08/25/2011 10:04AM

Spa Day 30: 8/25/11


11:00 am: It's a gray and rainy Day 30, nothing like the weather Saratoga might be facing in a few days but wet enough to make today's pick-6 with a $58k carryover -- and 5 of the 6 races scheduled for the grass -- an iffy proposition.

It's a rare nine-race card today, starting off with the New York Turf Writers' steeplechase, which is followed by two dirt sprints and suddenly the pick-6 will be starting at 2:41ish with race 4, an N1x turf allowance that is the last non-claiming race of the day. After a $15k claiming route in the 5th, the card concludes with four claiming races on the turf. None of the main-track-onlies has yet been scratched.

The current forecast:

12:15 pm: Everything's still on the grass but a bunch of MTO's have yet to be scratched -- [Update 12:40 pm: MTO's Rein King and Sam Sparkle in the 4th, Justleavemealone and Patine in the 7th, David the Great in the 8th and Liubango in the 9th are all still unscratched] --  so I'd hold off on putting in those multirace bets as long as possible. 


1:05 pm: Rein King and Sam Sparkle finally scratched from the 4th, so at least the first leg of the pick-6 and third leg of the early pick-4 are staying on the turf.


1:25 pm: Trainer David Jacobson, better known for his work with sprinters and low-level claimers than steeplechasers, accomplished an unbelievable training feat winning the 2 3/8-mile New York Turf Writers Cup with an 8-year-old gelding he claimed three weeks ago. Mabou ($35.20) finished fastest of all in his first start for Jacobson to win a race marred by three late spills. All three fallen horses and riders walked away from it without serious injury but Straight to It lay prone on the track for several scary minutes before suddenly jumping back up.

Jacobson said he claimed Mabou with the plan to run him in this race and then put him back over the flats, where the son of Dynaformer won races at Delaware Park and Tampa before being converted to jumping. Jacobson's father, the late Buddy Jacobson, was known for claiming steeplechasers and winning with them in both jumping and fenceless races. 


2:25 pm: Here's today's ticket. It's sort of a weird play, with C's in only one race, but I used up my budget going a little thicker than usual in the early legs with horses I found hard to split. It's not that I'm saying there aren't C-level candidates in races such as the 8th and 9th, just that I'm willing to live with my top ones if I get that far:


We're coming off two straight races where second-time starters were bet down to even-money for no apparent reason and failed to finish in the top three. In the 2nd, the 3-year-old filly Zero Yield, 5th beaten 6 in a Md Sp Wt turf-sprint debut, dropped to $50k and moved to dirt and was pounded to even money. She was nowehere to be found as Trombetta firster Purely Love wired the field at 7-1.

Then in the third, Asmussen second-timer Barbados Beauty, a distant third in her debut at 2-1 in the slop, apparently was expected to improve greatly on a less wet track. She did not, and Alydarla -- making her third start at the meet, including a career debut in the Schuylerville -- was a lengthy winner.


2:45 pm: They're off....and I never put the pick-6 tickets in. Pretty sure this happened once before, maybe here last summer. After finalizing the play in Ticketmaker, doing a print-screen, saving it as a .jpeg in Paint, uploading it to the server, pasting it into the blog...I somehow thought I was done and plum forgot to go to my account and actually make the bets.

So now I guess I'll root against myself all day. Maybe arggghhhh, maybe I saved $1,320.

It's been raining steadily for the last 10 minutes.

And of course "A" Fire With Fire" just won as the 5-2 fave. 


3:05 pm: Pick-6 pool today, even without my $1,320, is $240,618 (on top of the $58,602 carryover.)


3:20 pm: Another oops on  what's turning into a Senior Afternoon. Or maybe it was that earthquake on Tuesday that rattled my brain.

Yes, I misheard the late scratch of the #7 in the 7th as the #7 in the 6th, so had I put in the tickets I'd now have everyone in the upcoming 6th except the favpored #7, currently 8-5. I had chopped up the nine runners as 3 A's, 3 B's and 3 C's, but switched it to a 4/0/4 alignment when I thoiught Lindell A. C. was scratched.

So I guess I can root for him since that would have been a humiliating way to get knocked out and lose my money, (though I guess I would have seen on the bet screen that he was still running) but honestly he was originally only a B in here with me and I'm not a big fan at this price. He's never been more than 6f or tried the grass. Still planning to spread out here in the pick-4.


3:45 pm: Gunman reeled in Lindell A C for an AAA start to the phantom pick-6 play. Doesn't look like I'm going to miss some major score -- 5-2, 5-2 and 4-1 winners and would be alive 2x3x2 with nothing but top-three betting choices -- but it still will be mildly anoying if it comes in.


3:50 pm: Hold all non-existent tickets! The 7th, 8th and 9th were just taken off the turf and under INSANE New York state racing rules, this means that there is an automatic carryover. This rule totally screws people who remembered to put their tickets in, as only consos will be paid out and 75 percent of the new money, plus yesterday's carryover, carries until tomorrow.


4:00 pm: Yet more scratches are coming in fast and furious and Durkin is trying to explain the bizarro-world rules under which there's an automatic carryover; the pick-4 today pays for 1/All/All/All and the pick-6 pays out like a pick-5 on a 2/4/1/All/All/All even if you have 6 of 6. Everyone clear?

This happened last month at Belmont, and everyone said at the time that the rule about the automatic carryover was some kind of a mistake and would be changed, but here we are a month later and it's still in effect. 

Think it's time to call it a day and start looking at tomorrow when I think there's a double carryover of [($58k from yesterday) + (75%x74%x$240k from today)], which would be just under $200k.  


