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Breeders' Cup Friday Live Blog
12:35 pm: And they're off...on opening day at Aqueduct, that is. First post at Churchill Downs isn't until 2 p.m. ET, with the first of six Cup races on BC Friday, the Marathon, carded for 4:10 pm. The last is the Ladies' Classic under the lights at 7:30 pm.
If you haven't heard it elsewhere, there are two big early scratches: Rightly So, the morning-line favorite for the BC F&M Sprint is a vet scratch today, and Crown of Thorns, who might have been favored in the BC Dirt Mile tomorrow, has been declared out of the race with a flare-up of an old knee injury. Rightly So's scratch was apparently too late to allow an also-eligible into the race, so it will go with a field of 13.
Rightly So's absence is going to lower a lot of prices in the F&M Sprint, some of which were already unrealistically high on the morning line. I was trying to beat Rightly So and had sugarplum notions of getting the ML prices of 15-1 on Sara Louise or Evening Jewel and 20-1 on Switch, but now I wouldn't be surprised to see all three at 12-1 or lower.
The Marathon begins an all-Cup pick-6 with a $750k guarantee. (Last year's BC Friday pick-6 handled $1,403,616.) There's also a $750k guaranteed late pick-4 on races 7-10 (the F&M Sprint, Juvenile Fillies, F&M Turf and Ladies' Classic, today's four G1 Cup races. (Last year's handle was $1,371,372.)
I'll be putting in a $5,000 pick-6 play and Capital OTB will buy a duplicate set of tickets on behalf ot its customers. They'll do the same tomorrow only if today's play hits, but either way I'll be shovelling in another $5k play tomorrow. I'll post both plays about 30 minutes before the sequences start so you can root along with (or against) them.
I'll also be tracking today's commingled betting handle in comparison to the first two full BC Fridays at Santa Anita in 2008 and 2009. It won't be entirely apples-to-apples: The races are in slightly different order, and this year it's a 10-race card with six BC races and four others; last year was only a nine-race card with six BC races and three others, while the 2008 version was a 10-race card with five BC races and five others. The grand-total targets are $48.4 million in 2009 and $47.8 million in 2008.
1:30 pm: My current version of the BC Friday pick-6 needs a lot more whittling: it's still at seven tickets totalling $16,800 including a $13,824 all-A's-and-B's, well over the $5k budget.
I'll keep the handle-comparison table below at the bottom of today's long single post so that those of you who aren't handle-stat geeks don't have to keep scrolling past it.
1:55 pm: Sparing no expense to answer your questions -- like the one below about whether NYRA Rewards is accepting online 50-cent minimum BC wagers on the tri, pick-3 and pick-4), I just bought the following 50-cent ticket, so apparently they are:
3:43 pm: Okay, here goes. Managed to bring it in at $4,990:
It's pretty much a conventional A-B-C play with a couple of variations.
Ticket #1 is all-A's and B's in legs 1 through 4, trying to get some prices to get alive to Midday/Life at Ten & Blind Luck.
Tickets #2-7 are straight 5-A's-with-one-C backups, i.e. Ticket #2 is leg-1 backups with legs 2-6 A's; Ticket #3 is leg 2 C's with A's in legs 1,3,4,5,6 etc.
Tickets #8-11 are two-B tickets through Red Desire, my only B in leg 5.
Ticket #12 was a way to spend the remaining $136 -- a just-in-case I can get whittled-down A's in the first five legs, an "all" in the finale.
That cost $126, bringing me up to $4,990.
At least I can't be dead after one leg: Field of 12 in the Marathon, and I've got 4 A's, 4 B's and 4 C's.
No big surprise: The two Euros in the Marathon, Bright Horizon and Precision Break, were 10-1 and 15-1 on the ML but with 12 MTP are 5-1 and 8-1.
4:20 pm: Oops. Sorry, Capital OTBers. I've never been an Eldaafer fan but congrats to him for winning the inscrutable-to-me BC Marathon. Down to one live all-A ticket (#2) with singles of Winter Memories and Midday. 1x3x2x1x2 is plenty of coverage for five Breeders' Cup races, right?
Fight ! Fight! It's taking four guys including his brother to restrain Calvin Borel from fulfilling homicidal urges against Javier Castellano, the rider of Prince Will I Am. Castellano steered his mount into the path of Romp and Martin Garcia. Romp was taken up sharply -- Garcia was airborne and somehow hung on by the reins -- and Borel and A. U. Miner on their outside were also impeded.
Prince Will I Am was disqualified and placed behind Romp, moving A. U. Miner up to third and Giant Oak up to fourth for an official 4-6-12-8 order of finish.
Eldaafer finished 7th, beaten 24 1/4 lengths, in last year's Marathon over Pro-Ride at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old A. P. Indy-Habibti gelding was claimed for $20,000 from Shadwell Farm out of a N2L claiming race at Aqueduct in January, 2009.
4:40 pm: Betting was down 11 percent from last year in the first two races on the card, two allowance races vs. two allowance races. Race-by-race comparisons get sticky after that because last year the BC races were 3-8 on a nine-race card while this year they're races 5-10 on a 10-race card.
5:05 pm: Two races, two foul claims. More Than Real won by daylight but Winter Memories got squeezed between the winner on the outside and the tiring Fancy Point to her inside, but the stewards correctly concluded the winner did nothing wrong and left the result alone.
Two races, two virtual no-shows by the Europeans, though in all fairness these races hardly contained their best hopes.
Betting starting to pick up. The Marathon slightly outhandled last year's edition ($5.07 million vs. $4.99 million.)
5:45 pm: Dubai Majesty won a G1 race in her seventh try, showing her fondness for the dirt at Churchill Downs (now 4 for 7) with a clear victory over turnbacks Switch and Evening Jewel in the BC F&M Sprint. The 5-year-old Essence of Dubai mare -- who, like Eldaafer, once raced for a $25k tag in N2L company -- looks like the leading contender for champion female sprinter unless someone has a better idea.
Kudos to ESPN for apologizing for showing some footage of what appeared to be a remarkably calm and smiling Borel in the jockeys' room in the wake of the post-Marathon fisticuffs. As the announcers just said, that was pre-recorded stock footage, not a live shot. The hostilities reportedly continued back in the room.
They just turned on the lights at Churchill. Three Cup races down, three to go.
6:10 pm: The guy at Capital OTB said they felt obliged to spend that final $10 I had left over and bought five $2 quick-picks. They can't be doing much worse than mine.
The first all-Cup pick-3 of Eldaafer ($23.20), More Than Real ($29.20) and Dubai Majesty ($19.20) returned $3,055.20 for $2. One bomb and we might have a pick-6 carryover into tomorrow.
6:30 pm: Awesome Feather, unbeaten in five starts at Calder, stamped herself the nation's champion 2-year-old filly after wearing down R Heat Lightning to win the Juvenile Fillies. Stalking from third behind surprising early leaders Theysken's Theory and R Heat Lightning, Awesome Feather looked like she was going to blow the race open with a decisive move in upper stretch, but R Heat Lightning fought back for a while before succumbing late.
Awesome Feather, a daughter of the obscure Florida stallion Awesome of Course (by Awesome Again), ended up going off a slight favorite, paying $10.40.
7:05 pm: Got three texts within a minute of Shared Account's 46-1 victory in the F&M Turf:
Horseplayer #1: I'm giving up the game.
Horseplayer # 2: I just got rich!
Horseplayer #3: I loved the #5 but missed everything.
I guess you could say that Shared Account was an overlay off her close finish to Proviso in the Diana, and maybe you could throw out her Flower Bowl because of the boggy course, but still: A career record of 2 for 9 on the grass, and 0-for-4 in Grade 1's.
In any case, it's hard to make a case an Eclipse Award case for her over Proviso, who already has four Grade 1's this year and won their only meeting. And if Goldikova wins the Mile for a third straight year, there will be support for her as well.
I can't buy into this emerging idea that the European grass horses are being hampered by a too-firm turf course today. They just ran the F&M Turf in 2:17.74, almost five full seconds off the course record, and over three seconds slower than when Ouija Board won the race at CD in 2006.
7:20 pm: Carryover! $817,642 in the kitty to start tomorrow's sequence: Turf Sprint, Juvenile, Mile, Dirt Mile, Turf, Classic. Piece of cake.
7:40 pm: Unrivaled Belle comfortably held off Blind Luck to win the Ladies' Classic, but the ugly story of the race is why second choice Life at Ten was permitted to run.
Good for Randy Moss on ESPN, who said right after the race that "There was lot of money bet on Life at Ten. The betting public has a right to be pretty doggone upset."
Life at Ten -- who was distanced after half a mile -- was in obvious distress before the race, as clearly documented by Moss and Jerry Bailey. Rider John Velazquez told the commentators that there was something wrong with her, and trainer Todd Pletcher said shortly after the race that he thought she was either suffering from cramps or had had an allergic reaction.
Bailey said after the race that it was the responsibility of the attending veterinarian at the starting gate to have discussed the filly's condition with the rider.
As for the race, Unrivaled Belle -- second to Life at Ten in two of her last three starts -- was returning to the scene of her upset of Rachel Alexandra at Churchill April 30, the day before Blind Luck won the Kentucky Oaks. The race did nothing to change the certainty that Zenyatta will win the Eclipse Award as the champion older filly regardless of her Classic performance. Blind Luck's runner-up finish with rival Havre de Grace third, earned her a 3-year-old filly championship she may already have clinched.
But between the jockey fracas and the Life at Ten incident, this was not exactly a pretty day for the sport.
