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Spa Day 36: 9/2/11
By Steven Crist
2:25 pm: Four days and 45 races to go for Saratoga 2011, starting in five minutes with today's late-starting 10-race card that features a trio of $75k stakes races carded as the afternoon's 2nd, 3rd and 8th races.
It's an unusually strong start to the Friday card with an N3L alloance race, the Gold N Roses Stakes and the Distorted Humor Stakes comprising the day's first pick-3. All feature heavy favorites: Sunrise Smarty is currently 4-5 in the opener, and Zow (2-1 ML) and Wine Police (6-5 ML) will be clear choices in the two stakes.
Main track fast, turf firm, no carryover in the pick-6.
2:40 pm: Sunrise Smarty, dropping from a sixth-place finish in the G1 Carter April 9, held off Starforaday's late charge from last to win the opener in 1:10.11.
Here's the early pick-4 dabble. After the two stakes, it's an 11-filly field of statebred juvenile fillies trying a mile and a sixteenth on the grass, and then six 2-year-olds in the first 9f maiden race for 2-year-olds on the main track that anyone recall.
AAAA @ $4 = $128
CAAA, ACAA, AACA @ $1 = 120
Total = $248
3:15 pm: Zow ($4.10) got an easy (47.72) lead and led an orderly procession of 2-year-old statebreds under the wire in 1:12.13 in the Gold N Roses. Silent Thunder, 14-1 outsider in a field of five, was second beaten three-quarters of a length in a race where only 3 1/2 lengths separated first from last place.
First two races tipped the tight owners' race between Michael Dubb and Michael Repole in the latter's favor. They began the day tioed with 13 wins apiece, then Dubb just missed in the first with Starforaday while Repole's Zow gave him a 14-13 lead after the second. Both are through for the day. Repole has six more starters and Dubb has eight over the last three days of the meet.
3:45 pm: If you pounded the all-chalk pick-3, you got $11.40 for $2 but paid a little extra in agita to get Wine Police to win the Distorted Humor at 4-5. Wine Police broke sharply but then steadily fell back to last down the backstretch and did not appear to be responding when Leparoux began asking him around the turn. The Speightstown colt finally kicked in midstretch and rallied up the outside to catch 11-1 Free Entry at the wire in a moderate 1:11.45. Turf sprinter Higher Court, trying dirt for the first time, was the early leader but faded to third while second choice Chip Shot was a dull fourth.
Wine Police, an impressive debut winner here last summer, is now 3 for 5, with thirds in the Hopeful and Amsterdam in his other two starts.
4:10 pm: Weaver firster Royal Bonnie ($15.20), by Yankee Gentleman and a Theatrical mare, turned back 10-1 Proud and Charming to win the 4th as the fourth choice in a field of 10. Landlubber, pounded to 9-5, pulled up in distress on the backstretch.
Given the $4.10/$3.60 start, pick-4's are paying decently -- $208 to $479 with the four favorites, and over $2k with the two longshots.
4:45 pm: Speightscity ($8.20) was the only one of the half-dozen 2-year-olds who wanted any part of the unusual 9f distance, running off the screen despite bearing out in midstretch to win by 10 in 1:53.08 for Contessa/Castellano. Pick-4 paid $317.50 (vs. $229 parlay).
5:15 pm: Bunch of tough races coming up in the late p[ick-4 and I'm fooling around with some oddball horses and notions:
Where, you might ask, are all the favorites in the first leg, the 7th? I'm taking a shot that they're all one-way speeds, will run one another into submission, and set it up for some goofy closer once the race falls apart. I'm not fighting the logical favorites in the Riskaverse (race 8) but siding with new faces and stretchout angles against the familiar favorites in the 9th. In the 10th the two outside horses look like the right ones but you might want to use 20-1 Prince Dubai at least underneath in your intrarace exotics -- cross out the two bad dirt races, remember that he beat this kind here two years ago at 27-1, and he doesn't look so bad.
6:15 pm: Bah. Ran 2-3-4 in the Riskaverse behind Elusive Pearl ($19.80), Medaglia d'Oro filly who was making her turf debut and stretching out off a pair of synthetic sprints for Trombetta/Velazquez. Elusive Pearl was in front after a mild 6f in 1:13.48 and wasn't getting caught as she ran a final quarter in 23.07. Ruthenia finished fastest but too late and 9-5 fave Starformer had a trainwreck of a trip bottled up inside almost every step of the way.
