06/06/2008 9:42PM

Belmont Eve


The pool for the Brooklyn Handicap-Belmont Stakes double was $275,716, more than 10 times the puny $20,285 in the advance win pool Friday, so the implied odds from the double payoffs are probably a better gauge of what to expect tomorrow:

All prices and prospects are in limbo pending the possible scratch of Casino Drive, who was higher than his 7-2 morning line in both pools after the discovery of a possible bruise in his left hind foot Friday morning. Going by the double betting, if Casino Drive were scratched, Big Brown would drop from 7-to-20 ($2.70) to 1-5 ($2.40), with Denis of Cork becoming the 7-1 second choice and Tale of Ekati next at 13-1.

If Casino Drive does run, it will be interesting to see if he's still bet as strongly as was expected before the Friday incident.

--No carryover into Saturday's $1 million guaranteed pick-six after two winners collected a seriously overlaid $32,583 payoff Friday for a sequence of winners that paid $9.10, $13.60, $5.10, $4.20, $6.60 and $6.50 -- almost 10 times the $3,553 parlay. The joker in the deck was the $13.60 Phipps/McGaughey firster Tourism, a 3-year-old Seeking the Gold-Resort filly who got up by a head over 1-2 Platinum Plus, the only odds-on starter in the pick-six races.

Tourism is Resort's second foal. The first, Sightseeing, was a disappointing fourth at 3-1 in the featured G2 Brooklyn Handicap, repositioned and lengthened into a 12-furlong race this year and won by Delosvientos, a 5-year-old Siphon gelding who also won the local prep for this, the $75k Fit to Fight at Belmont May 15. Both times, 10-year-old Evening Attire ran on late to get up for second behind the front-running Delosvientos, falling 2 1/4 lengths short in the Fit to Fight and two lengths short in the Brooklyn.

Despite the nearly identical outcomes, Delosvientos set a much slower pace in the prep and finished up quicker, while he ran faster early and slower late in the Brooklyn:

Fir to Fight: 24.47, 49.72, 1:15.05, 1:39.68, 2:04.33, 2:29.40
Brooklyn H.: 24.22, 48.11, 1:12.74, 1:37.65, 2:03.91, 2:30.96

Friday's other stakes, the G3 Hill Prince for 3-year-old grass horses, featured a very impressive 3-year-old debut by Gio Ponti, who circled the field from last despite mild fractions to run down Prussian and win off by two lengths. The Tale of the Cat colt won his debut at Saratoga, beat Nownownow in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland, and suffered his lone defeat in four starts running eighth to Nownownow after a rough trip in the BC Juvenile Turf.

The grass course seems in perfect shape after Wednesday's needed dousing, and the current forecast calls for only a 10 to 20 percent chance of rain between now and the Belmont. Gio Ponti made up four lengths on a final quarter of 23.89 in the Hill Prince.

--Everyone's a wiseguy: Only three of the 21 "selectors" on the special DRF consensus-pick pages for the Triple Crown races are alive to pick the winners of all three races this year -- and all three two of us got off Big Brown for the Belmont. Brad Free stayed with Big Brown switched to Tale of Ekati, Mike Watchmaker went for Casino Drive and I'm on Denis of Cork. [See Dave R.'s comment below.]

Watchmaker, Dave Litfin (who picked Big Brown) and I will be doing a seminar somewhere near the paddock at Belmont from 10 to 10:45 a.m. tomorrow, and I might as well stay for the races as long as I'm already out there, so any live blogging will be much briefer than it was when I played the shut-in on Derby and Preakness Days. I'm going to try posting via cell phone from my seat outdoors -- wish me luck. I'll post some thoughts on the card either before or after the seminar. [Update 2:18 a.m.: Let's make that definitely after the seminar.]