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BC Saturday Live
2:05 pm: Pounced just got BC Day 2 off to an orderly start, proving clearly best at 2-1 in the Juvenile Turf and becoming the first favorite to win a Cup race this year.
The JT was the start of the first of three pick-4's on today's card; the others are on races 6-9 and 7-10. The Pick-6 runs on races 4-9. Just finished sketching out the $6k play I'll be putting in once for myself and that Capitol OTB in Albany will be putting in a duplicate of on behalf of 30 customers. I'll check the math one more time, punch them into my NYRA Rewards account, then post them here just before the first leg.
Couldn't help laughing as the ABC interviewer in the winner's circle repeatedly addressed winning JT owner Lady Serena Rothschild as simply "Lady." It sounded more like a cabby, or Jerry Lewis, saying "Hey, lady!" than the invocation of a royal title.
3:00 pm: Here we go. Below is the 13-ticket, $6,000 pick-6 play:
It's a pretty conventional ABC play with a few variations.
Tickets 1-3 require that any 2 of the 3 favorites I like -- Goldikova, Mastercraftsman and Conduit -- win. If so, I'm 4x7x8 in the Sprint, Juvenile and Classic.
Tickets 4-6 allow me to beat any two of those three favorites but thin me out elsewhere --2x4x5 rather than 4x7x8 in the other three.
Tickets 7-12 are basic 5A/1C tickets, keeping me on a thin main with one C allowed.
Ticket #13 was a way to round $5992 up to $6000, using the only two horses in the Classic I didn't use somewhere else.
I'll keep the tickets updated, highlighting any winners that happen to come along.
3:20 pm: Oh well. Alive for five. I know, I know, top Beyer in last on Dancing in Silks, and the figs never lie, but I just didn't believe it. I even thought I had confirmation to be skeptical when M One Rifle, beaten just a nose by Dancing in Silks in that big-fig Cal Cup Sprint, returned to finish third in the day's first race, the Damascus Stakes.
So who's your champion sprinter now? Dancing in Silks, off victories in the restricted Pirate's Bounty, the restricted Cal Cup Sprint and this? Zensational for his three Grade 1's? Do we start looking at dirt horses like Fabulous Strike and Carter/Vosburgh winner Kodiak Kowboy? Does 3-for-3 turf sprinter (and Turf Sprint winner) California Flag deserve a look?
3:40 pm: Looks like Dancing in Silks was a lot longer than 25-1 in the early pick-4. Even with $6.80 and $8.80 winners in the first two legs, the smallest $2 pick-4 is $8579 to favored Lookin at Lucky. It's paying $16k to D'Funnybone, $17k to Noble's Promise, and $20k to Aikenite. The biggest payoff is over $280k to William's Kitten.
4:10 pm: Right idea, wrong Euro. Vale of York was twice the price of the other three Europeans in the Juvenile but was the best of them today -- though not necessarily better than Lookin at Lucky, who just missed despite a wide trip from well behind a slow pace. Vale of York came into the race with a record of 2 for 5, having lost all three of his graded stakes tries.
You'd have to say that Lookin at Lucky lost little in defeat and is still the front-runner for the 2-year-old Eclipse. While 20 of the 25 previous Juvenile winners took the title, Lookin at Lucky wouldn't be the first horse to lose the race and still win the title: Dehere (8th to Brocco in 1993) and Easy Goer (2nd to Is It True in 1988) did it. Additionally, Forty Niner in 1987, Maria's Mon in 1995 and Declan's Moon in 2004 all skipped the Juvenile and still won the Eclipse.
Vale of York capped a $71k for $2 pick-4.
4:45 pm: Finally, a true world champion. Goldikova, the best miler on the planet, became the first of last year's winners to succeed in defending her title, mowing down a bearing-out Courageous Cat to beat males in the Mile for the second straight year. The performance may well earn her an Eclipse as the champion grass filly this year since no one has the credentials that Forever Together did last year when she outpolled Goldikova by a vote of 137 to 94. Miesque, who won the Mile in both 1987 and 1988, earned the title both years.
5:30 pm: Another big-fig bomb as 20-1 Furthest Land, whose 106 Beyer Speed Figure winning the Kentucky Cup Classic was the highest by anyone in the field on a synthetic track, ran down Midshipman and held off Ready's Echo to win the Synth Mile.
Anyone else notice a pattern at this Breeders' Cup with 12 of 14 races in the books?
Synth winners: $14.80, $16.80, $8.80, $18.20, $52.60, $63.20, $44.60.
Turf winners: $21.60, $6.60, $6.80, $8.80, $4.80.
Alive 4x5 for a buck in the pick-4 (2-3-5-7/3-4-5-7-10) but it's going to be tough to get it to pay over $6k for $1 to get me out for the pick-6 fiasco.
Speaking of the pick-6, handle was up sharply over last year, from $2.8 to $3.3 million, despite a drop in the guarantee from $3 million to $2 million. The BC Friday pick-6 also was up, from $1.0 to $1.4 million yesterday.
