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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gulfstream Less Than Capacity

- Gulfstream Park as we know and love it is a thing of the past, but the lavish Magna Palace that will replace it will open on Wednesday….kind of. Track president Scott Savin would just assume that you go to Calder instead. "We have capacity issues. I would much rather the bettors ... they want to be able to place a bet, they want to be able to see the signal, they want to be able to see the odds.” [Sun-Sentinal] Yeah, those things would be nice. But Magna VP Dennis Mills said that opening on time is important for the "credibility of our meet, Magna Entertainment, and our chairman [Frank Stronach]." Nice to see they have their priorities straight.

I actually could have gone this weekend, though due to sad circumstances. The Head Chef’s dear friend Eileen recently lost her mom, and she is in dire need of assistance dealing with affairs related to her mother’s apartment, which happens to be in Hallandale. So the Head Chef is going down Friday morning. But with present on-track capacity believed to be limited to somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 – and they don’t really seem to know for sure - and racing on Friday cancelled altogether, the idea wasn’t very appealing. Besides, the idea of being on my own and having the house to myself on a non-kids weekend is rather tempting. Can anyone say “Aqueduct-Meadolwands doubleheader?”

Fortunately for the top three-year olds stabled there, they won’t have to wait on long lines for food or restrooms. The spotlight has been on West Coast contenders such as Brother Derek and Stevie Wonderboy, who are apparently headed for a very early-season showdown in the San Rafael on Jan 14; but in the coming weeks at Gulfstream, we’ll see the likes of First Samurai, possible for the Hutcheson on Feb 4, Private Vow, who would have been at Fair Grounds had that meeting not been switched and shortened, and Remsen winner Bluegrass Cat, also possible for the Hutcheson, at which point the capacity at the track will hopefully be greater than it is now, whatever exactly it turns out to be.

This place better turn out to be nice, because it’s replacing what to me was a near-perfect racetrack experience. There was plenty of space, much of it green; ample seating and grandstand apron room; bountiful betting windows and machines, and likewise for the food stands, restaurants, and bars. The rooftop lounge out by the clubhouse turn on the 3rd floor was truly one of my favorite track hangouts, and I wonder if they’ll be anyplace as unpretentiously agreeable as that spot was. In fact, I could use that phrase to describe what the entire track was like – an unpretentiously agreeable and totally sufficient paradise in which to watch and participate in our favorite game. Already, Magna is sending the wrong message by herding everyone who doesn’t want to shell out an extra $10-$20 just to get into an unfinished building into a tent; c’mon Frank, you gotta be kidding!

- Wednesday’s feature is the type of wide-open turf allowance race with the kind of quality that hopefully will typify this meet and be the main attraction, at least until the slots parlors and movie theaters arrive. It’s almost like one of those harness handicap races, in which the better horses are assigned the outside post positions. Actually, Ecclesiastic, the one horse, is the morning line favorite. He chased better up here at Belmont this past fall, but doesn’t win much, as his 3 for 23 record attests, even in allowance company. I like Watershed Event, going from the nine post at 8-1 morning line for Dale Romans. He’s found new life since switching to the turf late last summer, winning three out of seven starts on the green. He’s shown a fierce closing kick in his last two in Kentucky despite being extremely wide, and with some pace possible from horses inside of him, could work out a winning trip with Mark Guidry at a good price.

- Undefeated Declan’s Moon will miss the Santa Anita meeting. The now four-year-old gelding is recovering from a slight injury to his left front cannon bone, detected by a nuclear scan in September. [Brisnet]

15 Comments:

Walter said...

...quick note about a certain Gulfstream 3yo named Disco's Son...unless i have my facts wrong (memory ain't my strong point), i believe Disco's Son dumped the rider and was running loose vs. Private Vow in the Belmont Futurity on Sep. 17th...i believe he beat Private Vow to the wire that day, and of course it was 9 lengths back to the rest of the field...i'm a little concerned because he hasn't run since then (suffered some kind of injury?), but perhaps he was scheduled for a vacation anyway...probably not, but you never know...anyway, i'd definitely keep him in mind @ Gulfstream, as he'll likely turn up pretty soon, and he's gonna have that blank running line showing, so that should help the price...i don't doubt he's a good horse, as he's obviously been flattered by Private Vow since then...just something to keep in mind...

Tote Board Brad said...

It's always very sad to hear of the loss of a loved one. My condolences to your Better Half, her friend Eileen & her family.

Poor segue here, but do any of your loyal readers know which is the choicest of Reno Race Books? I'm headed on Thursday, and want a comfortable spot. I don't bet enough for rewards or rebates to be an issue, but if you have bead on that, it'd be good info to have as well. -tbb

Teaman said...

