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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Legitimate Saratoga Notes

Colony Strike ($30.60) won the 8th for Pletcher, and no, that's not a typo on the win price.  Hard to believe any halfway-decent looking Toddster horse would go off at that price.  Whatsmore, this one had never been more than 8-5 in any of his four prior starts; and was 4-5 first time against winners - and first time on turf - in his last start!  That was at Delaware though, and this was his first start in NY.  So, despite the presence of Johnny V and running first time for a tag, he was completely ignored at the tote by the provincial betting crowd.

Out of the 27 winners (from 106 starters) the barn has had this meet - also including Coach AJ (a more typical $3.70) in the 7th - 12 have gone off at even money or less, and another eight less than 3-1.  Only one other had paid double digit odds.  Colony Strike was enough to get Pletcher's ROI up to almost even at $1.97 from $1.71 coming into the day.

Unfortunately, favored Bluember broke down and became the 4th racing fatality of the meet; 2nd in two days.  In the next race, Live For Today was pulled up and vanned off.  Best information I have on that one though is that he is merely lame.  Of course, in the NY Times database, based strictly on comments like "vanned off" in the results charts, those two horses would both count as the same.  It doesn't make a distinction for legitimate breakdowns.  [UPDATE:  Unfortunately, Live For Today goes in the legitimate category as well; trying to save him at Cornell.  HT to Teresa on that.]

In the 6th, Master Achievement ($10.80) shipped in from Monmouth for trainer David Fawkes and went an uncontested wire-to-wire for Ramon Dominguez, prompting the Form's David Grening to tweet:  In the 2nd division of the Clutch and Grab Handicap, Ramon walks the dog aboard Master Achievement.  Which prompted Andy Serling to reply: It is becoming absolutely ridiculous. That race was particularly absurd...there actually were 3 other potential speeds.  One of which was Knock Rock, who I had picked here, and had him in a cold double, paying more than $70, with a horse I got a tip from a buddy on in the preceding race.  I really liked him, though more so at the 10-1 he was at when I bet him to win with 2 MTP than the 6-1 he went off.  I was actually hoping he'd sit off the pace in this case, since he seemed comfortable closing wide last time out.  But Junior Alvarado, confronted with the sight of the mighty Ramon alone on the lead, seemed unsure of what to do without the pace help one might have expected from favored Kitten's Kid and Pyro City.  So he allowed Ramon to slow the pace down to 48.2 from a 23.3 opening quarter, and the rest was history.

These are the kind of races that used to prompt cries of "Boat race!" and fires in the garbage cans back at Roosevelt.  And a 48.2 isn't really too bad, we see turf races slowed up more than that, and not just by Ramon, as Joel Rosario did aboard Adjacent ($4.80) in the 4th.  That horse went 49.3, allowing him to then reel off quarters of 23.4 and 23 flat, in another race that seemed to include other potential pace horses.  They used to fine harness drivers for slowing down races too much (maybe they still do, not sure).

The aforementioned tipped horse was Bourbon Twist ($7.90), one of two first time starters in the 5th for Chad Brown, and actually the one that went off at higher odds despite getting slammed from 7-2 to 5-2 while the 2 yo NY-bred fillies were in the gate, I'm told.  Ramon was aboard this one too, but this was a huge wide move to pass the field around the turn before being eased up in the final sixteenth as much the best winner.  Bourbon Twist is by Langfuhr out of a Cozzene mare.  Favored The Lady Says Yes (y'know, the only kind of lady who could really get pregnant from a rape in Todd Akin's world), who followed behind the winner to complete the Chad Brown exacta, is by Scat Daddy out of a Strike the Gold mare.


Anonymous said...

'provencial' betting crowd.

A perfect description of the people in attendance.

Figless said...

Amazing how the same jockey colony can ride so differently on two different surfaces. On the engine on the dirt, as in the Alabama despite its ten furlongs, then they suddenly turn European on the turf, probably speaking to their mounts in fake Euro accents as the lollygag their way around the turf course.

Figless said...

"but this was a huge wide move to pass the field around the turn before being eased up in the final sixteenth as much the best winner."

Due to the term "eased" BT may show up in the Times data base as an "incident".

Anonymous said...

Btw, live for today did break a leg.

steve in nc said...

As in "Live for Today, for tomorrow we may break a leg."

Toddster had been an ohfer on these kind of dropdowns at the Spa. There was one that got caught late but placed a week or two ago. And once Colony Strike opened cold on the board, I think everyone presumed he's be the one vanned off and no one would touch him.

It was a weird race to try to handicap and I looked at the early tote, then just gave up on it and went back to work, but when I saw after the fact that he went from about 6-1 to 14-1, I was kicking myself. Been doing that a lot this meet. I might be better off with a broken leg. Van me off, Scottie! The Times needs a news hook!