12/31/2008 8:40PM

Auld Lang, No Signer

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Took a swing at the mandatory-payout final NYRA pick-6 of 2008 and missed badly (not even a stinkin' conso) despite getting singles home in the last two legs. It was one of those sequences where you knew going in which two legs were going to be the tough ones, but I truly would have had to hit the all-button twice to connect:

I carved up the nine runners in the 5th into a trio of A's, B's and C's and even in hindsight can't see Great Emperor in a higher tier. The complete bustout came 22 minutes later when 34-1 Personal Good came up the inside from last. Personal Good had been racing in weaker restricted claiming races than this open $20k sprint and had never exceeded a Beyer of 72 in 12 career dirt starts in a heat where it looked like it was going to take a minimum of an 85 to win.

But two people either went "all" or found a reason to like him, leading to a pool-splitting $68k payout. Only three of the dozen horses in the finale were covered for 6/6, and I'm guessing one person was singled to Mrs. Holden while the other also had A Word to the Wise and My Time of Day. Consos were worth $403 apiece.

Blankslate Delosvientos waltzed home an 11 1/4-length winner of the Gallant Fox at 4-5 despite coming off a 100-day layoff. If we gave out year-end awards for long-distance specialists, I'd vote for him over BC Marathon winner Muhannak. Delosvientos, a 5-year-old Siphon gelding, won four dirt stakes at 1 1/2 miles and up in 2008, including the G2 Brooklyn, for owner-trainer Giuseppe Iadisernia. An admirable racehorse.

Turn the page and toss the program. Horseplayers mark the arrival of a new year not by a dropping ball but by a blank slate for a gambling ledger. No matter how good or bad your 2008 was at the windows, we're all even for the new year starting at midnight. Let the game begin, again.