12/31/2013 12:21PM

A Double Carryover to Ring Out 2013


11:15 am: There's a two-day, $93k pick-6 carryover at Aqueduct for today's New Year's Eve card, and because it's the last day of 2013, the whole pool will be paid out whether or not anyone goes 6 for 6. That, in addition to a final chance to make a little score to improve one's 2013 parimutuel balance sheet, makes it worth a look. I'll be playing.

The mandatory payout of carryovers on the final day of a race meet or a calendar year is a somewhat archaic piece of accounting business, especially in a situation like NYRA's, where without the calendar change today's pool simply could have carried over to tomorrow's Aqueduct card. It's not really necessary, but it's only a good thing for players, since a wacky result or two still leaves you eligible to collect the top-level payout for going 5 of 6 or even, in theory, 4 of 6.

Today's sequence is a toughie but it got somewhat more manageable after 16 scratches reduced three previouly full fields (the 5th, 8th and 9th) to fields of 7, 7 and 10. It starts with the 4th race at 1:47 pm, and here's the lineup as it stands at 11:15 am:


The consensus "single" in the sequence is probably Fortify in the featured N2x 8th race, though I'll try to get alive as well to Cease, the only opponent who looks capable of springing an upset now that Spa City Fever is scratched. Fortify, who placed in the Hopeful, Champagne and BC Juvenile in 2012, returned from the sidelines last month and appears poised to turn into a serious 4-year-old.

There's also a mandatory payout in the early pick-5, not that carryovers are usually an issue with that five-legged 50-cent bet, but if no one went 5 for 5 on races 1 through 5, the whole pool would be paid on 4 of 5.

It's 35 degrees in beautiful downtown Ozone Park, the track is rated "good," and there's no rain in the forecast.

12:30 pm: Odds-on Kate Is a Ten trailed field down backstretch at 4-5, up late for unthreatening third to third choice Maxana ($12.40) and second choice Sheedbdawon in opener. Track appears good-to-fast.

12:55 pm: Father John's Pride was an eased-up winner of the 2nd at 6-5 so I doubt the  early pick-5 is going to pay for less than 5 of 5.

The first leg of the pick-6 is a 2-year-old filly maiden dash and it might pay to watch the board early and often -- starting with the daily-double probables on races 3 and 4 -- to gauge the action on two firsters from strong debut trainers: Image of Anna from Rick Violette and Queen to Be from Todd Pletcher. Third-timers Sun and Moon and Sustainable are the horses to beat, but the degree of support for the two firsters will determine how I split those four between A's and B's.

1:15 pm: With 5 MTP for the 3rd, the double betting is favoring the third-timers over the firsters in the 4th. For example, with the currently 8-5 Start Jumping/Whatabouthonor entry  in the 3rd, the doubles are paying $14 to Sun and Moon, $18 to Sustainable, $36 to Queen to Be (Pletcher) and $62 to Image of Anna (Violette).

1:30 pm: Conticinio, longest shot on board at $53.50, came again at rail to outfinish Read the Byline to win the 3rd. Sure glad THAT wasn't part of the pick-6.

Sun and Moon and Sustainable favored in doubles and pick-3's into upcoming 4th.

Here's the play:

(Sorry for the dull spreadsheet graphic. Ticketmaker's working just fine but I can't seem to upload pictures to the blog today.)

1:55 pm: Sustainable ($6.90) just held off 8-5 Sun and Moon with 14-1 Aqua Regia a close third at 14-1 for a chalky start to the pick-6. The mildly-bet firsters showed little.

2:25 pm: Moments Notiz ($3.70), a winner for Jacobson here just five days ago, made it 5 for his last 6 with a facile victory over 7-2 Frazil and 4-1 Quick Money to win the 5th and keep the entire world alive in the pick-6. Tactical error on my part using the first three finishers in equal strength instead of emphasizing the winner, who completed a $1,266 early pick-4 and $7,079 early pick-5.

Thrill Hill, a Naipaul Chatterpaul firster who was 15-1 on the ML, opened as the 7-2 second choie for the upcoming 6th, a maiden race for 2-year-odl New Yok-beds. I didn't use him anywhere. The trainer is 0 for 9 with firsters over the last five years but that's some serious early money.

2:40 pm: Thrill Hill holding steady at 4-1 but he's more like 10-1 in the exactas, e.g. the probable for him over 9-5 favorite Frost Jordan is $71, quite a payof for 4-1 over 9-5. Weird. 

2:55 pm: Phew. Thrill Hill was indeed well meant and has some ability but he settled for third behind 4-5 Frost Jordan and 21-1 Hampden Fiveone. The disappointmens in the race were American Creed and Forged, third and fourth in the very fast Groupthink-Uncle Sigh race Dec. 7 but not factors today. Pick-3 comprising first half of Pick-6 paid just $29.40.

3:20 pm: Eye Luv Lulu, ($16.00, fifth choice in field of eight), outdueled 7-5 Sol the Freud to win the 7th and provide the first price over 2-1 in the pick-6 so far. The Pollard's Vision gelding had the top fig winning his last, but it came against $50k maiden claimers. The result leaves me alive 2x3 (7,9/2,7,8) going into the last two races of 2013.

3:55 pm: Cease ($11.00 second choice), making his first start since the Breeders' Cup Marathon, toyed with the field in the featured 8th, winning off by what looked like nearly 10 lengths with Fortify a dreadful 4th as the 1-to-2 favorite.

So with an AAABB start, I'm alive to my three A's in the 9th for 6 of 6: #2 Petrocelli for $9,687, #7 Star of New York for$15,832 and #8 Chilton for $17,209. Would be a nice way to end the year, so here's hoping -- and a happy new year to all.