Saratoga Diary: Rainy Monday

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TwinSpires Staff

July 23rd, 2018


So much for dodging raindrops.
The rains came overnight and continued into this morning. There was a small possibility that some of the turf races could stay on but a couple of deluges later in the morning took care of that. Race seven was still run on the Mellon turf course but everything else was run on a sloppy (sealed) main track.
Race one saw a field of six go postward and Chad Brown won his sixth race at the meet when SHANGHAI SCHWARTZ ran down a very game El Mas Puro from D. Wayne Lukas. The pace was on the slow side and the final time of 1:11.86 was a tick slow.
Race two was run on the main track at 1 1/8 miles for New York-bred maiden $40K claimers. Todd Pletcher's GABRIELLA rallied from off the pace to win going away and give Todd his fourth win of the meet with Johnny Velazquez aboard. The last furlong was run in :14.04. It was not pretty to watch but someone had to graduate and it was a well-bred daughter of Lemon Drop Kid wearing Barry Schwartz's colors.
The third stayed intact with no scratches and we finally saw a blazing-fast first quarter going 6 1/2 furlongs. Jose Lezcano sent Stormy change to the front and was pressed by SEAM who was trained by Ray Handal and ridden by Manny Franco as the 2-1 second choice. She was claimed by Linda Rice.
Javier Castellano continues to have a strong meet. In race four, he picked up the mount aboard first-time starter DUGOUT as Tyler Gaffalione's first choice drew in as a main-track only. At the start of the 5 1/2-furlong sprint, Javier busted the race open and maintained his advantage every step of the way to pull away to a 7 1/4-length victory over Gaffalione's Woodbury. The final time of 1:04.90 was pretty good on this track and considering how much energy he had to use from post two, it was a solid effort.
Race five had six scratches but six raced as there were five Main Track Only entrants. Chad Brown continues his torrid form as Javier Castellano sent EKHTIBAAR up to challenge a game Admiral Blue and ran that one into defeat in the final 100 yards as the odds-on favorite. Admiral Blue had blinkers removed but Irad Ortiz Jr. was able to gun him to the front despite not showing that kind of gas in the past and was very game in defeat. It was Chad's seventh winner of the meet and with neither he nor Todd having any more starters today, Chad finishes the opening four days of the meet with a 7-4 lead.
Ray Handal completed a training double in race six when CALCULATED RISKER won going two turns for Manny Franco. Handal claimed the son of Into Mischief two three starts back for $25K and takes home 55% of today's $80,000 purse.
Most of Monday afternoon was rain free but the skies opened up after race six and the $200,000 Caress Stakes was going to be run on a course even more yielding than originally thought. Going 5 1/2 furlongs on the Mellon turf course, Girls Know Best was able to make a clear lead with Brielle's Appeal pressing on the outside. They went :22.36 for the first quarter but you could see they were kicking up divots. Florent Geroux guided 27-1 longshot RUBY NOTION three wide turning for home and she kicked on to hold off Chanteline in 1:06.43. When you see the final time, it shows how fast the two leaders were going early.
The main track for race eight was a sea of slop and Mary Lou Whitney's INDYGO YANKEE rallied out in the middle of the stretch after saving ground until midway around the far turn. Jose Ortiz's mount lugged in a bit on his brother Irad's mount, Sanavi but kept him at bay through the lane and completed a $60.50 Ortiz-brother exacta.
Dylan Davis gunned SILENCIA to the front and when Mama Mary bore out turning for home, she was home free to win the nightcap easily at 4-1. Icy Maneuvers was carried out at the start by Mama Mary and made a middle move before tiring. It was the first win of the meet for Charlton Baker and Dylan Davis. For Pick Six players, there is a juicy carryover of $179,947 waiting for you on Wednesday.
Tomorrow, I will take a deep dive on the first four days of racing and will have a play for Wednesday. Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates.