01/05/2008 4:42AM

Airborne Six



When I booked yesterday's 1:15 p.m. flight to Ft. Lauderdale last month, I obviously didn't realize that this would put me in the air for the precise duration of a double-carryover pick-six at Aqueduct. So I had the weird experience of getting late scratches just before going through security, tinkering with my tickets in the waiting area, phoning in my play just before boarding and then flying helplessly south as the races were being run.

When I landed, I suppose I could have waited to watch the replays after collecting my bag, renting a car, driving to the hotel, checking in and setting up my laptop, but I'm not that much of a Zenmaster. Instead, I hit the first payphone on the way to baggage claim, dialed 1-800-THE-NYRA and got the bad news right away: 5 out of 6, missing the shortest-priced winner in the sequence, Indian War Dance at $7.30 in the second leg. I know, I'm stubborn but I just didn't like him. At least I didn't have to suffer through his squandering 4 3/4 of the 5 length lead he had at the furlong pole, holding off the horse I needed by a neck. Next.

--I'll be doing a seminar with Mike Welsch and Ron Nicoletti in the Gulfstream paddock at 12:15 Saturday (not the 11 a.m. advertised), and there will be plenty to talk about. This is not exactly one of those glorious winter cards chock full of sexy 3-year-olds. The two graded stakes (the Mr. Prospector and the Hutcheson) are decent if chalky-looking, and there's a good sophomore N1x allowance sprint, but the theme of the day seems to be low-level claimers on the grass -- $30k N2L 3-year-old fillies, $32k maiden-claiming older fillies, $30k N2L 3-year-olds and $18k elders. The idea seems to be to build field size and provide opportunities for the Calder horses, and at least they're good gambling races if you're feeling creative and hunting for prices.

A few nutty notions that might be worth including at big ML odds: Emma's Valentine (20-1) in race 2; Cricket Miss (20-1) in race 4; Nic's Amigo (20-1) in race 8; and Colorful Judgment (8-1) in race 10.

--The Eclipse Award finalists announced Friday contained only a couple of tiny surprises to quibble with in what will probably prove to be photo-finishes for third when the winners and tallies are announced Jan. 21. I was surprised to see Kodiak Kowboy rather than Court Vision as the third 2-year-old nominee besides War Pass and Pyro, and the voters showed a misunderstanding of steeplechase stakes racing by making Planets Aligned rather than Mixed Up the third jumping nominee in addition to Good Night Shirt and McDynamo. Here's a link to the pp's of all the finalists.

Better get some sleep. There are 10 races at Gulfstream tomorrow, then 15 at Mardi Gras Racetrack and Gaming Center, formerly known as Hollywood Dog Track.

george quinn More than 1 year ago
Remember when the astrodome opened with ASTROTURF? It was the surface of the future. Everything old is new again if you can live that long. I will be 75 in 2036 when they replace all these polytracks with dirt. Hope I can still see. George in Lexington,Ky.
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
c, My only point about the Tampa supers was that you could get the same payout for four horses versus the five in the SA HIgh Five. Meaning it's not nearly as expensive (at a $1 per bet) to play and you have more shots at it with 8 to 10 super races each day. For example, you could box five horses a race at $120/race times eight races for $960 at Tampa (or any other track)versus one six horse box in the HIgh five for $720. Of course you have to have a bankroll like that, but I'm just trying to compare apples to apples. Like you say, the High Five is more akin to the Pick 6 than a Super. If you don't have at least two slots well figured you're looking at $$$ tickets. Also, a dime super did take the pool on 12/22 with the immortal pair of Tame the Mane and Da Mullett contributing to the winning combo. The only reason I know is I was there (shaking my head) and the track announcer announced it.
rfb0318 More than 1 year ago
Santa Anita forced to cancel. I really feel bad for Haines, Charles, Willman, et al. who have tried so hard to keep everything together. Has the "King of Cancellations" Johnny V. started riding there? Who made the call? Will the track be forced to eliminate the Super High 5 with pools ranging in the $65-$85K range and re-establish a superfecta with a $200K plus pool just for the sake of dollars and sense? Can we get Frankie S. to send in a large supply of his Energy Drink to help the workers with the round-the-clock efforts needed to fix the track?
Dave More than 1 year ago
Just curious, I played the double carryover at the Big A, went 4-6 no Indian War Dance either, but also didn't have "Double Colico" the Klesaris horse. What made you throw him in?
utah1100 More than 1 year ago
Not sure if running a longer Calder meet is what we all want out of Gulfstream, but I guess they think it will work. However, pretty much every decision made down their since the invention of the internet(thanks again, Al Gore) has been wrong. What a shame. Good luck and have fun. -Love the Twilight Zone photo.
Kevroc More than 1 year ago
Wow Steve, I had 5 of 6 also but, Indian War Dance was one of my two singles! I couldn't come up with Double Colico even in hindsight. 5 of 6 two times starts my year off on the plus side of the ledger but, please Double Colico.. HOW??
C More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Not that I really care about the Eclipse awards, but I'm more surprised that the vastly overrated Pyro is nominated in that category. What has he ever won? War Pass clobbered him 3 times. At least Kodiak Kowboy put together some convincing winning efforts during the summer. Pyro is a nose away from being 0-4. What qualifies him to be a nominee? kevroc, I, like Steve, would also think that the High5 should carry more often... then again, 2 people hit it last night with a $75 horse winning, which surprised me. The jury's still out I suppose. cayman01, Those are $1, not dime, prices you're quoting. Also, I don't think anybody scooped the pool on 12/22, if that's the date you're referring to. The dime payout was around $3600, so I'm guessing about 8-10 dime tickets connected, considering Tampa's typical super pool size. BTW, the dime super in the next race paid a whopping $21. The largest dime super I've found there was about $9500, which happened once. There have been a few in the $2000 neighborhood, but most are in the $60-80 range. Nobody's buying a new car playing dime supers. On the other hand, the first 8 days of the High5 have produced 2 payouts around $25K and one last night at $33K. The rest, aside from the 1 carryover, have been $6K and up. Of course, as you pointed out, it's a $1 minumum, so it can get expensive in a hurry. However, I don't think the bet would work at anything less and I think it shares more in common with the P6 than the super in that (at least for me) it's not an everyday bet.
TOM D. More than 1 year ago
Cricket Miss! Nice call Mr. Crist!
Floppydog More than 1 year ago
Great pic. Both you as handicapper and Shatner were winging it. Catch the New Year's marathon?
grasslover More than 1 year ago
Steve- loved the Twilight Zone picture to go with your flight story. I hope you didn't see any gremlins out there! I noticed that SA cancelled a Sat card because of bad track conditions. With such freaky races run at KEE and DMR this year, and now the closing of not only SA today but the training track troubles everyone by now knows about, would I lose the title "Racing fan/Horseplayer" if I once and for all swore off polytracks that seem to have more of a donwside than positives?