09/24/2007 12:29AM

I, Idiot


Usually, if you don't like a 4-1 shot who wins, no big deal. When it's the only horse you miss in a pick-six, and in a race where you went five deep, you feel like a pretty big idiot.

And that about sums up my Sunday at Belmont, where a two-day carry of $223k attracted a fresh pool of $851k. I ended up with five stinkin' consos at $150.50 each instead of the $21,954 I would have gotten had Giveityourbestshot ($10.40) been one of my five horses in the third leg. Instead I ran 2-3-4-5-6, though there was nothing tough about my beat: The winner not only won by 3 lengths but was even more the best than that, considering that he blew the turn and was drawing away while racing very wide.

So why didn't I like him, at least enough to include him as one of five? Other than the fact that I am simply a rotten handicapper of turf sprints, my theory was that Giveityourbestshot had backed up late in all of his prior starts and faced a ton of early competition in this speed-packed field. I thought it more likely that one of the more lightly-race entrants would improve or take to the turf than that Giveityourbest shot could survive an early duel and win the war. A bad miscalculation.

A few other points of interest on the Sunday card:

*Race 2: Blowing Kisses, a second-time starter for Michael Matz, ran down favored Psycho D J and then held of Melissa Jo to win this 2-year-old filly maiden-special in 1:04.92. Blowing Kisses is a daughter of Vindication and a half-sister to Pussycat Doll.

*Race 3: Trainer Barclay Tagg was quoted by David Grening in Sunday's DRF saying that Big Truck could be his best 2-year-old. Most handicappers would rate his Futurity winner, Tale of Ekati, much higher both before and after Big Truck ran his record to 2-for-2 here winning the Bongard Stakes for New York-breds. Big Truck, sent off at 1-to-5 off a blowout Saratoga debut, needed most of the Bongard's seven furlongs to put away second-choice Spanky Fischbein, finally pulling clear late to win by two lengths in 1:23.64. That translated to a Beyer Speed Figure of 87 -- as compared to Tale of Ekati's 94 for winning the Futurity in 1:22.31 over a quicker track Sept. 15.

*Race 8: Barancella, the 6-year-old Acatenango mare who has been second in three G1 stakes, made a winning return in her first start since April when she ran down Jade Queen in the final yards to win the $76k Fairway Flyer at 11 furlongs. Barancella could be headed for a third try at the E. P. Taylor, where she was beaten half a length two years ago and ran second by a length to Arravale last year.

*Race 9: Expect the End, a 13 1/2-length winner of the Jena Jena at Saratoga last time out, squared off here with Meriwether Jessica, a 12 1/2-length winner of her debut, in the Gimma Stakes, the 2-year-old filly statebred companion to the Bongard for colts. The two put on a rousing show dueling around the track, with Expect the End taking the advantage in upper stretch but Meriwether Jessica coming back at her on the inside and falling just a nose short of rerallying to win. The time was 1:24.31, good for a Beyer of 78. Expect the End is trained by Rick Dutrow, who also trains the statebred juvenile-miss division's other leader, 2-for-2 By the Light.

*Race 10: For the second time this week, a 99-1 shot on the toteboard landed a piece of the last-race superfecta. Lats Wednesday it was Mesa Nova running third at 145-1, setting up a super payoff of $192k for $2 on which only one winning $1 ticket was sold. Here it was first-timer Sweet Baby Blue lasting for fourth at 102-1 to set up a $19k payoff underneath the third, fourth and first betting choices.

--Racing resumes at Belmont Wednesday and next weekend is a stakes festival. The Saturday card includes the G1 Flower Bowl and G2 Kelso, while Sunday's "Breeders' Cup Challenge" consists of four Grade 1's: The Jockey Club Gold Cup, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Beldame and Vosburgh.