07/30/2011 1:56PM

Spa Day 8: 7/30/11


1:55 pm: Sunny and clear at Saratoga, where for some reason only the last race of the day (the 11th) has been taken off the grass, while races 1,5,6,8 and 9 remain on the turf. The change in the finale is an especially key one for those playing the $500k guaranteed late pick-4 or the pick-6 with a $40k carryover from Friday.

In the opener, favored Zapparition neglected to lift a hoof and Hit It Rich ($16.20) pulled another turf-course course wire job. Don't know if it was an ongoing bias as some are claiming or that she got away with a slow pace of 1:13.37 en route to a final time of 1:42.83.

No giant surprise in the second as Repole/Pletcher firster Giant Surprise ($7.80) made a winning debut while heavily bet $320k 2yo purchase Stealcase ran fourth at 8-5. [Update: Giant Surprise was vanned off after the race with lameness in his right front foot.]

Got the new laptop up and running. So far so good, but I spent most of the last two hours accidentally turning my Internet access on and off every couple of minutes until I realized why there was a little picture of a radio tower on the F2 button I use to insert and edit in Google Docs -- it shuts off the wi-fi. I'm now terrified to touch the F3 (picture of a battery) or F4 (picture of a starburst) buttons lest I turn off the battery or cause the sun to implode.

Actually the more I look at this keyboard, there are little icons everywhere -- it looks like one of those cash registers at McDonald's with pictures of hamburgers and fries instead of numbers.


3:18 pm: The races are entirely too logical so far today. Sebago Bay ($5.50) looked like he'd run away and hide from the statebred maiden claimers in the 4th and he did. Radical Sabbatical ($6.80) appeared to have the 5th at his mercy unless El Caballo returned to form, and when El Caballo didn't, Radical Sabbatical ($6.80) mowed down the rest.

Passing the pick-6 due to the impossible upcoming first leg, a turf route for 2-year-old maidens. I'lll post a pick-4 play in a little while.


3:40 pm: Guess the 6th wasn't so tough. Picked Pletcher firster Captain Webb on Talking Horses, he was bet to 3-2, and he just won like a good thing. Entirely too logical. Winner is from the first crop sired by English Channel, the 2007 champion turf male also trained by Pletcher.


4:20 pm: Dark Thunder ($6.20) won his third straight since being switched to Pletcher in May. the 4-year-old Trippi gelding has zipped through his N1x, N2x and now N3x conditions, and was the third winner on the card for Pletcher/Velazquez.

The upcoming Hattie Mosely is the first of three straight stakes races and the only one named for the founder of a Saratoga chicken restaurant. After four days downstate, where the closest thing to a Hattie's fried-chicken sandwich I could find was a Burger King Bacon Cheddar Ranch Tendercrisp -- and it wasn't very close -- I felt obliged to honor today's stakes race with an HFC sandwich. Wish there were a key for that on this laptop.

Here's the pick-4 play:


5:00 pm: Nice to get alive with My Redbyrd as a "C" at 18-1 to start things off in the pick-4 (pool: $871,904), but 2-1 fave Starformer may have been best. The Juddmonte import walked out of the gate, was bounced around early, trailed the field through a crawling pace of 24.92 and 50.07, then swung wide but came up understandably short as the race finished up quickly in 1:14.37 and 1:37.90.

My Redbyrd ($39.20) -- who ran a strong race herself, having only Starformer beaten entering the far turn -- is a 3-year-old Royal Academy filly who ran a close fourth to Winter Memories in the Appalachian. The winner is trained by John Terranova and was ridden by Leparoux. Ruthenia, a half-sister to Rutherienne, was second in the field of 10 3-year-old fillies withStarformer third and Tapit Dancer fourth.


5:30 pm: Zagora ($13.60) was a decisive 1 1/2-length winner of the G1 Diana, and a deserving one: She was best in the G2 New York last time when Giants Play set a ridiculously slow pace and held her off by a neck. Today she was in the race earlier, took command when the leaders - including surprising 2-1 favorite Unbridled Humor, 4 for 4 but making her graded-stakes debut -- wilted, and got the jump on the deep closers. Aruna was second with Bay to Bay third.

Zagora, a 4-year-old French-bred by Green Tune, is owned by Martin Schwartz and trained by Chad Brown. A winner of two G3's in France last year, she had been second or third in all four of her U.S. starts.


6:00 pm: Make that four for Pletcher today after Stay Thirsty ($7.00) was an emphatic four-length winner of the Jim Dandy, earning himself a Travers start on the same afternoon that stablemate Uncle Mo may return in the King's Bishop. Moonshine Mullin, a 37-1 shot making his dirt debut, held second with Dwyer winner Dominus fading late to third and Alternation fourth in his first start since winning the Peter Pan May 14. The winner's time of 1:48.78 looks solid. 

Stay Thirsty, coming off a second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, is now 2 for 3 at Saratoga, winning a maiden race andrunning second in the Hopeful last summer. The Bernardini-Marozia colt was a $500k 2-year-old purchase by Repole Stable.

Looks like 6 of the 9 runners left in the off-the-turf 11th are covered in the pick-6, at payoffs ranging from $31k on favored My Golden Opinion to one-ticket pool-scoops of $188k on Saints Alive and Scorch the Torch. If you want a carryover, root for the 5 (River City Rebel), 6 (Mr. Hadif) or 9 (Mitigation). And no, I wasn't clever enough to combine my B's and C's to stay alive in the pick-4.


