07/25/2011 2:04PM

Spa Day 4: 7/25/11



2:00 pm: I got a vivid preview of the rain that just soaked Saratoga while driving down the Thruway to Long Island this morning. Sheets of rain started crashing down about two hours south of the Spa at 11 a.m. and a more sensible person would have pulled over and waited it out, but since I was heading south and the storm was in the northbound lane, I hydroplaned on and the worst was over in 15 minutes. Looks from my tv in cloudy but dry Hempstead as if it hit the track just before the second race, and it was shortly thereafter that the announcement came that the track has been downgraded to "sloppy" and that the rest of the afternoon's grass races (4th, 6th, 7th and 9th) are off the turf.

If you played the early pick-4, you get an "all" in leg 3 (race 4) -- a winner for each horse you used -- because the surface switch was announced after that pool closed. No free bingo squares if you're playing the pick-6 (starts in race 5) because the pool is still open.

Even with the downpour and some ugly construction on the Whitestone Bridge, made it from racetrack (Saratoga) to racetrack (Belmont) in 3:32. The hounds gave me a hysterical five-minute greeting and then went back to sleep, so it's time to get tied on and figure out a little off-the-turf late pick-4.


2:20 pm: The late scratches are coming fast and furious in those four off-the-turfers. Superfecta wagering has been cancelled in the 4th and 9th so far due to six-horse fields. Also, heavy favorite Friend or Foe was just scratched from the featured Evan Shipman.


2:30 pm: Scratches the rest of the way, as of right now:

5th: 4 [Update 2:46: also scratch #2]

6th: 1,9 [Update 2:39: Also scratch #8]

7th: 1a, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15

8th: 1a, 2, 4

9th: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 11, 13


3:00 pm: The early pick-4 with the "all" in race 4 paid $47.40 for $2. Also, NYRA reports that Friend or Foe, scratched from the Shipman because of the slop, will now run in the Whitney on Aug. 6. Also, I must report that I can't make heads or tails of what's left of the late pick-4.


3:35 pm: Asmussen firster Morning Shine ($15.00) kicked off the late pick-4 drawing away from three cat horses -- Sweet Cat (2nd), Volcat (3rd) and Cat Girl (4th). But lion trumps cat and Morning Shine is by Lion Heart, who is by Tale of the Cat. 

It's possible I need a catnap.


4:00 pm: Speaking of Tale of the Cat, his son Overdriven got a Beyer Speed Figure of 93 for his four-length victory in yesterday's Sanford. Not quite as flashy as his debut fig of 100, but still very strong for any 2-year-old in July.


4:35 pm: Icabad Crane made up five lengths down the stretch and nailed Stormy's Majesty in the final stride to win the Evan Shipman. The 6-year-old Jump Start-Adorahy gelding was winning for the 7th time in 26 career starts. Do you remember what he was doing 21 starts ago? RUnning third to Big Brown and Macho Again in the 2008 Preakness.

Mine Over Matter, who ran third, opened as the even-money favorite -- perhaps from early bets on his scratched entrymate Friend or Foe -- and drifted late to be the 3-1 third choice as Stormy's Majesty was bet down to 3-2 by post time.

Five of the six in the finale are overed in the pick-6, at payoffs ranging from $2868 to $22k, with a carryover only if #10 Maya Charli wins in her return from recent steeplechasing. 


4:59 pm: When's the last time a Saratoga card ended before 5 pm ET? Sometime during the Nixon administration?

Miss Vindictive ($6.50) took the finale to complete a $419.50 pick-4 and a $2,294 pick-6 -- both lower than the posted willpays (of $510 and $2,868) because Miss Vindictive was the post-time favorite and apparently some live tickets to scratched horses were transferred to her.

No homework tonight (unless you're already eyeballing that $239k carryover at Del Mar Wednesday). Enjoy the dark day -- six straight days of Saratoga racing starting Wednesday.

