08/08/2006 11:00PM

Litfin's Saratoga plays for Thursday, August 10

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It was another frustrating result for the bankroll plays in Wednesday's nightcap when our selection, Elder Skatesman, got stopped cold behind a tiring speed horse turning for home and never got rolling. Oh well, if you boxed my three picks on the Form's analysis page, the result was an $84 exacta after Path of Perfection edged Strikeuptheblues, and you're probably not all that upset about it.

Whomever it was that said it's not an easy game knew what they were talking about, and so as we try again Thursday it's comforting to remember the words of Hall of Fame trainer MacKenzie Miller: "We live in hope."

I wish I had some sort of brilliant plan for Thursday's card, but I don't, and the chance for scattered thunderstorms makes track and turf conditions very uncertain as this is written early Wednesday evening.

RACE 1

Everybody knows Hirapour is the best jumper in the A.P. Smithwick field, but he is a 10-year-old coming off ankle surgery, and 2 1/16 miles is shorter than his best distance. This race is designed to get Hirapour ready for the upcoming Turf Writers Cup, which he won last year after running third in the Smithwick off a shorter layoff.

Good Night Shirt, my second choice, may offer some value given the situation. He comes off the best performance of his 10-race career over fences, a win in the Grade 3 Ferguson Memorial at Colonial Downs, and his last 'chase at Saratoga last year was a big win by over 13 lengths.

The bet: $50 to win on Good Night Shirt.

Total wagers previous day: $50
Total return previous day: $0
Total win/loss previous day: minus $50

Total wagers for meet: $550
Total return for meet: $111
Total win/loss for meet: minus $439