01/19/2009 8:48PM

Let It Snow


Went to Aqueduct today but only made it through six live races. It wasn't supposed to snow but it began coming down hard halfway through the early pick-4 and I snuck out before the Belt Parkway turned into Bumper Cars On Ice.

Bumpercarsonice2 The change in the weather makes it hard to gauge the respective merits of the times of the two stakes races on the holiday card. Before the snow, Taqarub won the featured (but run as the 3rd) $70,045 Jimmy Winkfield for 3-year-olds by 8 1/4 lengths in a sparkling 1:09.26. Two and a half hours later, the track now a slushy white, older and more accomplished statebred sprinters led by Mor Chances needed 1:09.70 in the  $67,750 Kashatreya Stakes. Four of the day's first five winners led at every call, while the last two were won by the early trailer. (Also, there's a $35k carryover but not until racing resumes Thursday.)

However you want to split the variant or your bias notes, Taqarub clearly ran a big race. The 3-year-old Shadwell/McLaughlin/Aldebaran colt is now 3 for 3. The only caveat is that he's gotten unchallenged leads in all three of his starts. He had seemed likely to face early heat today from Great Debater and Z Day, but the former stumbled badly at the start and the latter was scratched to run in the Hutcheson at Gulfstream Jan. 30.

Z Day's not the only one getting out of the snow; I'm off to Vegas for the National Handicapping Championship, which begins Friday, and then to Miami Beach for next Monday's Eclipse Awards. I know, rough gig, but someone's got to do it.

--Here's the holiday weekend graded-stakes scoreboard:

Ikigai, now 5 for 8, was making his graded-stakes debut while Nownownow was winning for the first time since the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Monmouth 15 months ago. Their styles could not be more different -- Ikigai's a blazing front-runner on dirt, Nownownow a furious closer on grass and synth -- but both are sons of Whywhywhy, the 2002 Sanford and Futurity winner and beaten favorite in Vindication's Breeders' Cup Juvenile that year.