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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 HorseRaceInsider.com.
 

Friday, September 04, 2009


All’s Well That Ends


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, September 4, 2009--

7:04 PM: My superfecta finished 1-2-4-5. Of course.

My colleagues mythical Pick 6? He had both horses in the win photo, with the $88,000 ticket nipping the $111,000 ticket at the line.

“The photo wouldn’t have mattered. At that point, it’s how much the government would take out, anyway.

“Besides, I liked this one. Heard Gary Sciacca’s been getting on him in the mornings himself.”

If there’s a tougher, more exasperating way to make an easy living, I’m not sure what it is.

Got to go. In addition to the Woodward, there’s 11 other opportunities. Too bad a day has but 24 hours.

6:58 PM: Can’t beat Linda Rice in a turf sprint. Where have I heard that before? Actually, I used the second and third fillies, at 5-1 and 6-1 respectively, and with Linda’s Thoroughly Holy on top ($4.90), the trifecta returned $107 in the penultimate leg.

Not a bad saver, but nothing close had Linsalata been able to catch Thoroughly Holy. But you can’t beat Linda Rice in a turf sprint.

A colleague filled out a max ticket to win the sequence. Can’t understand why he didn’t invest the $5,120.

Piker!

Anyway, he invested $64 instead. He is not alive. The $5,000 ticket would be alive to the 4,5,6,7 worth, respectively, $111,000, 104,000, 34,000 and 88,000.

Well, we know which horses he’s rooting against. I would only be alive for four. I’ll try to catch another Dime Super windfall.

6:05 PM: First, a correction, and I guess I’m glad I’m not alive. I transposed the wrong numbers from the seventh race, meaning to use 5 and 6, not 5 and 7. No harm since we didn’t go on record with our ticket until the betting was closed.

So, we’re weren’t alive in the Pick 6, but did manage a saver exacta, keying FRA horse, Belle Allure, who cam flying through the straight but failed to pick up Leamington who led throughout.

Speed held again on the inner turf, a theme this week, and the Motion/Rose team continue to do good things.

There’s no way any respectable wise guy who made a decent investment is not alive in a total pool worth nearly $2,460,000. That’s the carryover, plus $1,823,550 wagered today from around the country.

5:30 PM Figure that all major tickets are still alive. That’s because Linda Rice won a turf race with a maiden, albeit one going long, and it was the other firster, Gitchee Goomie, by the shores of Saratoga Lake, who led her stablemate In Te Domine home under the wire.

First-timer Pearl River raced towards the rear throughout, rallied between horses on the turn and into the stretch, but probably was too confused through the straight and got out kicked late. David Donk newcomer should benefit from the effort; follow back to Belmont.

My $18 investment in the late Pick 4 is as dead as my Pick 6 ticket, having singled Pearl River. Let’s see if there’s more aggravation in store, as, now, my late Pick 3 would look like 5,7/1,2,7/5,9,10.

5:07 PM In my fifth race wagers, I keyed Valtrus and Tiger Woodman in exactas and trifectas with Ballast and Big Jerome.

Classic Campaign, which I didn’t use anywhere on the ticket, got up in the final strides to nail Big Jerome’s coupled mate, I’m Only Laughing, as Tiger Woodman came from last to finish a fast-closing third.

My saver exactas running 2-3, I lost.

Thank the racing gods!

Well, that’s how the Pick 6, with its life-changing potential, can alter sound judgment and pragmatism.

Favorite Valtrus was awful. Two legs in. A good-thing first-timer and the money showed. It was a use on major-sized tickets.

So was the second leg’s Classic Campaign, a Mott trainee whose half-mile work in :46 4/5 was fastest of 56 older horses to work that week. Major tickets had this one, too.

I turned the page almost an hour ago.

4:36 PM I lied, because I have lost my mind. The last trim I made from my play was to eliminate the winning first-timer in the opening leg.

Only because I remember Lovely Lil’s mom. How About Now, who broke her maiden here by a short pole and, if I’m not mistaken, finished second as a maiden in, I think, the Spinaway

Stupid, really. Mike Hushion’s having some kind of meet, he named Garcia, and owner Barry K. Schwartz, former NYRA chairman, is not adverse to making a punch.

And, I would think, on the offspring of a filly he raced so successfully.

The favorite, my single, raced well, but the winner ran like a good thing should: Off the screen.

Alive for five.

BTW: Lucked into a Dime Super bonanza: 5,11/ALL/5,11/2.9. It was worth $489.10, on an investment of $12.40.

So riddle me this. Why isn’t this man smiling?

Damn.

I put in a Pick 6 play. It’s what the regulars call a sanity ticket. A quasi-healthy mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Cost $24: 11/4,9/6/5,7/7/5,9,10.

4:08 PM Do I have a chance? Highly unlikely, but since this is the equivalent of a lottery, betting a little to make a lot, I’m co-opting the lottery phrases:

You’ve go to be in it to win it.

Hey, you never know.

And, with a little bit of luck…

Carryover Friday dawned bright, dry, clear and impossible.

The Pick 6 sequence, a two-day job worth $656,000, included a special-weight sprint for maiden two-year-olds, and five consecutive turf races.

One was of the 5-½ furlong variety, another was for juvenile maidens around two turns featuring many debut types, and the finale was at a mile and three-eighths.

It’s a joke.

Having no confidence whatsoever, and having not nearly enough money to wade into the pool, my sequence, what Steve Crist would call a caveman ticket, would be: 4x4x2x4x3x5. Cost: $1,920.

I could easily cut that in half by saying “I don’t need no stinking Linda Rice” in a maiden turf route. But then, the second part of her sixth-race entry drew in from the also eligibles.

In Te Domine was scratched Thursday and entered here--and got in off the also’s. Must be fate. Then Julien winds up on the filly and how can you leave them out?

My brilliant prior plan was to single Pearl River, a first-time starter going a mile and a sixteenth. It was a trainer (Clement) and her mommy, the veteran producer Miss Turlington, threw six turf winners.

Due to the cost, I will not play this ticket. If it wins, I won’t be upset. Well, maybe a little. The problem is that the amount exceeds my Pick 6 allotted bankroll by $1,888.

I’ve actually caught six Pick 6s in my career. The largest paid $6,000-plus; can’t remember precisely. My largest investment was $48.

I suspect I’m in the majority of players on this--not Pick 6 players, but the rank and file types without whom, of course, there would be no game.

Whales would desert the parimutuel pools in a heartbeat if someone offered them a better deal.

Given the way this game treats its customers with respect to product cost (read takeout), I wouldn’t blame them a bit.

We’ll be back throughout the day with Pick Six updates. The sequence begins at 4:09 EDT.

Written by John Pricci

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