08/16/2006 12:00AM

Litfin's Saratoga plays for Thursday, August 17


Julien Leparoux was merely the bane of my existence in terms of this betting column during the first half of the meet, when he lost photos for me on Harlanquin and Mister Supremo and took both turns widest with Lady of Venice in the Diana, which cost me an exacta box with $9 winner Angara.

After Wednesday's result, another photo-finish loss with 9-1 shot Bachelornumberone, Leparoux is Public Enemy No. 1. And whom did he get beat by? Colum O'Brien!

The not-so-fabulous Frenchman now has a personal tab with me of over $1,000, and is hereby banished from this exercise in frustration from here on out. I don't care if he's riding Secretariat at 10-1 against a bunch of three-legged broken down claimers, he's not getting one more cent of my bankroll from now to the end of the meet. I don't care how many races this kid has won, as far as I'm concerned he couldn't outfinish my grandmother.

I'm too disgusted to really think rationally about Thursday's card right now, so we'll just spread around with token plays on three races:


Nerinx ships in for under-the-radar owner/trainer Robert Dibona, who is 1 for 3 at Saratoga the past three seasons. Nerinx is a fighter whose last two victories have been in photo finishes, and he comes off a terrific race at Monmouth first time off the claim.

The bet: $10 to win on Nerinx. Also, $5 exacta part-wheel keying Nerinx over Symmetron and Indian War Dance


Elusive Fox is a first-time starter out of the mare Shesastonecoldfox, a debut winner at Saratoga who won four of five starts as a 2-year-old including the New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes and the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes at Belmont. Elusive Fox, whose sire is the blazing-fast stakes winner E Dubai, has turned in a series of fast workouts at Monmouth Park.

The bet: $10 to win on Elusive Fox


Penny Dream was rank on the lead in her first start of the year, which was quite surprising because she won three straight turf races last year from off the pace while rising in class. She's been back to the drawing board, drops to a much easier spot and drew a good post in a one-mile race on the inner turf that features a short run to the first turn.

The bet: $20 to win on Penny Dream (turf only)

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

Total wagers for meet: $872
Total return for meet: $633
Total win/loss for meet: minus $239