always go to 7f; 8.5f races go to 9.0 EXCEPT for 2-year-old races, which cut back from 8.5f to 7f.

It's getting a little misty outside so perhaps the 7th was taken off the turf this morning (4, 8 and 10 were taken off yesterday) because of today's local forecast, inaccurate as these have been the last few days:

There's a $69,444 carryover from yesterday. I still haven't digested the 24 scratches in the sequence but might take a shot if it's manageable.

Had a rare social outing last night attending a fundraiser for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at the City Center. Hats off to Darley Stud for donating a season to Medaglia d'Oro, which was auctioned off for $120,000. 


1:10 pm: It began to pour here about 15 minutes ago, a good old-fashioned Saratoga soaker, and the 1st was run in rain under dark gray skies -- a Gleaming in the gloaming.

Seal Cove ($6.50) won the Gleaming, which was for 3-year-olds who had not won a graded stakes at over a mile on the turf. Seal Cove, a 3-year-old Strong Hope colt bred and owned by Stuart Janney and trained by Shug McGaughey, has now won three of four career starts and is 3 for 3 on the turf. Time for the race was 2:01.75 -- and that's for 9.5f, not 10f. Guess the turf, listed as "firm" as the day began, isn't.

Main track downgraded to muddy and sealed for the upcoming nine dirt races.

Here's something you don't see very often: A Gary Sciacca firster (saratoga Snacks) just opened as the even-money favorite for the 2nd, a five-furlong statebred baby race, with a Todd Pletcher firster (Bay Park Boy) at 5-2.


1:45 pm: The early betting was right that Saratoga Snacks (eventually drifted to 5-2) has some ability, but Bay Park Boy ($5.20) had more, giving Pletcher his 20th winner of the meeting on Day 16.

Sun's out again.

And speaking of hats-off for horse-retirement generosity, huzzahs to Sackatoga Stable (the Funny Cide folks), which announced today it will donate $10,000 to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement for each yearling it buys at the Fasig-Tipton sales that start tonight.

"These donations will guarantee a lifetime spot of Old Friends for each yearling when their racing careers are over," said Sackatoga's Jack Knowlton.


2:55 pm: Okay, if you insist, I'll play it:

Well, at least I'll be alive after one leg. If it's not Empress of Gold, it could be anyone. If the seventh tim'es the charm for her, I'll be in reasonable shape; otherwise, I'll be skinnied down to a 2x2x3x2x1. I just don't see another place to take a stand.


3:25 pm: No excuses for Empress of Gold, beaten a long neck at 8-5 by 12-1 Queen of King St.

EOG sat second the entire trip just off QOKS, looked poised to go by her in upper stretch, but could never get to or by her even though the winner was stretching out to 9f in just her second career start and had been off since a 6f debut in March. Good news: QOKS paid $27.20 as the longest shot in the field. Worse news: Thinned down to all A's the rest of the way: 3,7/12,13/1,5,8/3,9/14.

Queen of King St. is trained by Ralph Nicks, always a dangerous guy at Saratoga, but I made the mistake of looking up his record in races of 9f or longer: Over the last five years, he was 3 for 56. Now he's 4 for 57. Damn statistics.


3:55 pm: Did I say 3 and 7 in the second leg? I must have meant the 1a. Or the 4. Or the 5. Or the 2 or the 8, all of whom finished in front of my 2-1 co-favorites. The winner was Finger Lakes shipper Toque ($11.80). 

On to the pick-4. I'll pretty much play the bottom two-thirds of the pick-6 play above.

The muddy sealed track is now being harrowed before the 7th race. 


4:38 pm: Siggi the Alien shook off Backlash early and held off Keep it a Secret late to score the third straight upset in a Pick-6 that's looking increasingly like a double-carryover into Wednesday. The first three winners in the sequence have paid $27.20 (6th choice), $11.80 (third choice) and $28.40 (sixth choice). 


5:40 pm: All but four runners in the finale covered in the pick-6 -- 1 ($232k) to 3 ($77k) live tickets on the others. If you want a $232,356 double-carry into Wednesday, root for the 3, 6, 10 or 12.


6:13 pm: If you rotted for a carryover...it worked? Red Leader held off Jiminator by a head to give us a $232.356 carryover into Wednesday's card. Red Leader was the 5th choice in the betting but not one of the five covered horses in the pick-6.

I'm not even going to peek until tomorrow night. Dark days are rare and treasured things up here, and tomorrow it's time for the hounds to see some Saratoga landmarks. They've been resting up:


