When I was a kid, my dad and I would go to Lake George every summer. We’d have marathon miniature golf matches across various courses, and we’d bring our own putters from place to place. I still have some of the scorecards in my bedroom at his house.
That’s one of many reasons what happened earlier this week at Goony Golf brought a smile to my face. For those unfamiliar, Andy Serling and Anthony Stabile were participants in a miniature golf match that drew attention from several generous supporters, including Kirk Wycoff and Louis Lazzinarro. By the time they putted out on the 18th hole, more than $100,000 was raised for several charities that do fantastic work within the racing community.
Kudos to all who were involved in this endeavor. Also, should anyone need two ringers for a similar match down the road, my dad and I are available and still carry our putters in the trunks of our cars. In my case, my clubs are next to six bowling balls, because you never know when middle-aged male warfare will break out.
WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS: Mach One gave me a thrill in the second race, but the favorite I attempted to beat found a seam at the top of the stretch and rallied to the front. After scratches, I dropped $25.
THURSDAY’S PLAY: I’ll play a pair of $10 win tickets on turf horses that seem well-meant at reasonable prices. #9 NEW YORK’S FINEST returns to his favorite track in the third, and #3 MONDEUSE looks like the main speed in the finale. If one of them wins, it’s a good day. If both win, it turns into a great one.
TOTAL WAGERED: $20.
Best Bet: Wartime Hero, Race 5
Longshot: New York’s Finest, Race 3
Sea Pines (MTO)
I’m So Sorry
#2 I’M SO SORRY: Is entered on Wednesday and may run there, but if she doesn’t, she hits me as the one to beat in the Thursday lid-lifter. She’s by Uncle Mo, her dam was a Grade 3 winner on both turf and synthetic, and she’s posted several strong drills here over the past month; #1 MYSTIC EYES: Boasts the formidable Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez tag team and a pedigree that suggests she’ll be a good one. Her dam was a stakes-winning sprinter and a half-sister to champion Boston Harbor, but that begs the question, why did she only sell for a modest $40,000 at auction last September?; #4 RAW HONEY: Is another first-time starter that has some pedigree to her. Her dam is a full sister to a nine-time winner and a half-sister to a multiple stakes-winning sprinter, and sire Bal a Bali did plenty of damage on turf.
Moon Over Ny
Danny Deep Cuts
#2 MOON OVER NY: Debuts in this spot and may not need to be much to top this bunch. She worked well enough at Finger Lakes to justify a trip to the Spa, and this barn doesn’t ship horses in from central New York just for kicks; #8 DANNY DEEP CUTS: Was bet a bit in her debut back in May and didn’t have the best of trips that day. The outside post is a plus, but there was a voided claim out of that event, and the fact that she missed a bit of training after her unveiling is a red flag; #5 LASS: Ran reasonably well when third last time out at Belmont against open maiden claimers and goes back to the state-bred ranks here. She’ll also get Lasix for the first time in this spot, and it’s not like she needs to step forward much to get a big piece of this one.
Ninth Hour (MTO)
New York’s Finest
#9 NEW YORK’S FINEST: Loves going short over this turf course and sure looks like the main speed here. Aggressive rider Luis Saez has been enlisted to ride, and if he’s able to get comfortable on the front end, he could wind up with his sixth Saratoga victory; #7 CHIMNEY ROCK: Has loads of back class and was even second in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. His last two starts were steps back, figures-wise, and this is a significant drop for an aggressive barn that’s achieved great success so far this summer; #3 ENCRYPTED: Had every right to need his most recent effort at Presque Isle, which was his first start since August of 2019. His European form was quite good, and if he runs back to some of those numbers, he’ll have a big chance at a big price.
Wicked Indeed (MTO)
#10 RISK MANAGER: Goes first off the claim for Danny Gargan, and unlike most of this field, he’s shown an ability to rate and pass others late. I think the pace will be hotly-contested in this event, and that should set things up for a closer to pick up the pieces; #1 PANSTER: Tries two turns for the first time and is bred to want such a route. He closed from fourth to break his maiden two starts ago at Belmont, and a similar trip would put him in a strong position turning for home; #2 TURN OF EVENTS: Capitalized on a perfect, front-running trip to top claiming foes last time out. He’ll likely go early, and his best race can certainly win this, but there are rivals in the field (including one directly to his outside) that could force him to spend far more energy going into the first turn.
