03/07/2010 8:12PM

Big 'Cap Weekend Notes


There were no graded stakes today but there were 10 on Saturday, including three Grade 1's at Santa Anita:

The three Grade 1's all featured close finishes, with Crisp winning by a neck, Proviso by a nose and Misremembered by a diminishing half-length. Each was the third choice in the betting. Proviso and Misremembered were best but you could argue that Blind Luck, beaten two necks in the SA Oaks, deserved to win: She lagged behind a very slow pace, altered course when a hole at the inside evaporated in deep stretch, and was flying at the wire. Despite her defeat, she was the slight favorite in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager at 4-1 over Amen Hallelujah at 6-1.

In the weekend's two graded Derby-trail races, the Gotham looks stronger on paper, with Awesome Act earning a 98 Beyer as opposed to the 86 given to Alphie's Bet in the Sham. Awesome Act, making his first start since being beaten just 1 1/4 lengths in the BC Juvenile Turf -- a slow-paced race in which it has paid to follow the closers and play against the pace-setters -- took to Aqueduct's inner track nicely in his career dirt debut and goes next in the Wood April 3. He beat a field of uncertain quality -- runner-up Yawanna Twist was routing for the first time, and third finisher Nacho Friend hadn't raced since July -- but the Awesome Again colt did it the right way.

Neither Alphie's Bet nor Awesome Act was an individual betting interest in Pool 2 of Derby Futures betting, which closed at 6 p.m. (All Others was the 3-1 favorite, followed by Eskendereya at 5-1 and Lookin at Lucky at 9-1. The shortest exacta is Eskendereya/All Others at $53.40.)

The two of them would have been available for wagering if Churchill Downs hadn't scheduled the first two pools so early this year. Waiting just a week on Pool 2 also would have let bettors factor the results of next Saturday's Rebel, San Felipe and Tampa Bay Derby into their picks.

--You don't often see a 63-1 shot complete only a $12,848 payoff in a double-carryover pick-6, but that's how an otherwise chalky sequence ended at Aqueduct on Sunday when Alykela ($129.50) bobbed 8-5 fave Grace and Courage, who would have completed a $709 pick-6.

Alykela. a second-time starter trounced her debut at 51-1 against slightly better, was the second longest shot in the 10-horse win pool, and offered the third-highest pick-6 payout; Dugout Deputy (32-1) would have completed an $18,313 sequence, and 71-1 Averil's Girl would have made it pay $23,189. The returns with the three favorites would have been $709, $785 or $1,431.

Can't help wondering if we might have had a triple-carry into Wednesday if the first leg had ended as it did under the wire, with Puddin on theRitz finishing first, but she was a pretty automatic takedown for a whip infraction and carrying out runner-up Sugar Trade ($6.70) through the stretch. The put-up of the second choice was followed by four winning favorites at $5.20, $4.90, $3.80 and $4.70. A $117k two-day carry drew fresh money of $410,645 which, after takeout and consos, left about $345k for front-end distribution. That works out to 27 live tickets to Alykela and 487 to Grace and Courage.


