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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Not So Awesome

The owner's lot was full at the Big A when I arrived there on Saturday. It was a bright and beautiful day, and it almost seemed crowded. I guess that 4,028 people will make it seem that way these days.

But I can't hang at Aqueduct for much more than 2 1/2 hours nowadays, so I didn't make it to the Gotham (despite a decent score on a cold $28 exacta in the 5th). Surely, I would have taken a bath had I stayed and found a horse I liked to beat Awesome Act as the favorite in his first race on of those no-brainers as far as I'm concerned. And besides the fundamentals, I'd decided additionally that the colt is totally bred for grass on his distaff side, being out of Mr. Prospector half sister to a host of Euro stakes winners, including the successful, and deceased stallion Machiavellian. It's also the female family of the Arc winner Bago.

And despite his Gotham win, I still think his best days could very well come on grass. I think the fact that people seem to be hepped up on this colt off of this race just shows how hazy and wide-open the Derby picture is. Sure, he gets full credit for shipping in and handling the surface change. And his trip was not uneventful; he was in and among horses and showed ample poise and professionalism.

However, Awesome Act also benefited from a highly favorable pace scenario which set up his late run against a field of questionable quality. The first quarter was run in 22.85; the four-year olds Wall Street Wonder and Custom For Carlos were only slightly faster at 22.76 in the six furlong Toboggan. The half split of 46.60 was easily the quickest of the day in routes. And the horses who ended up 2-3-4 behind him were two who were making their third career starts and going beyond six furlongs for the first time; and the sixth-place finisher in the LeComte whose highest Beyer was 80. Further back were the top three finishers in the Whirlaway, dismissed by the bettors, and rightly so as it turned out.

So I'm tabbing Awesome Act to bet against in the Wood should he be favored against some new faces with more experience and talent than these.

- She & Him is the lovely and talented Zooey Deschanel, and Monster of Folk M. Ward. And given the bright blue skies and the itsy bitsy taste of spring at the races this past weekend (still a bit too chilly for me to get excited), their song In The Sun seems an appropriate one. And it has a pretty cool video too.


Anonymous said...

Thsnks for starting my day with Zooey. Any chance she likes the racetrack?

I tend to agree with you about Awesome Act. He's a pretty good horse however. He's my early favorite for the Secretariat.

Did I mention how pleased I am with the Zooey video?

DiscreetPicks said...

I was quite impressed by Awesome Act. Looked to me like he was still under a nice hold when Leparoux brought him out around the turn, and he gave a confident look back before shaking the reins at Awesome Act, at which point the colt opened up at will. I think he's a major player right now, and he's pretty much set on graded earnings. And of course, the European turf influences would seem to bode well for his chances of handling the 1 1/4-mile Derby distance. Noseda is a very capable trainer, too. I can't find much fault with the horse; he looks like a Top 5 Derby prospect from where i'm sitting. If he shows any kind of improvement at all in the Wood Memorial, he'll rate a very long look @ Churchill Downs. Where, i might add, his dad Awesome Again won the Breeders Cup Classic.

DiscreetPicks said...

Not meaning to go too heavy on the breeding angle, but you also mentioned that Awesome Act's mom was a half-sister to Machiavellian. It might be worth pointing out that Machiavellian's son Street Cry scored a big win in the Stephen Foster @ Churchill. So it would seem that both sides of his family tree indicate a possible affinity for that particular surface. Just sayin'.

El Angelo said...

I agree that Awesome Act is probably overhyped, but outside of Eskendereya, who else really looks that good?

jk said...

ALBANY - The group chosen to run the Aqueduct racino failed to clear all the state's hurdles and could be bounced as soon as Wednesday, the Daily News has learned.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Aqueduct changed the Gotham to the inner and 8.5f instead of 1m on the outer. The outer track is a much better prep for Churchill. Furthermore I'll always bet against a horse that ran well on the inner and then races next on the outer. The 2nd place horse in this race lost all his momentum at the top of the lane and still ran on well. Yet he's bred to be a sprinter. Go fig.

DiscreetPicks said...

Beacuse it's two turns now? I guess they could've made it 1 1/8 miles on the main (like the Remsen), but that'd be my guess.

El Angelo said...

I think it's because they had a string of years where the Gotham was scheduled to be on the outer track but it was too cold to switch from the inner to the outer, so they just moved it to the inner track and bumped back when they'll move to the main track.

Joe Wall said...

El Angelo: of course, as it turned out, last weekend was the first that racing could have been held on the main track, and the weather forecast from here on in looks good, so NYRA seems to have been guilty of too much caution in delaying the move back. Oh well, if they had moved back to the main, it probably would have snowed all weekend.

Anonymous said...

You people need to stop worrying about the distance of the Gotham and give Zooey the love she so richly deserves.

Yawana Twist ran well despite a troubled trip? I've heard it all now. No wonder you ignored Zooey.

Anonymous said...

Alan - Late Scratch

State officials today scratched AEG’s plan to operate 4,500 slots at Aqueduct race track following accusations of a corrupt bidding process.

"The Division of the Lottery has concluded that it cannot issue a gaming license to Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG). Therefore, the State has officially withdrawn its support for AEG to develop and operate a video lottery terminal (VLT) facility at Aqueduct Race Track," Gov. Paterson’s office said in a statement.

"The Executive Branch advocates that the selection of the Aqueduct VLT franchisee be done pursuant to an expedited, transparent, apolitical and publicly accountable procurement process."

jk said...

SL Green Issues Statement on Aqueduct Race Track Decision
Last update: 3/11/2010 4:23:00 PM

"The SL Green/Hard Rock team is still interested and ready to go forward. We have already fulfilled all of Lottery's licensing requirements and we remain able to deliver on our promises -- both on expedited timing and on our long-term vision for this exciting project."