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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Monday Racing

Reader Ruben Bailey asked if I bet World Series to win; I mentioned her here not long before she won the third race at Saratoga on Monday. The answer, dear reader, is no. I was already reeling from being knocked out of all my Pick 3s using World Series in the middle leg after the second race. I didn’t use Dutrow’s Make My Dayjur, dropping suspiciously to 20 claimers from 40, and he won a lot like a 40 claimer racing against 20s and that despite a shaky start. It was only later I read somewhere that Dutrow hits at a high percentage with such drops; guess I could have seen that for myself on Formulator. I mean, he wins at a high percentage with everything these days, really, and as I’ve said, I’m starting to get really annoyed when losing to this guy. I need to keep my personal feelings about trainers out of my betting decisions.

When World Series opened at around 3-1, my strategy once again turned to Pick 3s, as I figured, correctly as it turned out, that her prices leading off multi-race wagers would be far more generous than indicated by the win pool, where she was punched down from her 10-1 morning line. Despite her hot connections of Jimmy Jerkins and Chantal Sutherland, she looked like she should be a lot closer to 10-1 than 3-1, so I really put any thought of betting her to win out of my head and concentrated on the Pick 3s. If I was paying more attention to the race at hand instead of the two to follow, I may have nailed the $40 exacta resulting from her win over favored money-burner Bredwinner. But nonetheless, I was moving on. As it turned out she drifted up to 6-1, a fair, if not generous price.

As for Sutherland, over the weekend, she showed her ability to save ground with closers and rally in the stretch. In this race, she expertly set a slow pace, getting to the half in 48.88 completely undaunted by persistent challenges throughout the race. When 3-5 favorite Bredwinner drew alongside and passed her in upper stretch, Durkin called that she had “taken command.” But Sutherland and World Series, having slowed the third quarter down to nearly :26, were able to fight back against the favorite, who shows an affinity for finishing second (all the more reason to have had the exacta). World Series is by A.P. Indy out of graded winner Ninth Inning (Meadowlake).

I hit the “all” button for the fourth, a 2 yo maiden affair, hoping for a bombshell. Bill Mott had Performing Diva, a Storm Cat firster and a half sister to Vision and Verve; her third dam is Bebopper, the dam of Hatchet Man and Stop the Music, so this is quite a well-bred animal. She was 5-1 morning line, but opened lower and just got absolutely hammered to as low as 2-1. It was starting to feel like one of those races whose result would be pre-ordained by the betting. She may even have been 9-5 when she butted Bailey in the head, ran off and was scratched. Bailey took off the rest of his mounts and may have broken his nose. Don’t worry, he’ll be back Wed or Thurs; I’d be in the hospital for a week. The Head Chef said that Performing Diva “lived up to her name.” The bettors settled on Jerkins’ Swap Fliparoo, the fastest of those who had started, and I was disappointed when she won at 9-5.

But I wasn’t let down for long. My hunch that the Pick 3’s with World Series would be worth playing was proven to be right; the prices seemed astronomical for a $14 winner with a 9-5 favorite. But unfortunately, when I went ‘all’ in the 4th, I got cheap in the 5th and didn’t have the winner amongst my 3 selections. Mountain Mambo ($13) is trained by Phil Serpe, who I’d noticed bubbling under with 6 thirds in ten starts here, and ridden by Javier Castellano, who I’ve mentioned what, a hundred times here as riding well on the grass? Looking back now, I can’t really say why I didn’t use him, except that I was being chintzy and looking to be selective in the race after using all 7 in the 4th. I think it’s fair to say that if I’d known that the Pick 3 would return $724 – for a 6-1 / 9-5 / 5-1 combo, I would have done differently. The payoff was around $200 more than the one I had with Memorable Melody, who went off at 7-1 and beat one horse, ugh. There’s no rhyme nor reason sometimes with those Pick 3 payoffs – you never know what they’ll be like until you see them on the monitor. The one with World Series in the middle – 5-2 / 6-1 / 9-5 paid $411! Jerkins’ filly was obviously bet with just purpose in mind – collecting the win bet on that race.

So I think I played the races right as far as which pool to bet, but obviously didn’t come through with the goods in what was a tough 5th race. In fact, it was a fascinating betting card, with two long priced winners that I’m kicking myself over. Congratulations if you had either Carlow ($28.20) in the 6th, or T.D. Vance ($35) in the G2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame; nice job. I wrote that I rarely play straight win bets, but both of these could have been such an occasion. They both displayed fine form out of town, and both had their regular jocks making the trip, yet they were both ignored by the crowd, including myself. For what, a few Beyer points and/or an unfamiliar rider? T.D. Vance came from Woodbine, the same track that produced Silver Charades on Sunday, along with jockey Todd Kabel. He’s trained by Graham Motion, another guy making the most with limited starters. T.D. Vance is by Rahy, from a Phipps female line – his second dam is Fantastic Find; his third dam is Blitey.

Man, I had the right idea in that race. This time, I wasn’t buying the betting on Jimmy Jerkins’ favored Reel Legend. There comes a point where a hot trainer starts getting plain overbet, and I didn’t think this horse had any business being a clear favorite - 2-1 - in the competitive-looking field. And High Limit got bet down to 3-1 in his grass debut, and as I’ve said, situations like this when a well-known dirt horse tries the turf for the first time and gets overbet is one of the surest ways to find overlays. Unfortunately, I didn’t go far enough in terms of longshots, settling instead on 6-1 Prince Rahy, who I thought was returning to his best distance, as well as Rey de Cafe, at 9-2. One can be right about a lot of things about a race; important things, like throwing out the top two choices, and still come up a loser. T.D. Vance was coming off two excellent efforts in non-graded stakes – he missed winning both of them by a nose – and the payoff was a huge overlay. Easy to say now.

I’ve informed the Head Chef that she must now cease and desist referring to me as “the big winner” after having a Pick 3 on Sunday. A losing Monday and a meal at Chez Sophie wipes the slate clean, and we’ll start again on Wednesday.

- Guilty verdicts for Lincoln Park and the two executives accused of concocting a bribe to the Rhode Island Speaker of the House.

Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 28 and Bucci and Potter are free on bond until then. Bucci faces up to 25 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine; Potter faces up to 20 years and a $1 million fine; Lincoln Park faces a maximum fine of $1.5 million. [Boston Herald]

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