01/21/2008 12:48AM

Gone West


BEVERLY (Hills, that is), Cal. -- Good thing that Santa Anita has an early noon post time Monday, or else there could have been a thorny conflict between the carryover-laden 10th at SA and the start of the Eclipse Awards cocktail hour here at the Beverly Wilshire.

Both are irresistible. You have to start drinking early to get through the Eclipses, a/k/a The Longest Night in American Racing, and the 10th race is not only the last leg of a pick six with a $129k carryover, but also a rare carryover Super High Five race, with $65k from Sunday seeding that pool. (Guess my colleague Mr. Free was right about the pick six carrying over more often.) Thanks to the early post, though, the 10th is slated for 4:37 p.m., a mere 23 minutes before first post at the bar.

So it's an unexpected-homework night and it's going to be a busy Monday here in the land of swimming pools and movie stars. The Turf Publicists of America's luncheon honoring Carl Nafzger as the Big Sport of Turfdom starts at 11 and the first leg of the pick six goes at 2:05. Full report on the day's festivities when they're all over.

--This may have been the thinnest graded-stakes weekend of 2008, with only two such races on the national calendar: Saturday's G3 Tuzla and G2 San Marcos at Santa Anita, where Champs Elysees was an easy winner at 2-5. The 4-year-old Danehill-Hasili colt is a full brother to fellow Juddmonte homebreds Banks Hill, Cacique and Intercontinental and a half to Heat Haze, all G1 winners. Frankel, who has trained most of them in their U.S. starts, thinks Champs Elysees will be even better at distances beyoind the San Marcos's 10 furlongs, and will race him lightly this winter with bigger summer and fall races in mind.

Why such a light weekend for stakes racing? Probably the biggest reason is next Saturday's Sunshine Millions, which since its inception has thinned out the graded-stakes schedule at Santa Anita and Gulfstream on surrounding weekends.

--Congratulations to all the New York Giants fans out there for Sunday's stirring victory over Green Bay, but I root for the other Manning. Despite growing up in New York, I've been a Colts fan since childhood due to Johnny Unitas, an allegiance that spurred one of my first life lessons about betting on sure things.

In Super Bowl III, you may recall, the then-Baltimore Colts were 17-point favorites over the New York Jets. The concept of the point spread was lost on my junior-high classmates, who simply wanted to bet on their hometown Jets and Mr. Cool, Joe Namath. I goaded as many of them as I could into betting the game straight up, no points. Candy from babies. It was like getting even-money on a 1-to-10 shot.

As you may recall, the Jets won the game outright, 16-7. I still think it was a great value bet.

caulks More than 1 year ago
Steve, I was like your high school contemporaries as far as being clueless about point spreads for Jets-Colts Super Bowl. My dad had just finished a successful year betting football and decided he was going parlay his season winnings with a $4,000 bet on the Colts -16. Knowing that he had bet the Colts, he seemed even more morose at halftime with the Jets ahead, I remember saying, "Don't worry, Dad, the Colts are only down 7. He was barely able to mumble that the Colts were actually down 23. It was then I learned about the high-priced spread. His plan was to use $8,000 to fund the first two years of my college education. (Yup, room and board at a private university in 1970 was really around $4,000 a year). He was pretty depressed for the next 6 months and had to resort to "plan B" which was asking his in-laws for a loan.
EJS More than 1 year ago
Come and listen to a story about a man named Steven Crist A poor Harvard student who barely passed his tests Then one day he was dogging at some betting pools And up through the tickets came some bubbling crude Winners that is, parimutuel gold, Taxless Tea Well, before you know it ol’ Steve’s a publishaire Gets to travel on the dime, almost anywhere Thought the Californy Eclipse Awards was the place he ought to be So he loaded up the airplane and headed to Beverly Hills, that is. Santa Anita, High Fives, Double Carryover pools. Now it’s time to say good-bye to Steve leaving with all his wins And he would like to thank you all fer kindly chipping in You’re all invited back to his home locality To contribute a heapen helping to his equity Handicapping Ability, that is. Y’all don’t bet those turnbacks now, y’hear.
george quinn More than 1 year ago
Quite like this years Giants. I think they are the best bet in the history of sports in this super bowl. I not only think they will cover I am going to bet the money line. Keep listening to the talking heads folks. You will end up following them right off the pier. This comes along rare. Georgetown could not lose to Villanova remember? There are other instances which I do not have to give. Giants outright. It is easier than it looks. George in Lexington Ky.
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
Champs Elysees was trained in Europe by none other than Andre Fabre. He gave the horse to Frankel to train here in USA. Andre Fabre holds a very important record in the Breeder's Cup Classic. About 10 years ago, his horse won the Classic, paying approx. $268.00 to win. The jockey, you ask? Try Jerry Bailey, recently retired. Probably his biggest win price ever!!!
El Angelo More than 1 year ago
Let's not also forget that Champs Elysees is a full to Dansili, who may have been the best of all of Hasili's progeny: great Euro miler, missed in the 2000 Mile by two jumps on a horrible trip, and sire of an Arc winner (Rail Link) at a young age. Quite a mare.
Stewart More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve: Hope you're enjoying LA and Santa Anita, scoping out spots for this Fall's Breeder's Cup. Speaking of the Eclipse Awards, have the Eclipse people ever honored Harvey Pack for his many years of wonderful contributions to racing? As one who grew up listening to Pack at the Track, then religously watching Thoroughbred Action (which I dutifully taped every night while in law school in Boston), and now attends the Siro's seminars (thanks to the DRF), I can't think of anyone more deserving of such an award for his lifetime of contributions to our sport. Plus, the spot that he and Pete Axhelm did for NBC's telecast of the Aqueduct Breeder's Cup is a classic. Stewart P.S. I hope you packed your parka for Las Vegas. See you there.
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
I see another temporary extension of the NYRA franchise has been reported. Now another countdown can begin. I'm sure many of us are in possession of the NYRA form letter stating that they will not be able to adjudicate Saratoga business until they are sure they will be operating the meeting. Time to do business in a reasonable fashion will get tight very quickly. My sense of agitation is being replaced with an inkling that there is a long chance these bozo's could really screw this up. Stewart: I also remember the Pack/Axethelm A train spot with great fondness, and your suggestion of recognizing Mr. Pack's contribution to this sport is a great one.
jeff More than 1 year ago
Message to george_quinn... Giants outright winners??? HAHHAAHA Let me know how much you are spending on that bet...I'll book that action. Pats 38 NYG 20
Brian McLean More than 1 year ago
Steve, They ran the Gr3 Tuzla at SA this Saturday[name after Baffert’s best turf mare] and I’m glad they did[I had the winner and exacta]…. Will you allow a proud Masshole a moment to gloat? If so, I got to say I love my Pats chances in the Super Bowl! Tom Brady got his hiccup out of the way yesterday. The geriatric defense is in full bend don’t break mode. We also get two weeks to drink the Belichick kool-aid. We’ve gone from underdogs in 01 to the evil empire in 08, the price of success…. If you’d like a chance to make up for your Colt losses, I’ll give you 3 more than the Vegas line.
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
In the game just this past Sunday, was it just my imagination, or was Favre really hollering the count while waiting for the snap? I could have sworn it was his voice over the crowd noise. He did not look too happy going into OT. Football is not my game, but it was a nice field goal that put the kicker back into the good graces of his coach, who ignored him coming off the field, when he failed to kick the FG 15 minutes before his winning boot. No, don't like football--no claims of foul with the referee!!!