With four losing favorites in the first four legs, fair chance we're on our way to a Woodward Day carryover.
6:55 pm: More bah. Got Quantock to run second at 25-1 but didn't use Zalmara, the 16-1 shot who beat her in the 9th. Exacta came back $802, tri was $6224, super was $42,318.
This is going to be a very nice late pick-4 for anyone clever enough to have it (they're all paying $10k or more), and needless to say there's already a pick-6 -- no wait, two live combos! It will pay $64,406 to one winner if the #4 or #11 win the finale, otherwise it's a $64k carry.
7:25 pm: Ouch for whoever was alive in the pick-6 to Red Leader and Midnite Silver, who just ran 2nd and 3rd to uncovered Short Shrift, the 7-2 post-time favorite. That was really the worst result for that person, who was going to get $64k if one of those won, and $21k if anyone else EXCEPT Short Shrift had won, because the two live tickets would have been the only two consos with anyone but Short Shrift. Instead, there were five conso tickets at $4293 apiece, so the ticket that would have been worth $66k with two horses and $22k with seven others provided only $8,586 worth of consolation. Maybe he "saved" with the pick-4, which paid $17,591 for $2.
That leaves $64,406 for us to chase tomorrow on the 12-race Personal Ensign/Forego/Woodward card, and it's an all-dirt sequence starting with the 7th at 4:07 pm.
Saturday,Saratoga may see 30% chance of rain at 3 PM - 5 PM. http://www.weather.com/weather/hourbyhour/graph/41500:20 Mambo Meister will benefit. Jockey Jara can visit Spa, without a previous race on surface this day, walk away with top pay check. Sidney's Candy, sans blinkers @ 7fl dirt will see horses before the line and fold. Blinkers next time.
Enjoyed your column on the hopefully bright future for the Saratoga we all are so fond of. The telling phrase "keeping meddlesome politicians at bay" is the key to it all. Several decades worth of bipartisan frauds and criminals just has me thinking it will never improve in Albany. I'm hopeful but not optimistic. On the subject of exotic wagers it just seems so obvious even to an old fashioned player like myself that bets requiring only 3 correct selections, vertical or horizontal, just don't seem to cut it when compared to the rewards of stretching for that 4th slot (superfecta or P4). For the correct selection of the 2nd betting favorite in the 5th race P4 players were rewarded with 4x the cash as those who banged the race 2-3-4 P3. Unless you can get the chalks out of those 3 tiered bets they just come back way too short more often than not. Hope someone here closes out the meet with a monster.
Steve: NYRA may have had a forecast of thunderstorms that we didn't know about at the time the card was drawn Wednesday, and there actually is a threat of isolated thunderstorms at Saratoga pretty much the entire day tomorrow. They probably wanted to make sure the Pick-Six didn't have any races come off the turf. Also, I like having the other stakes race open the card. It's far from the worst thing to have a stakes as the opener, especially since some more casual fans might make a point of being there early for it.
Hey Steve, What's wrong with Alan Garcia? I've been playing his horses on the turf and it looks to me like he's riding scared. Ruthenia shouldn't have been dead last turning for home today...and that's not the first one he's done that with this meet. It started with the summer meet at Belmont. Something's gone awry with his riding!
Hey Steve, In line buying a Saratoga hat today. There is about 10 left in the whole track by the way. i Watched a guy next to me pay 15.16 for a pack of Marlboro reds. What is going on? Nyra should be ashamed of themselves. Robbers. George in Tampa
Hey Steve with all this talk about fixing up the SPA could u please let them know they seriously need a sound system that works !!!! Its been a joke for years . [That's on the list of capital improvements. -SC]
Hate redboarding but the 3 in the 9th was pounded in the pick 3. [Zalmara was indeed the 8th choice in the win pool but the 4th choice in the pick-3. -SC]
Are the trainers watching Lezcano blow these mounts? Did he think he was on Winter Memories again?
Have to like that "by a whisker" finish, in the 7th.. Good luck the rest of the way, and here's hoping that, "NYRA takes the high and careful road, (and) it can be the beginning on an even and bigger and better era of racing at Saratoga." nice ring to that.
Had em til 6th, no #2. 7th3,5,7,9 8th: 3,4,5 9th: 2,6 (8, 11 trainer is owner. a feeling) 10th is going to fall apart