03/19/2008 4:49PM




It wasn't going to prompt a spree at Tiffany's if the photo had gone the other way, but it's still kind of annoying to miss a pick-six by exactly one nose, which is what I did today when 6-1 Chanced failed to nail 25-1 Credit At Tiffany's in the second leg of the double-carryover at Aqueduct.

I had a feeling it wasn't going to be my day of glory after the opener, where I used two A's and they ran 1-2 but with even-money Explosive Count beating 12.90-1 Golden Blaise. When you use the fave and a live longshot in equal strength and they run that way, it kind of takes the wind out of your sails. Even if you get through the rest of the sequence, whatever it pays would have been 5 to 10 times better the other way. Still, you've got to salute Explosive Count, a 10-year-old Count the Time gelding who has changed barns 21 times during his career and was winning for the 24th time in 83 starts:

Download ExplosiveCount.pdf

I also had two A's in leg 2, the 5th race, though not the public choices. I have no idea why Charming Mandate and Celtic Revenge were 5-2 and 3-1. I had it down to E. Judith at 4-1 and Chanced at 6-1, and I was feeling pretty smart at the eighth pole. E. Judith had dueled the entire way with some longshot who was sure to chuck it any second, and the only one moving at the top pair was Chanced, closing in relentlessly after a slow getaway. Chanced looked 1-5 to me to win the race. Then, in an agonizing final 50 yards, not only did E. Judith crack before the hopeless longshot did, but the hopeless longshot hung in to the wire as Chanced seemed to get there at exactly the same moment. The usually reliable camera guys at Aqueduct focussed on Chanced after the wire, usually their vote for who won the photo, but hopeless Credit At Tiffany's turned out to have held on.

The only thing worse would have been being beaten by Patty'scombination, the statebred filly who established a new low mark for winter racing by winning a Feb. 16 maiden race with a Beyer Speed Figure of 15 (fifteen). She finished eighth, beaten 40 lengths at 37-1, the only higher price in the race besides the winner, who had blazed a 36 in her debut.

Things began breaking my way after that -- Gullible Gal romped as a single, Phil's Blue Way won a spread race at $17.80, Sweet Vendetta won a two-horse race in which she had every right to be co-favored with 6-5 Serious Vow -- but it was too late for anything but two stinkin' consos at $166 apiece. The winning combo returned $30,910 to 25 players who used Credit at Tiffany's, and I suppose it wouldn't have paid much more than $5k with Chanced, but still.

Yet another last-leg late scratch -- firster Queen of Fashion in the 9th -- must have caused some anxious moments for holders of the six tickets alive for $128,794 apiece to her. Presumably they were alive to other horses and hadn't singled a firster who was dead on the board when scratched in the paddock, but they probably had no idea where their money was being transferred. There were three virtual co-favorites at 3-1 with a minute to post, separated by less than $1,000. Only after the race was it clear that one of them, the victorious Count This Senora ($8.40), was the second choice at 3.20-1 to unplaced Sweet Slam at 3.05-1. My condolences to anyone who ended up with Sweet Slam twice and no Count This Senora instead of getting switched to the lowest-priced horse you didn't already have on your ticket. (Why would that be such a hard change to make?) Ironically, Count This Senora was the favorite in both the pick-4 ($467.50 vs. Sweet Slam's $485) and pick-6 will-pays (25 tickets @ $30,910 vs. 16 tickets @ $45,456,) but not in the win pool.

Guess it's time to see if that $699k double-carry at Santa Anita tomorrow is worth a tumble.