08/26/2011 12:29PM

Spa Day 31: 8/26/11


12:25 pm: Five of today's six scheduled grass races are still on the turf on what's starting as a postcard-perfect Day 31 at Saratoga. The forecast:

I have no idea why the 6th is the race that was choisen to be moved to the man track. There were no MTO's entered and we're left with a field of five that have a made a total of 11 dirt starts from 44 career starts. [Update: Logical Order was a further late scratch, reducing the field to four that had made a combined 6 previous dirt starts.]

The 6th is the second leg of the pick-6 with that $192k double-carryover that should have been paid out yesterday. Yes, I'm playing.

The sequence does not include today's first stakes race, the Easy N Dirty, which has been carded as the 4th. It's down to a field of five, with four betting interests (Driven by Success and Be Bullish are coupled as a Mike Repole-owned entry.) It's a rematch of one of the most exciting finishes of the meeting, when Ibboyee nailed Be Bullish at the wire of the John Morrissey Aug. 3. The featured stakes, the G2 Bernard Baruch Handicap, is the 9th of today's 10 races.

On a personal housekeeping note: It looks like I'm going to have to miss being here tomorrow afternoon. It pains me not be around for Uncle Mo's return and the Travers, but we've got some pre-existing roofing and drainage issues back home on Long Island that need some attention before Irene hits the area Sunday afternoon.

So the plan right now is to do the Talking Horses seminar here tomorrow morning -- it starts at 10:20 a.m. due to the early 11:35 a.m. first post -- and then load up the hounds and head south, with the hope of getting back in time for the big races. I'll post my pick-6 thoughts here before hitting the road tomorrow, and with any luck be home in time to continue the conversation. Thanks in advance for understanding. 


1:00 pm:

'Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.


--Thomas Moore, 1805


1:20 pm: Deanaallen'skitten, 4-5 fave in opener, dq'd from 2nd to 4th for bothering original fourth-place finisher My Sunshine Gal midstretch. MSG's rider, Rajiv Maragh, claimed foul against the victorious Spring Party ($10.40) rather than Deanna, but the stewards ruled that it was the favorite coming in from the outside (Lezcano up) and not the winner coming out from the inside (Prado) who bothered him.


2:37 pm: With nine minutes to post for the Easy N Dirty Stakes, let us recall its namesake:

Easy N Dirty, a new York-bred son of Debussy and the Freetex mare Nothings Free, won 10 of 52 career starts racing for owner-trainer Paulino Ortiz from 1985 to 1991. He lit up the toteboard at Saratoga 25 years and 25 days ago when he won an August 1, 1986 maiden race at 1 1/8 miles and paid $89.40 to win.

He banked a big chunk of his $764,523 in career earnings from minor awards in major stakes races behind some of the biggest names of his era. He was third in the 1987 Jockey Club Gold Cup behind Creme Fraiche and Java Gold; third (beaten 35 lengths) in the 1988 JCGC behind Waquoit and Personal Flag; and third in the 1989 Suburban behind Dancing Spree and Forever Silver.


3:05 pm: Here goes:


And yes, I've already remembered to put the tickets in, thank you.

All A's and B's = $1536; the five 5A/1c backups were $32, $48, $96, $192 and $72. Grand total: the year that Steely Dan released "The Royal Scam," a/k/a $1,976.


3:26 pm: Thought Ballyclough ($8.20) was a cinch if the race had come off the turf as expected, and I cleverly downgraded him to a B when it stayed on the lawn. So I'm riding the caveman train the rest of the way with one live ticket of A's and B's that's 2x4x2x2x4.

Today's fresh-money pool was $867,650 on top of the $192k double-carryover.


3:45 pm: Catching up on the interesting 3rd and 4th, both won by owner Mike Repole, putting him just one behind Michael Dubb (12-11) in the meet owners' standings.

In the 3rd, a starter handicap for horses who had races for a $16k tag any time since the start of 2009, even-money G3 winner Caixa Electronica turned back a late bid from 16-1 Lucas Brady to win by a bob while carrying 131 pounds, 12 more than the runner-up. Caiza Electronica qualified for the race because he ran for a $16k tag at Calder in May of 2009.

Then in the Easy N Dirty, Repole ran 1-2 with the coupled entry of Driven for Success and Be Bullish in a strangely-run race. Driven for Success somehow got away with an opening quarter of 23.55 and a half in 46.81 -- two races earlier, statebred allowance fillies went 45.61 -- and the race was over. Second choice Ibboyee had no shot rallying from far back after that but didn't halp his chances by going extremely wide on the turn in just a five-horse field, and he flattened out badly to run last.


4:00 pm: Here's a racecall you don't hear too often: "Now the rider's whipping him with his goggles!" Lezcano went to the windshield-whipper when he lost his stick in midstretch, but Hurling ($5.50) had the momentum and was probably going by him anyway.


4:15 pm: Alive 4x2x2x4 but my upcoming quartet does not include the Chad Brown-trained favorite, Too Clever by Half, great name for a horse I may have been too clever by half to include.


4:40 pm: Yup, too clever by half as Too Clever by Half won by a half. 3-1, 8-5 and 8-5 in the first three lengths and I'm out.


5:10 pm: Now THAT's the To Honor and Serve who looked like such a serious Kentucky Derby prospect last fall.

The 2010 Nashua and Remsen winner looked like his old self at last walloping a good field of older N3x allowance rivals in slightly faster time than Caixa Electronica recorded earlier in the day. The Bernardini colt tracked Regal Warrior's strong pace (1:10.30), took over on the turn and romped by eight lengths in 1:48.31 for 9f. We're clearly not looking at anything resembling the heavy, cuppy, tiring track over which the Whitney was run in 1:52 and change.


5:40 pm: Glad I was as dumb as I was earlier because one of my last decisions was moving Turallure ($20.00) from a B to a C in the G2 Baruch and that could have been costly. I know it's become fashionable to say that speed figures don't mattter on the grass but the only horses who had ever run fast enough on the grass to beat Get Stormy were Loup Breton and Turallure, whereas more fancied horses like Hymn Book and Beau Choix really weren't in the ballpark.

Turallure was the first price of the afternoon and set up pick-6 payoffs ranging from $7,321 on favored Vee to $96,261 on 31-1 outsider Estero Bay.


6:20 pm: Vee ($8.10) just up late to run down loose leader Sweet Bibby and complete a $610 pick-4 and $7,401 pick-6. Latter payoff was higher than the posted willpay because the willpay was calculated on the assumption that Vee would be the post-time favorite and pay off on any scratched horses, but post-time favoritism went to 5-2 Saucy Jade.

Got a 13-race Saturday card to handicap and a rental house to pack up by new 10:10 a.m. post time for Talking Horses tomorrow. See you then.