Hard to imagine there are any live tickets that used Dancing in Silks AND Vale of York AND Furthest Land, and the could be paid out for 5-of-6. There's no carryover to tomorrow if no one goes 6 for 6.
There is, however, a $157k carryover at Aqueduct tomorrow.
5:50 pm: I'm usually a big Kenny Mayne fan, and Hank Goldberg's heart is in the race place when it comes to gambling, but their 1-800-HAMMER comedy segment on the ESPN telecast really fell flat. I guess the idea was to make fun of cheesy late-night infomercials, but the net effect was to reinforce the stereotype that horseplayers are desperate and degenerate losers with roughly the same social standing as crackheads.
6:15 pm: Looks like there are four live tickets in the BC pick-6: two to Rip Van Winkle, which would pay $919k each, and one each to Colonel John and Zenyatta for $1.8 million.
Conduit's Turf victory was professional and well-deserved but I can't help feeling that Presious Passion was just as admirable holding second beaten just half a length with his patented open-up/get-caught/fight-back performance. What a cool horse.
Jerry Moss, Zenyatta's owner, couldn't have been cooler himself while refusing to get baited into Horse-of-the-Year mudslinging while being interviewed on ESPN. Asked about Rachel Alexandra, whose name seems to have been virtually forbidden on the ESPN/ABC broadcasts, Moss had nothing but genuinely complimentary things to say about the rival filly, her campaign and her connections.
7:30 pm: What a wonderful victory for Zenyatta, her connections and her fans. It would be nice if we could all bask in it for a while before everyone starts going for the jugular on Horse of the Year debates, but I'm not holding my breath.
Putting that award aside, the Classic almost certainly decided three other titles. Obviously Zenyatta will be the sport's champion older filly or mare again. Gio Ponti probably locked up the older male title with a second in the Classic to go along with his four Grade 1 grass victories. And Summer Bird, who ran fourth, will surely be the champion 3-year-old male off his victories in the Belmont, Travers and JC Gold Cup.
There are still other title situations to consider, handle numbers to be crunched and speed figs to be calculated but it's been a long couple of days. A cocktail is sounding awfully good at the moment.
Looks like Horse Of The Year is going to come down to East Coast vs. West Coast... I think both horses are deserving of the honor. You can knock Rachel for ducking the B.C. or you can knock Zenyatta for not racing outside of Calif. Zenyatta loves artificial surfaces, Rachel's owners don't. It's a tough call. It takes a great horse to control the pace. takes a great horse to come from out of the clouds. Tough call.
This year Rachael beat Mine That Bird and Summer Bird, Zenyatta beat Mine That Bird and Summer Bird. Of the older males, Rachael beat "Macho Again", Zenyatta beat Gio Ponti, Twice Over, Rip Van Winkle and Einstein. Zenyatta has also beat Ginger Punch twice. Zenyatta has ended her career with a 14-0 record that includes wins in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic and the Breeders' Cup Classic. Horse of the year titles? 0
This year Rachael beat Mine That Bird and Summer Bird, Zenyatta beat Mine That Bird and Summer Bird. So against older males, Rachael beat "Macho Again", Zenyatta beat Gio Ponti, Twice Over, Rip Van Winkle and Enistein. Zenyatta won at a mile and a quarter, Rachael didn't. If Rachael wins horse of the year, then Zenyatta will retire with a record of 14 starts, 14 wins including a win in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic and the Breeders' Cup Classic. Number of Horse of the Year titles: 0
People complain about handicapping synthetic. I played the euros last year and hit the RP and HTN exacta. This year, I hit the Zeny-GP exacta, but again, who didn't? However, I also hit the dirt mile exacta for a cool $329. I can handicap any race, anywhere. Bring it on. I can't wait for Churchill, twice, next year. The last words I said to my buddy before the BCC was it is going to take a true Grade I race to win the race so I told him I thought Zenyatta would win or perhaps SB. They both showed up in winning tickets.
Steve, Curious if you will show the handle figures and dirt/turf/other placing chart for Saturday?
I did not have a good gambling weekend. However, I do know that I feel better than one person---David Flores!! Has the real story ever come out as to why he lost the mount on Zenyatta?
Hey I have been reading all these posts on the scratch of QR and i agree it is an odd situation with now getting the post time favorite, ie. Zenyatta = the winner. Matt says the pick 4 will pays on Z went from 1150 to 750, hmmm not sure I want to know this answer BUT what do you think the Pick six 5/6 did on Z when QR scratched and those people now got the winner with Zen? How much money did it cost US winners on Zenyatta?, Is there any way to see that? the pick six 5/6 was $4822.
Chip Woolley has some good, insightful views on HOY in the Monday New York Post sports section.
Anybody who can honestly vote AGAINST either Rachel or Zenyatta has no soul.
I second Don Reed's post on Bailey's ridiculous comments about Rachel "ducking" the tougher of the two races at Saratoga, opting for the Woodward over the Travers. At the height of his career, I think Bailey was THE best jockey in the country. As for his on-the-fly post-race analysis, I don't think anyone will be throwing out "THE best" anytime soon.