8:45 pm: Betting for the day made a late surge to end up higher than last year's BC Friday at Santa Anita. The commingled total on the Cup races was $43.4 million, a 7.87 percent gain over last year's $40.2 million, and for the entire card was $51.0 million vs. $48.4 million, a 5.42 percent gain.
Did we forget about the crack crew working the starting gate loading the majority of the field for the Juvenile Fillies Turf into the wrong slots? How can so many people screw up such a simple process? And luresdouble, you might want to re-consider your thoughts regarding the European trainers and drug use. 9 of the 11 Euro horses ran on Lasix today and 12 of 15 will be "juiced up" tomorrow - including Goldikova and Workforce. So end the nonsense and please remember where Patrick Biacone started his career.
I've got to hand it to you Mike O'Neill. I'm sure if Martin Garcia would've went down you would've blamed him for not holding on tight enough. I've been a horse racing fan since the days of Affirmed vs Alydar and I've never seen a more reckless and careless maneuver then the one pulled off by Castellano. Of course he should be suspended for a minimum of 14 days but we all know what will happen. He'll file appeal after appeal and will finally serve his sentence during the last two weeks of the Aqueduct meet.
1st race on Saturday is in... and there will be no closers on this speed favoring freeway. You heard it here first. Show me a closer that has a chance today.
All the fuss about the fight. The WIZARD was good to follow today with his $10.00 sheet. He had Race 7 dead on in a 4 horse box. For $24.00, I got back over $6900.00 in Super. This guy is very productive. All I did was play his 4 horses if the odds were fairly high. Short fields I kept voucher in pocket. My business helper showed up and he never played a horse before. He played an exacta reversed for $4.00 and collected $189.60.
Scratch subs for 8 None leave out tikets cheaper Leg 5/6 No 6 bummer Use the Irish for luck #4 Crunched between 1 and 3 (murdered me at Bel ) so went to the 4
Sat L P 4 for the CUP 3,4,7,8,9,11,12,13 7,10 10 2,5,7,8,10,13 6,7 5,12 ---------------------------------------------$672 3,4,7,9,11 7 3,4,7,9 2,5,7,8,10,13 6 1,12,5 -------------------------------------------------$720 3,4,7,9,11 2,3,4,6 10 2,5,7,8 6 1,5 --------------------------------------------------------$320 3,4,,8,12 7,10 3,4,7,9,10 2,5,7,8,12,13 6,7 8 -------------------------------------------------------------$960 $2,672 Div. by 3 is $892.00 a head May there be no late scratches, and the special terminal window be my friend Matrix Mantra Good Luck to all Day 2 of what 1 was Bizarro Bizarro with Ricky and Lucy hav'n lot O splan'n to do.
I have been around horse racing for over fifty years. What happened in the race with Borel has happened over and over again. Yes it can cause injury but I believe that there is no way of stopping this completely. Some times people just underestimate the amount of room there is. My guess is that if you go back and watch all the races borel has ridden in he has done the same thing and I am sure he has an excuse as to why it happened. I have seen the same move made where the horses don't clip heels and nothing is done .The fact that heels were clipped is the only reason anything was down. I am sure javey will get some time ,But Borel who seems to have allowed his anger to get the best of him should be fine and suspended for the unforgivable behavior. I heard Jerry Baily say that this was unavoidable.Jerry is wrong,as long as humans are involved errors will be made.Besides does Jerry think that yesterdays incident is the first time this has happened,Mike from Chicgo
A long time ago...after my horse just missed at the Marshfield Fair and I commented.... "3 more jumps and we would have won it".... he said "how long was the race" I said "about 5 and a half furlongs" He said "was it 5 and a half furlongs and 3 jumps?" But, even knowing he was correct....I still say three more jumps and Zenyatta wins it!
fun day yesterday. cold and windy. but what are you gonna do? excited about today. big fields, prices yesterday were great. not 1 favorite. a few longshots i like today. 1. mad flatter in dirt mile. seems to be new horse last 2 months.. (12-1) 2. proviso in turf mile. simply wins.. will hook up with goldy. (12-1) 3. rogue romance in juvenile. smarty jones horse should be ok on dirt. hoping for crazy pace and he will be closing at big price (30-1) 4. central city in turf sprint.. luvs it here. luvs to win. crazy race.. need at least 10 to 1 to even play anybody. (12-1) good luck to all.. gotta go .. track opens in 20 minutes..
That was an interesting first day. Sat down to watch some horse racing and a hockey game broke out. Is it sport of kings or sport of flings. couple of good punches thrown. I think javier was right in defending himself. Pretty sure Calvin said a few choice words we did NOT hear. As for LAT affair; after hearing JV's concern about her, I picked up phone to cancel my bets on the race($10 exacta box LAT-HDG-BL). Could not get through, but figured I would get back $20 after scratch. No big deal. Those are some vets in Ky. Hope today is better.