03/01/2008 12:04PM

The Lineup 3/1/08


Thanks for your patience during a busy news week -- the FOY timing snafu, the Congressional steroid hearings, Curlin's return, the latest round of Breeders' Cup revisions (Download 0302column.doc) -- and for keeping the conversations going in my absence.

Wish I could say I've been off wagering with wild success or even abandon, but the truth is that February 2008 was my lowest-handle month in two years, as I took a break from the weak inner-track Aqueduct meet while continuing to dabble at Santa Anita. March, however, will be different, starting with today's in-like-a-lion Big 'Cap card, which includes three of the four graded stakes around the country.

Older main-track males are featured in the day's two richest races, the $1 million Big 'Cap and the $350k Gulfstream Park Handicap, but some would argue that the best such horse running today was in the $75k Stymie at Aqueduct: Daaher, who flopped at 2-5 in the Donn last month and will probably go off at an even lower price in the Stymie. He would have been odds-on for almost five times the Stymie purse in the Gulfstream race, but his handlers, still mystified by his Donn performance, didn't want to return to the scene of that fiasco. [Update: It's not Gulfstream: Daaher, in a virtual rerun of his Donn, folded in upper stretch at 2-5, finishing a weary third. ]

5:22 pm ET, GP race 9, G2 $350k Gulfstream Park H., OM 1 3/16 miles
In Daaher's absence, a weak field of five will line up here, led by the two horses who were closest to Daaher early in the Donn before tiring late: Kiss the Kid, who hounded the favorite and held on well for third, and Fairbanks, who faded to fifth in the race. They're the only speed today and are likely to run 1-2 around the track unless they really mix it up early, in which case Leonnatus Anteas, Canada's champion 2-year-old in 2006, may be the best of the three closers in the field.

6:24 pm ET, SA race 7, G3 $200k Sham S., 3yo, 1 1/8m
El Gato Malo and Colonel John, currently ranked as the #7 and #10 Derby prospects on the Watchmaker Watch, look a cut above their rivals especially following the early scratch of Coast Guard. El Gato Malo has run faster and holds a recency edge while Colonel John makes his first start since running second in the Hollywood Futurity Dec. 22. The only plausible upsetter is Reflect Times, who adds blinkers after suffering his first loss in the R.B. Lewis last time out.

6:57 pm ET, SA race 8, G1 $300k Kilroe Mile H., OM 1m-T
Maybe War Monger is on the verge of blossoming into a top-class miler, but I can't take him as the 8-5 ML favorite off a cross-country ship into the toughest field he's ever met. While he has a "steadied both turns" trouble line winning his last start, runner-up Soldier's Dancer had a worse trip. Graded winners Out of Control (American H., Oak Tree Mile) and Artiste Royale (C. L. Hirsch) are more inviting at 4-1 each in their season debuts.

7:30 pm ET, SA race 9, G1 $1 million SA Handicap, OM 1 1/4m
An inconclusive set of Strub Series preps and a field of 14 make this year's Big 'Cap look like an invitation to chaos at first glance, but the more you look at it, it's tough to make victory cases for most of them and the tepid favorites are probably the most likely winners. Awesome Gem and Student Council were prepping for this when they made their season debuts in the San Antonio and were out more for exercise than for victory that day. They, and Tiago, also should be better served by a Santa Anita track that has been playing more kindly to closers since its most recent renovation. Once complete bomb to consider is Great Hunter. Maybe he'll never be the same horse he was a year ago, but he's been slowly and quietly improving this winter and had no chance last time out behind a loose Monterey Jazz in the Strub.

There's a $1 million guarantee in the Santa Anita pick six today, which includes the three graded stakes, but the problem is that the last leg is a maiden race with eight first-time starters and a few who ran similar, decent races in their debuts. Good luck; I'll be ducking that race and focussing on the all-stakes pick-three.