#1 WARTIME HERO: Has found a very, very soft spot for his return to the races. He’s been gelded since running fifth in the 2020 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth, but he’s one of only a few in here with a win going two turns on dirt, and if he’s anything close to what he was in 2020, the race will probably be for second; #8 Z’FINALE: Was fifth downstate at this level last time out, but that effort came against what was probably a better group. His two and three-back efforts weren’t bad, and he’s got enough tactical speed to be prominent early; #6 MAGNIFICENT CHROME: Merits a look at a big price solely base don his pedigree. Offspring of California Chrome are not sprinters, and this is the first time he’ll go two turns. That alone could move him up and into contention for a minor award.
Daufuskie Island (MTO)
No Time Alone
#5 NO TIME ALONE: Took to the turf well when second at second asking downstate last month. Wesley Ward is as good as anyone with 2-year-olds, especially on the lawn, and Joel Rosario sees fit to ride back; #1 BORIMAN: Gets a tricky draw in his unveiling but could be good enough to overcome it. The July 22nd workout jumps off the page, he’s a half-brother to stakes winner Fog Alert, and second dam Rocket Alert won several high-level turf races overseas; #9 ERIDROMOS: Comes in with a solid turf pedigree and a pretty strong work tab. His dam was a stakes-winning 2-year-old, so it wouldn’t be shocking if he was ready to go at first asking.
Air Show (MTO)
#7 LANDBISCUIT: Is a tepid top selection in a wide-open turf race. He’s never run a clunker in four career races, and he showed a new dimension when stalking and pouncing to win an off-the-turf event last time out; #5 MR. KRINGLE: Has a history of finding trouble but is certainly good enough to make an impact with smooth sailing. He was second and third in two races at this level last summer, so we know he likes it up here; #2 MYSTERY BANK: Likely needed his return to the races last month at Gulfstream, so I can draw a line through that effort. He won and ran third in two starts here a season ago, and if there’s any hesitation here, it’s because the barn has been ice-cold since winning an off-the-turf race very early in the meet.
Our Man Mike
#4 IRISH VALOR: Is one of a few Finger Lakes shippers, and those always get my attention in lower-level state-bred races at Saratoga. He’s a consistent gelding with nine wins and 27 in-the-money finishes in 43 starts, and this barn doesn’t ship here for an excuse to travel; #8 HERE’S WALDO: Tried stakes company in central New York and probably found those waters a bit too deep. He stretches back out to two turns, may be the main speed in this event, and could lead them a long way at a nice number; #1 OUR MAN MIKE: Comes in off a failed turf experiment and may go favored based on his back class. He was second in a pair of stakes races last fall and won going a mile, but he’s never gone two turns before, and that may make him a bit tough to back at his likely price.
You’re to Blame
#3 LONE ROCK: Has won six of his last seven starts and looms large in the marathon Birdstone Stakes. His win in the Grade 2 Brooklyn was electric, and the next-out win by that day’s runner-up only enhances his stock coming into this event; #4 MORETTI: Won this event last year to cap off a run that also included a second behind Tacitus in the Grade 2 Suburban. He did improve in this year’s Suburban after being drubbed by Lone Rock in the Brooklyn, and a repeat of last year’s effort likely gets him a big piece of this; #6 YOU’RE TO BLAME: Took a gigantic step forward in his first start for Orlando Noda and dives back into the stakes waters here. He was second behind Moretti in last year’s event, and perhaps he’s just a runner that loves this oval.
#3 MONDEUSE: Looks like the main speed in here and did everything but win in a race at this level and distance downstate. Her running lines feature plenty of next-out winners, including the third-place finisher in that most recent event; #1 BELLA PRINCIPESSA: Goes back to the lawn after tiring to finish fourth in an off-the-turf event last month. The presence of Irad Ortiz, Jr., is noteworthy, as he likely had several options in this wide-open Thursday finale; #9 ESCAPEWITHFRIENDS: Rallied from last to be second in her debut despite not having much pace to chase in that six-furlong event. Her pedigree says two turns should not be an issue, and if another runner or two tests my top pick early, this one could be the main beneficiary.