Just around 30,000 on a perfect summer day at Saratoga. OK, the paddock bar is very cool as advertised, but I hate hate hate the new infield tote!
OK, so the picking up the Form on the way in and winging it thing didn't work on this day, at least as far as making money goes. But horse racing is sometimes called an 'action sport,' and I have tons of action when I'm doping out the races as the minutes tick down towards post time. I feel more engaged and alert, whereas, when I've handicapped extensively in advance, there's a lot of waiting and idle time; and I find that those days can start to drag. I'm less attuned to the tote, and less willing to deviate and go with a feeling. Whether or not that outweighs the advantages of extra information is hard for me to say.
I found my simulcasting options limited on Saturday because the Form had a lousy selection of tracks....I just don't understand sometimes what goes into the decision of what tracks will be published on what days. There doesn't seem much rhyme or reason, and it sometimes leaves out tracks that you would think more people would be more interested in. On Saturday for example, besides the tracks available in the cheaper edition (Monmouth and Del Mar), it had Suffolk, Finger Lakes, and Arlington. Good luck even finding TV's carrying those tracks. But, for Sunday, it has Calder, Laurel, Woodbine, and Arlington; now you're talking, should be an action-packed day...but why not on Saturday too?
Enough maiden races for you? Four more on Saturday, including an all nonwinners Pick Three from races 6-8. And no less than five of them on Sunday!
In the second, the two favorites, Exley and D'Sauvage went 21.4 and 45.3, and they were toast, it was painful to watch them flounder home; final quarter of 26.75 seconds. Private Rules ($19.60) picked up the pieces; the Head Chef liked him on the walk over to the track but didn't bet him for some reason. I tried to comfort her by telling her that the race had fallen apart, and the horse wasn't really that good. I don't think it worked.
In the third, Bulldogger ($4.30) won for Baffert, first time fast dirt track, but two-for-two at Saratoga. Interesting three-year old colt is a son of Dixie Union out of a mare by Tricky Creek (Clever Trick).
The 4th was an absolute tote move. Maid to Win, the 4-1 third choice in the ML, was bet on the nose in the win pool; at one point with about six minutes to go, when she and two others were all 5-2, she had less than half in her show pool than those two, and less than at least a couple of the others. Then, after drifting up to 3-1, she got slammed at the end and went off at 2=1 (second choice). Straight to the front after a stumble at the start, and home free with Castellano for trainer Dominick Galluscio.
5th race, the chart comment of the day:
NO RHYME OR REASON ($8) was positioned within striking distance along the outside soon after the start, sat well reserved under a good hold during the run around the bend, remained on hold, awaiting options nearing the quarter pole, was maneuvered over to an available seam in the vicinity of the three sixteenths pole, went through it, without need of cncouragement, en route to grabbing command, had the rider take on quick peek at the competitors behind, then was allowed to coast the remainder of the way under a mild hand ride.First timer More Than Real ($9.90) yet another first-out winner for the unconscious Chad Brown (his sixth), now 28-12-3-3 on the meeting. More Than Real is a two-year old son of More Than Ready out of a Dehere mare.
George Arnold is now three for ten at the meet; Hurricane Day ($21.40) was making his sixth start, at five different tracks.
And Telling ($22.60) got a brilliant, ground-saving trip from Garrett Gomez to win the Sword Dancer for the second year in a row. That's it, as you might be able to tell, I'm running out of time......time to get ready to head back to the races for Sunday. Best of luck and have a great day.