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Thursday, April 07, 2005

8 for the Wood

- Eight entered for the G1 Wood, and another surprising morning line favorite, to me, anyway, as Zito’s Bellamy Road is installed as the 2-1 choice off of his facile allowance win at a mile at Gulfstream against 4 nondescript foes. Going Wild is tabbed at 5-2, which means that the NYRA linesmaker didn’t have much respect for the Gotham contingent; he has Survivalist at 5-1, Galloping Grocer at 6-1, Pavo at 8-1, and Naughty New Yorker at 10-1. If Bellamy Road really does go off the favorite, and he does have NY connections in trainer Zito and owner George Steinbrenner, it will be another favorite I will not be betting Saturday. I may not cash any tickets, but I think that between this race and the SA Derby, I’ll have some pretty nice horses at nice prices. Not making my final selection yet, but if Naughty New Yorker is really close to 10-1, he’ll be on my tickets for sure.

(Though actually I don’t get any tickets to rip up at Aqueduct…everything is done on my little betting card, and it’s still hard for me to get used to walking away from the window without a little square of paper in my hand.)

There’s a lot of speed in the Wood on paper, but the trainers of three of them are insisting that his horse will be able to relax a bit off the pace.

"Over the years, we've done well getting our horses to relax," Zito said. "He'll go the distance and he'll relax."

D. Wayne Lukas also would like to see Going Wild rate off the pace. Breaking from post 5, under Victor Espinoza, he should be able to take back a bit, unless Galloping Grocer comes charging up to him from his outside and gets his blood boiling.
"Going a one-turn mile from post 3 with his [Galloping Grocer] running style isn't easy," Schettino said. "It looks like there should be another good pace in the Wood and I think our horse might be able to settle better going a mile and an eighth on the main track." [Bloodhorse]
Going Wild needs to earn some graded money here; at $40,000 he ranks just 27th on the list. Steve Byk sums up the whole earnings situation in an excellent summary today on Equidaily.

- Ah, just when I was wondering where the Friends of New York Racing were during the recent budget process, they surfaced at Aqueduct, of all places. Seems they were busy doing a study to tell us things we already know.
It showed how racing has flourished in Ontario [Woodbine] since live racing, off track betting and Video Lottery Terminals were all merged and now controlled under one roof. Purse growth has increased 85% and handle has grown 23%.

This is not surprising since most studies done on racing in New York in the past have all concluded the same thing could happen here.

Despite all these studies, Albany has done nothing - mainly because of the patronage that has been created particularly with the six Off Track Betting corporations created in New York back in 1971 and their political clout. [NY Daily News]