4:20 pm: But good news for Grand Slam players: Unlike the pick-4 and pick-6, instead of alls and carryovers, there's a simple refund of all Grand Slam bets.


4:47 pm: They just posted the pick-4 willpays -- and you did better than the win payoff! Gunman paid $10.60 to win and the payoff for a 1/All/All/All pick-4 is....$10.80!

As for the pick-6, the "willpays" say it's paying $69.50. So my Senior Moment saved me $480: I would have "had" the pick-6 12 times (2x3x2 in the all races) for a return of $840 on the $1,320 investment. 

And the double-carryover into tomorrow is $192,141.

Walt P. More than 1 year ago
Some more thoughts on today: What I would have done was with the rain forecast gone the "better safe than sorry" route and after the 4th taken everything else off the turf before wagering "opened" on the 4th. I'm assuming NYRA was trying to please horsemen who clearly prefer to run horses on turf (based on the fact turf races draw far more entries than dirt races as a rule), but I would have done it to avoid exactly what happened Thursday. In retrospect, it was a good move by NYRA to run the NYTWC as the opener as if it had been in the traditional spot, it likely would have had to be postponed or cancelled...
george quinn More than 1 year ago
Hey Steve Very lame carryover don't you think? Why would they not pay conso to 3 of 3 and forget carryover? Much money invested by many for 60 bucks? phooey George in Tampa
Mike R More than 1 year ago
Been thinking about yesterday's Pick 6 situation at Saratoga (happening for 2nd time this year in NY!). I'm not a P6 player but certainly appreciate a challenging/exciting bet enjoyed by many loyal horseplayers. Even though I don't play the bet, I also enjoy reading this blog focusing on intelligent strategy and structure in playing the bet. There are not too many Steve Crist's in this game writing interesting stuff on a regular basis. That said, it's completely unfair to bettors to keep betting handle when 75% of the handle will not be paid out. Worse than the IRS, which IMO shouldn't get a dime from any horseplayer who manages to make a profit playing this game. If NYRA sees fit, cancel the P6 bet and refund all wagers. It's simply common sense! What business today would ever treat loyal customers this way? None - because alienate your best customers and you'll be out of business in no time! That is unless the state allows you to open a VLT casino. Less racing...More great racing...Please! Mike R. [Here's the problem with cancelling/refunding halfway through a pick-6 sequence: let's say someone comes up with the first three winners at 20-1 each. Is it really fair for him just to get a refund instead of paying it as x/x/x/all/all/all In my opinion, the "all" thing is fair -- what isn't fair is the automatic-carryover provision. Yesterday's payout should have included the $192k being unfairly carried over to today. -SC]
Charlie Lee More than 1 year ago
I would never bet another horse. After the BS with the pick six. I would never put my bankroll in harms way, going into the take. The bettor is always behind, just how can you play from behind all the time. You have to increase your bet to get even, because of the take. Now, they really have you.
dc More than 1 year ago
I got a horse tomorrow: 1 start horse in Pick 6 .....John Shepard......cinch.....big story on him...
Cardigan Bay More than 1 year ago
Let's stop the whining re. the steeplechase races. A week ago the complaint was about the strung-out fields. Today's NY Turf Writers Cup had a very compacted field throughout, and was, I think, one of the most exciting races of the meet--flat or fences. As for equine injuries, a rather high percentage occur in the first few strides out of the starting gate--not a problem w/the jumpers. Also, in contrast w/most flat races, the horses in the jumps are racing at a rather relaxed pace for much of the race, thus limiting serious injury. The jumpers race far longer into their careers; today's stake included several horses 8 or older, and in fact there was an 11 year old mare at the post. What w/the beauty of the jump races, along w/all that history and tradition, let's get educated on the facts and enjoy their grandeur.
peat moss More than 1 year ago
to walt p Why don't they run sundays card at the harness track after they finish their races.
bobby branch More than 1 year ago
TWC shows rain, rain and more rain beginning about 3:00 PM.....Good Luck
Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
NY-bred races as a % of all races at Saratoga; 2000 to 2010 2000 29 346 8.4% 2001 32 342 9.4% 2002 36 344 10.5% 2003 40 346 11.6% 2004 44 343 12.8% 2005 55 343 16.0% 2006 61 336 18.2% 2007 59 349 16.9% 2008 58 363 16.0% 2009 59 369 16.0% 2010 63 399 15.8% Total 536 3880 13.8%
Dave More than 1 year ago
You may call me crazy, but I'll call me a traditionalist. A Grade I race, over fences or not, should not be carded as the first race of the day. Period. It should be run as the second-to-last race of the program, just like it used to be. Same with any other feature race, stakes or not. What's all this lunacy with running the featured stakes race as the fourth, or the sixth, or the seventh? Rearranging the races to pacify pick six players is nuts. All this whining about which races are in the sequence is making me crazy. If it's an attractive card and bettors think they can sort out a few races, they'll play. If not, they won't. With a large enough carryover, they'd bet on quarter horses, greyhounds, camels and ostriches in the same sequence. It's that simple. What's so different about trying to pick a winner in a jump race than trying to pick one in a field of 2-year-olds that have never run a step in a race? I'll tell you what - nothing. And what was wrong with the pick six covering races 3-8 anyway? I used to relish in the fact that a few subtle differences existed between Saratoga and all the other tracks, especially on the west coast where the Del Martians have fooled themselves into believing that their meet is on a par with Saratoga. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, those differences are slowly disappearing.