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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pick Six Blowed Up, Real Good

Four bettors must have been feeling pretty damn good about their chances to score a Pick Six jackpot of nearly $135,000 as favored Gridiron Great stormed past the eighth pole with the lead in the finale at Belmont on Wednesday.  But Smokey Brown, at 24.25-to-1, the second longest shot in the field, came flying home from absolutely nowhere, and blowed that Pick Six up.  He blowed it up real good!

The carryover for Thursday's card is $539,765.  Smokey Brown is trained by John Toscano Jr., who has been quite sharp the last few days - two winners last Friday, a close third with a 37-1 shot on Saturday, and a close second with Driven By Solar in the 5th in addition to Smokey Brown on Wednesday.  Tough to make much of a case for him on form; "showed little" in his only prior grass effort, at the same 25K maiden claiming level, at Saratoga.   Interesting pedigree though; by Big Brown, out of a Dynaformer mare, inbred 5x3 to the great turf sire Roberto.  And a fair amount of Euro turf/distance influence under the third dam.

Also contributing to the maddnes and mayhem was Mah Jong Maddnes ($26.20), who took the 7th for trainer John Morrison; his second winner of the day, as the stupidly-named Let Me Be Nuts ($10.20) won the 4th. Here's a guy who hadn't had that many starters this year (51) and had only won three of them; now he gets two in one day, funny game.  He also had Sylvia T run a close second last week at 14-1.  So I suppose he merits a look these days.  

[And, in fact, in the 10th on Thursday, Morrison starts Ampa's Girl (9-2). Dropped this one to maiden claimers two races back, but this will be her first effort at this level on grass.  In each of her three maiden special turf starts, she earned TimeformUS figs that are easily good enough to win here.]

In the first, debut runner Storm Swept was 5-2 morning line for Pletcher, off to a slow start at the meet at 18-3-6-4.  She was dead as a doornail on the board, but got going late and rallied to win at 6.90-to-1 "with only occasional stick action from the left side interrupting a strong hand ride." Storm Swept is a two-year old by Stormy Atlantic out of a Rubiano mare; and she's a half sister to Changing Weather, a stakes winner and a nice horse who earned over 300K last decade.

 - In Thursday's 7th, Fiddlers Chico (6-1) goes for trainer Jena Antonucci; and I've been trying to catch this barn, which has been going pretty well of late. A couple of winners the first week of the meet; and then I thought I hit paydirt with Uncle Mitcho at 19-1 on Saturday before 45-1 Gossip Column came to get the money late.  That kinda sucked.  Fiddlers Chico has put forth mostly honest efforts in his eight attempts at graduation, especially here at his home base at Belmont, where his TimeformUS speed figs are quite competitive as he drops to basement level here.  In his last, at Saratoga, his chances were severely compromised after a poor start and traffic in the first turn, leaving him little chance to get back into the slow-paced affair.  Don't know that he'll get much of a quicker pace here, but there are no killers in this field, and the blinkers added in the last race didn't have a chance to be effective given his troubles.  Castellano jumps off to ride Plausibly (5-1); but, honestly, Javier didn't do this horse any favors last time, and Solis rode the aforementioned Uncle Mitcho for the barn.  I'll take the change as a boost in the odds rather than as a negative. Easy Reach (6-1) tries the flat after two jumping races off a two-year layoff, and has an old turf fig that makes him a bit scary.  Summer Shiner (3-1) drops in class for Linda Rice, who showed signs of life towards the end of Saratoga, but continues to send out a lot of well-bet losers; stand against (possible kiss of death warning).

Wow, the Pick Six players must be thrilled about the 8th race, a two-year old state-bred maiden affair on the grass in which all the horses who have actually run are stretching out to a mile off lousy efforts in sprints, dirt and turf.  Good luck with that one guys.  I'm not going there, but will just mention one who at least looks a bit interesting on pedigree.  Takeoff Your Hat (12-1), first-time out for Phil Serpe, is by first-year sire Cosmonaut, a multiple-graded stakes winner on grass, out of an Unbridled's Song mare who's a half to a Group II winner in England; second dam won stakes on grass too.  Also has a half-brother, John's Song, who earned over $100K on grass.  Best of luck and have a great day.