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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Seems Like Old Times

- Took the afternoon off on Friday and made my fall/winter Big A debut. Racing will be there straight through until mid-May. The ridiculous thing about the Port Authority taking over the clubhouse parking lot, forcing everyone to park on the grandstand side, is that the entrances to the track on the grandstand side where everyone has to park have been closed for three years due to the construction of the racino that is not currently not being constructed. And the clubhouse parking lot is most emphatically closed and empty, fenced in with a concrete base and No Trespassing signs. It's quite a sobering sight.

So it's going to be a long, cold walk through the winter cold in the coming months; even the owners' lot isn't that close. I was able to go through a special horseman's entrance, and walked through the once-festive and now fossilized backyard area, past the shuttered grandstand, to familiar entrances that I now found closed. I ended up walking through the racing offices, wandering through the halls, almost going into the jockeys' quarters, because I was too embarrassed to admit I was lost and ask somebody "How do you get to the track?" Finally, I followed someone up a staircase, and into the promised land. Say what you will about the Big A, at least it seems like there's a crowd there, even though that's because 75% of the plant is closed and everyone's jammed into the clubhouse.

But once I got in, I felt as if it was the first time I've been into handicapping and betting since leaving Saratoga on that final Sunday before Labor Day. I've made a few bets here and there but just haven't been into it until Friday. So here's how I was welcomed back.

I got there for the sixth, and made three bets. In the 7th at Aqueduct, I bet a cold exacta with Cadillac Cruiser, 7-2 dropping off a claim and after a layoff for Rene Araya, over Fire Hero (5-2), moving up in class off a win for Mike Hushion; it was coming back a solid $47. When 37-1 True Call engaged Fire Hero for the lead with Cadillac Cruiser, having recovered from a poor start, contending close behind, I figured he was just setting up the race for me. Y'know when you watch a race just assuming that a horse is going to stop, but it instead just keeps going and going and going? So I ran 2-3 to the Gary Sciacca trained longshot, who had shown poor form on Polytrack at Woodbine.

Then, after a routine loss at Laurel, I turned to Keeneland, where I hadn't bet all meeting. In the 8th, I came up with Excellerant, cutting back to six furlongs after a good 7f debut on Polytrack. She was 9-1, and I played her on top with four others in the exacta. When Excellerant swept to the lead in upper stretch, I was looking around for my others, and as 5-1 Brilliant Star rallied into second, it looked like a winning day for me. But Dixie Dreamer, dead freaking last at 11-1 with a quarter mile to go, rallied six wide and got up for second by a nose. I found myself staring at the screen wishing the result would change, but instead I learned via Trakus that Brilliant Star had to travel four feet more than Dixie Dreamer. There's some consolation for me. I was back, and back at the Big A, and nothing seems to have changed.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

The blogs of your Big A visits are the best, especially all the reocllections of the the way it was. It seems i was a regular during your formative years as I remember all the same events, horses and faces. Feel exactly the same as you everytime I visit, lots of ghosts hovering the in the stairwells. As much as I love visiting Belmont and Saratoga, Big A seems like home.

Keep up the great work.

Mr. Ed