08/21/2011 11:38AM

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:

1st: 5,6,8,10,11,12,13,14

3rd: 3,4

4th: 1,1a, 9

5th: 3,5,7,11,12,13,14 [Update 1:22 pm: also scratch #4]

6th: 1,6,7,10,11,13

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.