08/19/2011 12:29PM

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.