06/27/2009 11:31AM

Cinchy Saturday?



Lucky's Race & Sports Book, which has eight locations in Nevada, has posted an interesting prop on today's two heavy odds-on propositions:

2/7 ($2.57 for $2 to us parimutuel types) that Rachel Alexandra wins the Mother Goose AND Zenyatta wins the Vanity;

3/2 ($5.00 for $2) that one of them wins and one of them loses;

12/1 ($26.00 for $2) that they both lose.

On paper both races are mismatches that would have both of them going off at 1-5 even without the additional fan-club action from casual fans and souvenir-ticket buyers. Even the most stubborn contrarians would have trouble making rational cases against either one.

In theory, Zenyatta has a bigger hurdle, because the handicap conditions of the Vanity have her conceding from 13 to 18 pounds to her opponents, while all Mother Goose entrants carry 121. If either is the slightest bit vulnerable, however, it might be Rachel Alexandra on grounds of how the race might be run. The two other fillies with early speed, Malibu Prayer and Flashing, are drawn to her outside, at least raising the possibility of her getting embroiled in some sort of an early tussle.

[Update 12:35 pm:] Hopeful Image and Don't Forget Gil are late scratches from the Mother Goose, leaving a three-horse field.

The Mother Goose is scheduled for 5:12 pm Eastern time as the 9th at Belmont, and the Vanity will go 18 minutes later at 5:30 pm ET as the 4th at Hollywood.

--It's sunny and in the 70's in New York today, with only a 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms before evening, making it so far the nicest day here since the Belmont Stakes three weeks ago. (The 5th and 6th races have been taken off the grass; the 7th, 8th and 10th, the races surrounding the Mother Goose in the $350k guaranteed late Pick-4, remain on turf.)

Friday's last race at Belmont on a twilight card had to be cancelled after a ferocious storm hit the track while the horses were in the paddock for the finale.

The cancellation made the pick-4 and pick-6 pay out with an "all" in the final leg to the tune of $164 for $2 in the pick-4 and $12,926 in the pick-6. There had been one Pick-6 combo alive to each of four horses in the 9th, two of them apparently in Canadian currency. Here were the will-pays if the 9th had been run:

--Serious question: Why was Sovereign Fund 6-1 instead of 20-1 in Friday night's fifth race at Hollywood?

Sovereign Fund, a 3-year-old Giant's Causeway colt and half-brother to Marsh Side, raced twice last fall in New York for trainer Barclay Tagg, finishing a distant 7th and a distant 10th without encountering any trouble or displaying any ability. He showed up Friday night off an eight-month layoff, now in Neil Drysdale's care, as a twice-thrashed maiden facing multiple winners in a N1x allowance race. His pp's showed two Beyers of 60 and 52 in a race where the top contenders routinely earn figures in the mid-to-high 80's.

When I saw he was the third choice at 4-1 on the morning line, I honestly thought it was a typographical error. How could a horse beaten 10 1/2 lengths at 13-1 in a maiden race eight months ago be 4-1 in an allowance race in his next start? But the Hollywood linemaker clearly knows his customers better than I do: Sovereign Fund was 4-1 or 5-1 through most of the betting before drifting late. He finished sixth, beaten 10 lengths while beating one horse.

It's not as if I had a good opinion on the race myself: I took a shine to a 13-1 shot from low-percentage connections who finished only a head in front of Sovereign Fund. But I remain baffled and curious: Was this serious betting action on a horse surrounded by whispers and high expectations, or just proof that bettors won't let anything ridden by Garrett Gomez, champion or chihuahua, go off at more than 6-1?