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Spa Day 27: 8/21/11
12:40 pm: Flash: Everything except the Lake Placid has just been taken off the turf at Saratoga after a downpour, including today's first race, where betting had been open for half an hour. Races 1,5,6,8 and 10 will now be run on the main track, which has been downgraded to "sloppy." The G2 Lake Placid stays on the turf, now listed as "yielding."
The rain began around noon when we were nearing the halfway point of "Talking Horses" in the Carousel, and I could barely hear my co-host over the booming claps of thunder and hard rain. By the time we were done at 12:30 the rain was letting up. Shockingly, local forecasters are divided over whether the worst is behind us or there's more of the same to come.
Post times have been accelerated with just 28 or 29 minutes now scheduled between races, and the finale has been moved back from 6:04 to 5:19 pm.
12:55 pm: The scratches are coming fast and furious. As of now, with yet more likely:
4th: 1,1a, 9
5th: 3,5,7,11,12,13,14 [Update 1:22 pm: also scratch #4]
8th: 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16 [Update 1:22 pm: also scratch #7]
9th: 1a, 2b
1:35 pm: Sun's out, main track just upgraded from "sloppy" to "muddy."
2:05 pm: Three races, three box-to-wire winners, but all of them logical favorites and clopsers are having no trouble getting up late past the inferior speeds for the minor awards.
Winter Memories opened 1-9, currently 1-5, for the Lake Placid, now scheduled to go at 2:24 pm. She also took $23k of the first $30k in the show pool.
2:45 pm: Winter Memories ran fourth at 2-5 in the Lake Placid thanks to a magical mystery tour of a trip and her unwillingness to extend herself after ending up on the rail in deep stretch.
The popular 3-year-old filly was closer to the early pace than usual, dropped back down the backstretch, then seemed to have a hole close or a rival hem her in every time she tried to advance. She had nowehere to go twice in midstretch and Jose Lezcano finally steered her to the inside, where she ran with her head turned and was passed for third late by Dynamic Holiday.
Her fourth-place finished burned the show bettors who sent in $127k on her and made the first three finishers -- Hungry Island, Kathmanblu and Dynamic Holiday -- pay $12.20, $12.00 and $11.00 to show
In a rarity. the $2 trifecta paid $760.00 -- more than the $2 superfecta with Winter Memories finishing fourth, which returned $743.00.
Hungry Island, a year-old Emory Hamilton homebred More Than ready filly trained by Shug McGaughey, paid $21.40 winning her fourth straight race.
3:00 pm: Cease won the off-the-turf (and 11f to 9f) 5th race by what Durkin called 18 lengths. Distant runner-up Springcourt was favored through most of the betting but both were 3-2 on the board at post time and Cease was the actual betting favorite ($89,537 vs. $86,493), so you picked up the winner if you used any of the scratched horses in the race in your early pick-4's (which paid $503 for $2.)
3:30 pm: Pletcher firster Reservation Blues, the lone main-track-only running in the off-the-turf 6th, was slammed to 4-5 in the betting, chased from third early, then dropped back and ran last of eight 2-year-old fillies as Romans firster Tanglewood Tale ($11.00) won by as much as she pleased under a tight hold.
3:50 pm: Here comes the rain again (falling on my head like a memory) for the first time since 12:30. Customers scurrying for cover, horses being sent straight to the gate for the 7th three minutes early before the lightning follows.
4:00 pm: 5-2 fave Beautiful But Blue, gunned to the lead through a 22.04 opening quarter in the storm, opened 7 lengths turning for home but slowed to a crawl and Schettino firster Motion Lounge -- 4-1 ML but 18-1 at post time -- easily got by her late in a race that took 1:14.36 to complete.
Track downgraded from muddy to sloppy again.
4:15 pm: In your Saturday Beyer Speed Figure news, Royal Delta got a 97 for her runaway Alabama victory. Maiden winner B Shanny,whose connections said today will make his next start in the Champagne Oct. 9, received a 73.
5:05 pm: Slevin ($11.20) up final stride to nail Jim Dandy pacesetter Will's Wildcat in an N2x allowance. Appears 6 of the 9 in the finale are covered in the pick-6, ranging from five winners at $10k to one winner at $50k. You need a 2,5 or 10 for a $50,558 carryover into Monday.
5:45 pm: Harbor Mist ($12.00) won the finale to crown five pick-6 winners at $10,111 each -- an unusual huge underlay vs. the $47,401 parlay, but Motion Lounge was probably closer to his 4-1 ML than his 18-1 off price given that the 7th race was buried in the sequence.
Racing resumes tomorrow at 1 p.m. The answer to the daily "Where's the Stakes Race?" riddle is.....the 5th, where the Union Avenue for statebred fillies will be run. Lovely Lil (a half-sister to Shanny B) is the 9-5 ML favorite.
