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Monday, September 01, 2008

Saratoga Notes for Labor Day!

- Curlin may not have drawn a big crowd, but the cooler giveaway drew an announced one of almost 59,000 on Sunday. Of course that number was inflated by spinners, but I can tell you that the crowd seemed significantly bigger; and I didn't even get there until the late Pick Four, when people had already started to leave. Next time, NYRA should allow multiple admissions and allow people to see Curlin multiple times in the paddock. Maybe that would do the trick.

John Kimmel now has five consecutive winners in the past three days after being 1 for 20 on the meet; and the fact that I ended up profiting on neither Remarkable Remy ($17.20 on Sunday) nor Freedom Bay ($20.20 on Saturday) just attests to my weakness as a bettor. Kimmel has the morning line favorite in today's 2nd with Gem For Hook (2-1).

Former assistant Seth Benzel finally got his first winner with Ya Think ($8.30), and he liked it so much that he had another in Walkabout Winner ($9.40), a NY-bred son of Aldebaran (and a half to stakes horse Rahy's Appeal) making his first start since November. Benzel (no entries for Monday) will probably win his next five in a row the way these things go sometimes, really!

In Speight Of It ($25.60, 2nd race) is the 7th winner for first-crop sire Speightstown, now third on the rookie stallion list by earnings. Just A Coincidence was second at 3-5 off his second to Munnings; and note that the latter is the morning line favorite in today's Hopeful.

I originally expressed amazement when I saw that first-time starter Devotee won the 6th at 21-1 for Darley. That's against all of my principles of watching the tote board, especially for a Darley homebred daughter of Elusive Quality out of a half-sister to Folk. But then I recalled that Unbridled's Heart paid $29 winning his debut for the same outfit. That colt was then switched to Godolphin and has lost his two subsequent starts at 4-5. I still believe that the betting on debut runners, especially from major stables like this one, means something, and I'll likely strike a skeptical pose when we see Devotee next.

Shug McGaughey (no entries for Monday) closed out his Saratoga meet without winners on the weekend, but his horses are way live and definitely worth following when racing resumes downstate on Friday. Imperial Council, mentioned here on Saturday, looked like he was on his way to victory that day at 20-1 before getting collared late by Hello Broadway, Barclay Tagg's half to Nobiz Like Shobiz. That cost me what would have been a meet-making Pick Three, as I threw out Lucky Island in the Forego because I totally knew he'd get pinched back and eliminated at the start. On Sunday, Receipt was well-bet in the 8th for Shug and rallied strongly for third, missing second (and an exacta for me) by a neck. And Vacation was a solid second at 5.90-1 in the Saranac.

Mani Bhavan (Storm Boot) went wire-to-wire at 7-10 in the Spinaway, but I'm not yet checking out the futures pool for her in the Juvie Fillies. She got her final furlong in a Curlin-like 14 1/5.

Well, it's closing day, and we, along with hundreds/thousands of others I'm sure, are packing up and cleaning out our little vacation home to turn back to its rightful owners. They actually showed up here unannounced yesterday under the guise of raking up all the apples that have fallen from the tree onto the driveway, but I think that was about as sincere as the Republicans pretending to care about Gustav. However, their home was in one piece, and Eileen always makes a good impression, so they went away happy. For now.

No advance handicapping for today's card as we've been very busy. This remains the key question of my handicapping - the matter of whether to spend hours studying in advance, or just winging it with the Form at the track. I just tend to get bored and distracted when I've already made most of my handicapping decisions, and I end up going off horses, second guessing myself, and getting discouraged if I have nothing exciting in mind coming up. On the other hand, I love the spontaneity of thinking on my feet, believe in the power of first impressions, and, besides, it worked just fine for me years ago. But then, I lack the edge I obtain on my competing horseplayers (as in, you guys!) - the little things like trips noticed on replays, horses coming out of key races (or not), or recent trainer trends that I'm not aware of offhand.

