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Monday, April 03, 2006

Monday Night Notes - Apr 3

- Sometimes I’m embarrassed to report back on my own wagering activities, especially when I make a brilliant pick such as West Virginia to win the Excelsior at Aqueduct at a solid 7-1, and I don't cash. Suffice to say that I did not like Funny Cide, and did not include him in my exactas. Other than that, I was right on, running 1-3-4-5. And that’s all I have to say. Except, did I mention that I picked West Virginia to win right here?

An even more agonizing beat came on Sunday, in the 7th at the Gulf. I was at the Big A, and Ground Hero was just my kind of wise-guy horse in this turf race. Returning from a layoff in late January, he was entered in a 25K claimer. Sent off at 7-2 in the 12 horse field, the comment line reads “bad step, pulled up.” It’s an ugly line, but a month later, George Weaver moved him all the way up to a 50-40K race, and at a well-bet 6-1, he had the lead at the quarter pole before fading to 3rd on the yielding course. Now he was making his third start in what looked like an excellent spot – a $25K starters allowance. The favorite, Halos Sailing Sun, was making his first turf start with big Beyers and was being overbet as those horses sometimes do; and I didn’t care for Teddy Ballgame. That made it a cold exacta with Ground Hero over Big Luck, who had had no luck at all in his recent races, but still had just one win in his last 17 starts.

Halos Sailing Sun, the 9-5 favorite, set the pace and was a stubborn foe, leading to the sixteenth pole. But Ground Hero was there to take over at that point, and, thinking he was the winner, I looked for Big Luck to complete the exacta; he was now making his move. I was concentrating on him getting up for second, and went he went by, I must have not watched the final lunge to the wire, because I was under the firm impression that I had scored nicely on a cold $26 exacta. But when I heard the crowd gasp when they showed the replay, which I was too busy calculating my winnings to watch, I knew I had lost. It was the “oooo, he got him” groan, as opposed to the “ahhhh, he hung on” sound. An apparent victory, complete with a fist pump and a little “woo,” had turned into an awful defeat; if the race was just six inches shorter....

- Simon Crisford told Haskin at that Godolphin won’t decide about Discreet Cat running in the Derby until April 15. He spoke cautiously about the colt:

"We need to see the horse train and monitor him on a daily basis. He came out of his race well and everything seems good, but there are a lot of things we've got to talk about, because he is so young and so inexperienced and immature. He's not even three years old yet, and three races is not a great deal of experience. So, there are many factors that need to be weighed very carefully before that decision gets made. A decision obviously will be made, but it won't be before April 15.
I think it’s even money that he runs for the roses.

- Sweetnorthernsaint will run in the Illinois Derby instead of the Wood. "The long and short of it is I'm down to crunch time in terms of graded money," [trainer Mike] Trombetta said. "I think there are more legitimate contenders in New York than in the race out there." [Daily Racing Form] Something seems a little wrong about ducking horses so that he can qualify to face those same horses he was ducking four weeks later at Churchill. But I guess the idea is to get there. The Illinois Derby may not be such a soft spot, with Cause to Believe scheduled to go. Pletcher’s My Golden Song is also slated to run.

- With the onslaught of gambling coming to Pennsylvania, Delaware is fighting fire with fire, adding 1500 machines to three tracks, and expanding the hours into a Denny’s-type schedule. The new law allows casinos to operate nonstop except from 6 a.m. to noon on Sundays and on Christmas and Easter.
The additional hours go nicely with Dover Downs’ recently announced plans to double the size of its hotel and add a luxury spa.
“Particularly with our hotel customers, it was disappointing to have to shut down at 4 a.m. when they wanted to keep playing,” Mr. McGlynn said. [, via Albany Law School].