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Here's a sample of some of the headlines that were featured Thursday
>>> Jock John Velazquez breaks Spa record for wins in a meet, "I'd like to win 10 more by the end of the meeting."
>>> Can you hear me now?... Brit Jockeys to sue over cell phone ban
>>> Brit jock Murtaugh's recent problems raise the 'weight issue' again... "Huge changes have been made to training and feeding racehorses; about jockeys things have moved hardly at all."
>>> Better than a savings account?... Illinois bettor makes 10% in 1:11 with $194K show wager on Lovethatlegend
And our Coast-to-Coast picks and plays for major weekend stakes races will return in September.
YOU ARE THERE Check out the new YOU ARE THERE feature. We bring you the action, both on-track and off, for the entire Saratoga race meet.
4-11. A nice mix of winners and gimmicks -- particularly early on the card.
Winners in the 1st (9.20), 3rd (6.30), 4th (5.20) and 6th (7.40). In the 3rd we had the exacta cold ($41.20/$2). Our fourth pick in that race completed the very nice $455.00 tri. In the next race our top three picks came in cold for both the exacta ($18.00; quinella, $11.80) and tri ($110.50). There were a few more minor gimmicks on the day but those two races could've filled the pocketbook nicely...
On-track, 68,029 went through the turnstiles. Of course many went through multiple times in order to grab extra Funny Cide T-shirts, the Sunday giveaway item. The weather continued to cooperate -- it was sunny with comfortable temps.
This is it! Day 36. The final day of the 2003 Saratoga meet. And truthfully the card offers at least a couple disappointments. The feature race is a nice grass stake for 3YOs -- and it drew a head-scratchingly short field. These types of races typically fill, so it's disappointing that we're ending the Spa stakes schedule with only five betting interests. And the last race on the last card of 2003 is so incredibly bad that NYRA should step up to the plate and admit making a mistake in offering it. I'm sure they were looking to end with a full field -- but this maiden state-bred turf race is just simply the worst race of the meet and it's no way to end the season.
Note that rain has hit the area in the early morning hours and some of the turf events will likely be switched...
Early word is that races 1, 2, 4 and 11 are off the turf.
Showdown...Looks in-form coming out of a win in a similar event last time.
Nolimosforyou...Cutback in trip should help.
Shining Rock...Off for awhile but looks to fit at this level.
On dirt: Sawdust, North Broad, Frisco Johnny, Singasongforme.
Counter Punch...Ran a decent third in turf debut. Winner of that race came back to run well again this week. Should give a good try with the experience under belt.
Vanity Affair...Looked god in first two turf races and then faltered last time. We'll give another chance.
Crazy Song...Just missed last time -- might rate higher except low percentage for connections all around.
On dirt: Saint Waki, Seafaring Man, Texarkana, Hot Soup.
Navesink River...In a wide-open 2YO MSW we'll go with the powerful Velazquez/Pletcher team.
Grand Score...High-priced yearling buy is showing some nice works.
Academy...Trainer is solid with the freshmen. Bailey rides.
Spectaculaireontap...Very little confidence in a runner that is winless in two years -- but looks best of a bad lot.
Riotous Miss...Gave a good try last time at this level.
Mom's Dream...Wired 'em three back in a similar event.
On dirt: Cupasoup, Jacquie Rose, Mom's Dream, Skyladywalker, Dixie Doree, K Squared.
Drawing A Blank...Won here on 7/30 then nosed in follow-up. In sharp form and should go well again.
Dynamite Miss...Positive jock change and has been running well for awhile now.
Fast Cookie...A nose in front of Dynamite Miss last time. Capable of throwing in a good one.
Belong To Sea.
Millenium Ghost...Horse that beat him by a neck for the place spot last time is in today's stake. Has been going well all year, just can't get into the winner's circle. Might get it done today.
Coincide...Funny Cide's half-bro is usually competitive but also has trouble winning.
Sitcom...Sheppard/Augustin winner ships in from Delaware for this closing day race...Is that a hint of intent?
Fast Train...Comes in with a decent resume in three starts.
Q One...Jerkens shoots at 30% with second-time runners. Might add some value here.
Irish Quality...Another that should improve in second try.
Dynaruler...Improving. Working well. Looks ready to graduate here.
Eavesdropper...Mott got four nice dirt tries into this million-dollar yearling buy. Should have a good bottom of experience and be ready for the move to two-turn and turf. Bailey rides.
Flaming springs...AE lister Is eligible to compete here but trainer is low percentage and on an oh-fer this meet.
Seeking Diamonds...Taking a shot here as a couple others look tough -- but there's plenty of speed amongst those. We'll hope that the speedballs duel each other into submission and this guy can pick up the pieces late.
Doctor Jalili...Three nice wins for this one -- but last two were against NY-breds and this bunch might offer a little more competition early. We'll see today how he handles that.
Admiralty Arch...Seldom runs a bad one and can sit just off the early pace and get first jump.
Urban King...Wonder if Aldebaran's Sunday win indicated a return to form for the Frankel juggernaut...Been competitive in three US tries and gets Bailey today.
Five Eighty Four...Should be rolling late.
Shoal Water...Second to the very good Wando last time.
And in an utterly embarrassing race for NYRA to end the Saratoga meet with...
Pixel...Looked horrible in dirt debut. However, if you throw that completely out and just look at the recent turf works she looks OK.
Marked For Ransom...Debut was OK. Last wasn't so good. Who knows?
Red Down South...Two turf starts were OK.
Watral Dixie Ridge.
On dirt: Marked For Ransom, Watral Dixie Ridge, Red Down South, True Patriot, Pixel.
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