4-9. Four winners on top [1st in a dead-heat, $3.20; 3rd, $3.20; 5th, $4.70; 6th, $9.40]. A generous mix of gimmicks all afternoon with two of or top three selections completing the exacta in five races -- including two cold exactas [5th, $14.00; also cold tri, $40.60; 6th, $19.80].
Plenty of activity in the winner's circle during the afternoon, with Curlin's connections receiving a key to the city after the 1st and a full-blown wedding taking place after the 3rd. The wedding was part of a season-long fan involvement promotion with fans picking the couple to be married from a group of interested entries -- as well as things like the rings, tuxedos, gowns, etc...
The ceremony itself was quite interesting with a large wedding party filing into the winner's circle sometime after the 3rd race -- accompanied by music from Sam the Bugler. Then there was a pause in the action in order to let the track maintenance crew do their job and drive by with the tractors -- otherwise the sound would have drowned out the wedding vows. About mid-ceremony the girl clanged the call to the post traditional bell -- much faster than she normally does it. I thought it was a nice touch -- a nice addition to the ceremony -- but someone pointed out, it was seventeen minutes to post! In other words -- the bell gets rung at its traditional time -- wedding or not! A solid crowd of 18,195 showed up for the twilight racing program. Interestingly, when I headed to the parking lot after the nightcap there were far more cars filing out than normal. For some reason the twilight crowd tends to stick around in far greater numbers for the entire race-card than the typical afternoon crowd does. Hmmm. Perhaps part of the explanation is that the later start time allows some people to skip out of work either towards the end of the day -- or perhaps even complete a full day at work -- and still make it to the track in time for a few races. In which case they stick around to the bitter end.
Weather-wise it was overcast all afternoon -- but the temps were comfortable. It wasn't until perhaps 9pm or so that it finally started to rain -- and even then it wasn't much more than a sustained sprinkle.
Final Stretch Music Fest takes place downtown. Music acts will be performing for free on Saratoga's main street, Broadway, from 7-11pm.
Terrific Storm...Owner took the title at the most recent Churchill meet and has his sights set on this one as well -- and therefore spots his runners to win.
Delta Sea...Seems to be on the improve since moving into Dutrow barn.
King Mobay...Clearly capable if able to repeat last -- but how often do they repeat at this level?
Offshore...It looks like there is some speed in this race and McGaughey runners tend to come late. Clunked in debut but wouldn't be shocked to see improvement here.
Storm Harbor...Clearly a danger on the Beyer numbers. Trainer looking for first career win however -- otherwise we might be tempted to use this one on top.
Sharif Al Medina...Vast improvement when shifted to turf.
Sol a Pino.
Rollers...Seems to have returned as an improved 3YO and we probably haven't seen his best yet.
Endless Circle...Finished second to a tiger in small NY-bred stake last time.
Benny the Waiter...Impressive wire job on this track last time.
Chief Talkeetna...Showed promise in first two starts -- then laid off a lo-o-o-o-ng time. Dropped suspiciously for comeback but won for fun and was claimed. Have to believe off of that effort that he'll fit here.
TJs Posse...Kind of similar to top pick in that he was racing well against better earlier in his short career. Off a long time and the comebacker was good.
Farleyshelonwheels...Dangerous on the drop off the claim for Dutrow.
Jamaludin...Been competitive against better in Chicago. Should go well here.
Moore Miles...Should be rolling late.
Fios...Beyers moving in the right direction.
French Action...Pletcher is pretty good with 2YOs debuting at two-turns on grass -- however there's not much breeding that attracts our attention, and the workouts aren't especially inspiring -- but there's really nothing else jumping off the page at us so we land here by default.
Western Fable...Debut looks like one to build upon.
Saarlandisourland...AE lister. Grass debut was OK.
The Cuff Shooter.
Don't You Linger.
August Rex...Blinkers. Lasix. Cutting back to a sprint. We'll look for a rebound to prior good form.
Sammarco...Good third in a G2 here last time.
Golden Weekend...Could be very interesting going turf-to-dirt.
Hello Broadway...Sib to the very talented Nobix Like Shobiz and we used another sib, Song of Love, as a 'best bet' on our internet show earlier this year, and that one scored for us. We'll keep it in the family and look for this guy to win first-out.
Big Flirt...Trainer seems to specialize in 2YO firsters.
Speed Limit...Nice debut, despite trouble.
Just a Coincidence.
NINTH RACE - Forego G1
Lucky Island...Would be undefeated except for a trouble trip last year. The one to beat if he brings his 'A' game.
Eternal Star...Very familiar with the winner's circle this year -- including a stake at this track last time.
Forefathers/Premium Wine...Both halves have enough talent to compete for the top spot here.
TENTH RACE - Woodward G1
Curlin...Reigning HOTY should be tough returning to dirt.
Out of Control...Could stalk and pounce down the stretch.
Divine Park...Last two have tabbed him as the real-deal -- but not sure he's going to get quite the pace set-up here as those races provided.
Come Close...A Sheppard Special for us earlier in the meet. We've never Specialized twice in the same meet with the same horse -- but this guy should still offer some value and we don't want to be on the sidelines if he repeats. Will need to step it up however.
Ground Hero...Nice third in a similar race last time -- and that was first off a layoff.
Transit of Venus.
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