5-9. OK, this is more like it! Five winners on top (2nd, $4.30; 3rd, 3.90; 4th, 6.30; 5th, 4.00; 9th, 4.40). The string of four consecutive winner in races 2-3-4-5 meant cold P3's in races 2-3-4 ($47.60/$2) and 3-4-5 ($64.50/$2). We also had a trend develpo through races 2-3-4 when our top picked bested our third selection in each of those races for the exacta (2nd, $11.80/$2; 3rd, $15.00; 4th, $27.80). Plus there were a few other minor gimmicks on the afternoon with the picks in various positions.
On-track 19,569 turned out for a nice day weather-wise. Sunny and warm with some humidity. The crowd got to see a nice 2YO NY-bred debut when Caribbean Cruiser shipped in from Finger Lakes to take the 4th in a solid effort.
Off-track the highlight of the evening was, of course, the Hat's Off music festival downtown. The warm weather of the day continued and it was a perfect summer night for strolling down Broadway to listen to the various performers. Over by the post office Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers had the crowd cranked up for a good time. And down on Caroline Street it was Big Medicine putting on one of the better shows of the event. When the music ended at 11pm the fun continued as the typical throng of racing season fun-seekers bar-hopped along the Broadway - Caroline Street - Maple Ave circuit. Outdoor patios were the choice for many. Spotted relaxing at a patio table at Gaffney's was actor Peter Barton (TVs Sunset Beach and Burke's Law) -- a regular Spa visitor each racing season.
Hat's Off Weekend continues with hat contests during today's card. The categories are Fashionably Saratoga, Uniquely Saratoga, and Kreative Kids, and judging will take place after the second, third and fourth races on the track apron, in front of the Grandstand.
Also, fans can check out a special exhibit in the backyard which will examine the impact of current and emerging technologies on the equine industry, and investigate the impact that future technology may have on the sport. The 3-day exhibit will serve as a prelude to the first-ever Horse Technology conference and expo on August 3 and 4 at the Saratoga City Center.
And the Hat's Off music festival continues tonight along Broadway with free acts performing up and down the street from 7-11pm. Judging by Friday's fun a good time was had by all and a couple of the groups to catch are Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers across from City Hall, and Big Medicine at the bottom of Caroline Street.
A very contentious card this afternoon. It makes picking winners tough -- but there should be plenty of value on the board.
Two G1 stakes on tap today. Both the Diana and the Test can be seen on ESPN2 at 4pm ET if you can't make it to the track.
Shuman/Gill entry...This team has dominated at certain meets over the past couple of years -- and they've bombed at others. Off to a good start at Saratoga so we'll give the nod to either Alarm the CEO or Smile My Lord.
Cozy Man...Won against slightly cheaper last time but looks capable of competing here.
Mighty David...On the other hand this one has been banging heads against better and as such might have license to boss these.
Ocotillo...Experience counts, and while you don't like to see too much experience these events, this one is unlucky to still be a maiden after a couple of near-misses in last two.
Commentator...Same sire as Funny Cide and he's pretty good with firsters.
French Horn...Might have bounced a little off of big number debut. Off a couple of months and should be ready to get back to that effort.
Dutrow entry...Certainly be interesting if Upturn comes back after tough opening day DQ. If not Gallant Sir looks capable as well.
Grendel...In good form in two spring/summer starts.
Ground Storm...Solid performer from Mott/Bailey drops in for $75K tag and would be no surprise.
Wild About Jon...Decent debut and trainer has an eye-popping 35% stat second-time out.
Belarion...Big improvement in second start -- and note it was behind talent Lukas 2YO Consolidator.
Pletcher entry...Trainer and connections of both More Than Somewhat/Proud Accolade well meant first-out.
Keesler...AE lister was running very well against open company in Ky and N'Orleans. Tough if gets in.
Funny Honey...Broke maiden here last summer and then connections were confident enough try into G1 Matron. In behind a couple of next-out winners in last two.
Royal Mast...Broke maiden against open company in NJ and then ran well in similar event last time.
Miguel Cervantes...Brit-invader knocked heads with some pretty tough Euros. Has experience over soft going.
Celtic Memories...Going well in 2004 -- but might have to contend with rail horse early.
Kennel Up...Expect this one to be rolling late.
Sir Walter Rahy.
On dirt: Tales of Glory, Thunder Touch, Massoud, Count On The Tuna.
SEVENTH RACE - Diana H'cp G1 $500K
Intercontinental...Frankel filly undefeated since arriving stateside. Tough.
Ocean Drive...Super solid competitor so far this year.
Wonder Again...Seems to have rebounded to top form.
On dirt: Nevermore, Spice Island, Halory Leigh, Buy the Sport, Alchemist.
EIGHTH RACE - Test G1 $250K
Dazzle Me...Looked very impressive winning stake on big sprint day card at Calder last time.
Elusive diva...SoCal invaders are always worth a long look.
Society Selection...Won debut here last year and cutback to sprint might wake her up.
Saratoga County...Behind Fire Slam and Medallist in last two. Drops into NW2 after six straight graded stakes. Scored over this track in '03.
Wildly...Third start of 2004 off of two improving efforts.
Willy o'the Valley...Solid so far. Should be in the hunt.
Pericles...Pletcher 3YO might have bounced a little last time. A repeat of 2004 debut effort makes him tough.
Best to Be King...Frankel sports very strong stat first-time in his barn which makes this one scary.
Storm Legacy...Showing nice improvement since spring.
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