6:30 pm: My Golden Opinion ($5.00) ran down the speed to win the 11th and complete a $3,672 pick-4 and $31,391 pick-6.

And now, with not enough gambling to my name for the day, I'm off to the At The Rail pavillion here for....a poker tournament! No entry fees or cash prizes but there are some trainers and jocketys playing and should be fun. Full report tomorrow.

RPS More than 1 year ago
Not sure I understand how you bet the multi-race tickets. I looked at your P4 for yesterday and assumed you made a $240 (50 cents) bet. I figured you broke out some races to "A", "B", "C" to create options on how much to spend, as in (yesterday): A=$40, B=$120, C=$240, so that a "C" ticket would include ALL choices, not just the "A"s in the other races. [Here's a good place to start: http://www1.drf.com/formulator/ticketmakerhelp.html . Sometimes I get lazy and play a big spready "caveman" ticket in the pick-4 using all my choices, but in the long run I believe you cash more often while profitting less this way. I usually try to have the winning combo for more than the minimum by emphasizing preferred horses. -SC]
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
Steve: You brought up one of my pet peeves of Saratoga, the 1 1/16 Mile turf races for two year olds. To me, this is too early to be having them go that distance. What I would rather see for the juveniles on turf are two-turn races on the inner turf at seven and a half furlongs in addition to those around one turn at five and a half. As the meet progresses, I would then add some at a mile and finally towards the end of the meet at 1 1/16 Miles. Also, if there are going to be more improvements at Saratoga, how about adding an auxiliary finish line a sixteenth down from the regular finish line? This would allow for races on the main track at seven and a half furlongs and 1 3/8 Miles as well as on the Mellon Turf at six furlongs and 1 1/4 Miles and on the inner turf at five and a half furlongs. Being able to card seven and a half furlongs on the main track would give those horses who need more than seven-eighths, but less than nine furlongs a fair chance and a second finish line also would allow perhaps for a race like the Diana to be moved to the end of the Saratoga meet (after the Beverly D at Arlington) and run at 1 1/4 Miles as well as cut down on two-turn races for two year olds on turf until later in the meet since six furlongs would then be an option.
Dave More than 1 year ago
OK, so it was inevitable that extending the Saratoga meet would lead to watered-down racing cards. I was just telling a friend how I longed for the days when we saw MSWs, maiden claimers (never less than 75K for a 2YO though), claimers (wasn't the bottom rung 35K, or was it 50K?), allowance races, handicaps and stakes. Nothing else. No optional claimers, no starter allowances, certainly not a $14,000 claimer, and nothing with a "B" after it. Oh, and turf sprints were strictly a west coast curiosity. Then I opened tomorrow's (Sunday 7/31) Form - what a pathetic line-up. This might be the worst Saratoga card I have ever seen. It looks more like a Wednesday program at Hollywood Park. Or Fairplex maybe. But please - Steve...anyone... - please explain the "B" in Clm 15000B, the class of Sunday's seventh race. The Form's explanation of the PP lines says it means beaten claimers. ["Beaten" claimers means a set of conditions where a horse has not won a race in a specified amount of time. These conditions can be so intricate that they can't possibly fit into a class-code in the pp lines. But the full conditions appear in the header at the top of the race. In Sunday's 7th it says "...which have never won three races, or 3-year-olds, or which have not won a race since January 31." -SC]
dc More than 1 year ago
That pick 4 was money in the bank my ticket was $5 789 w 467 w 26 w 1 $90 made for a nice evening!!!!! Drinking with the lady eating Ribs and Steak.....cant believe it paid that much.
dorothyp More than 1 year ago
Dollar sign raises the debt ceiling.
bob m toga More than 1 year ago
steve, guess it doesnt matter.. will be driving up tomorrow morning with my oldest boy. see you at the carousel. (sounded like they fixed the sound last sunday!!! ) bob
bob m toga More than 1 year ago
steve, hope you dont regret not putting the 15 in the last race for your pk -4.? i also had the 9 as a C in leg 1. but needed ruthenia to win to stay alive. arrghh.. [That could definitely be an "oops." I can't swear I realized he got in. -SC]
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Dale, be on the extra-wary lookout for that cranky old man who, last year, you rightfully steered towards the dumpsters towards the east of the track - after he DEMANDED directions to the 3rd floor dining room. It’s a shame we can’t get that classic story into a Racing Humor anthology. But this being the year 2011, a sixteen-word Tweet is now regarded as the equivalent of the first eight chapters of “War & Peace.” Jerry, I too took a shot on China. There went the Mott birthday money! Haskell, tomorrow: Consider WPS & other betting angles on: Coil (saver, lowest odds); Concealed Identity, JJ’s Lucky Train, & Astrology (with some saver $ on Shackleford). I anticipate Kelly Breen being rudely tossed around by the Fates. This is it, Astro. Win! Or you’re downgraded to “dwarf planet,” & off you go to the north end of the Saratoga track, along with Pluto. Steve: Was the 8th race, the Hattie Moseley stakes, named after the Saratoga Sandwich Queen?
Ryan More than 1 year ago
8 - 8 9 - 5,6 10 - 2,6 11 - 1 There you are Mr. Crist, you can enjoy collecting my $8 contribution to the pot.
dale tillotson More than 1 year ago
Two happy meals to go please for the hounds. [Now that they've replaced the fries in Happy Meals with apple slices or broccoli or something, they're not fit for hounds. -SC]
dale tillotson More than 1 year ago
Good point. Bring the hounds a takeout from Hattie's.