Hi Steve, With Summer Storms Stiriking Saratoga this Summer, resulting in multiple scratches and diminished handle, it's time for the NYRA and SAR to eliminate the redundant Inner Grass Course and convert to a Synthetic Track.. The Synthetic would only be used when the Main Dirt Track is listed as Muddy or Sloppy. Arlington and Keeneland have successfully managed a Fast Main Track Program every day, irrespetive of weather conditions. It's time for NYRA Senior Racing Officials get serious about their future racing viability. One Synathetic Track at AQU, BEL and SAR, used only as described above , would stimulate quality racing cards, increase betting handle and race track attendance. Steve, serious handicappers deeply appreciate your comments and position on this vital racing issue! Good Luck and Good Health! Diceman [You've made this suggestion frequently, but don't hold your breath. There is no enthusiasm among NY horsemen for racing on synthetic surfaces, and NYRA is not going to eliminate a grass course and spend millions of dollars installing a synthetic surface just to accomodate 25 or so off-the-turf races each summer. -SC]
Since everyone is talking about the ride on Winter Memories, I thought that Lezcano should have come off after her previous race. I don' t know what Toner is thinking, but Lezcano should know better; they don't let people win races easily. I thought that Lezcano took WM to the worst place on a yielding track (the rail). There was so much moisture inside; heck, even WM knew it. The horse kept looking and tilting her head to go "outside" and the jockey panicked. Lezcano could have let WM stay way back (like the winner did) and then let her run OUTSIDE.
A friend of mine owns a piece of WASCALLY RABBIT. I simply could not resist asking him if WASCALLY will wun on the dirt now that the race is off the turf or will he be scwatched? Well, "Thats all Folks."
[From yesterday]: "2:05 pm: Three races, three box-to-wire winners, but all of them logical favorites and clopsers are having no trouble getting up late past the inferior speeds for the minor awards." Steve, Can I ask what you meant by this? Did you think there was no bias because closers were picking up the minor awards and the W2W winners were all logical anyway or that if there was a bias it wasn't very strong? I've seen many days over the years where inferior speeds were wiring and the track was almost certainly biased, but the secondary speeds were backing up anyway. Perhaps many of those were good rail days and the outside speed was backing up, but it appears that the losers of duels often have trouble holding on to the minor awards on all but the most monstrous biases. Yesterday was kind of strange. Early on it looked to me like speed and the inside were the best places to be, but as it kept raining and the track condition changed, it almost seemed like the inside got bad and the riders started avoiding it later in the card. Any final view on the track? [I meant that I didn't think it was justified to declare it a speed-biased track on the basis of those three races because while there had been three wire-to-wire winners, they were logical favorites and no other front-runners were outrunning their odds. It's hard to have a "final view" of the track because, as you point out, it was changing from race to race as it dried out or got wetter. -SC]
1 more comment about monmouth inquiry yesterday...the fact that the horse who ran 2nd and woulda been placed 1st was not the horse who was interfered with cant and shouldnt have a beaing on stewards decision..the horse that ran rd woulda been 1st or 2nd ..but i guess maybe tht does affect their opinion unfortuantely
Unbelievable! A 20 minute storm and they take almost every race off? They could have at least left the 1st race on and let the jockeys let them know if there's aproblem. In 2 hours for the stakes race it will be better? You now have a card worthy of a tuesday at Delaware.
A little quick on the trigger re the turf races...
I think I'm up to five in a row without getting rejected by the spam checker!
"Post times have been accelerated with just 28 or 29 minutes now scheduled between races, and the finale has been moved back from 6:04 to 5:19 pm." What's with the speeded up post times nonsense this year? Maybe I could see it if they were hoping to avoid a front scheduled to come through at 6PM, but this is just nonsense. If it rains at noon, they're off the turf and that's it. There isn't enough time between races as it is on a normal day.
Steve: I watched the Talking Horses segment today and always enjoy you and Andy. But i have to admit, the fact that you both said you didn't handicap for off the turf racing today (considering everyone under the sun knew that thunderstorms were coming today) seems a bit disingenuous. How could you NOT handicap for off the turf races today. It sounds like either you both were lazy or just didn't want to share your thoughts... [Sorry we weren's as prescient about the weather at 11:30 a.m. as you were when you wrote this 10 hours later. When we began the show, the races were on the grass, the sun was shining, and post times were changed because "everyone under the sun" was expecting end-of-day storms. The races were not taken off the grass until the show was over. How in the world were we supposed to handicap races for dirt when a)they were still scheduled for grass and b)we had no idea who was or wasn't running if the races came off and whether fields would have nine or four runners? -SC]