- A lackluster Wednesday of racing meant a half day at the office, with the opportunity to enjoy the area and the nice little house we’ve rented in town for the week. I was able to check out the Tang Museum at Skidmore College. The exhibit by local artist Michael Oatman is too twisted (in a good way) to really get into here, and Weapons of Mass Dissemination is an exhibit of World War propaganda posters from a time when our leaders sent the nation into war for real reasons and enlisted the support of the public. The Tang is always worth a visit if you’re up here and into art with a bit of an edge.
As far as the racing went, the less said the better. It was a downstate-quality card, and we walked in for the 5th. Last Wednesday, there were two steeplechase races leading off the card, and yesterday, instead we had a mile and five eighth state-bred race on the turf and a maiden claiming event for 2 yos leading off the card. If there’s anything that will keep my money in my pocket as surely as steeplechase races, it’s contests at freaky distances and first time starters with a claiming tag.
The 2 yo maidens special races were both state-bred races for fillies. In the 4th, Lisa Lewis continued to send out sharp horses, with logical form horse Willshefire getting the win at 8-5 as only one first timer, Richard Violette’s Widely Acclaimed (Aptitude), took any money, finishing third.
The 6th, the second division of the state-bred maiden affair, was one of those races that the money showed, and emphatically. There were several first-timers of interest, including the morning line favorite Mrs. Chippy, an Honour and Glory filly from the Mott/Bailey team. Her third dam is Mrs. Warren, who swept the Schuyerville, Spinaway, and Matron here in 1976. She and 5-1 ML Mama Theresa, a Carson City firster from Dominick Galluscio, a low-percentage first-timer trainer, opened up at 7-2, and it was she who took the money, getting pounded steadily until she was the clear 2-1 favorite. As they loaded into the gate, I said to the Head Chef (and she will attest to this) that the way Mama Theresa was getting bet, she should win by 8 lengths. She stalked Mrs. Chippy, sent off at 4-1, and at the top of the stretch waved bye-bye, zipped home in 12.85 and won by the predicted 8 lengths. Occasionally I make myself look smart. Mama Theresa was the first winner of the meet for trainer Galluscio, who’d had three prior seconds; her third dam is the dam of Passing Mood, the producer of Touch Gold and With Approval.
Watching the money, I singled Mama Theresa to start off a few Pick 4’s on a day where I really wasn’t prepared to do much serious wagering. I got past the second leg when Dave rolled to a popular victory for John Hertler. Every time Tom Durkin mentioned his name, you could hear the crowd go “Daaave.” Even considering that every Tom, Dick, and Harry named Dave likely bet this one, he still paid a very fair $9.80 – he’s not been worse than 2nd in his last 7 starts, with this being his second win.
My Pick 4’s went out the window in the 8th, a 4 betting-entries allowance race won by the longest shot in the race, Frankel’s Taygete. Frankel seems to be warming up after a quiet start to the meet – he has not had that many starters here, really. The Overbrook Farms entry of Winning Season and Family Business got pounded to 6-5, and I assumed they were betting the latter, like I had. Something must have been wrong as she was pulled up through the stretch, I hate when that happens. It was the second win in the row for the 4 yo Taygete (Miswaki), who must have terribly disappointed her connections with her past efforts on the turf. Her female family is turf through and through; in fact, her dam is a half to the great turf mare Miesque, two time winner of the BC Mile amongst her ten Group/Grade 1 wins; she’s also the dam of Kingmambo. With her revival on the dirt, watch for this one to try the lawn again and soon.
The 9th made all my Pick 4s moot anyway, as my pick The Queen’s Stamp was caught wide and went nowhere and besides, I wasn’t going to have the winner Tropical Snow ($33.20) anyway. She was shipping in for her first start from South Africa, and it’s not even fair when those horses win like that! There’s just no way to handicap these horses, though admittedly I had noted that trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has had a decent amount of success with foreign shippers. Still, his usually get bet when they win, and I’m sure this one ruined a lot of tickets. She’s a half to Crimson Palace, winner of the G1 Beverly D (for which Frankel’s Melhor Ainda was installed the morning line favorite).
- Afleet Alex is doing well, and Tim Ritchey expects that he could be able to start jogging late this month.
"I think he thinks he is a person sometimes," Ritchey said. "He is so used to being around and being handled and being cared for by people that he is probably a better patient than a lot of horses would be. He's kind of mellow and he does whatever you want him to do."- A $3.1 million Storm Cat colt at the second and final session of the Fasig-Tipton sale here helped bring the average and median prices to better those of last year’s sale.
Afleet Alex is literally having a ball at Saratoga, playing with a rubber ball that hangs from the ceiling of his stall. He all but plays tetherball by himself, and rebounds with more enthusiasm than most of the New York Knicks.
Ritchey said that the Breeders' Cup Classic (at Belmont Park on Oct. 29) remains an objective, although the BC Sprint and Mile (the latter on the turf) are options. Regardless of the race he chooses, Ritchey said he would not go into the Breeders' Cup without a prep race. [NY Daily News]
"We learned one or two things this evening, and we confirmed some others," said D.G. Van Clief Jr., chairman of Fasig-Tipton. "We learned that the new, condensed two-day format works and works well. We think that by condensing the sale we have increased the energy level and increased the efficiency of the sale without sacrificing any of the elegance... "What we've confirmed is that the market is still selective, but the demand at the top for the best is urgent. There is very strong demand at the top...This sale has also demonstrated that in this format, good, athletic, physical horses, well selected and properly presented sell very well." [Bloodhorse]