4-10. Four winners on top (3rd, $4.90; 7th, $3.40; 8th, $3.10; 9th, $3.40) on a chalky afternoon. The P6 paid $443.00/$2 -- however if you had five of six you got a whopping $8.60/$2 consolation. It was that kind of day. We had a cold $9.00/$2 exacta in the 3rd. Also, the cold exacta and tri in the Hopeful ($8.20/$2, $21.40/$2). There were a few more gimmicks using the picks as well -- but again, not much value.
Afleet Alex continued to look like something special as he ran down the talented Florida invader Devils Disciple in the G1 $250K Hopeful. And in the G1 $750K Alabama it was the "Giant Killer" Allen Jerkens doing it once again -- his Society Selection stretched to a mile and a quarter off her convincing win in the G1 Test on July 31, and she made her Spa record 3-3 by closing late to win. Pletcher's 3-5 fave Ashado disappointed by fading to third. Things after the Alabama seemed anti-climactic as it was the first time in memory that the feature race was run as the nightcap. Usually the celebration for the stakes win continues for awhile and folks have a chance to get-out with a least one more race. Saturday it was kind of "is that all there is", as live racing concluded with the Alabama. However, sitting in a front row box long after the Alabama was Bob Baffert. He and his NY "partner" Tonya Terranova (she was in the paddock legging up the jock on his Yearly Report for the Alabama, she ran fourth) hung around for an extra half-hour or so in order to watch the simulcast of the Del Mar Oaks on the monitor in their box. Baffert's Western Hemisphere lead early in that stake but faded late to finish sixth of seven.
Attendance was perhaps a little disappointing at 24,650. Perhaps it was the weather -- it rained overnight and continued into the morning, so that might have scared folks away. Certainly with two nice G1s on tap it was not the kind of crowd we've come to expect on a Saturday. By comparison last year's Alabama day attracted over 36K.
And by the way, although the weather was dismal in the morning, the crowd that did turn out was treated to a nice afternoon. The track was labeled sloppy all afternoon, and there was no turf racing, but there was no rain and the sun even poked through later on.
The post-race crowd at Siro's however was probably the biggest all season. Spotted amongst the revelers were the ESPN crew including Randy Moss and Jeannine Edwards.
Early word is that the 5th and 6th are off the turf.
Nice Saratoga pint glasses are being given away with each paid admission -- while supplies last. And of course it's the Saratoga debut of Funny Cide. Clearly attendance figures will be inflated with the giveaway -- but with the predicted nice weather and the hometown hero on-track the crowd will almost certainly dwarf Saturday's attendance.
Too Many bubbles...Let's forgive that race two back -- perhaps 7F is a bit too far for her. Also it was only her second start. The two that bookended that one were good and the jock switch is big.
Curly's Pride...Faded in latest but might be ready to return to prior form off the brief layoff.
Renamed...Cutback to sprint should help.
Connie's Magic...Loves the course and already has two god tries here this summer. Will get the trip and that's still a question mark for some of these.
Yankee Doodle Boy...Could wake-up on the drop but the 0-4 Spa record is a concern.
Toddler...Gill/Shuman team has been having a pretty good meet.
Dr Quirk...Second start for Violette and the guy is 25% with that stat.
Storm N Lightning...Pletcher is even better second time out.
Galloping Grocer...Going well in the morning and should be ready to roll.
Graceful Nancy...Zito's are typically a little better with one under their belts -- and note that this one ran into a real buzzsaw in her debut.
Buzz Song...Firster from Pletcher/Velasquez.
Hot Storm...Should improve off of first try.
Lord Louis...Comes in off of a decent try in Delaware alw.
Buckle down Ben...Must get in from AE list.
Wind in Your Face.
On dirt: Judge's Case, Buckle Down Ben, Dawn of the Condor, Mutamayyaz, Native Rhythm.
Dealer Choice...Expect Frankel's turfer appreciate move into alw ranks. Nice work for this on 8/9.
Charlevoix...Will try to take them all the way for Mott/Velasquez.
Fifth Edition...Like the improving form.
On dirt: Cherokee Rap, Garret's Gulch, Dealer Choice, Parker Run, Who Is Chris G.
Lasik...Decent try off the layoff. will be tough if able to improve at all off of that.
Say Hey Willie...Big win in debut despite poor start. Could prove tough -- but step from MSW to NW1 isn't always an easy one to accomplish in first try.
Funny Honey...Probably a little better than that last looks --- with the eleven length defeat. Front two ran away and this guy was still in front of nine others.
Vallonga...Could be another Sheppard Special for this meet. Off since putting in two nice tries in Germany in 2002. 8/18 work indicates he might be ready to surprise off of the extra long layoff.
Strategy...Regally bred filly from Phipps/McGaughey. Showing good, improving form. Turf is a question mark though.
What to Wear...Steady improvement this year and will be a contender here.
Winlocs Glory Days.
On dirt: Strategy, Guide, Tigi, Deputy Squealie.
NINTH RACE -- Saratoga BC H'cp G2 $250K
Funny Cide...Fits well with this bunch.
Bowman's Band...Hard-knocker in grade stakes trained by Allen Jerkens.
Sarava...Has returned to competitive numbers in his last couple.
Caught in the Act...Two Sheppard Specials on one program? PP line for this guy's debut is sure to allow for some nice odds today -- but I like the set-up.
Stunning Image...Showing good improving form over last few.
Runaway Eleanor...Those last two were dull and that's a concern -- but if able to rebound to prior form this one should be tough.
Leaveminthedust...Nice work on 8/11 might indicate this one is going to take to the lawn.
On dirt; Tap'n Tango, Our Rite of Spring, Madison Meadows, Topiary, Leaveminthedust, Unshuttered.
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