12/03/2008 6:17PM

Inner, Inner Chicken Dinner


Aqueductdiagram Forget the solstice and the myth that we've got 18 more days of autumn. Winter began today for New York horseplayers, as it always does when the unloved, maligned but thoroughly playable Aqueduct Inner Dirt Track opened for business. (The IDT first opened in the winter of 1976, replacing what was then Aqueduct's "outer" grass course. The formerly "inner" seven-furlong turf course is now the only one.)

Have you heard that early speed does well on the IDT? Of course you have, ad nauseam, and while there's some statistical truth to it, I don't think that's a particularly useful impression or basis for winter handicapping, since it's an overrrated and overbet approach. It appears that way for reasons that have nothing to do with the track itself: a generally lower level of competition that includes a higher percentage of the most hopeless of the hopeless, who are outrun early and late; uncompetitive races with two dominant entrants who run 1-2 around the track; and a switch from one-turn 7f and 8f races on the main track that are more demanding on front-runners to more speed-favoring 8f, 8.32f, and 8.5f routes around two turns.

It does seem as if there are days when speed is absolutely golden, but I find 4 of 5 of these days in the course of a winter meet where other handicappers find 20 or 30. Of course, what fun (or profit) would the game hold if we all agreed?

Today's first four winners led at every call. They also paid $6.30, $4.50, $5.30 and $4.50. Superdupergoldrail bias, or just a formful day at the races? The only pricey winner on the card, Megadeed ($20.00) in the 7th, dueled, opened 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go, and lasted by a nose over a 7-1 shot who was 9th at the quarter pole and lost a brutal headbob. In the finale, 8-5 fave Knot News had a five-length lead with a furlong to go and still got caught at the wire. I'm not marking down 12/3/08 as an aberrant, particularly speed-favoring day.

I couldn't find much to bet on, had a total handle of $532 and caught half of the $1084 late pick-4 for a $542 return and a whopping $10 pre-tax profit. What an easy game, if you don't mind the $2-per-hour wages.

dom muscella More than 1 year ago
rawlawltd More than 1 year ago
Was just alive to 4 horses in the late P4 at AQU as follows: $4 to 2 paying $283 $4 to 6 paying $449 $4 to 11 paying $872 $6 to 5 paying $647 The 5 is a late scratch & the 6 is the favorite until just before post time when the 2 is bet. The 6 wins & I have it twice & it pays $450.50. As the race is being run, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get screwed by this turn of events or if there's a way I come out ahead. I know that I would have had the 2, the eventual post time favorite 5 times, but think the pay out would be much lower. Am I right to think that most of the results were "bad" for me, or does it just seem that way???????
walmatt More than 1 year ago
The superfecta payout is based on a $2.00 wager. There was less than $2.00 worth of winning tix sold. The 10 cent superfecta makes ths happen quite frequently
Sarnataro More than 1 year ago
C, You must have cashed a bet on the 6 horse. Good for you! As for Dominguez, he hand rode the horse past the 8th pole, never using his stick until his horse was collared. I suggest you watch the race again. Very carefully.
Daniel Fink More than 1 year ago
Steve and others, For all my experience at the track, I'm ashamed to admit that I don't understand when a posted superfecta payout is more than the posted superfecta handle, with no carryover or track gaurantee. This occurred five times at Turfway on Saturday. Any help?
ronnie spagne More than 1 year ago
What about John Veitch admitting under oath that he used cobra venom on Alydar. The same man who took away the living of a vet for 5 years for possessing, legally i might add, cobra venom without any indication that it was ever used in competition. Veitch's excuse was that it didn't help so it was ok, i guess. For amplification, Veitch is the chief steward in kentucky. Nice, John.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Cleaning our the library (winter is good for something, after all), and found a dusty copy of Ainslie's New Complete Guide to Harness Racing (Tom Ainslie, aka Richard Carter; Simon & Schuster (1970): "Not Everyone Bets": "Not that the sport is overrun with such characters [cheaters]. Neither is it congested with Eagle Scouts and avenging angels. But raceway operators and leading horsemen are the stewards of huge capital investments from which they and their partners extract substantial profits. They believe with good reason that their continuing prosperity depends on their ability to satisfy the public's standards of sporting rectitude" (p. 24). Compare to today, thirty-eight years later, and draw your own conclusions.
Walt More than 1 year ago
Wayne has a good point on the chart: The Equibase charts (which I use) do include the program numbers of ALL horses in a race. DRF could simply note the program number with the horse's name there.
Sarnataro More than 1 year ago
Anyone see the photo from yesterday's 7th at Hollywood?? It appeared #2 was the winner to the naked eye, (track announcer called him the winner).After an incredible wait, #6 was announced as the winner. However if you look at the photo, it still appears the 2 had his nose in front.
Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
Did I miss something ? I looked for DRF coverage of the first horse race in China in 60 years and did not find a story. This is a huge development for the sport. Welcome good news and a relief from all the bad news in the U.S.