10/24/2007 1:29AM

Opening Days/Dilemma Solved/Jockeys


--It's opening day at both Aqueduct and Monmouth Wednesday for a Mutt and Jeff pair of race meetings -- six months at the Big A, four days at Monmouth.

The Aqueduct feature is an N2x mile where Merchant Marine, a highly promising 3-year-old Tiznow gelding trained by Allen Jerkens, tries to run his record to 3-for-3, all at a mile. Giant Gizmo, a Stronach/Frankel Giant's Causeway 3-year-old who might have a future on the dirt, looks like the main competition.

The Monmouth feature is the $100k Rutgers University Stakes at a mile on the grass for 3-year-olds. The favorites are Pays to Dream and War Monger, most recently third and fourth in Nobiz Like Shobiz's Jamaica. Otherwise it's a good day to be a New Jersey-bred: a pair of statebred N1x races carry $60k purses and the N2x statebred finale is worth a fat $62,500.

--Many thanks for your many thoughtful and good-natured responses to my Capital OTB dilemma. While there was a wide range of opinion and suggestion, the overall direction and tenor of your comments lit up a pretty clear path for how I'm going to proceed.

It's a little bit like one of those logic puzzles to which there's only one possible solution. Here are the premises:
1) Thank you in spirit for suggesting that Capital OTB cut me in on a slice of my ticket, but I can't take their money.
2)I have to play the ticket for their fans exactly the way I'd play it with my own money, which means making multiple tickets.
3)I simply can't make a different play for myself than I do for the Capital customers. I'll feel like a dunce if that ticket wins and I don't, and like a crook if my tickets win and theirs doesn't.

Therefore: I'll make a multiple-ticket play for Capital's customers and put in the exact same tickets for myself with my own money. And I'll post them here Saturday just before the first leg. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

--Let's move on to the Breeders' Cup riding assignments, which I've added to the Friday and Saturday spreadsheets, along with post positions and ML odds. Three jockeys -- Kent Desormeaux, Garrett Gomez and John Velazquez -- have mounts in 9 of the 11 BC races, and all three ride in 7 of Saturday's 8. They ride 6 of the 11 morning-line favorites: Gomez has Discreet Cat, Indian Blessing and Midnight Lute, Velazquez is on Indian Vale and Lawyer Ron, and Desormeaux rides Prussian. Johnny Murtagh rides two ML favorites, Excellent Art and Dylan Thomas. The other chalk pilots are Eibar Coa (Dream Rush), Joe Talamo (Nashoba's Key) and Cornelio Velasquez (War Pass.)

The total mount leaders:
9 mounts: Desormeaux, Gomez, J Velazquez
7 mounts: Dominguez, Leparoux
6 mounts: Dettori, C Velasquez
5 mounts: Coa, Flores
4 mounts: Albarado, Castellano, Murtagh, Smith
3 mounts: Bejarano, Borel, Bravo, Castro

Seven other riders have two mounts and 19 have just one each. Those one-mount riders include two riding 7-2 ML second choices -- Aaron Gryder (Smokey Stover) and Alex Solis (After Market). The longest wait of the day belongs to Mario Pino, whose lone mount is Hard Spun in the Classic.