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Monday, August 06, 2007

Del Mar = Aqueduct??

- I hit the second race exacta at Saratoga while sitting at my desk at work, and feel as if I'm on a bit of a mini-roll, with the emphasis on mini. Just boxed the top two and presto, ez game (I always regret when I say that, even though you know I'm just kidding). Graham Motion, whose Going Day ran second, is heating up now, and I'd keep an eye on anything he runs on the grass here. I'd looked at this race last night, and was surprised that Frank Alexander had a poor winning record here last year, because for some reason I recalled his horses being sharp, especially on grass. He had the winner, Double Dinghy Day, and he's a guy I like to follow on the lawn too. If I can arrive in Saratoga a week from Sunday only needing my NYRA
Rewards betting card for my action money, I'll be a really happy guy.

Tom Albertrani has been having a real tough time winning here - just three for his last 39 after race two - with two of those wins being Bernardini, and the other Tall Story, who won a memorably awful race here last year. But the bettors seem to be taking note - his Brantley, 3-1 morning line fave in the second, was dead on the board; as is Allude as of this moment, the ML choice in the third [and you can now make that three for his last 30]. Albertrani also runs Unrestricted in the sixth, a first-time Darley homebred by AP Indy.

And it's probably too late for me to note that Show Em All, in the 4th, is a half to Showing Up making her debut on the grass for Clement....

So yeah, as reader jeff said, it's nice to be back east in my comfort zone, though I remain intrigued by the Del Mar races (especially after hitting that exacta yesterday) and plan to continue following them. But the trip was more than just the "nice vacation" that jeff surmised. It's just gorgeous there, and I can't say enough about how fantastic the weather was. It felt absolutely rejuvenating after the oppressive heat and humidity here. I have to admit that as the week went on, I started to get to the track a bit later and leave a bit earlier. It's a little too nice there for horseplaying. Sure, the beach can sometimes be a good place to handicap; but it can also be a place where the brain doesn't really want to work that hard. Maybe that's why the entire time was there, I didn't see one other person reading the Racing Form anywhere other than the track. I felt just as much as an outsider doing so there as I do when I'm reading it on the subway here.

I was telling the Head Chef that Del Mar reminded me of a combination of the old Gulfstream, which it made me miss tremendously, and Keenelend; the former for its palm trees, the latter for its paddock and atmosphere. She responded that it reminded her of....Aqueduct!


"Yeah. It's a paddock, a track, and stands. Just like Aqueduct."

She added that that's not a bad thing, and that she "gets a kick out of Aqueduct." Many of us just get a kick in the ass from Aqueduct. But while I can say that Del Mar did not remind me of the Big A in the least, I do understand her point. As a more casual fan, the Head Chef enjoys settling in the shade of a majestic tree in the backyard of Belmont or Saratoga, set up with a chair, blanket, a book, and picnic goods - all with the paddock fairly close by so she can make her expert observations. But while you're free to bring a chair and sit on the Del Mar apron or in the Playa de Mexico area, it's not at all the same. Del Mar is more suitable for us serious horseplayers. You go to the paddock, to the windows, to watch the race.....and then it's right back to the paddock for the next race. The action unfolds quickly, and it feels as if there's little time for leisure - though I was able to squeeze a Del Margarita or two in. So while we both agree that we'd love to come back, and next year if possible, she'll be thinking of the beach, and not of the track. I'll be thinking of both.


Jim L said...

The gate issues have become a joke at the Spa. Johnny V.'s horse was declared a non-starter for wagering purposes, but didn't his horse wipe out the #8?

When will the stewards be required to come on camera and explain their rulings? "After further review, we had singled Johnny V. in our pics, so we are declaring him a non-starter."

The jock was not ready. The starter let go when the latch was opened. The horse should have been declared a starter FOR wagering purposes.

It's gotten out of hand. It has also happened a number of times at this meet over the past three years.

ljk said...

I think Edgar Prado is a top jock, but that trip he gave Marcavelly in the HOF Stakes was BRUTAL. It took three full lines in the results chart to describe it.