Saratoga Diary: New York Showcase Day

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TwinSpires Staff

August 25th, 2018

by Dick Powell

Beautiful weather continued and the times on the turf courses are beginning to get faster as the wet turf has firmed up in the sun. Like yesterday, we had a main track listed as fast and both turf courses were good and the racing was on the hedge.

All races today were for New York-breds so I will not list it every race.

Race 1 was a turf sprint for juveniles. Kendrick Carmouche, as he is wont to do, gunned ANALYZETHISANDTHAT to the front right from the start and the third-time starter never looked back for Russell Cash. If you want the lead, Kendrick is your man.

Race 2 was a first-level allowance dirt sprint going six furlongs for three-year-olds and up. Favored H Man broke poorly for Irad Ortiz Jr., and guess who was already three in front at the half-mile pole…Kendrick Carmouche aboard BLUEGRASS EXPRESS. Not only can Carmouche quarter horses from the start, but he’s adept at staying steady on them when they might be tiring. Samay, coming off the long layoff, rallied for second at long odds for Dylan Davis, whose mounts continue to outrun their odds. The Carmouche early Daily Double paid $94.

Race 3 was the Albany Stakes for three-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. There has been a pronounced speed bias in these two-turn dirt routes and SEA FOAM gunned to the front for Joel Rosario and held on despite racing awkwardly in the final 100 yards. The winner of the New York Derby at Finger Lakes last out, he raced the nine furlongs in 1:50.24.

Race 4 was a maiden special weight for juvenile fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course. Joel Rosario tried to steal it when he sent Shak’s Hidden Gem to the front and had a clear lead to the top of the stretch, but weakened when challenged by eventual winner SHADY SHADY SHADY, who went on to win by almost five lengths. The post-time betting favorite got a good ride from Johnny Velazquez, who overcame post 10. First-time starter Mensa Member, not named after me, got up for second.

Race 5 was a terrific two-horse battle between Bankit on the inside and DUGOUT on the outside. They battled every step of the way, and each time if looked like Dugout would draw clear, Bankit would battle back to make it close at the wire with only a nose separating them.

Race 6 was a turf sprint for second-level allowance foes. There was a lot of speed on the inside but none more than COLONEL TOM, who maintained his position from post one with Dylan Davis and opened up a commanding lead through blistering fractions. Discretionary Marq tried to make up some ground but the leader was not coming back. The final time was 1:01.47.

Race 7 was a seven-furlong stakes race for juvenile fillies. Collegeville Girl flipped at the start and injured herself. While this was going on, Time Warp broke through the starting gate without Javier Castellano and ran off until the outrider was able to grab her. Time Warp was soaking wet before the race, as was Icy Lady, but it was decided that Time Warp was able to start. Andre Worrie put PARTY LIKE GRANDMA on the lead through a demanding pace but had plenty left to hold off the others. Time Warp pressed three wide and came up completely empty and finished a well-beaten fifth. Icy Lady was distanced.

Here is my question: who is protecting the bettors? For whatever reason, Icy Lady was a mental meltdown before the race and then jogged around the track. Time Warp gave it her best but how does it help bettors if she only has nine out the 10 gallons in her gas tank left?

Race 8 was the Yaddo Stakes for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course. Luis Saez put Lady Joan on the lead and opened up a clear advantage while setting a sensible pace. He cut the corner aboard her turning for home and stayed gamely in front. Junior Alvarado was content to sit off the early leaders and set LA MONEDA down in the stretch. Lady Joan was not backing up any but La Moneda just kept coming and won her stakes debut for Tom Morley.

Race 9 was the Fleet Indian for three-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Considering the speed bias going two turns here on the dirt, it was no surprise that Take Charge Aubrey almost went gate to wire. She led every step of the way and, even at the wire, it looked like it might have been possible for her to get the bob, but ENGLISH SOUL had her nose down at the wire. Indy’s Lady made a crazy threatening rally that fell short, as did Split Time. Manny Franco continues to ride sensationally, pulling out the victory in a four-horse finish.

Race 10 was the West Point for older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course. KHARAFA hasn’t won a race in two years but the nine-year-old gelding rallied from off the pace and held off odds-on favorite Offering Plan to win at 17-1 odds. It was another flawless ride from Dylan Davis.


Saturday is the Travers Stakes (G1) and I like BRAVAZO (#4) to pull off a mild upset. I don’t think Good Magic can get the distance and Mendelssohn has a lot to prove. Gronkowski is training well but am not sure about whether he can run another good race after moving to America. Tenfold is a question mark to run straight and true for 10 furlongs, even though he seems to have the pedigree. Bravazo gives every indication that he can get the trip and is working sensationally on the Oklahoma training track.