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.



bigjcc526 More than 1 year ago
Glad to see HDG running in the Woodward.Too bad Hollendorfer(along with the other west coast trainers(Shirreffs et.al)doesn't run Blind Luck in the Pac. Classic. Z definately should have run in AT LEAST one of the 3 So.Cal classics.It's hard to root for selfish guys like that.It would help the sport tremondously if they took the chance.But they only care about building up stats vs. the same inferior competition.
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
The real rain threat does not look to be until later on Sunday into early Monday. In light of the updated path of Irene, which now brings it much closer to New York than anticipated previously, I would be looking at doing the following this weekend: Saturday: Staying as scheduled since the weather will be fine for that card. Sunday: Eight races on a severely sped up program, first post at Noon and the last race going off just before 3:00 PM (about 25 minutes between races) with no stakes and the Personal Ensign re-scheduled for Friday, Sept. 2 since I'm sure many who were planning to be at Saratoga for that race on Sunday are going to be either evacuating because of potential flooding or if they are there for the Travers getting out Saturday night to shore up their homes if they come for the big day. Also, I don't think given the importance of the Personal Ensign it should be run in what could potentially be hazardous conditions. Monday: Card cancelled, Saratoga Dew Stakes rescheduled for Saturday's Woodward program. This looks to me like the best solution given what is coming late this weekend. The Jersey Shore and Long Island could be taking a major hit from this storm if it stays on its current path.
richiebee More than 1 year ago
Certainly not complaining, but puzzled why the all stakes P4 sequence did not include the Ballston Spa? After being bombarded with turf racing all meet, it will be strange to be wagering on an all main track P4... ...but wager I will...
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Earthquakes yesterday, hang on to your hats today. Godspeed to trainer Gyarmati tomorrow.
Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
Wed 24AUG: 5 NY bred winners, but only 2 races exclusively for NY breds. There have been a total of 536 races exclusively for NY breds at Saratoga in the 11 years from 2000 to 2010. By year: 2000: 29 2001: 32 2002: 36 2003: 40 2004: 44 2005: 55 2006: 61 2007: 59 2008: 58 2009: 59 2010: 63
Wayne 80 More than 1 year ago
But since the meet has expanded during that time a more accurate assessment would give us a total percentage of NY races per meet. Thanks for the information though, interesting.
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Was planning my first Travers trip since 1986, when Wise Times herded Personal Flag (me) in deep stretch in a real thriller. Now the weather folks are really turning up the alarm on the approaching storm. Here's hoping the son of a gun makes a sharp right hand turn sometime in the next day. In any event, with Saratoga's biggest day coming up I just wanted to mention how enjoyable all the added videos on DRF are. They're excellent on an entertainment level for just a peek behind the scene, and they also often contain very usable information. Many thanks.
danny More than 1 year ago
I believe this is the second horse named Hannibal Lecter that has run in New York. I'm pretty sure that the other ran in the early nineties and when the horse won the race Durkin said he devoured them ate them for lunch.
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, For the benefit of those who haven't made it to Saratoga yet this year, there is still time and the show is well worth the effort. The recent coverage in the drf inspired me to come at Saratoga from a different angle this year. I drove in on Union, for the first time ever, and found Yaddo at, err, 7 AM. I watched horses working out at the Oklahoma TT early and on the Main track after the renovation break. The bee hive of activity is something to behold and had my greyhound ready to race. I sampled water from three different springs and, I'll just say, that the Big Red Spring should be green with envy when compared to the two at Congress Park. *Red Board Alert *{flog me if you must} but when Missysmoonlitmagic, a FL-shipper and first time turfer by Freud, went from 15 to 24-1 and paid 51.50 ; 18.50, well, I was forced to shake hands with my first Hattie's FCS. I don't think it was an upset that it was splendid;) Not enough m's in mmmmmmmmmmmm...and she's gone. And with a P-6 DCO for Thursday, I'll plug in and tune in for that. Because this daily grind is done.
Brad dillion More than 1 year ago
I was curious on why the Daily Racing Form does not do closer looks comments on all Saratoga races? I find the information to be a valuable tool and with so many eyes on this premier meet, I cannot figure it out.
George Quinn More than 1 year ago
To Jim, The Fire Marshall did you a favor. Overpriced, overrated and p poor service in that place. Have a Hatties chicken sandwich and a tall fresh lemonade and feel Saratoga as it is supposed to be felt. Your free Jim! Your free! Enjoy the grounds. George in Tampa