My condolences also Alan..terrible way to start a year. I'm sure you guys by now have heard about the passing of Bobby Humphrey from Calder. I'm not familiar with him but I'm sure you guys who post here are. I heard on Sirius radio (At the Races + Beyond) that he was a good guy.
On a lighter note..and at the risk of making an ass of myself..I'm going to post a horse I'm betting on Weds. in the 5th race @ Turfway Park.
The #3 Dance Man. Now if you're looking for some expert 'capping skills for why I like this horse...Sorry..I'm not there yet. But I will relate the story. Back on Oct.30 I stumbled into Keenland race track on a whim. It had closed for Live racing the day before..but I didn't know it. To shorten a looong story...I ended up drinking beers with 3 guys who worked with the horses..most of which were being shipped of the grounds. One of the guys (Charley) worked for a trainer Bobby Donato. Before I left, Charley gave me 2 of Bob D's horses to keep an eye on @ Turfway in early Dec. Zorba + Dance Man. Charley + I still keep in touch..he's a great guy with a 1,000+ track tales like I've never heard before. Early Dec. i get a EM that the 2 h's are running @ TP on Dec.4. ME being a naive mdn..run to simulcast to catch these "Winners". $10 W bets on ea. Zorba goes 9-1..runs well..fin.2nd. Dance Man goes 13-1, has the lead in the str!! (I've got the $$$ signs in my eyes) but ends up 3rd as 2 H's split him. But he really seemed to be game in between the 2 that beat him. Again..I'm no pro at judging stretch runs...but he was NOT fading..he just got beat. OK..I lost. Last wk. Zorba shows up again. I'm not going crazy but I will try again. $6 to Win and 3-H EXB for $12.(Actually,that IS crazy for me) Zorba breaks well,rates a bit, guns for lead T O Str and hangs on willingly! pays 17.60! (x3=52.80) + I catch the 8-1 EX for $128. For a pup like me...NICE HIT!
Now it's Dance Man's 2nd try @ Turfway in Weds. 5th. And I thought he actually ran better than Zorba last time at bigger odds. Now this trainer..Bobby Donato I know nothing about..(as with most tr.s)
I believe his only 2 h's @ TP are these 2. Dean Butler is back up on Dance Man and he rode his 2 Wins @ TP back in Sept..both @ 6+-1.
Just thought I'd pass this along for you all to make of it what you will. My story IS true. I know you guys are light yrs. ahead of me in this game..I'm just trying to be sociable. Give the horse a look in the form and tell me what you think. The 2-AK'sQuest or the 5-City Rapid might be a threat.. Prescott (on 5) has been known to burn me. But as a whole I think the group on 12/4 was tougher than these and Dance Man was a W threat all the way then. I know these "cheap" horses don't hold form well...but I'm takin' a shot.
T-Man

alan said...

T-Man -

Great racetrack story, thanks for sharing. I checked on Formulator and you're right in that Donato has only these two horses...anywhere so it seems. So actually it's pretty funny that Charley gave you two of his horses to watch, since they're the only ones he has.

I watched Dance Man on the Cal Racing site, and first of all, Battaglia fucked up the call and called him Groovy Bandit, who had already started to fade to the back of the pack. Then when they turned for home, he called Dance Man taking the lead as if he had made a move out of nowhere. Nice try, Mike. So yeah, he ran pretty well, contested the pace, came away with the lead in the stretch, and weakened "slightly," according to the race chart, for third. He shows an obvious affinity for the Polytrack - just toss those two at Keeneland - and has improved before joining the Donato juggernaut.

Also, he drops in class here which should definitely help. The one thing I'd be concerned about is that he's a need-to-lead horse in a race loaded with speed. We'll have to hope that the class drop can help him get a jump on the other speedsters, and he may have to hold off a late rally by Vacancy.

Walter said...

...boy, do i feel like a heel...i just halfway glanced at the Gulfstream post and noticed it said something about 3yo's, so i posted away...i didn't realize your wife had lost her mom until i saw people leaving their condolences, and i went back and read the entire post...allow me to apologize, and wish you and your wife all the best during this rough time...it's gotta be really hard on the lady, i can't even IMAGINE losing my mom...hope you guys are doing okay, or at least as well as you can...it's stuff like this that makes horseracing seem very unimportant...again, my apologies and condolences...

Walter said...

