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Holidayfest with a Side of Carryover
12:15 pm: If you like Grade 1 and 2 stakes racing, and New York-bred maiden juveniles on the turf, have I got a carryover for you.
Aqueduct's Holidayfest card Saturday begins with a two-day $109,248 pick-6 carryover, and the sequence of races 5-10 consists of four G1 or G2 stakes -- the G2 Demoiselle (race 6), G2 Remsen (7th), G1 Cigar Mile (8th) and G1 Gazelle (9th) -- sandwiched between a pair of turf routes for statebred juvenile maidens.
Three scratches from the Demoiselle (Miss Patricia, Conconut Shrimp and Ruby Lips) and two from the Cigar Mile (Associate, Jersey Town) have left fields of just 4 and 5 for those races. So no show or superfecta betting on the Demoiselle and no super on the Cigar. Perhaps anticipating the short Demoiselle lineup, track officials eschewed an all-stakes lineup for the $250k guaranteed late pick-4, which instead consists of the Remsen, Cigar, Gazelle and one of those maiden turfers.
The Gazelle is the last Grade 1 race in new York until the Wood Memorial (or maybe the Carter on the same card) next April, but it's not going to be a Grade 1 much longer unless NYRA finds a better place on the calendar for a Grade 1 race restricted to 3-year-old fillies. The field of seven includes a single graded stakes winner of any kind, and her graded triumphs came in Puerto Rico.
Thanksgiving weekend is way too late for a Grade 1 race restricted to 3-year-olds. Personally I'd like to see the Gazelle moved to the Wood Memorial card and be New York's big prep for the Kentucky Oaks, a suggestion made by commenter Yuwipi in this space more than a year ago (update: and by commenter gowanusbaseball even earlier).
Here are my early thoughts on the meat of the Pick-6 sandwich, the four stakes races. Back later with tickets and other observations.
12:40 pm: Can't remember the last horse to lose consecutive starts at less than 2-to-5, but that's what Revolutionary has now done.
After closing like a rocket to be third in his debut at Saratoga Sept. 3, Revolutionary was 0.35-to-1 when he returned for an Oct. 28 maiden race. The 2-year-old War Pass colt ran well but ran into Little Distorted, a Michael Mareina firster who posted a winning Beyer Speed Figure of 101 beating Revolutionary by 2 1/4 lengths.
In today's second race, for 2-year-old maidens at a mile, Revolutionary was"1-to-4" (wish NYRA would get rid of that awkward and unpopular odds point) and broke behind the field. He steadily advanced while pinned to the rail thereafter, but after a big middle move flattened out badly and just lasted for third by a neck while far behind 9-2 Orb and 49-1 Freedom Child.
Orb, a Phipps/McGaughey Malibu Moon-Statue of Liberty colt, pulled a Revolutionary of his own two starts back. Coming off a fast-closing third in his Saratoga debut, he was sent off at 7-10 in his next start at Belmont and finished far up the track. Today, Orb ran the mile in 1:38.73 on what does not appear to be a particularly quick track.
1:00pm: Rebounding from Revolutionary, Pletcher sent out 2-year-old Tale of the Cat firster Forty Tales ($4.80) to a winning debut in the 3rd. The $80k yearling ran down 21-1 Randi Persaud firster Street Prince in 1:11.85 for 6f.
1:30 pm: Here's the pick-6 play:
My final dilemma was whether to make my backups B's vs. C's in the Demoiselle and Gazelle. I decided to back up Emollient with Unlimited Budget instead of putting two or three others in the B column behind Dance Card and Book Review for two reasons: While Emollient has a 20-point BSF edge, I'm nervous that a)Nobody coming out of Emollient's big win is running back to that figure (see chart at right) and b)Emollient is adding aluminum pads today.
I seem to be living dangerously in the first leg by barely including 3-1 favorite Aprettydixie as a C. She has stopped going shorter in all four career starts and I just don't see her lasting on the lead on the stretchout.
2:00 pm: Ick. Another masterful ride from Dominguez on 6-1 Hope for Tomorrow, just lasting over the belated charges of The Lady Says Yes and Adriatic Dreams, leaves me all-A thin the rest of the way. Hope for Tomorrow triple carryover?
Unlimited Budget opened 3-5 over Emollient and is favored in the 5-6 double ($28.40 vs. $30.00), though Emollient is the clear choice in the 4-5-6 pick-3 ($124.50 vs. $213.50).
