08/24/2011 11:10AM

Spa Day 29: 8/24/11


12:10 pm: No rain here since Monday and clear skies today for Day 29, where it's fast and firm and a field of 10 was drawn for the Travers about an hour ago:

Post time for the first of Saturday's 13 races is 11:35 a.m. and the Travers is scheduled to go as the 12th at 5:45 pm. Fields for the other races, including the G1 Ballerina and G1 King's Bishop, will be drawn later today. NBC will broadcast the King's Bishop and Travers between 5 and 6 p.m. ET.

Today's stakes race, the Albany for statebred 3-year-olds, is carded not as the conventional 9th of 10, not as the 4th (Sunday's Lake Placid) or the 5th (Monday's Union Avenue) but as ...the 7th. The card also includes a pair of high-quality five-horse allowance races, an N1x at 9f in the third and a 7f N3x for older fillies in the 8th. There's a key scratch in the first of those two, with 7-5 ML favorite All of the Above out of the 3rd.

As for yesterday's earthquake, I felt it sitting at a desk in the rental house and had about 10 very queasy seconds when I had no idea what was going on. An hour later I drove up to the Wilton Mall, which was being belatedly evacuated and where every store was shuttered -- except the hair salon, where customers were allowed to finish their perms or dye jobs without interruption.


1:45 pm: When reflecting on the results of today's 2nd race, you might want to just strike a line through it, and not just because 2-1 Strikealinethruit lost all chance when she blew the first turn. The race was marred by a horrific-looking spill on the far turn when Meghan's Fury (Rodriguez) fell and The Point Is (Castanon) fell over her. Both horses and riders amazingly walked away without apparent injury. Meanwhile, Finger Lakes shipper Missysmoonlitmagic was clear of the trouble and drew away to win and pay $51.50.


2:45 pm: If there were an award for gamest horse of the meeting, the early favorite would be Most Happy Fella, a 9f winner here Aug. 11 for $20k and again today in the N1x 3rd. In both victories, he led from the start under pressure, appeared certain to be passed in deep stretch, but fought back to win. Today the recent $14k claimer turned back Isn't He Perfect, who was dropping back into allowance company after participating in the Wood, Jerome, Preakness and Belmont.


3:05 pm: Talk about steam: Hannibal Lecter, a 15-1 ML first-time starter from trainer John Toscano, opened at 8-5 and at 8 MTP is still the 2-1 favorite in the 5th, for $100k maiden-claiming 2-year-olds. Toscano is 0 for 28, with one third and fourth, with firsters over the last five years.


3:15 pm: Toscano now 1 for 29 -- "Hannibal Lecter had this field for lunch!" said Durkin as the Harlan's Holiday colt took over and drew away in upper stretch as the 5-2 second choice.

He was a lot more than that in the multirace pools ending with the 5th: The 4th/5th daily double from favorite One Note Samba ($6.60) paid $88.00, and the early pick-4 returned $7,259, both more than triple the parlay.


4:30 pm: First-run Formulator pp's are up for Travers Day.

Like him or not, isn't Uncle Mo going to be a lot shorter than his ML price of 9-5 in the King's Bishop? I understand that people have their doubts about him off the layoff, but this isn't about whether he's going to win but whether he's going to be closer to 2-1 or odds-on. I'd have pegged him at 6-5 or even-money.

As for the Albany, 26-1 Bigger Is Better was tough to like off unthreatening thirds to Socialsaul and Sailmate in his last two, but a probably premature move on Socialsaul to go after Bound by Humor, and the extra distance of the Albany, got him home. Good chance of a carryover into Thursday unless the second half of the sequence chalks out. 


5:25 pm: Here's your Travers day lineup:


5:50 pm: Seems 5 of the 11 in the nightcap are covered, with two live tickets to the favored #5 Last Out in Panama, and one potential winner at $65k each to the 1,3,6 and 8. Smartest thing I've done today is keep my handle down,


6:20 pm: Carryover! Announced at $58k rather than the $62k or 65k the posted willpays suggested, Staff Sargeant finished first but the rider of third-place Forty Tears claimed foul against the winner, and a dq would have elevated uncovered 21-1 Griffin Rock. But after looking and looking, the stews left the result alone.

Favored Last Out of Panama gunned to an unnecessary huge early lead, perhaps because he had blinkers added today, but was finished in upper stretch and faded to fourth.