01/12/2008 3:13PM

Saturday Sniffles


I probably shouldn't be operating heavy machinery like multirace bets today, given that I'm sniffling my way through a Benadryl haze and a sea of Kleenex, but maybe a little carryover at Aqueduct and a triple-San stakes festival at Santa Anita will prove just what the doctor ordered.

At Aqueduct, I survived the firster-filled opening leg with turnbacking Raynicks Cat at $9.20 and am leaning heavily on the same two singles as many other playerss: Stormin Normandy in the upcoming 5th and Monster Drive in the 7th. If I get that far and get those two home, I'll then be five-deep in the difficult Affectionately Handicap and three-deep in the finale. The live tickets, starting with race 5:


Meanwhile, it's a San, San, San world at Santa Anita, with three graded San stakes on the card -- the G3 Rafael (5th), G2 Pasqual (7th) and G2 Fernando (10th).

(Trivia interlude: Did you know that four of the 14 most populous cities in the United States begin with a San? Can you name and rank them? Answer below.)

The San Rafael, for 3-year-olds at a mile, drew a pretty solid field for the second Saturday in January. Stakes-winners Massive Drama (Prevue), El Gato Malo (Gold Rush) and Sierra Sunset (Bay Meadows Juvenile/Cal Cup Juvenile) meet the strong maiden winners Talk of a Cat and Overbid.

The San Pasqual, at a mile and a sixteenth for 4-and-ups, rematches the 1-2-5 finishers from last month's Native Diver in Heatseeker, Racketeer and Arson Squad, with Racketeer most likely to move forward, making his second start off a long layoff. Brad Free makes an interesting case for Well Armed to wire the paceless field. The best horse in the race is probably Molengau, but he's coming off a six-month layoff and might need one.

The San Fernando, at a mile and a sixteenth for straight 4-year-olds, has several storylines: The return of Tiago, Johnny Eves strtching out after wiring a slow Malibu, Ravel trying to atone for his Native Diver flop and Great Hunter making his second start off a layoff. Tiago has run the fastest and faced the best but likes his distances a little longer and Great Hunter is worth a long look at his 8-1 ML odds.

[Trivia answer: As of 2004, according to Demographia, it's San Diego (7th), San Antonio (8th), San Jose (10th) and San Francisco (14th). The most populous St. is Louis at #48.]

cjsluckyboy More than 1 year ago
Alex, Don't know much about Bridgmohan and he's only riding them, but Asmussen's a known juicer (caught at least twice so far). I know that there's a bunch of them out there, but felt the need to temper yours and others praise of his "amazing" records at multiple tracks with a dose of reality. There may not be much we as the racing public can do about the drug problem in racing, but at least let's call a known juicer a juicer. I'm not really picking on you personally, Alex, there's a whole lot of rhetoric out there, especially by the racing media, about 30% win-rate trainers and their great horses, but there's not much talked about in how they got to that 30% rate. I guess what I'm asking for is a little balanced reporting, is that too much to ask?
Alex More than 1 year ago
Points well taken Luckyboy. I received "The Best And Worst Of Thoroughbred Racing" by Steve Davidowitz (published by DRF Press) this holiday season. He touched on this subject and it was in IMHO one of the best sections in the book. While we could go on about this forever, let us also remember that he is running an extremely large operation and the bulk of his successes are at meets that are the meat and potatoes of this sport. I doubt that he'll ever win the training crown at Saratoga or Delmar. To throw further flames on the fire, why doesn't Bobby Frankel run a bigger string of horses at NYRA run tracks. Lord knows if he'd branch out further in New York he could add to his already impressive numbers. Talk among yourselves.
Bill T More than 1 year ago
Now that you have displayed the bazooka joe comic, do you remember the racing comic strip?
Dan S. More than 1 year ago
Interesting weekend. FAMILIAR STRANGER was easiest mortal lock of day on Saturday.Claimed for $40k out of debut by John Sadler in Oct. 20th at Santa Anita, he wired them at HollyPark for same price n 5 Dec., getting an impressive 101-106 fig from equibase(pace is first number). Sadler outfoxed his bretheren by getting away with running Sat. for a $25k tag and an easy score, with no takers at the claim box! Don't expect to see this one in for a tag next time. INDIAN BLESSING: held on to win as large chalk; not impressed at all. Seems to be coming back to the field. ZENYATTA: Won going away with a seemingly nonchalant ride by the jock. He waited way too long to move, but maybe horse is that good; doubt it. EL GATO MALO. A freak of sorts, so far, but his ped suggests he stay in California; if they have Derby aspirations with this guy, which they do, they are sadly mistaken. GAME FACE: Clearly the most impressive winner on the weekend. When set down, simply exploded and buried the field, drawing off much the best. It was all there in the PPs, all you had to do is look at the last race. LOVELY ISLE, was nowhere after her 12-length win in last at Aqu inner. Horse has had three different trainers in three life starts; what is up with that?
mark c More than 1 year ago
In response to Art. The lifeblood of this game is gambling! Everyone else can be replaced.Without gamblers the horsemen would be racing for trophies(except in Dubai)Yet we are treated like an afterthought.If casino gamblers were treated like racetrack gamblers the casinos would be empty( like aqueduct and on most days Belmont park)I have tried to have dialogue with racetrack management and I am ignored.The racetracks love to blame everyone else for declining attendance but they only have to look at the way they treat their customers
rfb0318 More than 1 year ago
How about that slumping Joey Talamo? It is pretty obvious now that his former agent was giving him the short end of the stick by picking up Tyler Baze as a second rider and giving Tyler the choice stock. All it took was Talamo's new agent getting one fresh condition book and this kid is rolling again!! When Solis retires, Talamo is going to keep Scotty Mc isn the chips for a long time. Maybe TVG can do a lovefest video on Talamo and his new success.
PGM More than 1 year ago
EJXD2, He didn't get Zipperoo. He earned 5/6 doubly, which may have paid for the cost of the tickets. Probably closer to dryer lint.
Alex More than 1 year ago
Like Clinton says and I've referred to before, Asmussen and Bridgmohan can be better than Citibank. Sure they're not a huge score but very cosistent. I'm happy that Shaun shall have the pick of Asmussen's barn. A nice guy and a good rider who deserves recognition.
Art DeToro More than 1 year ago
I, like Mark_C, feel the pain and inconvenience of wagering on horse racing. Having 3 online waging accounts to have access to most all venues is ludicrous. Having to fulfill wagering requirements to have access to video, PPs, free deposits, etc certainly discourages existing ‘low’ rollers and potential new customers. The problem exists because there are two groups proclaiming they want to see the sport grow and one is a slave to the other. We have the breeders, owners and trainers who feed the sport. Then, we have the corporate track and wagering entities that feed off the sport. One group provides the bread and butter. The other sells it in their stores. But, unlike real bread and butter, it’s not sold in all stores. It’s time we put the bread and butter in all stores and let the customers decide who will survive based on quality rather than monopoly. Where was the NTRA when account wagering started to flourish? What an opportunity they had to represent the entire industry. Why didn’t they contract an account wagering developer to establish a national account wagering system that included all products? Why didn’t they contract Magna, god forbid, (or the like) to provide one all-inclusive multi channel racing menu, which did exist in the infancy of the migration to in home wagering? Oh well, just a pipe dream of what could have been! Art…in NH
Larry More than 1 year ago
Achoo! It's the cedar and juniper trees down here. "Stop rubbing those eyes!"