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With only six days of racing to go, a Wall Street operative named Bill Taylor heads the five public handicappers that select horses each morning for The Saratogian’s Pink Sheet.  These last couple cards have proved hard for the lot. Taylor has picked but two winners from 21 and his closest competitor, a guy by the name of Daniel Feiss, could do just one better.

It hasn’t been because longshots have won. It’s that the racing’s been so competitive that several horses figure in big fields of entrants that have little to show for themselves. Handicapping, for the most part, has been trying to figure out which horse will get the trip and which have connections with intentions. Maiden runners went postward in the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh races Monday. A Pick Six carryover of over $423,000 awaits horseplayers Wednesday.

Of the maidens to win, the most interesting was the 4-year-old Senor Dehere.  The notable turf specialists Graham Motion and Julien Leparoux experienced satisfaction of seeing the Australian-bred gelding from a New Zealand mare swing out at the top of the stretch when he was fourth four lengths back before scampering home to win the sixth easily.  

NYRA was to run the $70,000 Saratoga Dew for New York-bred fillies and mares as the feature, but it failed to gather a quorum.  Although attendance for the meet’s five full weeks is down nearly five percent and handle is off almost two percent, it hasn’t been because there aren’t interests to bet on.

Away from the track, the jockeys played softball.  They beat a team of media mopes 28-22 in a nine-inning game at the Rec Center. An infield with double play skills of first baseman Mike Luzzi, second baseman Javier Castellano, shortstop Alex Solis and third baseman Kent Desormeaux provided the key to the victory.  Channing Hill was Babe Ruth, hitting several round trippers.

Nonetheless, the star of the game was Billy Barber, age 12, of Saratoga Springs. He won the 50-50, gave half of his winnings back to the permanently Disabled Jockey Fund for which the game was played, and still made a cool $45. PA announcer Rick Mitchell of 101.3 FM could tell you the names of the media, but was blank on the names of the winners.

Perpetrators of “Prankenstein” - a joke played on turf writer David Grening of the Daily Racing Form that went awry - are banned from the press box on Wednesday.  Kyle Brownell of the Glens Falls Post Star and colleague Dave Litfin allegedly produced a fake announcement that Saratoga would race five days a week for eight weeks next year and put it on NYRA stationery.

Grening, about up to here with the length of the current meet, believed that the notice was real and blew a fuse.  He’s too pooped to believe there’d be more, but he bit on it anyway.

Vic Zast is the author of the award-winning book, “The History and Art of 25 Travers.”  He’s a Saratoga Springs summer resident, who lives in Chicago during the off season.

 

 

7 Comments

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The_Knight_Sky racing

Mr. Zast wrote:

>> Kyle Brownell of the Glens Falls Post Star and colleague Dave Litfin allegedly produced a fake announcement that Saratoga would race five days a week for eight weeks next year and put it on NYRA stationery  

_______________________________

Well I'd say Mr. Grening has a legitimate gripe.

Saratoga has no competition against Del Mar this year on Mondays.  

And no competition from Monmouth Park on Wednesdays and Thursdays and STILL the all-sources handle is down at the Spa?

It must be the decline in quality racing, then.  I'm right behind Grening with the proposal of 4 weeks of 6 days of racing at the Spa.

note to the NYRA: stop stealing Belmont Park's marquee races and start bolstering the product downstate.  That matters also.

31 Aug 2010 10:50 AM
peter carr jr.lr

Victor:Thank for allowing us to live Saratoga vicariously once again.I grew up in racing during the 1950s and 1960s.The game has changed and unfortunately,horses are not trained to get a mile and a quarter today as they were four and five decades ago.Genetics within the Phipps dynasty conquered in the Personal Ensign.Borel did everthing in his power but her last quarter could not beat 27 seconds.Eddie Arcaro,Bill Hartack,and Bob Ussery could not have done better.Perhaps the question might arise how could that grand filly get ready for the mile and a quarter?Steve Asmussen has done a wonderful job administrating a vast empire and Jess Jackson is to be admired for taking on all comers in various venues.I appeal to the parties involved with Rachel to give her one more shot provided that she is healthy.She defeated her main rival by 10 lengths.The Travers showed us once again that tradition at Saratoga lives on.These races are so hard to win.  

31 Aug 2010 11:31 AM
cory613

It sounds like it was a fun day ! I'll have to be there next year. Who was behind the plate Jean Luc Samyn ? I just have one question. Nyra announced its average attendance so far is 23,000. Thats the # of fans that were there Rachael Day. How could that be ?

31 Aug 2010 11:39 AM
Teresa

Vic, I don't believe that you witnessed the press box incident first hand, and whoever your source is got at least one of the details wrong. Perhaps he/she isn't reliable enough for you to report without verifying.  

31 Aug 2010 12:22 PM
Jeff Rosen

Just want to say I agree wholeheartedly with Knight Sky Racing about NYRA <I>stealing</I> Belmont's marquee races.  I love Saratoga very much as Vic can attest to and never miss the meeting but the Woodward belongs at Belmont in the Fall Championship with the Jockey Club and the old Marlboro Cup, and the Coaching Club belongs at Belmont also as part of the filly triple crown.

31 Aug 2010 5:32 PM
Toga

Good for Billy Barber. On Sunday he was outside the track selling water to fund a new iPod purchase.  ( He recently broke his old one.) So returning his half his 50/50 winnings was "indeed a good deed."

You might remember Billy's grandfather- Bill Johnson-one time announcer for NYRA and the

publisher of Saratoga Summer magazine.

31 Aug 2010 11:10 PM
jimf

Vic,

Thanks for the update on what has been a memerable 2010 meet.

Sure must be tough if Bill Taylor is hitting the skids. Over the years he and Matt Graves have been the most consistent.

Just got done with 2 hours of your Travers book. Wow, the book is loaded!!!

Thanks again.  

01 Sep 2010 9:14 AM

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