2:30 pm: With two MTP, it was still Unlimited Budget at 4-5 and Emollient at 6-5, but the late money (which these days means virtually all the simo money, not last-minute sharpies at the track) made Emollient 4-5 and Unlimited Budget even-money for the Demoiselle.
Unlimiteed Budget ($4.10) led every step of the way in a tepid 1:52.16, but enjoyeed a tactical advantage at every turn under a strong ride from John Velazquez. Emollient tried to stay close but was boxed in (I know, in a four-horse race) most of the way down the backstretch on a rail that may not be the best place to be today. Velazquez kept her down there by opening the rail for Emollient and Junior Alvarado, but they couldn't or wouldn't get through, Unlimited Budget opened daylight again around the turn, and Emollient switched to the outside. She was gaining late but couldn't get there.
"The inside is slower, so I wanted to keep [Emollient] inside a bit," said Velazquez. "I wanted to keep her down in there and make her try to get by me there.”
Unlimited Budget, a $475k 2-year-old purchase by Mike Repole last March, is a Florida-bred daughter of Street Sense. The Demoiselle was the third stakes victory in three days for Repole and Pletcher, who tokk the Fall Highweight with Caixa Electronica Thursday and the Super Mario with Notacatbutallama yesterday. Pletcher also took Wednesday's Stardusk with Channel Lady.
Repole/Pletcher still have Overanalyze and Micromanage in the upcoming Remsen and Stay Thirsty in the Cigar Mile.
3:05 pm: Overanalyze won the Remsen by a nose over Normandy Invasion in a race where the runner-up loked like a certain winner down the stretch.
Overanalyze stalked Delhomme from the start and they were running 1-2 in that order in upper stretch as Normandy Invasion launched a furious rally up the rail before moving out for the stretch drive. He was gaining on the top two with every stride but just as he drew even with that pair his momentum seemed to wane, and Overanalyze fought back from the middle of the trio and prevailed in a head-bobber as Delhomme settled for third.
Overanalyze, a $300k Dixie Union yearling, was the lone graded-stakes winner in the field, having won the G2 Futurity at Belmont Sept. 30 after running fourth in Shanghai Bobby's Hopeful. (Will the Graded stakes Committee now consider restoring the Hopeful to a G1, as it has already yielded the winners of this year's Futurity, Champagne, Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Remsen?) He then headed to Churchill Downs and ran a distant third in the Iroquois to Uncaptured, the favorite in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club later this afternoon.
The final time of the Remsen was 1:50.13, more than two full seconds faster than the Demoiselle:
3:30 pm: Three in a row for Repole/Pletcher as Stay Thirsty wore down and nosed out a gallant Groupie Doll to win the G1 Cigar Mile.
No excuses for anyone. Buffum and Coil set a contested but mild pace with Groupie Doll behind them on the outside and Stay Thirsty surprisingly far back early. Turning for home, Groupie Doll collared the two leaders, but didn't put them away the way she usually does against fellow filly sprinters, only edging ahead. Stay Thirsty finally got into gear and drew even with the filly, and their noses were going up and down to the wire. The final time was 1:35.47.
Stay Thirsty, second to Flat Out in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last month, was winning for the first time since taking the Jim dandy and Travers as a 3-year-old last year. He now heads off to stud, along with the scratched Jersey Town and yesterday's Clark winner, Shackleford. A nice trio of tough guys whose best moments were pretty good.
As for Groupie Doll, it's great that she came for the race and ran so well, but even if she'd won the bob I don't think she was going to unseat Royal Delta as champion older filly or suddenly become a serious Horse of the Year contender. She should, however, be a unanimous chopice as champion filly or mare sprinter.
4:00 pm: Dance Card scored a box-to-wire victory in the G1 Gazellefor 3-year-old fillies despite drifting out late.
My Wandy's Girl, the Puerto Rican sensation, chased her from second throughout and tired late, getting caught by 22-1 Sea Island for second at the wire. Book Review, the 9-5 second choice, made a brief bid entering the stretch turn but faded thereafter.
Dance Card, now a winner of four straight after running second to Book Review in her debut May 20, was making her graded-stakes debut today. The 3-year-old Tapit filly, a $750k purchase as a 2-year-old last year, races under the Godolphin banner and is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.
Your willpays, and yes, they're all covered in the pick-6:
Final thought: The time of the Gazelle (1:50.39) was about a length and a half slower than the Remsen (1:50.13), and I think the latter is going to come up a pretty strong race for 2-year-olds going a mile and an eighth in November. Overanalyze, Normandy Invasion and Delhomme all could have bright futures.