Pollo More than 1 year ago
Regarding SA P6-bet cards at California tracks allow for an alternate selection for each race in P6 wagers. Don't blame California if your local wagering site does not allow for alternate selections.
Brandon More than 1 year ago
Hey pollo... What happens if your alternate selection scratches as well? You still are left with the post time favorite which when they broke from the gate,Santa Anita racetrack displayed the (6) "Wine on the Porch" as the post time favorite.
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
To Zarpo--will not tackle the Pick 6 at Aqueduct if it costs $2.00 per bet. To tell the truth, I am happy at the Sandy Dunes with the late Pick 4. Lost at Sandy on Monday, but I studied my Pick 4 tickets, and 5 of them had 2 legs won. This method is to my liking , but one must have patience. --------------------------- A degenerate player is sneaking out to the track, against the wishes of his wife. He comes home broke, and Wifey yells, " Did you play my horse?" He answers, "What was the name?" Wifey: "STAY HOME in the first!!!!"
kevroc More than 1 year ago
Congrats Flip on the nice score.. I had the TP late P4 Friday night on a last-minute decision to use a $44 horse. I like the way you construct your tickets however... Saying a horse has a 75% chance to win is very bold. I use a percentage formula of sorts and it's rare for me to come up with 40% or more. There is a morning line tool available for free download on the Del Mar website that converts percentage into odds. Its very handy in finding overlays. Good Luck.. I'm off to handicap the Big A pick six.. I hope its sloppy on the Inner! Kev
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
How I nailed the Pick 4. List all races by order of number: R5 R6 R7 R8 Then sift through the Form for positive things about all nags in these 4 races. Put the numbers of all valuable horses beside their respective races. Your sheet will now look like this: R1 2,6,9,10 R2 4,6,7,9 R3 2,3,5,6,8,10 R4 1, 2,4,6,7,9 Then combine them, and try to stay away from the favorites. Some of your tickets will be singles like this: 2,4,6,9 (cost a buck) Some of the positive signs are more important than others. These positive signs get more play. What I basically do is let DRF do most of the preliminary work, then I study each horse to see if he has a 25% chance, 75% chance, etc. A 75%horse will get double or triple play. I like this method as not much money is spent, and you still have a chance of getting 4. If 2 favorites come in, I'm cooked, as I hate favorites. I may play one if forced to, but would rather stay off them. Anyway, that's basically the procedure. You play low amounts, as there always is another Pick 4 the next day, right? I would rather spread $360.00 over 10 days, than play the $360.00 all in one day. Since the Pick 4 paid $7726.30, if I play $36.00 per day, I will have 215 free plays, hunting for another larger Pick 4. The odds are that I will find several. I hit the Pick 4 on my 5th attempt, after having 3/4 another two times.
Bearcatbob More than 1 year ago
Brandon, I got screwed in a similar way as I was singled to the 5 in the last leg of the pick 4 for $3,600 and was rooting like hell for the 6 down the stretch only to see the 13 be the favorite. Not as big as 5 of 6 in the pick 6 im sure but still a tough beat. I have no evidence or support but I do think who ever was alive to the 6 pounded the 13. Only $600 separated the two in the final win pool total. Heard it was all late heavy action on the 13. Very heartbreaking. Why cant we have alternate selections in multi race wagers?
Brian Flynn More than 1 year ago
Steve, I read your comment the other day regarding the inability for NY racing fans to watch the Curlin race live. NYC OTB could have aired it on channel 71 at 12:15 if not for the "law" that states we cannot interfere with the NYRA signal. We were taking the races from Dubai and in fact had the races at all of our branch, restaurant and teletheater locations. BF
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
Lots of talk re Magna and Frank Stronach of Southern Ontario. He lives 25 minutes from my crib. Frank is a good guy who loves racing. He is from Austria originally. He owns Magna International (makes car parts.) He has a good heart, as he gives out University scholarships. Each student getting this free money is able to work in the summer at his plants AT FULL WAGE!!!. His race tracks are in question, but if anyone can succeed at this, Frank is the man.It hurts me to see him knocked around and criticized over his tracks. On a lot of bets, he does promise certain guaranteed handles in wagering. This extra money going into the pools comes out of his wallet. He's the same as we are; just has more money and blue blood running in his veins.
zarpo More than 1 year ago
Congrats Flip. I know you bet SA mainly but are you gonna give the big A double carryover a shot?
rich More than 1 year ago
I play p4's every day at many tracks and i have no interest in an alternate selection. There are already enough variables in multi race bets and the outcomes. I don't want to be bothered with having to make an "alternate selection". If there was another horse i liked, he would already be on my ticket. Also, unless I totally hate the favorite, I would rather have the favorite in a p4 than a conso payoff. Sure its annoying when a situation arises like saturday at santa anita, when the fav scratches at the gate, and then you have to watch the race without knowing who you have. But that is a rare occurence.