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Sunday, December 10, 2006

TBA Convenes at the Big A

- Great day at the Big A on Saturday. Not at the windows unfortunately. But there was a winter meeting of the TBA of sorts, and I got to hang with Patrick (Pulling Hair and Betting Horses), Alan H. (The Bug Boys), Tote Board Brad (Brad Buys A Yearling), and Jessica (Railbird). Brad was in from San Francisco, and you gotta love a guy who comes to New York City for three days, and makes his way to Aqueduct each one. I hadn't met Brad nor Alan before, and it was great to meet them and to have the chance to exchange ideas and blogging tales with the whole group - and at my favorite city track as well!

I mean, it's hard to beat the Big A these days, despite what you may think. An extra dollar gets you up onto the third floor clubhouse, where you'll find, in addition to the "plush" Equestris restaurant and betting area, the Manhattan Terrace, where there are tables, TV's, and self-service betting machines galore. Plus, there's easy access to the mostly shuttered third-floor grandstand, where maybe 100 people - maybe - take advantage of what is the best vantage point in the house - right on the finish line and plenty of seats without bird poop on them. People are funny - it just takes an extra buck to keep them crowded into the two floors below.

Brad sent us a picture of the whole group, but I don't want to steal his thunder, so I'll just let you know when he gets around to posting it.

As far as the racing goes, there was little to report other than Gary Contessa's continued hot streak - two more winners, giving him a Pletcher-esque 16 winners out of 50 runnere (32%). No one else has more than four. He had a hot first-timer in the third, a state-bred juvenile race. Gansevoort, 3-1 morning line, was the 8-5 choice. One might believe he was overbet due to the fact that he's a Contessa horse, but he showed a steady string of works, and some nice pedigree too. His sire, Precise End, was, according to the Form, 14 for 63 with juvenile first-timers coming into the race. Plus, his dam, Lavish Numbers (Polish Numbers), is a half-sister to the Grade 1 winner Behaving Badly. Gansevoort didn't want to go into the gate, but he was six lengths clear at the wire in an otherwise professional debut.

Cotessa's second winner was the oddly named Building New Era, and it's a little funny that Cotessa, a backer of Excelsior Racing, would have a horse with that name - 'era-ny' is the URL address of rival Empire Racing.

I tried to beat Magna Graduate in the Queens County Handicap, but he couldn't have won easier. I'm figuring that Pletcher is due for a run of bad karma, but I suppose it will have to wait.

With the racing here deteriorating, my attention starts to drift down to Florida, where it seems as if some of the big NY barns are already starting their winter season with still around a month to go until Gulfstream. I couldn't help but notice the third at Calder, a juvenile fillies maiden special. Bill Mott and Nick Zito had well-bred first-timers going. Mott had Eight Days Apart, a Forest Wildcat half-sister to the graded winner Posse. Zito had The Luckiest, a Thunder Gulch filly, and she was a universal good thing; 3-1 favorite in the morning line, off at 4-5.

And the money was right on in this case, as The Luckiest rallied for a professional win. This filly is a half sister to the graded winner Hook and Ladder; and she's from the distaff family of Bernardini. Fairway Fable, the third dam of The Luckiest, is the 4th dam of Bernardini.

Then, Zito took the sixth, a maiden special for juvenile colts, with Moneymoneymoney, appropriately named in this case, as this 6-1 morining line shot went off as the 2-1 public choice. He was 6-1 in his debut at Keeneland, where he showed good speed and faded to a distant 7th on the Polytrack. But here, he went to the lead and never looked back. Moneymoneymoney is a son of Awesome Again, and a half-brother to the two-time Grade 1 winner Elloluv.

2 Comments:

Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan, a must read on Equidaily.com today, a link to a story in Tropical Life about Hialeah's imminent demise and redevelopment.
That would be a great tragedy as Hialeah is right up there with the Spa for romance and poetry in racing, racing the way it ought to be. Gulfstream or any other non-NY track couldn't hold a candle to Hialeah in terms of importance and prestige on the American racing circuit. I was only there once, in 1987, and it was by then well into it's "faded elegance" stage, but the enormous charm and class of that beautiful racing facility shone through despite the patina it had developed. A restored Hialeah would be a boon to winter racing and would attract many new racing fans to it's unique setting.
I suppose Magna would oppose such a restoration by another franchisee but perhaps Stronach could redeem himself by an historic rehab of this magnificent racetrack, or am I just a hopeless dreamer?

Tote Board Brad said...

@GMP, I never made it to Hialeah before it was shuttered, and I still regret it. I'd love to see Hialeah restored to its former glory, but I'd doubt it happens. Perhaps with the prospect of slots, it is a possibility.

@Alan, oh, don't worry about stealing my thunder. Go ahead and post it, as long as you all don't don't mind evidence of your association with an unsavory left coaster splashed accross the internet.

Yeah, it was so much fun. I could have talked racing with you guys for days on end. I'm going to have to make another sojurn back, but probably not until it warms up.