08/19/2011 1:29PM

Spa Day 25: 8/19/11


1:30 pm: It's "Fabulous Fillies Friday" at Saratoga, and fabulous or not, all 10 races are for fillies and mares. Don't try to spot your runner by the usual saddlecloth colors: everyone's wearing a pink one today.

It's sort of a backwards card in that most of the higher-quality races are early and the racing gets cheaper and more chaotic-looking as the program goes on. The upcoming 2nd race is the Proud Spell stakes for 3-year-old fillies, followed by an N2x allowance. After the featured Yaddo for statebred turfers goes as the 8th, the card concludes with  a $20k claimer for 1-for-life turf sprinters and then a maiden claimer on the grass.

This arrangement does not make things easier if you're thinking of playing the pick-6 on races 5-10, which starts at 3:13 pm ET and with a $69k carryover from Wednesday's card. A firster-filled 7th race is giving me pause, and the finale's a skullbuster where I have yet to X out any of the 10 entrants.

The Yaddo is down to eight with the scratches of In Te Domine and the MTO's, but I've only tossed longshots Centrina and Great Gracie Dane from the mix. Gitchee Goomie is the best and most accomplished and a deserving favorite, but she's got a narrow margin against the usual challengers and she's making an equipment change that has me wary: She's puttng blinkers back on after falling too far back early in her last start, but she got good last year precisely when she started racing with blinkers off.

So the choice to be made in the next 90 minutes is whether to try the carryover and lean on Gitchee Goomie, or opt for the pick-4 and spread in the Yaddo and root for a double-carry into Alabama Day..


2:00 pm: A Pletcher/Velazquez sweep of the early double as St Pancras ($6.80) and Love and Pride ($5.80) gave the trainer his 26th winner of the meet and the jockey his 39th. Pletcher is 12 winners ahead of Chad Brown (14) and Velazquez now has an 8-winner lead over Javier Castellano among the jockeys.

St Pancras, a 2-year-old daugher of Scat Daddy and Marylebone -- both G1 winners trained by Pletcher --won a turf route after finishign second in a turf sprint in her debut at Belmont last month. She appears to be named after a London neighborhood and railway station, as was Marylebone.

Love and Pride was a front-running 6 3/4-length winner of the 2nd, the Proud Spell for 3-year-old fillies who had not won a graded stakes. The A. P. Indy filly got an easy and unchalllenged lead and made the most of it. All for Thee, coming out of a closing third to Alabama entrant St. John's River in the Delaware Oaks, was last early and next-to-last at the finish, beaten 9 1/2 as the 0.95-1 favorite.


2:30 pm: Keep an eye on the skies: It's turning gray quickly here, and today's last three are all grass races.


2:45 pm: Four races, four winners for Velazquez, and not one of them was a favorite. The Pletcher fillies in the early double were both second choices, Bwana Babe ($12.80 in the 3rd) was the fourth choice in a field of six, and Moshe Diane ($10 in the 4th) was the third choice.

His remaining mounts today are Purely Majestic (currently 5-2 to win the 5th), Mayday Maria (2-1 ML fave in the 6th),She Goodbye (7-2 ML in the 7th), Paraiba (4-1 ML in the Yaddo, the 8th) and Town Flirt (3-1 ML in the 10th).

In a totally unrelated development, I am going to plan B as outlined above and skipping the pick-6.


3:00 pm: No rain yet, but the tractors are out and they're sealing the main track. Only two dirt races remain today, the 6th and 7th. 

You didn't think I would let Moshe Diane's victory pass without making my third annual speech about how cleverly named she is, did you? Listen up, newcomers; the vets can sit it out.

1. Moshe Diane was sired by Pollard's Vision, a horse who was blind in one eye.

2. Moshe Diane's dam is Lady Mondegreen. A mondegreen is a misheard word or phrase, coined by a writer who once misheard "Laid him on the green" as "Lady Mondegreen."

3, The Israeli leader Moshe Dayan was, like Pollard's Vision, blind in one eye.

4. Moshe Dayan could be misheard, or mondegreened, as....Moshe Diane.


3:20 pm: Velasquez, going for five straight in the 5th on Purely Majestic, stalked from third early but faded to 7th down the lane as Linda Rice trainee Soinlovewithuam I ($15.60) took them all the way on the lead. Soinlovewithuam I, with David Cohen up today, had lost her last two starts by a combined 35 lengths under none other than Velazquez.

I couldn't have used the winner as more than a C so I'm feeling pretty good about passing the carryover.


3:50 pm: The bettors finally made a Velazquez mount favored, going way overboard on Mayday Maria at even-money in a race where both she and Rose's Turn had figured to be 8-5ish. Mayday Maria tired badly in the lane to run 5th and Rose's Turn, turning back from a 9f victory July 27 to 7f today, paid an inflated $7.10 to win.


4:07 pm: Only because a)there's a 50-cent minimum and b) I haven't made a bet all day:


4:25 pm: When the three who have run once, all beaten at least 8 lengths in their debuts, go off as the 2-1, 7-2 and 7-2 choices, it's not a good sign for those making their debuts. All five firsters came up dead on the board and did nothing to dispel that impression once the gates opened. The Funky Express ($6.10) was tons the best, with second-timer Karma Police the distant runner-up.


