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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Morning Notes - Nov 23

- I know that reader Steve in nc and others are waiting for me to blast NYRA about something, so as to demonstrate that my accepting their advertising hasn't made me soft. I would have done so had the silly rumor about them requesting a closure of the Big A this winter, with insufficient notice to the horsemen, had proven to be true. But it's not, so so much for that. And I don't know why the matter of an alternative Breeders' Cup would come up again since Charles Hayward explicitly shot that down last month.

But, here's something. After finally having gotten used to what was, at first, the wholly unnatural act of walking away from betting machines without a ticket in hand, having placed my bets using my NYRA Rewards account, now the machines are spitting wagering receipts back at me when I'm done. What the hell do I need those for? And most importantly, doesn't seem very green to me, now does it?!?

Harumph! What else? Oh yeah, there's the matter of the infield tote board at Aqueduct, which has more light bulbs missing than in all of these idiots' heads combined.


OK, happy now?

Well, I guess blinkers made a difference for Saturday's sixth race winner, Well Positioned. A no-threat sixth, some 12 lengths behind Saturday's race favorite Conservative in his debut, this two-year old Adena-bred son of Awesome Again whistled wire-to-wire by 14 lengths for trainer Patrick Reynolds at 31-1, yee-ha! You know that someguysomewhere is going "yeah, I told you that he'd kick butt with blinkers on!" This barn has two winners and a second with its last four runners here. Well Positioned is by Awesome Again, out of a Holy Bull mare. Paul Pompa paid $340,000 to purchase this one at the Adena sale earlier this year, and has a ways to go to get even still.

Listening to myself go on about trainer trends, I put a few bucks on Steel Drums, first time on the grass for Contessa, at 23-1 in the 4th. And I had a little excitement as he actually attained the lead with a wide move turning for home, before fading to 5th. This two-year old is by Fusaichi Pegasus, out of Kalypso Katie, a British stakes winning mare who's a half to EP Taylor winner Kool Kat Katie. So perhaps worth watching the next time she's on grass, whenever that turns out to be.

Of course I was gone by the time Contessa took the Discovery Handicap with Wishful Tomcat, so I didn't have that one. I just don't have the tolerance for much longer than two hours at that place these days. Lieutenant Ron, first time beyond seven furlongs, was one of several awful favorites on the card at 6-5. I did a good job of ID'ing those bad ones during the day - Conservative and Calimonco at even money, Drowning Bear at 2-1, Fidelio at 2-1 at Churchill. Unfortunately, that's only half the battle, but it's a key step, and I can usually take away at least some feeling of accomplishment from having correctly ID'd favorites to oppose.

Signs of life for the Toddster, who scored in the 4th with Swinging Bernie, and was a close second in the finale with Trevelyan; Pletcher is on a modest streak of 12-3-2-1, and has four winners from 30 runners for the meet. But two more winners for his former assistant Seth Benzel, now 19-7-3-0 for the meet. Benzel edged out his former mentor in that finale with first-timer Tiz True, 18-1 despite some nice grass breeding. This was an unbelievable rally, one of those races that you think you read the results wrong as you're watching the replay of the stretch run. Tiz True is by Tiznow, out of Amelia, a turf stakes winner by Dixieland Band, who is, in turn, out of Aquilegia, twice a turf graded winner; and that one is out of the great blue hen mare Courtly Dee.

- The gamble paid off in a big way for the connections of Somebeachsomewhere, as the pacer drew the three post for next Saturday's final of the Breeders' Crown Pace for three-year olds. So he gets a week off, and a fine position to boot. He may need it in order to defeat the way sharp Shadow Play, who toyed with his elimination heat last night, easing home in a final quarter of 26 flat.

Also a good set-up for the three-year old filly pacers with an impressive first-over win by Tug River Princess, and a dominant two-move tour de force by Native Bride, who now has a record of 20-16-3-0 this year; that's right, 20 starts, you gotta love that. Both of these fantastic fillies had to be supplemented to the Crown for $62,500 apiece. Native Bride defeated Tug River Princess in the Matron at Dover Downs, as the latter was forced to go first over against her rival. Should be a great night at the Meadowlands next Saturday, even if Deweycheatmunhowe doesn't make it back from his throat abscess. I'm definitely planning to go, and have already cleared this with the Head Chef. Handride is threatening to make his harness debut, so the pressure will be on since he thinks I know what I'm talking about.


Anonymous said...

The Big M sent me a mystery voucher for BC Night so I might have to head out myself.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Happy now.

steve in nc said...

I've noticed one change at NYRA from afar last week. I kept getting a recording and had to wait minutes to get through to the betting line when I called a number of times. In the past, this has rarely happened except on big race days, or maybe at 3 MPT in the first race or race 4 when there's a big carryover.

But Wednesday and Friday, it happened a lot. Staff cutbacks? I guess I shouldn't complain, I only got shut out once, and it saved me $$.

But Alan, you gotta go after 'em like Fox. Is it really true they pal around with terrorists? Or that they don't pal around enough with horseplayers! (Careful here, I've known a number of horesplayers who, on the wrong, day, at the wrong moment, with the wrong provocation, could have ended up at Creedmore, if not Guantanamo.) All I know is, whenever I lose a photo, it is either NYRA's fault or global warming.

Anonymous said...

I loved Tiz True. What an incredibly bred animal! Serling had mentioned in the morning that the grand dam was Acquilegia, picked it for second in his selections. Jan remarked just prior to the race, "What a big turf foot," it had. Courtly Dee was one of my favorite broodmares. Native Courier ring a bell. The only surprise was why the heck Helen Alexander and Helen Groves would even think of selling this regally bred horse at auction for ONLY $50,000, very unreal, not to mention the race. Dawdled at the start, dead last, taken outside in the stretch in which you never thought it could make up that much ground with where the leaders were in the stretch. This is one to follow, has the makings and the breeding of a future stakes winner, I believe.

Alan Mann said...

Hope you made a little money on Tiz True. Wish I had checked out that pedigree before the race rather than after it!