08/12/2011 2:04PM

Spa Day 19: 8/12/11



2:00 pm: This morning's Hall of Fame ceremonies were relatively brief, pleasant, and available via live streaming over the Internet. That's a winning trifecta for a sometimes endless ceremony where several people accepting awards for horses instead recite their own autobiographies. If you bet the Under on that you won -- only one such offender today. 

Restaurant Review time: Last night Mrs. Blog and I walked over to The Turf Club, the newest name for the joint on the corner of Nelson and Union that has done business in the past as The Union Coach House and The Springwater. Last year it had devolved into a "pub food" place serving inedible pizza and burgers, but I had been somewhat reliably informed that there was a new menu and a new chef worth checking out this year.

The good news is that it remains a pleasant place to enjoy a meal or mingle with racetrackers at the bar, and the food is indeed a lot better than it was in 2010. If you're stuck near the track and want an acceptable, slightly fou-fou (Cabernet vinaigrettes and talk of "emulsions") meal in the neighborhood, you won't go too far wrong, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there again.

Recommended: The smoked-salmon with grilled vegetables; the sweet-potato fries, and the fresh corn.

You could do worse: The Colossal Crab Gratin. 

Not-so-recommended: The bone-dry "Pecan-crusted Mahi Mahi Nuggets" with mango salsa.

Overall Grade: B.

Speaking of food, has anyone actually eaten one of those Deep-Fried Sticks o'Butter that are reportedly all the rage at state fairs this summer? I did Deep-Fried Twinkies at the fair last year and lived to tell the tale, but a whole stick of butter? Seriously? Makes me think I'm having the diet plate when I order a fried-chicken sandwich.

And yes, I'm playing today's pick-6 with a one-day $82k carryover. Looking to put in $1000 to $1500. Tickets to follow before the scheduled 2:40 pm kickoff.


2:15 pm: Was hoping for some help from the toteboard here in leg 1, race 4, for older statebred maiden fillies at 7f. There are a couple who have run so-so races (though below par for this level), and three firsters from good outfits (Benzel, McGaughey, McLaughlin) who don't have to be worldbeaters to win here. Was hoping one or two of the firsters would open as strong favorites but instead all five of those horses are currently 3-1, 7-2 or 4-1. Going to wait a while longer and then take my best guess.


2:33 pm: In case I can't get the graphic made in time, I'm starting out A: 3,4,6; B: 2,5; C: 1,7. Can't die after the first leg.


2:39 pm: Here it is:


2:55 pm: That was a lot of work to get home a $7.40 favorite (Senora Dubai) but at least I wasn't stubborn enough to make all three firsters my A's. That's one of those things I've learned over the years: In a race like this, always use the best of the ones who have run as an "A." And it's not like I handicapped the firsters particularly well: I made two of them A's and the one I relegated to B status -- Moll's Alley, when she drifted to 6-1 -- ran by far the best of that trio, leading until upper stretch after setting strong fractions in a 7f debut.

It's important to stay on the A train as long as possible with this play because it's a "C-heavy" investment. I saw a lot of interesting marginal contenders I wanted to include somewhere while keeping the total tickets under $1500 (they clocked in at $1408.) So let's go Ms. Stiletto or Settling Seas in race 5.


3:51 pm: Unlike Uncle Sam, it's AAA so far, and I think 4-1 on Rothko was a gift. I saw the 6th race as a two-horse race between Rothko and Soul Town and have no idea how Show Me The Way was 2-1 off a pair of 74 Beyers against Soul Town's debut 96 (albeit on Poly) and Rothko's debut 88. Someone's betting the horsehide off these Terranova horses (see Cat Sweep on Wednesday, who opened 4-1 in a race where he figured 20-1.)


4:30 pm: Ooof. AAAX. Just didn't think Big Blue Kitten ($11.00) had beaten anything while winning four in a row in maiden-claiming, claiming, starter-allowance and N1x company. Not like I was close: my four live horses ran 3-4-5-7 in a seven-horse field, with my B 5th and my A 7th.


5:10 pm: Nobody knew what to do in today's 8th race -- 8 of the 10 horses opened between 4-1 and 8-1, and even a moderate-looking order of finish yielded surprisingly high intrarace payoffs: 5-1 Bearpath over 6-1 Count Catamount came back $156, and adding 5-2 favorite Retire to What for third blew up the trifecta to $709. When's the last time you saw $709 for a 5-1/6-1/5-2 tri?

All but 3 seemingly hopeless longshots are covered in the finale for pick-6's ranging from $16k and $23k on favorites English Ivy and Hoop Skirt to $304k pool-scoops on Roca Del Norte and Dean Avenue. If you'd prefer a $304k carryover into Sword Dancer day, you've got to find a way to make the 2 (Haunted Melody), 4 (Labellelavita) or 6 (Stella Di Sicilia) win the nightcap. That's going to take some doing.


5:45 pm: Eight days ago, Lisa Lewis sent out a William Schettine homebred firster to win its debut in a $25k maiden claimer in the nightcap when Fast Time scored at 16-1.