5:05 pm: Gitchee Goomie ($4.10) got there by a nostril in a long drive against Rogue's Jewel while spotting that rival seven pounds in the Yaddo. GG was closer than usual to the early pace, perhaps a function of adding blinkers, and that turned out to be a good move as the pace was slow to develop. It was the third stakes victory for the 4-year-old City Zip filly, who was also third in last year's G1 Garden City and 2nd in this year's G3 Beaugay.

After consecutive $7.10, $6.10 and $4.10 winners, prospects of a double-carryover are dim.


5:45 pm: Dim but not dead: Miss Lydian ($25.60 in the 9th) left only six live tickets (or, more likely, one live ticket to six horses.) There will be a $219k payoff to one winner if the 2,3,4,5,7 or 8 win the nightcap, and a $219k carryover to Saturday if the 1,6,9 or 10 prevails.


6:15 pm: Double carryover of $219k into Alabama Day after 23-1 Neil Howard firster Feel What's Real won the nightcap as one of four uncovered horses in the pick-6. Feel What's Real, a Donald Adam homebred daughter of Dynaformer racing for a $50k tag in her debut, stormed into the picture late to win going away. Don't feel TOO bad for whoever was alive to six horses and missed: Those were the only six consos, each worth $8307, and $50k is not the worst consolation prize for missing out on $219k.


diafntrry More than 1 year ago
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affirmedny More than 1 year ago
FYI, the shorts in the clubhouse restriction was lifted years ago.
Bob More than 1 year ago
shorts were allowed in previous years but this year they started to enforece it again. Last week i was ok with shorts on the ground floor by 3 times i was told no shorts in the upstairs clubhouse. also no shorts in the paddock and winners circle.
Lefty More than 1 year ago
Forgive me, but why was it likely that only one person had all 6 covered horses in Friday's pick 6? [It was speculation, but when six different horses are covered exactly once, without the favorites having more than one live toicket to them, it's likelier that one person is alive to six horses than multiple people being alive once to ntirely different horses. As for the tweet Ed eferred to, it's not clear that the tweeter was talking about thepick-6 rather than the pick-4. -SC]
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
Based on this tweet, http://twitter.com/#!/reeldeal69/status/104673799202549760, it looks as if someone received three consos, so who knows if the other three live horses were all on one ticket or not. And I guess it's possible, too, that someone hit the nightcap to reach five of six whereas the person in the above tweet already had 5/6 but missed the finale.
peat moss More than 1 year ago
the pink saddle cloth can be fixed by making the numbers pink and keep the saddle cloths their regular colors. The guy selling the pink sheet should be thrown in jail or made to live with the salvation army lady, besides pricing the seats 10-20 times their value he says you have to buy his pink sheet. I would sit on the grass before i bought a seat from him. And what is with this night racing, NOBODY wants this, the trainers and jockeys start the day at 4AM they don't want night racing. You want night racing,go to yonkers
jerry More than 1 year ago
Face it; as long as this meet continues to be this long, this is the racing we will have to deal with. NYRA KNOWS Saratoga is a tourist trap, I mean destination, and the people are going to bet their money no matter what. Tourists do not care whether a 1-2-3 triple that comes in for them is in a maiden race or a stakes race. Or whether its a 6 horse field or a 12 horse field. Or ahorse is running that has their name in it. All they know is that they cashed a ticket.
Teresa More than 1 year ago
Shorts and jeans are not permitted in the clubhouse box area. Shorts are not permitted in the winner's circle or paddock. As for the tip sheet touts, they're on city ground, outside the gates. NYRA has no control over what people do on city sidewalks. And on Gulfstream Oaks day, the jockeys wore pink pants, while the saddle cloths were regular colors. Works for me.
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Wayne 80 and PapaChach: You're both 1,000% right on. When people who love this game air a heartfelt concern about something there is always someone who is going to call it "whining." Blow 'em off. The quality of racing at Saratoga has deteriorated remarkably over the last couple of decades. It is unarguable. Like you both I still go because the whole Saratoga experience is in my blood for 35 years, the place holds many terrific memories, and a day outdoors betting thoroughbreds and trying to get relish on my hot dog beats most anything else, even if the ponies are a lot cheaper than they used to be. ML/NJ: Yeah, that hand melon truck - when they were nice and ripe you could just stand around and smell them. Had to watch those yellowjackets though. Everybody have a great rest of the meet. Somebody take down a monster!
Toones More than 1 year ago
I am hurting in Chicago over the AP pick 6. Alive to four in the last race (my "A's"). I had the 2, 10 as "B's" in the last race but they were used up by a 5-2 "C". The 10 horse (who I had as a" B") won and paid 42.00 and the pick 6 paid 60 dimes. The problem was I had devised a play where I used the 5-2 "C" with AAAB but I never implemented it. I had a 10-1 "A" horse in Hapman and came up empty. Steve, how do you shake off losses like this? [Congratulate yourself for handicapping well enough to have been in position for a score, then just turn the page and try again. -SC]
Dave Schabell More than 1 year ago
I would like to echo Fred's sentiments regarding the pink saddle clothes. "Breast cancer awareness is certainly an admirable goal. But lets get it straight, all pink saddleclothes is STUPID!!! It is anti-horseplayer of all genders!!! Can we stop this silliness once and for all?? I have no problem with the contestants in the feature race wearing the pink saddle clothes, but who in their right mind approved pink cloths in every race on the card??? Turns me and a lot of others like me against them! You should have been able to hear all of the griping eminating from all of the OTB/Sports Books across the nation, all of the way back to Saratoga Springs. As Fred said, "Stupid."