...geez, i couldn't even get my apology right...it wasn't your wife's mom, but rather her friend's mom???...i wish i hadn't opened my damn mouth, now i feel even worse...i think i understand what your wife's going thru, however...not long ago, i learned that a very good friend of mine's father had passed away...well, we're more like brothers really, as we grew up a few houses down from each other and hung out together basically every day from pre-school thru high school...haven't really spent any time with the guy for several years now, due to me moving out of town, but i grew up in the guy's house and saw the old man on a daily basis...turns out he went in for surgery to remove a lung, and not long afterward i guess there was some type of complication and he slipped into a coma and died...i had to hear about it thru an e-mail from another friend of ours...i really felt bad that i couldn't be there for the guy, and the news kinda tore me up as well, because when we were growing up together they had always treated me like i was part of the family...i'm glad your wife is there to offer her support, and help her friend Eileen through such a terrible time...all i could offer my friend was lousy phone call, and i feel pretty bad about it...that's just the way things work out sometimes, i guess...

Teaman said...

Thanks for the comments Walt! Thanks for the "tip" on Vacancy,I overlooked that one.
I certainly agree that it's a speedy race and something has to be flying down the str. and the 10 looks like the logical choice. I'd me remiss if I didn't use him in my X-box selections. I'll owe you big time if I pop a fat EX w/ him in it. I'm already thankful that you took the time to check out the race and post a response. It sure looks like there's gonna be a crowded rush to the turn. But in my casual observance of Turfway..the ones who come in from Hoos,PrM,Beau,GLD usually takes a few R's to get acclimated (if ever) Dance Man obviously loves the Poly. If he's gonna W another R..It'll be at TP. But Vacancy has to be respected. He came off that 6 mnth. layoff with a W @ 6 1/2 F and has 25% W's lifetime. Time will tell...post time is in 5 hrs. Whatever happens I'm glad I checked in,for it opened my eyes to things I overlooked. The breadth of knowledge that you (+ others who post) possess is incredible and respected. Thanks for sharing it! 20 yrs. ago when I first played horses I sucked..and gave it up to play greyhounds. I didn't want to put the time and effort into the ponies. The puppies were easier to figure (for me). Back then the quality of racing dogs was better and had form + class that was fairly consistant. Maybe if I'd started playing horses somewhere other than Suffolk Downs or the Marshfield Fair I would have been more enthusiastic.
But that was then..and this is Now. To quote Harvey Pack,sort of..(is he still alive??) "The horse is with me"

T-Man

alan said...

Hey T-Man, those were my comments, so be sure to send the check to me after you cash in on the EX! :-)

And yes, Harvey Pack is still with us, though his public appearances seem to be limited to Siro's at Saratoga during the summer. Good luck today.

Ruben Bailey said...

I hope SOMEONE cashed in on the $43 EX w/ Vacancy/Danceman...geez!!!

Nice work team!!

alan said...

T-Man better have had it!! As for me, I was stuck doing something at work, and missed it, ARGHHH!!! I need to quit this day job!! But gonna make up for it on this 8th at the Gulf...

One unscientific observation I want to throw out there is this: the Polytrack at Turfway sure seems to favor stalkers and closers. I don't know that I've ever seen any horse go wire to wire there.

Teaman said...

