1-10. Another contentious card managed to stymie us a little. One winner on top (3rd, $4.60). Plus a few gimmicks with the picks -- as a trend of the first week continued when our top picks flip-flopped twice for exactas (4th, $14.20/$2; 7th, $11.20). Our top three boxed for tri's in the 8th ($61.00/$2) and 9th ($24.00).
The highlight of the day -- and perhaps the meet so far -- was clearly the battle in the G1 $250K Go For Wand. After a gate-scratch of Board Elligible we were left with a field of five -- and what a field. The 2002 HOTY. The 2002 2YO filly champ. And the pro-tem leader of the division. And the fans got all they could ask for as Azeri, Storm Flag Flying and Sightseek came around the far turn as the three who would decide the race. By the top of the stretch the gauntlet had been thrown and Azeri and Sightseek put on a ding-dong battle with Azeri pulling away in the last seventy yards as announcer Tom Durkin exclaimed, "Azeri is back in a big way!". And in one of those only at Saratoga moments -- the crowd burst into spontaneous applause as the champ came under the wire -- aware that they were witnessing a special performance.
Announced attendance was 50,122 -- but, of course, spinners inflated that number as Sunday was ballcap giveaway day. They enjoyed the big race as well as the unveiling of a nice 2YO filly from Biancone/Tabor in the 4th by the name of Sense of Style. Weather-wise it was sunny, hot and humid.
Spotted on-track were some soap stars who were participating in the Satin, Silks and Stars luncheon to benefit NY Special Olympics. Also on hand were a group of NHL stars, many of whom were spotted post-races at Siro's -- the most prominent being perhaps Adam Oates and The Hanson Brother (from the movie Slapshot).
Also spotted on-track Sunday was Louisville coach -- and horse owner -- Rick Pitino.
Clever Concorde...Looking for a big performance here dropping in for a tag. Prado rides.
Lake entry...Sparkling Blue has plenty of early foot. Cove Hill Missile always in the hunt.
Lady Stars...Looks to fit here and has good tactical speed.
Pomeranze...Little bit of a wild-card as this one was racing in Europe and the middle east -- and only US start was on turf. Was facing boys in some of those overseas starts and two back was in the UAE Oaks. Might be the one to beat dropping in for a tag.
Take Me There...Good try at this level last time.
Banker's Heiress...Should be rolling late.
Extent...Mott filly will probably have to juice up that Beyer number -- but second career start is where that kind of improvement can happen.
Paragon Queen...Hard to ignore the second behind Classic Elegance last time. That one looked like a monster taking the stake here opening day.
Balletto...Like the top pick is capable of moving forward in second career start.
Megascape...Trainer is solid first-time out.
Kat's Fairy Tale...Daughter of Tale of the Cat could be formidable.
Daylights End...Good debut and likely to improve nicely today as well.
Chopper Won...Third start of season. Comes out of good win in off-turf minor stake. Shown ability to get the trip.
Monkey Puzzle...Fits well with this bunch. Must get in from AE list.
Crete...Early speed can often be dangerous in these marathons.
On dirt: Bo Bos Vice, Chopper won, Mr Amano, Deputy Strike, Delta Sea.
Tiffany touch...Pletcher/Velasquez debut 2YO. 'Nuff said.
Kiki B...Brings in some nice works for this.
I'm Waiting...Expect a better try in second career start. Might add some value.
Save the Profit...Pletcher 3YO looks to lay over this field of NY-breds.
Shoahlihs Tale...Could be ready for nice effort in fourth start of 2004. Not too high on other half of entry, Fifty Three Cards.
Fiddlers Cat...AE lister improved on turf.
On dirt: Save the Profit, Big Feathers, Sicilian Boy, Red Down South.
EIGHTH RACE - G3 $100K Lake George
Venturi...Another Frankel/Gann private purchase and if you're not familiar with what that pair has picked up in the past, how about: You, Peace Rule and Medaglia d'Oro? Off since Sept but Frankel OK off the layoff, in fact solid in all pertinent stat areas. Connections look confident picking this spot for US debut while filly still eligible for conditions.
Lucifer's Stone...Local connections will certainly be hoping to get their picture taken today and this filly is legit. Will be in the hunt and could easily be in front at the end.
Seducer's Song...Clement filly has stepped it up on turf.
Deputy Squealie...Should be a little tighter today in second start of the year. Finished second in last two behind next-out winners.
Secret Forest...Nice debut. Shouldn't be a maiden for too long.
Unshuttered...Mott filly capable of showing up big today if she gained some maturity going from 2-3YO.
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