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Friday, July 13, 2007

Track - and Horse - Missing in Action

- Due to a series of mishaps that I'd rather not go into, I didn't make it to Belmont today. It just had gotten too late to fight the traffic and try and make the late Pick Three. So I returned home in the hope - indeed, the expectation that TVG would have Colonial Downs on so I could watch Highland Cat. I guess I should have figured that wouldn't happen with the twilight cards going on from Belmont, Calder, and Arlington.

But no problem, I just planned to go back and once again watch the race at the Forest Hills OTB. I was pretty pumped walking over; I'd seen that he was the even money favorite, and he seemed the horse to beat. He was the consensus best bet in the Racing Form, albeit with a weak 13 points. I recall that it used to be a pretty big deal who was the consensus best bet of the day; I'm sure that I always knew who it was. Actually, maybe it still is a big deal, but with so many handicapping innovations in the last two decades, things that used to be important to me barely register nowadays.

I always considered the consensus selections in the Form to be a truer barometer of how the public was expected to bet the race than the program morning line. The way i remember it, those selections carried a lot of weight, at least with my crowd. So if a horse was 8-1 in the morning line but 3-1 on the board, I'd consult the Form. If the horse was one of the consensus picks, than I wouldn't necessarily consider him as being hot on the board. I rarely do that anymore. Besides the fact that I'm now way too smart (ha) to bother with public handicappers, I question how many people use the Form these days anyway. I wonder if there's a statistic for that. Seems to me that a lot of people use the Equibase program, two bucks as opposed to the escalating price of the Form print edition, while a few others use BRIS or sheets.

So where was I? Oh yeah, so I'm was pumped up, walked into OTB, and looked around for a TV with Colonial. There's Belmont...Arlington...Calder...Harrah's Louisiana Downs...Ellis....what tha f...... They must have 20 TV's there, and not one had Colonial. Whatsmore, I looked at the entries from the many tracks available for wagering. There was everything, even Tioga Downs, Mohawk, Australia (A), Australia (B) the California Freaking Fair @ Solano!!! It seems as if they weren't taking wagers from this one track. It was like I was in some kind of Bizarro spinoff world in which everyone is male, it smells of cigarette smoke even though nobody's been allowed to smoke in there for the last ten years, and Colonial Downs doesn't exist!

So I didn't see Highland Cat, our lovable but marginal gelding, run what looks on the chart to be a no excuse 5th at 6-5, earning purse money of $810. I guess he's just not much of a racehorse despite his smashing good looks. Where he goes from here I can't say; I'm not sure how low the claiming ladder at Colonial goes.

- I love the turf breeding on Top Gone, a two-year old first-time colt starting at six furlongs on the grass for trainer Gary Mandella in the 9th at Hollywood on Saturday. He's by Gone West, 14% with debut turf runners according to the Form, out of a Dayjur mare who is a half-sister to the European sprint champion Mozart; and he's a full brother to Top Cross, who won the grassy Lamplighter Stakes at Monmouth this year. His third dam is the great broodmare and graded grass winner Glowing Tribute (Glowing Honor, Hero's Honor, Wild Applause, Sea Hero), who, as I've mentioned several times, is one of my favorite horses of all time.

Top Gone is 8-1 morning line. The problem is that Gary Mandella doesn't win much with first-timer starters; he's 4 for 43 over the last two years, 1 for 15 with two-year olds, 0 for 10 on the grass. The four that did win paid, 10-1, 10-1, 24-1, and 35-1. So perhaps it will be a good sign if he does not get bet. He has a steady string of works going back to April, and definitely looks worth a ducat, as they used to say.

OK, gonna tackle Belmont Saturday now, and will try to get some picks up by tomorrow morning.


tcpagent said...

If Highland Cat runs @ Colonial again I'll stop by to lend some support. I didn't realize he was running yesterday or I would have attended. I believe they have claiming races @ $5k & up.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that the Colonial signal was not on at your OTB. While the racing is not at the premium level, Colonial offers full fields on the turf with good payouts. I'd rather bet Colonial than alot of other tracks.

Two filles that are locally based took the Del Oaks, this makes me want to look at Peak Maria's Way in the Del 'Cap .. although Indian Vale looks like the logical choice.