Didn't see this until much later, but my plan would be to do a MAJOR overhaul of the three year old stakes as I outlined last year after reading your post on a Filly Triple Crown being needed: In a nutshell: The Acorn moves to the inner track at Aqueduct in early March while remaining at a mile (though it could be lengthened to 1 1/16 Miles). The Mother Goose, not Gazelle is run on the Wood Memorial card in April (the reason being the Gazelle has always been run later in the year, and used to in fact for years be the opening day feature of the fall meet at Belmont). The Comely moves to Belmont Stakes Day. The Coaching Club American Oaks is moved to two weeks after the Belmont Stakes, increased to $1 Million and returned to 1 1/2 Miles with it being the third leg of a new Triple Tiara that would have the Kentucky Oaks as the first leg and most likely the Cotillion at Parx Racing on Memorial Day as the middle leg, with the latter two races likewise lengthened so the fillies are running the same distances as their male counterparts in all three legs. The Gazelle replaces the CCA Oaks as the main prep for the Alabama at Saratoga, though I would be quite tempted to leave that spot vacant since Delaware Park has the Delaware Oaks (a $400,000 race that currently takes away from the CCA Oaks in its current form) the week before and instead run the Gazelle on opening day of the fall meet at Belmont like it used to be, three weeks after the Alabama in this case. If there needs to be a late fall race for three year old fillies on dirt, I would revive the Rare Perfume, which used to have that distinction at Belmont late in the fall meet. This would be just part of a massive overhaul I would do with the NYRA stakes schedule that would include moving the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Beldame, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and Flower Bowl to the Saturday after Thanksgiving (in 2013 November 30), next year likely four weeks after the Breeders' Cup.. That would in the latter case likely (especially if the purses for those races are at least doubled) put them in position to determine the Eclipse Awards if the Breeders' Cup fails to (and since Aqueduct doesn't start turf racing in the fall until the beginning of November as it is, the Turf will not have been that heavily used by that point in a typical season).
Hi Steve, Quick question. I see from the above that alumn. pads seems to be a negative but what does it imply about the horese. I've seen it listed but never know what it's all about
Hope you pounded that pick 4! Pass the word along to the techies at DRF that their Black Friday Ad: 1) Cannot be closed because there's no "X" button. Which means that aside from looking at the DRF front page, there's no other option than to leave the site; 2) Black Friday ended 17 hours. It appears that there's no reason for the ad. How did your neighbor with the exploded house fare?
hi steve you got this pick 6 in your bag sir, keep it up great show with love and gratitude easwaran India
Beloved steven crist wonderful way to be with you, i am really amazed the way you arrange the ticket i am getting really warmed up to play like this in my country though there is only pick 5 called jack pot, but i can go on to play more races to link like this .i have your book exotic betting , should i also buy the dvd which is advertised now in drf. please guide me, once again a bundle of thanks and warm greetings, with love and gratitude easwaran,India,email :-
I, too, think the Remsen time looks pretty impressive relative to the other races today. The Cigar Mile was almost two seconds slower than par. If the Remsen ran in 1:48 you'd be lining up to bet these horses in the Derby. Normandy Invasion looks awfully promising, if he stays sound.
Hard to believe it is Holiday Fest weekend and the New York racing game is about to enter the rough winter months again. I seem to have less tolerance for it with each passing year. Thinking that the blog might be on hiatus for a while I just wanted to say thanks for all the blog entries, charts, info, talking horses, P6 & P4 fun you've sent our way this year Steve. Ah, the Aqueduct Special! Used to take the bus in from North Jersey, walk down stairs, get a hot dog and orange soda at the Nedick's stand, hop on the Special and spend the day at the Big A. Those were the days (I think).
Steven, how about this for the Gazelle issue: Move the Comely to the inner track at Aqueduct. Move the Acorn to Aqueduct near the end of the meet. Move the Mother Goose to somewhere between Memorial Day and the Belmont at a mile and a sixteenth. Put the Gazelle around the July 4th card. And if they must have a fall 3YO filly stakes at Aqueduct, move the Busanda or Busher to the main track, and rename it after a filly like Ashado, Royal Delta, or even Lady's Secret, to make it more contemporary. Better that than another piece of NY racing history being buried in the attic.
I like the idea of moving the Gazelle to the Wood undercard as an Oaks prep - the Comely and others are not suitable preps for such an important classic. Also, please return the Go for Wand to the Spa!
Out after two? ouch. about to hammer the P4?