Curt A Vassallo More than 1 year ago
Steve, U didn't give it a chance {0.00%} LOL.., 4 lowering the take out. How about removing all the simulcasting from Monmouth, on site ? This way the bettors, can actually enjoy a day at the races, at the track. & have enough money left, to make it until, say at least, the 5th race ? Or better yet, be able to buy tomorrows' DRF ?
tony More than 1 year ago
After just a dreadful winter meet at the inner track @ Big A -- small fields, no-name jocks, bad quality racing -- NYRA and Campo jr better get there act together and quick .NJ racing is about to steal their thunder and if the Spa now gets affected by this deal NY racing is done. This is no joke anymore there is only so much gambling money to go around...
Arcstats More than 1 year ago
The Monmouth experiment should be really fun watching how it all plays out. I tip my cap to all involved in New Jersey who put this in motion. It's the first thing I've seen in years where the sole purpose is to try and rebuild the interest in this sport. I have not been this excited about a race meet in over a decade. So many questions and thoughts on how this will all play out. But you have to believe every "super trainer" from coast-to-coast will have a string at Monmouth. And what about the 30+ percent guys all over the place - how many of these types will show up in the entries? Please Monmouth, spend whatever is necessary to have the best drug testing program and the most stringent penalties in place prior to the initial race. Do whatever is necessary to give the bettors the confidence to attack this meet with both hands. Face it - with an average million being given away three times a week, no one trainer, jockey, or owner should be able to dominate this meet. We'll soon see....
Hoss More than 1 year ago
Steve, The Derby future pools are best when you are made to project as much as possible into the future. Otherwise we might as well save the "Derby Future" pools until oh, say, about the time they're running the "Derby Trial" (which would allow everyone to have seen every prep). In fact, it is absolutely pointless to have any derby preps on the weekends when the Derby Futures pool is in play. (the only reason to do so is that it can't be avoided) If you want to overbet the guy who did the best, and underbet the guy who did the worst, you can wait until May 1 for that opportunity. Right now, if you've got a Derby Futures runner targeted, you hope he's not going to be in action on the weekend of the wager. If he is, you hope he loses and falls victim to a slow pace or a subtly difficult trip, and then you bet him considerably. In any other scenario, you don't bet.
meanjoe More than 1 year ago
Steve, I just read the article about how Monmouth is going to have 1 million $ worth of purses per day due to the influx of casino $, And then bragging about how much we're going to love it. Unless I missed it I didn't see a thing in there that said anything about lowering the take out. I didn't do the math because I know thats your part of the game, but just off the top of my head if they just cancel 1 of the big races, they should be able to reduce take out by a large margin and then make all of us really happy with reduced take out. What do You think? [I think it's a lovely idea that has 0.00 % chance of happening. -SC]
Allen Klayman More than 1 year ago
I agree with carm, I prefer the Derby future wager to be on a non major prep weekend. I would prefer to get higher odds on a horse, thinking he will run a big race in his next prep, then take low odds on a horse that ran a big race over the weekend for all to see. I do agree that they need to expand the wager to all horses that have a realistic chance of making the race though. Lumping horses into the field makes the bet unappealing. I used to make frequent early book wagers back in the days when Aqua Caliente was still around. They offered good odds on any horse you wanted to bet on, and they started taking wagers at the end of their two year old season. On a separate note, kudos to New Jersey on their new racing schedule. This is exactly the direction racing needs to move in. Shorter meets with higher purses will help bring the sport back to where it needs to be. Now if we can get more tracks to take similar steps and coordinate their racing dates to reduce overlap across the country, the quality of the product should improve, field sizes will increase and handle will improve. Racing has to realize that their just aren't enough horses to go around to fill all the races that are being offered, not to mention the dearth of quality horses.
Evan Gewirtz More than 1 year ago
A few commenters have questioned the DQ of Puddin On The Ritz in Sunday's 4th race at AQU (the start of the P6). If I were on the NYSRWB I would advocate for a DQ policy that would read like this: No horse can be disqualified unless the infraction is INDISPUTABLY OUTCOME DETERMINATIVE. Accordingly, every steward ruling on a DQ MUST be unanimous. Since I am not on the NYSRWB and will not be anytime soon, what a horseplayer should be entitled to, at the absolute minimum, is consistency from the steward's. I make notations regarding all the DQ's and leave ups that I am involved in. Some of the inconsistant rulings in the past have been positively maddening. However, while I would have liked Puddin On the Ritz to stay up, I think the steward's made the correct call on Sunday based on recent DQ rulings. Specifically, in the second race on 11/29/09, in another race where my horse was DQed, Parenthetically, I did not think that the drifting horse in that race should have been DQed, nevertheless, the drifting horse in that race was DQed. Furthermore, in that race, unlike the race on Sunday, there was no whip infraction. If the drifter was DQed on 11/29, then, for consistency, they had to DQ Puddin on the Ritz as well. POTR drifted the other horse more and the jockey on POTR inadvertently whipped the other horse on the nose. At least there was some consistency.
Carm More than 1 year ago
I think you are wrong about the Derby Pools. It is a future wager, and it is finally exciting to think you know a horse that can win and can bet him at long odds BEFORE he wins the next prep and everybody gets on him. Your way takes the fun out of it.
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Your column on the NYRA stakes reshuffling is hard to argue with Steve, looks like they are making the best of a bad situation. A small point though. Why drop the existing Belmont prep (Peter Pan) and move another race (Dwyer) to take the spot. Just leave the Peter Pan and drop the Dwyer for a year. I'm much more troubled by another reference the column makes to the Breeders Cup continuing it's permanent site idea. That the site is rumored to be Santa Anita is not my source of aggravation. That any site would be granted the BC on a continuing basis is my problem. I've gone to the BC site many times, read up on the Board of Directors, and have trouble determining exactly who among this group is for or against such a move. As far as transparency with this group forget it, proceedings seem to be as clandestine as it gets. Satish Sanan is now being publicly castigated by Farish for statements not sanctioned by the politburo. Any chance DRF will be able to present us with a voting summary when the decision is made? Do you guys have a fly on the wall? It would be nice to know who among the group stood up for simple fairness. I understand that this is being played out on an elevated financial level, and that my couple of grand doesn't figure in their calculations. I can assure BC that if they do this I, and a lot of horse players I know, will walk away from the BC, probably for good.
Plod Boy Jake More than 1 year ago
Plod Boy observations on G1 events from www.racingflow.com: Crisp was an upgrade going in, having exited consecutive -149 FLOWs in her last pair. The SA Oaks was even more impressive, as Crisp ran down All Due Respect despite a -200 FLOW. We agree, Blind Luck was even more impaired by the -200 FLOW. Proviso was an upgrade going in, having been quick-to-ZIP +219 on BC Day and vs FLOW -242 in the Santa Monica. Like Crisp, this runner gets another upgrade for this important vs PLOD -134 victory in the Kilroe. Misremembered was a neutral in the Big Cap, although his vs FLOW Malibu was worth noting. The race itself was fairly run, so this guy will remain a neutral when he next meets the starter.