04/19/2008 11:53AM

Odds and Ends 4/19/08

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This has to be on the only day of the year when 40 percent of the graded stakes in the country are being run at Hawthorne, so let's take a look at those.

The inaugural G3 $200k Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap drew a field of five older males where early tactics may be the key. Good and Lucky has gotten loose early to win his last two with flair, including a top-fig Beyer 103 wiring the $96k Gulf Coast at Delta Downs last time out, and is obviously dangerous if left alone early. I'll bet against, though, hoping that Ryan's For Real, stretching out off unsuccessful runs in the General George and Carter, goes after him early. That would set things up perfectly for Fairbanks, who's been facing stronger fields than this one lately, and maybe an early duel can get Mr. Triester at 6-1 up for second.

Three races later, the G3 $200k Sixty Sails Handicap for older fillies looks like a showdown between Tessa Blue and Golden Velvet, who ran second and third to the streaking Spring Waltz last time out in the Rampart. Tessa Blue can control the race up front if she shakes off outclassed Coolwind early.

Mike Smith, fresh from a sweep of Oaklawn's richest races (Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom, Tiago in the Oaklawn Handicap and and Gayego in the Arkansas Derby) rides both Fairbanks and Tessa Blue.

--Keeneland's feature is the perplexing G2 Lexington Satkes, a last chance for graded Derby earnings and sort of a lesser version of last week's Blue Grass with similar issues in play: Atoned, the 3-1 ML favorite off his narrow loss in the Tampa Bay Derby two starts back, will be trying Polytrack for the first time. Big Truck, who necked him at Tampa, ran a wheel-spinning 11th in the Blue Grass in his next start.

The Keeneland undercard includes two stakes at extreme distances: The Giant's Causeway at 5 1/2 furlongs for turf-sprinting fillies, and the new 1 5/8-mile Fort Harrod on Polytrack for potential aspirants to the new Breeders' Cup Marathon. The ML Fort Harrod favorite is Successful Affair, whose mere presence is a landmark for trainer Gary Contessa: New York's leading trainer has made over 4,000 starts during the last five years, but Successful Affair will be his first at Keeneland. His second comes a day later, when Mayan King runs in Sunday's Ben Ali.

There's a $44k one-day carryover at Aqueduct but I think I'll pass and root for a double carry into sunday. The feature is the G2 Bed o'Roses Handicap, where Golden Dawn will try to replicate her impressive Feb. 16 Barabara Fritchie performance, when she trounced Control System by six lengths. If Golden Dawn continues to progress, she could be a candidate for the BC Filly & Mare Sprint which will be run at seven furlongs this year, the distance of the Fritchie and Bed o'Roses.

---A couple of commenters expressed dismay over what happened at Aqueduct Wednesday, when monitors were shut off just as the finale at Keeneland was starting. NYRA president Charlie Hayward explains via email:

No California racing on Wednesday has resulted in us canceling
"bridge" simulcasting on Wednesdays. The latest thoroughbred signal had
been Oaklawn and Oaklawn's last Wednesday was April 9th. This means
that we have not had mutuel clerks open but we did keep the television on
for those customers that had advanced wagered. On the 16th, Aqueducts
last race went off at 4:55. We were supposed to show the last race at
Keeneland which went off at 5:11 and the last at Tampa which went off at
5:28. However, due to a miscommunication regarding no bridge
simulcasting, the televisions were shut down after Aqueduct's replay had
run which explains why the Keeneland race was interrupted. Not a good
explanation but that is what happened. Fortunately, Hollywood Park which
opens shortly, is going back on a Wed-Sun schedule which will remedy the
"bridge issues". I hope that this is helpful.

NYRA also announced three new vice-presidential appointments today: Liz Bracken, formerly director of simulcasting, as Vice President and Director of Simulcast Sales and Content Acquisition; P. J. Campo, formerly racing secretary, as Vice President and Director of Racing; and Tom Thill, formerly Senior Vice President of Operations at Daily Racing Form, as Vice President and Chief Information Officer.

--The excellent Hennegan brothers documentary "First Saturday in May" opened a limited run in 20 cities yesterday, on the heels of an unfortunate trashing in The New York Times from a critic who clearly doesn't like racing (and who seems to think it's ominously noteworthy that "Barbaro was apparently on a diuretic when he was raced at the Preakness.") If you'd like to make up your own mind, here is the list of where it's playing.

--Apparently, the correct answer to the multiple-choice question in the previous post was "A." My NYRA One account balance still reflects my being credited with four consos in Wednesday's Keeneland pick six and no additional refunds.

mark c More than 1 year ago
Just spent a few laughable hours watching the races at aqueduct today. The absolute worst card I have seen when the weather is above 15 degrees. The last turf race was a the big laugher! horses( and jockeys) choking horses into a 1:15 time for 6 furlongs ( on the turf) and then attempting to close! New York racing isn't as laughable as racing in northern california,but it's gaining! Poker looks better and better every day
mark c More than 1 year ago
If anyone wants an example of a truely horrid betting card ,today(4/24) at Aqueduct.After the scratches it is NYRA garbage. This is the reason they are always bankrupt. You would think,by looking at this racecard that it was January 24th
RichP More than 1 year ago
Look NYRA's customer service is awful. There is no excuse for some of the dumb things they do to tic off the bettors. But Joe Bruno and the boys behavior during the negotiations over the contract negotiations was dispicible. It's hard to come up with a motive other than patronage for the behavior of the Legistlature during this fiasco. There strategy was clearly to hold up slots and bankrupt NYRA and eliminate them from the bidding. They care alot less for the average horse player than NYRA does. That's syaing alot. When they got some legal advice and found out that it would take years to sort out the ownership of the tracks and that racing would probably close down if they did't give the franchise to NYRA. Then they finally statrted to negotiate in good faith. NYRA has alot to be held accountable for, but they've done a lot of good things also. Detention barns have slowed down the super trainers a bit and stopped some of those suspicious form reversals. I don' see any other track taking that kind of acion
Elsie_From_Chelsea More than 1 year ago
Steve, Now that the Derby field is narrowed down to about 25 possible starters, could you post the PP's. I made this request last week, and you referred me to the Contender section of the Form's Derby page. However, it is missing about 6-8 horses who are likely/possible starters, as are the PP's for the final future pool.
joe monaco More than 1 year ago
first saturday in may.......if you are a racing fan and follow the sport for the sport of racing ,you have to love this film. the personalities in this film and on the back stretch are priceless......joe
larry from bridgewwater More than 1 year ago
Steve all along we've been able to click on a link to view the lifetime past performances of all 23 horses in the future wagering and now that we're less than 2 weeks away we can no longer view this. How come? thanks larry
mark c More than 1 year ago
slowing down the supertrainers???? How many times had NYRA suspended dutrow???? The fact that he is still on the grounds is a joke. And I could name many others since the "nyra crackdown" Rich.list the "good things" nyra has done..i'll list the bad..care to bet which list is longer ??????
larry from bridgewater More than 1 year ago
THANK YOU!!
steven_crist More than 1 year ago
Tony, The story about Manohla Dargis refusing to review "Zoo" appears to be an urban legend. It was reported as "scuttlebutt" on a few amateurish blogs, but she did in fact review the movie (http://movies.nytimes.com/2007/04/25/movies/25zoo.html?ref=movies) in the Times.
steven_crist More than 1 year ago
Larry, Here's the link. Appears to be working now: http://www.drf.com/tc/kentuckyderby/2008/futures/futures.html