Mary Ann More than 1 year ago
Are those slumber balls the hounds are sleeping on? I know they are a favorite of Greyhounds. (Not familiar with slumber balls. Those are old, stained, torn-up dog beds they love, with some fleece pads underneath and old beach towels on top. They prefer that layered mess to elegant one-piece dog beds because they sometimes like to build little forts/nests out of the multiple pieces, and who am I to disagree? -SC]
Mary Ann More than 1 year ago
Steve, I do know about that nesting. We have had 4 Greyhounds over a period of 18 years. If you ever have the need to purchase new beds for the hounds, I haven't met a Greyhound yet who didn't love slumber balls. You can find them here: http://pet-supplies.drsfostersmith.com/search?p=Q&lbc=drsfostersmith&uid=877291164&w=slumber balls&af=cat1:dogs type:product&isort=score&method=and&ts=results&ed=dogs
ML/NJ More than 1 year ago
Would also be sad to blame the "drowning" on Monmouth. The weather was the same all over the northeast that day. Weather like that is 30-1 against around here.
Peter Thomas Fornatale More than 1 year ago
Hey Steve: Wanted to say the blog has been great this year and I thought you hit the nail on the head in your BC column. Did you see that Harvey Pack recently wrote a guest piece about the sales on my blog? Thought you and your readers might get a kick out of it: http://unbearablebetting.com/2011/08/08/rich-mans-bingo-original-essay-by-harvey-pack-on-the-sales/
Forego76 More than 1 year ago
Steve: Every morning after workouts Mrs. Forego76 and I would go sit in the car on George Street and read until noon or so. We often saw someone walking two greyhounds either on George St itself or on one of the two streets that intersect it. Could those greyhounds have been yours? Having trained greyhounds in another life and having been a racing official during the same other life, I usually take any chance I get to have a close encounter with greyhounds whenever I see someone walking them on the street. Whether these were yours or not they were obviously well fed and cared for and looked as though they could get a pretty fast 5/16 with just a little work. So nice going to whomever is caring for them. [Could well have been. George St. has been part of the walkingn route with our last couple of rental houses. -SC]
andrew berry More than 1 year ago
Re SA Breeders Cup. As a fan from Toronto and having attended the lasts 15 cups SA is our fav.Best weather ,lots to do.No drowning like Monmouth,freeze wet at Churchill/Belmont & Arlington.Weather should definitely be a factor in the decision NYRA has had permission for slots for ,what 10 yrs ? Has a nickel dropped?Do you want to entrust the BC to these people?No OTBs in the city???(great job at Saratoga though) When deciding where to go keep in mind the fans .If it's going to be east& N move it up slightly [I don't think you can blame the delay in the Aqueduct racino on NYRA. They were ready to go almost a decade ago. It was state goovernment, legislators and competing interests who slowed things down. -SC]
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
Steve, Not for nothing, but where do you exactly take your 2 hounds, in & around @the Spa ? Where I live now, there are quite a few places that dogs are allowed. Before I got here, I never had the luxury. Just curious....... BTW: my buddy Chick{from Philly} was talking about you & your handicapping, & mentioned he was doing the Spa thing this weekend, & asked me if I watched your videos. Of C-Horse I said yes. LoL...He said he was gonna try & say hello to you. I said, "tell Steve I'm a blogger on your site. Tell him Curt V." Hey, don't disappoint me, even if you have to fib........Heeheehee..
Sean Binkoski More than 1 year ago
Hey Steve I remember in the past you have given some local eatery reviews. Have you found any new places you would recommend? [Haven't eaten anywhere new yet this year but will try a couple of places -- a new Indian place and a new Asian "fusion" place -- in the next week or so and report back. Been ordering in sandwiches from Spring Street Deli and D'Andrea's a lot. I know, it's a glamorous life. -SC]
orsch More than 1 year ago
I would say if the races stay on the turf wednesday, a triple carryover is a possibility. Tough to single anyone with real confidence.
DON More than 1 year ago
LOVE UR BLOG GREAT READING I AM INTERESTED IN UR THOUGHTS.I HAVE A PROGRAM THAT KEPTS TRACK OF MY SELECTIONS.I HAVE THE WINNER IN MY TOP 5 66% OF THE TIME.WITH MY A HORSE WINNING 24&OF THE TIME AND MY B HORSE WINNING 21%AND C HORSE AT 13& THIS IS BASED ON 567 WITH 360 AT CHARLES TOWN. I HAVE THE WINNER IN MY TOP 2 AT 46@ AND TOP 3 AT 58% JUST CURIOUS WHAT U THINK OF THOSE NUMBERS IF ANYTHING. [You're obviously a competent picker, but I hope you have some non-favorites and prices in there because those stats are pretty close to what would happen if you picked horses in order of favoritism. -SC]
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
Jim: If we go to a five-day week at Saratoga, I would go to a seven-week, 35-day meet running Thursday through Monday all the way through in the following manner: Thursday and Friday: 3:00 PM First post, eight races on each card (nine on the opening Thursday and Friday). Except for opening week, the Thursday and Friday cards would end around 6:45 or so, or only about 40 minutes later than a normal 10-race card with a 1:00 PM post currently does. It also would likely get NYRA more west coast wagering since the cards would start at Noon Pacific time. Saturday, Sunday and Monday: 12:30 PM first post. Saturdays would be 13-race programs, except Travers Day, where the New York Turf Writers Cup would be the opening race of a 15-race program with first post at 11:00 AM. Sundays would be 12-race programs. Mondays would be nine race programs, with the first race the weekly jump race (except for the New York Turf Writers Cup, which would now open the Travers program). The exception here would be closing day, where there would be no jump race and a 13-race card with first post at Noon to assure the card is complete before it gets dark. The long Saturday and Sunday cards (and closing day) would be to maximize handle when the most people are at Saratoga, while the early Monday start would be because that is "getaway day" for those who are there for a long weekend and being able to be at Saratoga on Monday and still have time to get home and be at work on normal sleep on Tuesday. Weekday programs would be eight thoroughbred races (plus the jump race on Mondays) to help assure the best quality racing possible on an overall level with 49 thoroughbred races (and the jump race) each week. To also best assure this, I would also have the Belmont spring meet conclude on the Wednesday following Major League Baseball's all-Star game, possibly with the Jaipur and Man o'War as closing-day features on that card at Belmont and the Belmont fall meet not start until 12 days after Labor Day, with that meet extended to Election Day (ending on a Tuesday) to assure full fields both at the end of Saratoga and the start of the Belmont fall meet.