10/24/2007 2:29AM

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.

jcp More than 1 year ago
Like everybody else, I need guidance for wet-track, soft-turf handicapping this weekend. Any truth to the old wives tale that favorites move up on off tracks?
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
Steve, What do you make of this guy's comments in USA Today? "The individual skill of the player determines the outcome, unlike betting on the horses or betting on the lottery," said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance. "It's not an individual competing against the house, and that's an important distinction."
Forego Is My Witness More than 1 year ago
A wet wet track Friday + Saturday plays havok with all my good handicapping work this past week! Definitely need guidance as to which horses can be ignored if the course is muddy. Sad!!!!
Jacko the Blower More than 1 year ago
I'd have to say that Mr. Pappas sounds like a snake oil salesman with his comments ""The individual skill of the player determines the outcome, unlike betting on the horses or betting on the lottery," said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance. "It's not an individual competing against the house, and that's an important distinction." First off, much of how a poker player performs is based purely and wholely upon luck, raw luck of being dealt good cards at an opportune moment. There is no skill at all in being dealt Aces under or a 2 3 offsuit under, it is nothing but luck and has a huge impact on how even a skilled poker player fares. 2nd, in horse racing you are NOT playing against a house, you are playing against other horse players, just as you are in poker. The difference being your outcome is not dependent upon a purely random uncontrollable event (the cards you are dealt). Poker is a game played by those who can't succeed at a true game of skill such as Chess where there truly is no luck involved. Any game which involves being dealt random cards or numbers by its own definition is very much a game of luck with perhaps some degree of skill added on to it.
tony More than 1 year ago
report from NJ looks like rain all week . What a shame. Who moves up now the euros for sure . but what about on dirt/muddy ? Who can we toss
Mike C More than 1 year ago
Sure, it hasn't rained here in the northeast since June and the forecast now calls for rain on and off through Sat. Steve, how much of a factor is track condition in your handicapping? What do you do if the horse you like has never run on an "off" track? Relying strictly on bloodlines seems a bit risky.
Davie Florida Nick More than 1 year ago
Boy does that picture of the Big A Special bring back memories. In the 60s I rode it with my dad. We picked it up at Hoyt and Schemerhorn. In those days it went from Manhattan, with one stop in Brooklyn, all the way to Aqueduct. For seventy-five cents, it was a glorius trip. Once it left the under ground after Euclid Ave, you could see the roof of the Big A and boy oh boy did my heart start pumping. Those were the days...
AndyScoggin More than 1 year ago
Ray Manley, Just drag the photo from his blog onto your desktop! Voila, it is now yours too!
steven_crist More than 1 year ago
douglas, tony: Sorry for the broken link on the Saturday sheet. It's working now.
raceguy More than 1 year ago
Steve, who is riding Greg's Gold?Flores or Lopez?