07/26/2007 1:03AM

Prado, a Pasha, and Poker

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--Edgar Prado rode three winners opening day. Two were narrow victories -- the fourth by half a length on Egypt Lane and the Schuylerville by a nose with Subtle Aly -- but his easier three-length triumph on Hangingbyathread in the 7th, a humble N1x for older male statebred grass horses, was his shrewdest ride of the day. Hangingbyathread drew post 11 in a field of 12 but glided past the 10 inside him to find himself alone at the rail by the first turn. Prado then further lulled his rivals to sleep behind him through leisurely fractions of 25.16 and 50.66. The alarm clock went off for the others after six furlongs in 1:15.16, and when they picked up the pace Prado was able to do the same, sprinting home with a fourth quarter of 22.95 and a final sixteenth in 6.06 to widen his margin to three lengths. Give the best horse a tactical advantage and the race is over.

--Some recommended bedtime reading from Thursday's New York Times: Some nice turns of phrase by reporter Nicholas Confessore in this account of State Senate majority leader Joe Bruno's opening-day visit to the track, where he "floated through the crowd like a pasha down the Nile"; and why artificial-intelligence researchers from the University of Alberta may be the future-book favorites for the 2017 National Handicapping Championship -- if they would stop fooling with children's bagatelles like chess, checkers and poker and take on a real challenge.