11/10/2007 2:34PM

Peculiar Payoff


I'm still scratching my head over Friday's results at Aqueduct, where nobody picked six, leading to a $118k double-carry into todays card. The surprise wasn't that there was a carryover in a sequence that included $27.60 and $25.60 winners, but that 6 of the 9 winning consolation tickets appear to have included both of those longshots but missed the 6-1 winner of the finale.

Here's what happened. When pick-six probables were posted for the last race, there were two tickets alive to the two favorites for a potential $59k and one each to the third and fourth choices for $118k each. When all four live horses lost, to fifth choice Sax in the city ($15.40), there was a carryover, and I expected to see about 30 winning consos at around $1,000. It stands to reason that if there were six "misses" in a race won by a 6-1 shot, there would have been even more tickets that used the last winner but missed one of the two earlier big prices. But then a conso payoff of $3,314 was posted, meaning that there were only nine combinations sold with five of six -- and obviously six of those nine were the six tickets that were alive into the last race.

I have no reason to believe that the Drexel boys are back in business, but this makes absolutely no sense to me. Anyone have a theory?

--Today's carryover sequence includes the Red Smith Handicap, the toughest race of the day and one of only two graded stakes races on the national calendar:

3:44 pm EST: Aqueduct race 8, G2 $150k Red Smith H., 3+, 1 3/8-T(yielding)

The Red Smith drew a shifty field of 12 with only one prior G2 winner -- Dreadnaught, whose G2 victories came in 2004 and who has lost his last 18 in a row. Given the weak credentials of the field, the 11-furlong distance and the yielding turf, I'm leaning toward the European imports in the field. They're a spotty group themselves but may simply have been facing better overseas. So if I get that far, I'll try to be be alive to the German-breds Encitas and Musketier, as well as Sunshine Kid, a repatriated Kentucky-bred making his american debut after nine tries in England and France. I'll also use the improving Godolphin runner True Cause, who had a horrific trip against several of these last time out.

4:37 pm EST: Churchill race 9, G2 $150k Mrs. Revere S. 3F, 1 1/16m-T
Bit of Whimsy is a bit of a standout, exiting a pair of excellent G1 efforts -- 2nd to Alexander Tango in the Graden City and first in the QE II at Keeneland -- and meeting an arguably weaker group here. She looks very solid and could well be less than her 2-1 ML odds. I'm not sold on ML second-choice Bel air Beauty off her 2 1/2-length victory over Bachata in the Valley View last time out. I want to see her do it again before believing the apparent vast improvement she registered, and Bachata came out of that race to be a dull fifth against a much weaker group in an ungraded stakes at Aqueduct Friday. You could do worse than taking a flyer with Cat Charmer (8-1), who has improved steadily from race to race and has a strong late kick.