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Monday, September 06, 2010

No Winners, Perfect Day

The high-speed internet at the Holiday Inn Express in Solana Beach that we're staying at went on the fritz on Saturday, so, as stoked as I was about a great day at Del Mar, I was unable to post until this time. No, I did not hit the Pick Six; and, in fact, I didn't cash a ticket. Nonetheless, it was a glorious afternoon, the kind I need from time to time to reaffirm my love for the game. Too many days at Aqueduct and in the cavernous emptiness of Belmont can get a guy down after a while, especially given the bleak backdrop of off-track events which has dominated in New York for most of the year. Even the two days spent earlier at Saratoga didn't really help. Perhaps I just needed the change of scenery. Or the Pacific Ocean air. Or maybe a little Polytrack.

For whatever reason, everything seemed perfect. Well, except the results of course. But that's OK.

There's always a special buzz at Del Mar which radiates from the paddock area which serves as the center of all the attention. On this day, the buzz had a particular edge with the huge Pick Six pool up for grabs (though it turned out to be around $5 million, not the $6.5 million that Trevor Denman was raving about at the track i stand corrected). Del Mar is one of those tracks, like Keeneland and the old Gulfstream, where it seems like everyone is totally into the races, unlike at certain other tracks. It makes for a great atmosphere, and lends each and every race, whether a stakes or maiden claimer, an air of anticipation and importance.

It also didn't hurt that the sun, having hidden behind a particularly stubborn marine layer since we got here on Friday morning, emerged triumphantly for the last few races, bathing the place in golden rays of sunshine and hope.

The Head Chef dropped me off there on this day and went shopping; talk about each of us left to our own devices! She implored me to bet the Pick Six, and I had to explain to her that it's too rich of a bet for my budget; at least if I play it seriously enough to justify the expenditure in my mind. The funny thing is that, even with a minimal investment using a maximum of two horses in each race, there's no doubt I would have still been in it after four races....maybe even five, since Details R Sketchy was one of several I used in the late Pick Three. Wouldn't have had the 10th race winner in my top two choices; but she was certainly logical off her last race. I had written "may be overbet" during my pre-card handicapping, and that certainly wasn't the case.

However, just because I would/could have been alive through four races of the Pick Six doesn't mean I had any luck betting the races individually. In the 6th race for example, for Pick Six-on-a-budget purposes, Baffert's May Day Rose would surely have served as a single...probably without too much thought. But approaching the race on its own (and having probably spent too much time looking at it), I saw a two-year old filly who blew a three-length lead in the stretch at even money against four others. So I tried unsuccessfully to beat her instead. Being the second leg of the Pick Six, with the strong second choice having won the first, it was certainly a popular - and loud - result.

I did have Tell a Kelly ($11.20) as a single in the G1 Debutante in the aforementioned late Pick Threes which died in the 10th. This juvenile daughter of Tapit, a stallion name we're sure hearing a lot these days, absolutely exploded in the stretch and won going away in her third career race, and first against winners, for trainer John Sadler. Her solid final furlong of 12.36 seconds was a full 4/5ths of a second faster than anyone else's, so no wonder it looked like she was the only one running! She's headed for the Breeders Cup, where she'll have to answer all the surface questions.

Saturday was my big track day on this rather abbreviated and impromptu trip. We spent Sunday at the Torrey Pines State Reserve, hiking up and down the mountain, and settling in at the beach. Oh man, I have tons of photos like this...wanna see them all? No?

Well, OK, but maybe another time. I will have a chance to get even on Labor Day before we hop the redeye back to town.

On Sunday night, we went to Belly Up, "voted San Diego's best live music venue" and right here in Solana Beach, to see Titus Andronicus, here on tour from their home in New Jersey, and opening on this night for Free Energy, a wimpy pop band from Minneapolis. Titus Andronicus headlined this bill recently at Maxwell's in Hoboken, and will do so again at Webster Hall in Manhattan later this month; but here on the left coast they played second fiddle. We didn't stay for Free Energy, but I can't imagine they were equal to the intensity, emotion, and raw power of Titus Andronicus, whose album The Monitor is out to much well-deserved critical acclaim on XL Recordings. They just rocked the house...it was an awesome show.

And they played this song, which seemed to be directed quite mockingly at me.... appropriately so I imagine given my recent woes at racetracks. On both coasts.

15 Comments:

DiscreetPicks said...

You went all the way to Del Mar just so you could pass on seeing Twirling Candy?

alan said...

Had to make compromises to keep the Head Chef happy, y'know...

Anonymous said...

"No Winners, Perfect Day"

Am I reading that right?

Anonymous said...

No winners, huh? It makes perfect sense! Glad to hear you felt very, very comfortable in as shallow a place as California and a track as synthetic as Del Mar, where everything is an illusion for something else. No substance, it's all appearance. I sincerely hope you get over your illness.

Dirty said...

Anon. You're a complete jackass. Have fun with your ny bred mules.

On a serious note, we could all make real money if exchange wagering was here and Alan posted his picks early. Nice guy, but an overthinker and easy fade.

Anonymous said...

Alan had to fly to Cali.so he could get a better takeout than New York.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather bet on snails racing on a driveway than anything running on polycrap.

steve in nc said...

A big upgrade in the quality of heckling.

But as one who hardly ever gets to go to a racetrack, I do understand what Alan's saying. If I play via internet, phone & Dish Network, when I lose, I feel empty.

When I get to go in person and can smell the horseshit (the real kind, not the political kind), then it's fun win or lose. And when I get to experience a new boutique track, that's even more fun. I'll admit that winning does increase the fun exponentially.

jk said...

Here is some horse shit of the political kind........

http://tinyurl.com/2amfto8

Paterson: Cut the craps, DiNap
'Inept' on Big A: gov

By FREDRIC U. DICKER and BRENDAN SCOTT Post Correspondents

Last Updated: 11:29 AM, September 7, 2010

Posted: 3:20 AM, September 7, 2010

ALBANY -- An irate Paterson administration is blasting Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's "inept operation" for stalling the Aqueduct casino project, a source close to the governor told The Post.

Anonymous said...

The pick 6 pool was $6.5 million. The fans bet $5.059 mil and they added in the carryover of $1.597 mil. There is your $6.5 mil.

alan said...

^^Thanks, sorry for the error.

Anonymous said...

Alan, looks like fun to me, at least for a week-end. But do the Del Mar fans talk, and obsess, about nothing but the races at breakfast, lunch and dinner (as they do at Saratoga) and on the beach at Del Mar after? Doesn't that short, sunny So California attention span kick in quickly? /S/greenmtnpunter

alan said...

^^No, around town...in restaurants, on the beach, you do not hear much talk at all about the track. Saw one guy on the beach (besides) me reading the Form. Unlike Saratoga, it's not the only thing going on. Much more talk about the surf. But at the track itself, everyone is focused on the racing, especially in the clubhouse. It's a real hoot just standing around the paddock there and listening to all the conversations.

Anonymous said...

As Alan has observed, somewhat disapprovingly, the Saratoga paddock and backyard are much more venues for socializing against the backdrop of the races. Many people go to The Spa chiefly for the racetrack-country fair- city-in-the-country ambience. I must confess that this is the main attraction for me, too, as I find myself out back visiting with friends more than I visit the windows. /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

Odds on DiNapoli approving Genting deal, be it by Tuesday or not, I say is 20-1. If he's looking at the bidding process as the press suggests, too many unanswered questions to pass this team, one that showed up last minute willing to do all the things that the experienced bidders wouldn't do.