04/18/2009 10:09PM

Saturday Night Notes

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--We haven't had a double-carryover in New York since racing was switched to the main track April 1st -- until now. The bet went unhit Friday and again today, so there's $112k already in the kitty for Sunday's sextet. It's a decent-looking sequence -- no stakes races, but no maiden-claimers either: two maiden-specials, two allowance races, one starter handicap and one conditioned claimer, with three of the six on the grass:

Race 4: 3+F MdSpWt, 1 1/16 (T)

Race 5: 4+ StHcp (Cl16k) 1m

Race 6: 3+ NYB MdSpWt 7f

Race 7: 3+ Cl16k N1Y 1 1/16 (T)

Race 8: 3+ AlwN2x(OC50k) 1 1/18

Race 9: 3+F NYB AlwN1x 1 1/16 (T)

It's tough but interesting, more so than today's late pick-4 at Aqueduct, which TVG enthusiastically called a "tremendous sequence." I'm still trying to figure out which was the tremendous part -- the statebred maiden-claimers in leg 1, the $10k claimers in leg 2, or the four-horse field in leg 3.

Tremendous or not, the sequence handled $309k, surpassing the $250k guarantee that it missed last Saturday (by $13k) for the first time since the weekly promotion began in February.

Only one more Saturday at Aqueduct: Don't look now, but Belmont opens in 11 days on April 29, three days before the Derby.


--With the exception of the Square Eddie camp, few of the connections of the 11 3-year-olds colts who ran in today's Lexington Stakes were seriously thinking about the Kentucky Derby going in. It's hard to imagine that the race changed anyone's mind. Only six lengths separated the first 10 finishers in a slowly-run race filled with typical Polytrack spurts and sweeps. 15-1 Advice and 16-1 Conservative, who ran 1-2 (and combined for a  $441.20 Pletcher-McGaughey exacta), are developing colts who might prove interesting down the road and/or on grass, but look a distinct cut or two below the serious Derby contenders at this point.

The Lexington was run in 1:43.33 for 8.5f over Polytrack two races after older N2x fillies covered the same distance in 1:43.14. It's tough to see the race getting better than a 95 Beyer.

Square Eddie broke slowly but rocketed to the lead around the far turn as if he were going to win by a pole before running out of gas and fading to third. He was making his first start since Jan. 17 and might be expected to improve next time out -- but there's still a threshhold question of whether he'll be any good on a dirt track. That's the same question surrounding Pioneerof the Nile, the likely fifth choice in the Derby, who Square Eddie beat twice last year.

Square Eddie and Pioneerof the Nile finished second and fifth respectively in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and are the highest finishers from that race still on the Derby trail. Since that BC Juve, the first one run on a synthetic track, Pioneerof the Nile has won all four of his starts, all G1 or G2 stakes. The other 11 who ran in the race are a combined 1 for 18 since, and 0 for 8 on dirt.


--This just in (seriously, post time was 10:48 pm): Commentator, making his first start of the year as an 8-year-old, led to the top of the stretch but faded to fourth behind Researcher, Ea and Dry Martini in the $615k Charles Town Classic. It was the first time that Commentator, last year's Whitney and Mass 'Cap winner, had been worse than third since the 2007 BC Sprint. Time for the nine furlongs around three (!) turns was 1:49.86.

Researcher, a 5-year-old Two Smart gelding, is now 10 for 17 and has won six of his last seven starts, including the G3 Queens County at Aqueduct Dec. 13, his only graded-stakes appearance. Last time out he won the local prep for this by 22 1/4 lengths in a track-record 1:49.76. 

Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
Correction, meant Jeranimo, not Massone, wrong week.
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
Lenny, dont know what Steve thought about the race but I had 3 A's, the three California invaders, Massone, Advice, and Eddie defensively. The West Coast is simply the superior group of three year old colts this year, every one of them has improved from a figure standpoint when traveling east, which makes all of the below talk about PON not being fast enough just plain silly. Yeah, thats right, Gomez is making a mistake. The commenters on hear know better than the best rider in the country. Good luck with the FLA horses, I hope the figure slaves make them the two favorites, especially Dunkirk who will not be a consideration on my ticket. I will use the Dubai horses ahead of him, but will probably cover QR defensively as a B or C in my multi race wagers. California here I come, the race goes through the West Coast, IWR, PON, Chocolate Candy, Papa Clem and maybe even Square Eddie.
beerbelly More than 1 year ago
Opening Day of the Belmont Meet has been a day to look forward to for more than 15 years. A quick glance at the condition book for Wednesday April 29 will make any serious horseplayer's skin crawl. Other than the Grade 3 Westchester the quality of racing is not worthy of this majestic racetrack. To compensate for this abomination NYRA is offering a dollar off parking, admission & other sundries. The only reason to show up is to say hello to friends foolish enough to be there.
C More than 1 year ago
Steve, Any thoughts or plans for a column about Churchill not allowing dime supers, but promoting this silly Matrix bet?
gofor broke More than 1 year ago
A lot of people have commented about the weak fields at Aqueduct. I don't think this is going to get better. The NY bred program rewards cheap, slow horses. They keep writing restricted races for them, with inflated purses. You have to spot play. I watched the Fla Derby a few times, and I would much rather have Quality Road's trip than Dunkirk's. I'll go by the odds and what clockers say about final workouts. I expect there'll be other races that day that I'll bet more on than the big race.
danc More than 1 year ago
thanks for the feedback guys on the gate thing. Just frustration I guess, the starter is supposed to hear no no no and not open the gate but technically I guess I lose. My derby feelings after watching Prado ride listlessly now for a couple yrs I am not thrilled he is on my derby horse. I will spread to 3 in the pick 4 anyway but I am not a prado fan. He , by my calculations, gets beat on more favorites then any jockey out there. He just rides so listless. Its like since Barbaro he just dont try. Just my opinion but I would rather have Borel on a dead closer at Chruchill. Or Robby A. Prado would be way down the list. Pioneer I agree Tony has a chance I guess but I am a numbers guy. I know SA numbers are way low so I add 6 to 8 pts to them. It still dont put him there. He would have to improve 12-16 pts I just dont see it but maybe his rank butt will beat me. It looks like the Woodford will be a joke 6 horse field that will kill the pick 4. The Oaks too looks like 6 or 8 filly field that stinks.
george Quinn More than 1 year ago
Regarding Mike Welsch podcast. Does HRTV own the video rights to the workouts? Just wondering. George in Tampa
Dutch More than 1 year ago
Philly Park recently added the Pick 6 wager. However, I notice the results and charts do not include the carryover info when 6 of 6 is not hit. (There is a carryover provision.) Does anyone know why it is not included?
Tom D. More than 1 year ago
How bad is NYRA racing? This past Sat. our simulcast room voted Aqu. off. We put the early races of Santa Anita up. Lousy product.Don't race in the winter if you're going to subject us to these kind of fields. I'm hoping that Magna screws it up like Magna can and the breeders cup is moved to the dirt where it belongs.
Jeff Tatus More than 1 year ago
I can't believe I was this stupid. I had the Saturday Big A Pick 6 already handicapped and was at my OTB waiting for the 5th to come on the TV (we don't get un-interrupted coverage and the TV's change tracks automatically). I played a 3,5,8,9 w/3,5,8,9 w/all w/3,5,8,9 ten center and ran into an old friend who started talking to me. My ticket (believe it or not) was: 5. #3 6. #1,#4,#7 7. #8 8. #3,#6,#9 9. #5 10.#3,#4,#7,#9,#10 for $92.00 I knew the first leg was chaos as none of them wanted to finish and the #3 looked like he had enough works to finish.... what a fool I was! I never played the ticket and 5 of 6 paid $915.00 and I missed the super as well. I did hit the #9,#4,#8,#3 super on the turf but for a dime only... what a waste of good handicapping (twice in one week; as I missed a $40.00 horse at Santa Anita).