07/28/2007 3:10AM

Whitney Eve


--Like Now earned the biggest fig of the day, getting a Beyer of 97 for his 4 1/2-length N4x romp in 1:22.25.

--Bella Atrice, second to Rewrite in her debut last year, finally ran back to that race seven starts and 15 months later, escaping the maiden ranks in the finale and giving Bruce Levine (More Angels) a training double. Colum O'Brien, who won his first race of the year in Thursday's nightcap with Follow My Dream, ran second here at 39-1 with Money Oriented. The race featured three trainers named O'Brien, with Keith running 5th and Leo 9th.

As for Saturday, which I'll be dissecting more fully at Siro's with Mike Watchmaker and Harvey Pack later this morning:

--Just for fun, try to map out an early pick-four play with $1,000 in mythical money and nothing but $1 tickets and see if you can hit it. I'd need more, as I have only been able to eliminate exactly two horses per race, leaving me with a 10x10x7x9 play that would cost $6300 for a buck. These races are brutally challenging: a baby race that includes eight firsters, a N1x turf allowance, a bottom-level 3-year-old claimer and an impossible older-maiden sprint. Maybe it will cost less after scratches, but I think I'll just watch.

--The stakes action begins in race 7 with the G1 Diana and so does the late pick four, which has a $500,000 guarantee that doesn't seem too bold for the heavily-promoted Whitney card, considering that Friday's drab sequence handled $424,152. My preliminary plan is to key around Danzon and Makdderah in the Diana; Diabolical, Benny The Bull and Commentator in the Vanderbilt; use all four plausible contenders in the Go For Wand (Ermine, Ginger Punch, Miss Shop and teammate) in the Go For Wand, and big ole mess of them in the fascinating Whitney. If I'm down to three "A's" by the time the Whitney rolls around, they'll probably be Papi Chullo, Diamond Stripes and Sun King, but I wouldn't mind having some Dry Martini and Magna Graduate in reserve and you hate to leave out Brass Hat if only because he's such a neat old guy.

--The generous Internet Masters at drf.com have agreed to make my Saturday and Sunday columns free to readers of this blog for its duration, starting with Sunday's rant about parimutuel security.

--At this writing, there are already 83 listings on eBay for those hideous Angel Cordero Jr. bobbleheads that were sold to turnstile-spinning flea-market weasels given away here Thursday. The "limited edition" purple-and-gold bobbleheads (you had a 1 in 10 chance of getting one) have attracted as many as 11 bids each at up to $46.09, while there are few takers for the standard-issue red-and-white ones even at $14.99. Readers thusfar have suggested the following candidates for people the doll looks more like than Cordero: Heliodoro Gustines; Ruben Hernandez; and Mr. Potato Head.

Greg L. More than 1 year ago
Enjoying your daily blog, especially what appears to be this years running theme: Weasels. First you introduced us to "cat-eating" ones and now we find out that there are "turnstile spinning flea market" bobblehead-gobbling types. Sounds dangerous up in Toga this year...
AJV More than 1 year ago
After 3 brutal days of zigging when I should have been zagging (was between Ag and Bella Atrice in the last yesterday and tapped out on Ag) am I the only one who feels like I've been fed to the Mutuel Window Weasels? Rahy's Appeal was the biggest disappointment of the meet so far. Watch Castellano, he's riding well. Today's Whitney card is another mind boggler, I'm betting Monmouth just for comfort food.
John More than 1 year ago
Have the give aways on Thursdays or just have one give away a season.
Steve Davidowitz More than 1 year ago
Nice job Steve capturing the essence of most early races to date; very important for those of us who will be arriving in mid meet or following from TV screens across the country. By the way, the rally wide pattenr is a thorwback to the 1960's when Saratoga had a deep rail and an outer post-deep closer's bias. Not sure how long the rally wide pattern will last, but there will be plenty of horses who should come back for their next outings vastly improved from a conditioning standpoint after being used up on the pace. All the Best/Steve Davidowitz