Pricci's Saratoga Diary
For the next 40 days of New York racing, Executive Editor John Pricci will provide his insights on all things Saratoga for the 35th consecutive year in his original "Saratoga Diary." It debuted in 1977, the year Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown and Jatski was placed first in the Travers Stakes following the disqualification of Run Dusty Run. So keep up with the cold exactas, hot issues, and build your own stable of live horses, all from John's unique perspective, exclusively at

Friday, July 29, 2011

Raison to Celebrate

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 29, 2010--Happy 58th Bill Mott. Couldn’t you win a race on your birthday for the 13th time with the horse I bet?

And to think Friday the 13th--I put the two together, Friday and the 13th--is supposed to be lucky for people of Italian persuasion.

Thought I had the right horse, too. Raison D’etat, the literal meaning from the French, "reason of state, " pertains to the vital interest of a nation which justifies taking action to protect it.

Sounds suspiciously akin to not allowing said country default on its debts. Well, "Reason of State lost," just like the country today, thanks to the morons who put the new me-first-and-only Representatives in office last year.

The country probably will have to wait until Monday to get even; I thought I had to wait until Saturday. If not, there are 14 on the Haskell card Sunday at Monmouth, including seven supporting stakes.

As for Raison D’etat, the regally bred 3-year-old by A. P. Indy, from the great Sightseek, still has things to learn. He’s such a heavy headed guy.

Felt bad for Eddie Castro who needed to hustle him into the first turn to get position in the day’s featured Curlin Stakes and had to stay after him on the backside, too.

Approaching the five-sixteenths pole, Castro really had to hustle, push hard, throw crosses, anything to get close to Turbo Compressor, who inexplicably was left all alone on the lead is very, very soft fractions for this class.

In midstretch, Javier Castellano gave the leader plenty of reminding to keep going and it appeared Raison D’etat was inching closer, but then he started to lug in from apparent greenness and the dance was over.

Actually, it was a good effort from a horse moving from the maiden ranks into open company while trying two turns for the first turn. He belongs on everyone’s horses to watch list, but not if he comes back in the Travers.

Yesterday’s race was to determine whether they would go after the big game at the end of the meeting. Common sense is likely to prevail, however, and preliminary allowances looks like the prudent way to go.

Photos Do Balance Out

It’s one of the game’s oldest clichés, that the photos, just like the disqualifications, balance out over time. I’ll bet right now that anyone I ask will say it’s 70-30...the wrong way.

I’m living proof that every so often one does go your way. The race after the Curlin was a perfect race to fool around for a few dollars; $20,000 restricted claimers sprinting 5-½ furlongs on the turf.

Long story short, Rakehellish had interesting dope. He swooped very wide from far back to break maiden going long vs. $32,000 claimers at Tampa Bay. From there, the waters got deep as the outfit tried open preliminary allowance company.

Well, instead of using the same tactics that resulted in victory, Rakehellish was rushed off his feet under a new rider, opened up six lengths between calls, and stopped, beating only one of eight rivals.

So now he shows up in all places at Saratoga, with a new trainer, John Morrison, who has a knack with new acquisitions.

Further, Morrison reached out for Jose Espinoza who, in the last two months, finished in the money eight of nine times for the trainer, with one win. At double digit odds, he was a viable in the money key.

So we keyed him first and second in exactas with three logical suspects, including the winner…and here he comes down the center of the course and Espinoza blows his stick.

He’s coming…he’s coming…photo finish. I thought he failed to get up when I watched the race live. I watched the replay and didn’t see it any different. Damn!

“Number six, Rakehellish, finished second, Valuable Lady was third and Frazzie was fourth,” said Mr. Durkin. I’ll gladly hold all tickets my tickets until the race is declared official.

Bang! The old 8-6 exacta returned $133.

The game will be easy until 1 p.m. Saturday, when the blood-letting begins anew.

Gettin Ready

Met Mile winner Tizway had his final serious for next Saturday’s Whitney, going five furlongs over the Oklahoma training track in 1:00.23. Trainer Jim Bond was seen smiling.

“Perfect,” said H. James Bond of the 6-year-old. “He went five-eighths in a minute and galloped out in 1:13 and a couple. I had another horse press him the last quarter-mile just like I did before the Met. He came home in 23 flat.

Lined up against him, at the moment, anyway, are Apart, Duke of Mischief, Flat Out, Friend Or Foe, Giant Oak, Headache, Mission Impazible, Morning Line, Rail Trip, and Rodman.

Written by John Pricci

Comments (2)

Page 1 of 1 pages