3-9. So far, through the first three days, we've really been on a roll during the early part of the card. Three winners on top yesterday -- in the first five races (2nd, $9.50; 3rd, $6.70; 5th, $6.20). The highlight of the day had to be our calls in the 2nd which produced a very nice cold exacta ($70.50/$2) and cold tri ($237.50) -- as well as, of course, the quinella ($33.60). And in the 7th we were surprised by the very generous exacta with our top two flip-flipped ($45.60). With a super chalky favorite underneath we were very pleased with that return. And there was the usual assortment of other gimmicks and 'picks' available with the appropriate use of Thursday's selections.
On-track, 19707 (up about 140 from 2004) enjoyed another great day. The weather was sunny and warm. Jocks Prado and Velazquez each picked up a couple of wins, with Johnny V taking the day's feature, the G3 Lake George with Ready's Gal for trainer Pletcher, who also chalked up a double on the afternoon. It was a nice rail-skimming ride that got the job done.
Off-track, as usual on the opening Friday of the meet the Hat's Off music festival took place downtown. Musical acts performed at locations up and down the town's main street, Broadway. Thousands of people enjoyed the fabulous summer evening weather and crammed the sidewalks, strolling from one act to another until late in the evening. Spotted amongst the crowd was ESPN's Kenny Mayne and a camera crew of two. That would lead us to believe that you'll be able to see a little bit of the fun during this afternoon's ESPN broadcast (4pm ET).
And it appeared as though a good crowd headed to SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) to take in Friday night's performance by Crosby, Stills and Nash.
TV Alert: ESPN, 4pm ET, coverage of the Jim Dandy and Diana.
The annual hat contest takes place today with categories of Spirit of Saratoga, Most Fashionable, and Kreative Kids. Always fun to watch. Judging typically takes place in front of the grandstand in between some of the earlier races on the card.
And downtown it's Night Two of the Hat's Off music festival. Performers kick off at about 7pm.
Unnervng...Looks to have perhaps returned as an improved 4YO.
Continental Reins...Another that has looked better since coming back from layoff. Broke maiden two back and then got good education at this level last time.
Pletcher entry...Both Legendary Squire and Storm N Lightning have put forth their best efforts on grass.
Saratoga View...Trainer known for getting 2YOs ready for Saratoga. And while this guy is a sophomore the scenario is much the same.
Major Deegan...Has been in the hunt since early spring.
Christian X...Makes second start of 2005 and seasonal debut was a good one to build on.
Yolanda B Too...As mentioned in previous race -- trainer has the freshmen ready for the Spa.
My Friend CZ...Promising debut. Lets look for some improvement off of that try -- while tossing the dull thud over the 'sealed' track in latest.
Darley entry...Both halves (Votecatcher/Spun Silk) look capable of being heard from here.
Confederation...Has been progressing nicely and last was best yet. Pletcher/Velazquez.
Awesome Twist...Seems like they were a little ambitious in the Lone Star Derby. Should appreciate return to alw company.
Freedom Isnt Free...Stretched out last time and got some experience at this level.
Kilimanjaro...Sold at Keeneland last fall for $125K -- then turned over for $400K at 2YO sale in February. Always like these expensive 2YO sale youngsters going out for connections that look for precocious runners.
Private Vow...Solid debut in Kentucky and Asmussen is good with second-time out starters.
Pletcher entry...Tahoe Warrior should improve off of troubled debut. Sixteen Gauge can go well for good first-out trainer.
Winner...Broke maiden decisively then stretched out for first try against winners. Should benefit with that experience under belt and will like cutback to 6F.
New Dimension...Nice steady improvement shown.
Ever Elusive...$1 mil yearling purchase in 2003, made belated debut in June at Monmouth. Won that one at 6-5 then followed up by getting nipped late at 1-5. Hmmm.
SEVENTH RACE - DIANA G1 $500K
Sand Springs...A very tenuous selection as we don't think this is her best trip. BUT -she comes in at the top of her game and we just don't see anyone else challenging her early. If Johnny V can sneak away and set a reasonable pace she should be tough to catch late.
Film Maker...Will be rolling late.
Wonder Again...Defending champ in this race would prefer it soft -- but makes third start of 2005 and first two were good tries over 'firm' ground.
Desert Breeze...Sometimes they need a start at this NW1 level and this one got that last time.
Last Samurai...Getting the hang of it.
Spanish Mission...Seems to be rounding into good 3YO form.
NINTH RACE - Jim Dandy G2 $500K
Noble Causeway...Looked like something special in Florida this winter -- then faltered in Ky Derby and Preakness. Really never got in the hunt in either of those races so we're willing to toss. Has been off since Preakness but don't forget that trainer Zito won Travers with Birdstone off layoff since Belmont. We'll find out today if this horse really has it -- or was just working a horse-for-course angle earlier at Gulfstream.
Flower Alley...Has proven to be the real deal in graded stakes company and should be the one to beat.
Andromeda's Hero...Another of the promising bullets in the Zito holster leading into the Ky Derby this year. Faltered in the big race but has been pretty consistently in the hunt otherwise.
Forget the Judge...Can't let a potential Sheppard Special slip by. Must get in off AEs.
Nose The Trade...Was competing pretty successfully in small SoCal stakes last year. Looks like they wanted to shake things up a little and he might get a nice wake-up with drop in for tag and move to turf.
Matzoh Toga...Trainer off to a nice start at the meet and this one should be heard from if able to build on latest at Monmouth.
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