Jim Mindel More than 1 year ago
Monday was ruined by Track Officials taking all the races after the 2nd off the Turf and speeding up the post times. Had they actually studied the Weather Channel radar, they would have seen that the band of t-storms would go through fairly quickly. The very dry conditions of the previous week made the rain less of a concern. Had they delayed the posts by the same amount of time, the storms would have the time to get through w/o destroying the racing card.
James Mindel (Rocco) More than 1 year ago
I got to Saratoga with my family about 2 pm Monday only to find that all the rest of the day everything was off the turf and the post times were speeded up. In other words, a ruined betting day. If the NYRA execs had looked at the Weather Channel Radar they would have seen that the band of t-storms would go through quickly and be gone. Given the very dry weather, the turf could handle some rain w/o becoming a mess. Had they delayed the races by 10 minutes a post for a few races, the weather would clear, and the day not ruined.
thehoarsehorseplayer More than 1 year ago
Watched the C&W video segment on jockeys recently. Have to agree with everything that was said, but think there was a lot left unsaid. Three jockey related situations it pays for the bettor to be aware of: 1) when a rider change is made to a jockey who already has won with the horse. 2) when apprentices go on or off horses (including when apprentice replaces apprentice) 3) when a rider ships in for one mount. The third situation such a classic angle that one wonders why the DRF doens't provide a jockey's index of riders mounts, as most track programs do, to help the reader identify these horses.
Mike B More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Have you heard anything about the NYRA supposed investigation into the July 9 Belmont pick-six when the final two races were taken off the turf and resulted in free bingo squares? I see yesterday they took four of the pick-six races off the turf at Saratoga but that didn't result into free bingo squares and a carryover situation. Surfaces changes were announced before the start of the pick-six in both cases. Does NYRA have different rules for each track? [As I understand it, the July 9 incident was a human-error screw-up and there's not much more to investigate. The rule across all NY tracks is that there's only an "all" if the surface switch is announced after the pools are closed. -SC]
johnantimo More than 1 year ago
@Walt P: If you had a Mac laptop: - it would not break down; it would back up to the cloud automatically; you could bring it to the track and bet on DRF Bets without leaving your seat. @Steve: I nominate your 'catnap' remark for the CristBlog Hall of Fame.
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
Robby: As Steve noted, NYRA moved up the post times because there was severe weather in the forecast for early last evening. They announced the move-up about a half-hour before the card started. As for taking all of the races after the 2nd off the turf, NYRA didn't want a repeat of what happened at Belmont two and a half weeks ago when the 8th and 9th were not taken off the turf until close to when they had to do it before they became "All" races, and miscommunication caused those to be "All" Races in the Pick 6, creating a $7.60 payoff and a carryover. They could have kept the 4th on the turf, but there was no way any of the others were staying on the turf once the rain hit, and especially with more severe weather possible (Saratoga got seven-eighths of an inch of rain and another 1-2" was considered possible according to the forecasts I read). There actually are more storms in the forecast for today (Tuesday) and it's possible only the Lake George will be on the turf tomorrow (Wednesday). One thing NYRA ought to seriously consider if they are going to stay with six-day weeks is to make Wednesday, Thursday and Friday cards eight races with a 3:00 PM first post (nine on opening day). That would have the cards finishing around 6:40-6:45, or about 30-45 minutes later than 10-race weekday cards currently do, which would not be so bad for local merchants and allow those who want to come up for one day during the week to do so avoiding rush-hour traffic in the New York metro area and still easily make first race post time. In that scenario, I would move the jump race to Monday (except closing day) with the NY Turf Writers Cup the opening race on Travers Day (which I would make a 15-race card with first post at 11:00 AM). Eight races during the week (which I would also do outside of the jump race that I would have on Mondays, which would have the "normal" post time since that is a "getaway day" for many) I think would help with field size during the meet.
Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
Tale of the Cat is high on the list of successful sires at Saratoga. Nobody comes close to AP Indy. This list covers sire alone and not anywhere else where a sire may be in the bloodline. Sires with greater than 25 wins at Saratoga; 11 years from 2000 to 2010. 3886 winners (3880 races with 6 dead heats) AP Indy - 73 Dynaformer - 47 Storm Cat - 42 Unbridled's Song - 42 Freud - 38 Carson City - 35 Distorted Humor - 35 Grand Slam - 31 Smart Strike - 31 Deputy Minister - 29 Mr Greeley - 29 A P Jet - 28 Giant's Causeway - 28 Hennessy - 28 Thunder Gulch - 28 El Prado (IRE) - 27 Pulpit - 27 Stormy Atlantic - 27 Langfuhr - 26 Seeking the Gold - 26 Tale of the Cat - 26
ctfrombt More than 1 year ago
Am I alone in seeing days like today an opportunity. It seems that the scratchs and surface switchs create a lot of bad wagering. I've seen this several times now at the Spa. The late P4 paid off ~210 to 1. Win parlay would have paid only 126 to 1. Natural odds on the win parlay would have been 254 to 1, compared to 284 to 1 for the P4. Almost carryover like.
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Didn't play a cent today so I've no personal gripe, but I can't understand how the starter let them out of the gate in the 9th today. Beach Badge was jumping all over the place, rearing up, fractious and never stopped. A blind person could see it. Sometimes you have to wonder if anybody's watching the store.
slider More than 1 year ago
Steve,,, the last race was ever so simple!! Desormeax waited all day for one mount!! Winner!!!!