In any event, today I'm out of time and have no choice, so I'm running with it. Should be able to get the Head Chef and Eileen to hang for about eight races or so before they get edgy and want to leave. Funny, six weeks and hundreds of races have passed, but those eight races today, even without having looked at them, feel like an entire universe of opportunity at this moment early on Labor Day. It's that daily unbridled optimism that makes this game so irresistable, for horsemen and bettors alike. In any event, it's 1-5 that we're going to have a great day no matter what happens at the windows. Hope you have a good one too.


Anonymous said...

Those cooler bags looked like they could barely hold a sandwich.

Anonymous said...

So the republicans don't care about Gustav, but the Messiah Obama does-please, spare me the politics-your no handicapper and no politician.

Anonymous said...

P. Derby purse 1,000,000

winner: Anak Nakal

trainer: Nick P. Zito

win: $34.60

You have any snide remarks to make about the trainer here Alan. You seem to like and bash trainers such as Zito when they bring back a horse from the dead and score big upsets.

Anonymous said...

Noticed the same on Whitney weekend, the Sunday crowd seemed twice as large as the big race day.

The giveaways matter more than the horses nowadays.

I usually refrain from commenting about the "left" side of the blog, but the governors of every impacted state are Republican and you can bet they DO care about their constituents.

FEMA and everyone else have done a great job by all reports, much to the libs dismay. You know the KOS was rooting for hundreds of dead for political gain, small price to pay to get the the Chosen One elected.

Anonymous said...

now you all can see how Alan opens his BIG MOUTH and puts his big foot into it time and time again. What the heck was that all about referring to the Republicans and Gustav. Un-calleed for as so many things you come up with are un-called for, but your astute followers are afraid to say something to you when you step out of line. You might delete them from your forum. Now that guy is right when he tells you to stick those stupid hunch bets up your azz-hole no matter what the reason why they are posted here. They always say a persons true colors will always come out sooner or later. I've always known your true colors..............a hypocryte of the worst kind. Instead of looking at others look at yourself in the mirror dude. MORON statement,yes its not the first and won't be the last will it be right Alan.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree, Alan, you made yourself look like a fool. Most people read the RSS feed from the TBA to read about horseracing, not your leftist comments you put in. Also they don't know who the blog author is until they bring up the feed so they are not even going to your blog directly, it is all off the RSS feed of the tBA.

Gustav has come and went, a mere rainstorm with some breezy winds-egads, oh no, no disaster for Obama to blame anyone?

Anonymous said...


The Terrorist are getting their a$$ kicked,It's got to be tearing you apart.

Anonymous said...

how many of th above anon comments are the same person i would bet at least 7

Alan Mann said...

This is what John McCain was doing when Katrina hit New Orleans. To me, that shows his, and President Bush's, true colors when it comes to showing respect and compassion for the poor people of New Orleans. Now, I'm to believe that McCain cares so much that his campaign would suspend the convention and deliver his acceptance speech from the disaster area (now, thankfully, apparently not necessary)? Please. It was nothing more than an attempt to distract the nation from the miserable failure of the Bush Administration to deal with the disaster.

Of course, I did not mean to, and should not have implied that individual Republicans don't care about hurricane victims. But the idea of the GOP suddenly becoming the champions of the downtrodden is as blatantly cynical as the idea that it is now the champion of woman's rights because McCain hastily selected a supremely unqualified woman as his VP.

And again, if you are SO offended by my politics (and my displeasure with Nick Zito), please feel free to get your racing commentary from one of the plethora of alternate sources.

Anonymous said...

Anon 953 here, I made one comment only so you lose another wager anon 108 :)

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:53 here--I only made one comment too.

Alan--did you suspend your trip to Saratoga out of respect for the downtrodden

Anonymous said...

I was just going to post a simple comment noting that I missed a big Pick 4 with Imperial Council as well.

Unfortunately, then I read your snide remark. Sarah Palin has more executive experience than Biden and your glorified community activist (and he's running for President!).

I will take your advice and get my racing info elsewhere, I hope others do the same.

P.S. anyone from NY has to like Nick Zito!

Anonymous said...

Matt I'm not from NY and I happen to like Nick Zito. Class act in my opinion.

Alan you have gone to far with your snide comments. I will also take your advice and get my racing info elsewhere. Especially those dumb-ass hunch picks you place on this forum.