08/17/2011 11:12AM

Spa Day 23: 8/17/11


12:10 pm: Races 1, 8 and 10 are off the grass at Saratoga today while the 6th and 9th remain on turf labelled "yielding."

The first card of Week 5 begins with a $38,865 pick-6 carryover from Monday's sloppy card. The sequence (currently 6x10x8x7x6x9 after scratches) starts with the 5th of 10 races, scheduled for 3:13 p.m. No worries about today's weather:

Still handicapping the sequence and contemplating whether to play. 

Juvenile figs from the last two cards here: Union Rags got a Beyer Speed Figure of 95 for his 7 1/2-length victory Monday in the Saratoga Special; My Miss Aurelia (and runner-up Millionreasonswhy) got a 91 winning the Adirondack Sunday; and Stopshoppingmaria got a 101 winning a maiden race by 9 3/4 lengths Sunday.


2:30 pm: May we now officially classify the 5th race at Belmont July 9 as a Negative Key Race? Stat, the winner, came back Monday and was beaten 7 1/2 lengths as the favorite in the Saratoga Special. Trade, who was 2nd, and Street Fight, who was 3rd, returned in an August 6 maiden race and finished 6th and 9th at 3-1 and 7-2. And half an hour ago the 4th-place finisher, Rockin Boogie, finsihed second at even-money in a maiden race. I'm not saying all four of them aren't decent horses with a license to improve, but they've burned a lot of money in their second starts.


2:55 pm: Thirteen minutes to post for the 5th and here's the pick-6 play for today:

I let the board and the dd willpays determine my A's and B's in the opening leg, a 6-horse field with 5 firsters. The ones from Hushion (#3 at 2-1) and Casse (#6 at 3-1) seem liver than those from Ryan, Shivmangal and Fawkes.


3:20 pm: Board was right, as 2-1 Reserved Quality ($6.20) and 5-2 Patrioticandproud duked it out to the wire, finishing in that order in the 5th. This is a good case of why it really helps to see the board in firster-filled races. I initially had Purest Form rather than Reserved QUality as my second A but when Reserved Quality took mo much more money in the win and double pools, despite Fawkes having better stats with firsters than Hushion, I leaned the other way.

That's not a typo in the upoming 6th where I have #4 Jacob's Dream as my third A along with the two obvious favorites. Jacob's Dream was one of the few potential bombs I could find in heh sequence: He has back figures good enough to win this and his last race struck me as better than it looks on paper and perhaps a sign of imminent return to his best form. When the excellent public handicappers Dave Litfin and Andy Serling didn't have him 1-2-3-4 in their Talking Horses picks this morning. I smelled riches.

But I guess others had the same idea since he just opened 6-1 and not 15-1.


3:52 pm: Looked awfully good for a while there. Jacob's Dream drifted to 10-1, sat second to a 36-1 shot to the turn, blew past him and opened a five-length lead in upper stretch...and ran out of gas. Three ran right by him in the final furlong and even-money Chardsey nosed out 3-1 Doublespeak at the wire. 


4:30 pm: Rats. A 2-1 B (Goodtime Boy, $6.70) catching a 10-1 A (Ganador) is never a good thing. Alive, but only 1x2x3 and those are all chalks after a chalk-chalk-chalk start.



5:35 pm: Bridgetown ($3.60) successfully returned from his Royal Ascot misadventure over soft ground to jog in the $75k Troy at 4-5. That's five straight winning favorites and I'm alive to the three faves in the finale for three-digit payouts and a loss for the day: $452.50 to the 5, $997 to the 6, $693 to the 10. There will be days like this.

With five favorites, three second choices and one 7-2 third choice winning the first nine races, now watch something nutty happen in the nightcap.

The pick-6 to #7 is paying $7,777. Spooky. I'm reduced to such observations amid this blizzard of chalk.


6:35 pm: Required the stewards' assistance to get put up for a $693 pick-6. I guess Purplegreenandgold had to come down -- the head-ons showed him bumping Pure Home Brew twice and carrying him out a few paths, but I also think Pure Home Brew is a bad hanger who wasn't necessarily going by.

The pick-6 with Purplegreenandgold, who was nearly the annual Roy Lerman putover, was $8,484.