Walter...You ARE the MAN!!! Alan...if you want a check..I'm a firm beleiver in the "10% Rule"..and I won $65 in the race ($3 EX 10-3) so if you want the $6.50..no problem. But Walter should get the bounty for predicting EXACTLY what took place. A couple guys i was hangin' with thought that if Dean Butler would have used his whip late stretch..Dance Man could have Won. After seeing the replay..I concur. It appeared he shook the reins a bit at the top of stretch and gave 1 meek love tap late but jeeez... When you've only got a 2 horse stable..60% of a $9,200 purse if he'd have Won, could have fed his whole barn for months!! But the Donato juggernaut continues!! and Teaman keeps cashin"
(Thanks to Walt today) I guess if your going to have a 2 horse stable for small potatoes, this one ain't bad. 4 starts..2 wins..2 game 3rds. Here's a track tale for those who enjoy these (Don't we all? If you don't..tell me and I'll cease and desist) I'm hangin' with my buddy Jim who knows this guy Joe who I'd never met. Jim knows about Dance Man + Zorba so I'm filling Joe in with my "Keenland Tales" and how I got these horses. Joe mentions that he reads a newsletter from Brisnet. A guy in there 'caps the Turfway races and his results are impressive. Joe says he loves the #5 in the 4th (Keys)
and why don't we consider a pick-3? ALL in the 3rd with Keys in 4th w/ Dance Man in 5th. A $1 pk.3 will cost $9..$3 apiece. Me I'm like..$3 ?? that's all? Sure. Now honest to God...I've never played a pk-3 in my life. If I pick one..I'm ecstatic..3 in a row is waaaay off my game. But for $3 what the hell. So in the 3rd the chalk Wins (#4) the 25-1 #2 gave us some run to the far turn..but died out. In the 4th..Keys (the Brisnet pk.) Wins...paid $9 I think. That Keys..he was 11-1 with like 8 MTP then crashed to 5/2 in about 2 mins! So we're wondering if "some one knows something". Maybe.because he was a solid W in the 4th. Now the pressure is on the Dance Man to bring us the PK-3 !! Keep in mind it's my 1st ever..so even tho it's chalky..I'm pretty excited about this whole chain of events. The PK 3 on D.Man is gonna pay $324 or so. We've got 1/2 ($162) split 3-ways. Eh...$50 apiece for $3..not earth shattering but is OK by me. Because Dance Man is pretty chalked up in the Win pool he's hangin in the 2 to 3-1 range close to post. I was hoping earlier for the 6 or 8-1 range so I can put $10 on him and make a little score and some EX's. But if he W's and I'm gonna get $50 from the pk-3..why chase?
I already had my 3-10-11 $2 EX box IN. I tossed in the #1 and invested another $12 on a $1 EXBx in a 1-3-10-11. I thought maybe the 1 (Callum) might be a stalker type and could pass the E S if it broke down. He raced CD + Keen + OP which to me..that alone give him a class edge over the Hoos,+ PrM's. Also I've observed that the Oaklawn horses seem to take to the Polytrack well. Oh yeah..(I must be honest) I played a $1 Tri key (I know..I know...way out of my league + fresh of a "Toasting" on Sat. in SA 6th) with the 10/1-3-4-11
Since Walter knows 1000x more than me..and cap'd the race... and if D.Man gets bumped out of our PK-3.. It'll be the 10 who does it. Since I have the 3-10-11 solid in EX's..Eh.. What the hell. I managed to be up +$20 (Actually hit 2 cheesy EX's the 1st 2 plays I made so I've got "The Feel" going) so if the 5th @ Turfway breaks down completely I'll be down -$20 on the day. Either way..I'm out the door after this race no matter what.
If I hit the fat Tri w/ Walt's pk on top..We'll hook up somehow for steak dinners in the clubhouse @ Aquaduct someday soon(Do they have one?) Anyway.. NO Tri..didn't use #6.
But I left about +$40 on the day. More than that..I felt like I LEARNED something about picking horses with Walt's tutelage. I need to keep my eyes on the closers more @ TP..they DO take well to the Poly. I'm sure glad I discovered this blog, and THANKS again Walt! Some day I'm going to pick up something here and turn it into some FAT $$$ and the party will be ON!!! I only live 3 or 4 hrs. from the Big A so I WILL make good on my "chirp" should the occasion arise. I'll keep y'all abreast of the Donato juggernaut. I know we're not talking Gr.1's here..but "cashin'" beats "trashin" in all our books.

T-Man

Ruben Bailey said...

So Alan.....

DID you cash on the exacta? I think your exact quote was something like, "All of the best horses drew outside posts".

Hope you did!!(I didn't cuz I'm continually stuck at work.)

alan said...

Thanks everyone for the kind wishes for Eileen.

And Walter, please tell T-Man that I picked Vacancy! I didn't win any money so I might as well insist on the credit!

Walter said...

...i don't know what T-Man is talking about, lol...hey T, i never even looked at the race, honestly!...Alan was the one who mentioned Vacancy, not i...in any case, i'm glad you hit the race...congratulations...

Teaman said...

Gentlemen..I apologize..AGAIN. As usual I posted hastily without getting the facts straight. I'm as new at the Blog business as I am pickin' ponies. So Alan..Thanks..YOU are the "Man" w/ the Vacancy plan. You deserve a cut. I will send you your 10% ($6.50) or you can wait until I make a MAJOR hit w/ the info. I get here and then the steaks and brews in the clubhouse are on ME.
Your choice..$6.50 now..or "The Party is ON" later. Where is your "Home track" anyway? I'm closest to Lincoln Racino in R.I.(dogs/simulcast..but nice dining room + clubhouse) Plainridge (harness + simulcast+ Phone betting!) is 45 mins. away. Suffering Downs is 1 1/2 hrs. away. I'd take a ride to Delaware Park or Laurel before I'd go there tho..
Anytime any of you guys want to take a ride to R.I. for a day at the races.. Come on down!!

T-Man