Eight minutes ago, Lisa Lewis sent out a William Schettine homebred firster to win its debut in a $25k maiden claimer in the nightcap when Ginger J scored at 7-1.

Ginger J completed a $60,981 pick-6 that had five winners and a $3,697 pick-4.

The forecast is for nothing but sunshine here tomorrow but if you're thinking of playing the Secretariat, Beverly D or Arlington Million tomorrow, check the course condition -- they're calling for t-storms in that neck of Illinois.



Steven More than 1 year ago
Steve, I've been to turf club 7 times this year and each time i was impressed with the food, as well as the ambiance and service. Why would you write what came across as a very negative review to hundreds of potential customers of the hardworking people who are trying to establish a new business there, especially in light of the current economy? ["Very negative"? I gave the place a grade of B and said the food had improved greatly since last year. -SC]
jerry More than 1 year ago
Liking Sheppard's horse in the first. On a side note , whats the over/under as to what race Rewards site shuts down before?
Eddiej More than 1 year ago
Steve I don"t know if you & the wife have ever tried out Chez Pierre the best bet in the Saratoga area.It"s about 2 miles past The Wishing Well on the same side of the road.We"ve been going there for years.I love your Saratoga blog
fort marcy More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Read your piece on Round Table event on Sunday. In regards to Lasix, is the B. Cup an attempt to wean all horses going forward from using Lasix? Will this be the standard at all U.S tracks or just Grade 1 races? The issue about awarding host tracks for BC events, when did they decide to award year by year, I thought this was done well in advance? I agree that Santa Anita getting three years in a row is strange. How would Belmont be able to put on a Championship Day with the BC coming up so soon? I enjoyed the fact that BC events have been held at Woodbine, Gulfstream and even Lone Star. Is the future just three tracks, NY, Kentucky and Cali? Lastly, will such things as takeout, horse shortages and reducing live racing dates be discussed? Oh, what's up with the fried stick of butter? Thanks, Good Luck to All!!
John Perotti More than 1 year ago
In the 9th, Ginger J won because of a masterful ride by Alex Solis. Watch the head-on down the backstretch. He was in the three path and kept looking over his left shoulder until he guided Ginger J to the rail. On the tight turns of the inner, that was the difference between winning and coming in second or...
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
James: Got a nice laugh out of what you said. Steve: I know full-well on editing and typos. Sometimes, when you are your own editor, you can make them and miss them even when proofreading. Very easy to do.
Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
Steve: Name of 8th race winner is incorrect.. [Fixed it. I'd like to publicly thank Dan M. for his tirelessly calling typos and errors in the daily results-headers here to my attention. I type these in myself and occasionally get something wrong. One of the shortcomings of the blogosphere is that writers don't have editors and proofreaders, because we post directly to the site, so Dan's volunteer efforts are a real help. -SC]
Richhf More than 1 year ago
"Speaking of food, has anyone actually eaten one of those Deep-Fried Sticks o'Butter that are reportedly all the rage at state fairs this summer? I did Deep-Fried Twinkies at the fair last year and lived to tell the tale, but a whole stick of butter? Seriously? Makes me think I'm having the diet plate when I order a fried-chicken sandwich." I will report that there was no sight of this at the Saratoga County Fair a few weeks ago. There was Deep-Fried KoolAid, and also Deep-Fried Apple Pie in addition to the other deep-fried concoctions. Maybe the Altamont Fair down in Albany County will offer this next week. Or maybe your favorite pre-Travers selection, the Washington County Fair will offer this in the midway. If it's a State Fair thing, maybe you should come back up for Labor Day weekend and stop by the Vermont State Fair in Rutland. Happy eats. Speaking of eats, have you been able to get your Cheez Waffles this season?
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Steve, I was surprised to read your comment in yesterday's blog that you thought the Breeders Cup would finally come to their senses regarding the future location awards. While I know you have a much more informed window on these things than I, and I hope you are proven correct, it seems you're giving them a lot more credit than their past record indicates they should get. Despite all the theories that have been offered as to why site selection has gone the way it has I've never been able to get over the thought that there is just some deeply held personal grudge carried by person/persons at BC against New York racing. Hope your take is correct and I'm as wrong as I've ever been. I may be a hopeless barbarian but giving someone $15 for anything served on a hot dog roll is just not going to happen. 6 Maiden races out of 11 tomorrow? A little heavy even if a few are the "quality" type. Bernard Downes: I strongly second your remark about Steve Cauthen. He was an exceptional rider. Winners for all on the blog!
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
Steve, You are something w/those A's, B's C's.....One of these days I'll get around to figuring it out. Even w/60 days of Formulator PP's I'm all thumbs..You hit them things like it's easy..Even though I can't comprehend it yet{LoL}, I still pay attention.......How in the heck did you find the time to invent that system? Anyhow, just last week, I tongue-in-cheeked it to you about maybe Donald Trump could put up the money to start their own type of horse racing in New York, vs. the anti-BC Cali loving bunch. & Lo & behold, in your article, there it is.....except it was Mike Repole..Wow..My idea.....I only got the wrong person..I forgot he has about $4+ Billion..My kinda guy...........go Uncle Mo.......