12/23/2007 3:15PM

Say Goodbye to Hollywood


Saturday's closing-day card at Hollywood Park was a dramatic and entertaining conclusion to a strong meet, with the final four races producing a takedown of a 26-1 winner, an interesting renewal of the Hollywood Futurity and Jerry Hollendorfer's 5,000th career victory in the nightcap.

Into Mischief, who figured to be the third or fourth choice in the Futurity at around 8-1, instead went off as the sixth choice at 13-1 and scored by 1 1/4 lengths after a perfect trip where he stalked and then took over from an overmatched frontrunner. Favored Colonel John was as good as the winner working his way through the field to get up for second, and it's worth keeping an eye on Monba, who came from nowhere to be a fast-closing fourth. The son of Maria's Mon and the Easy Goer mare Hamba was, like the winner, making only his third career start, and appears likely to thrive going longer.

The winning time of 1:40.82 for 8.5 furlongs was the fastest of three races at the distance Saturday, a bit quicker than the 1:41.56 posted by older $25k claimers and the 1:41.17 in the N1x allowance with the big dq. That translated to a straightforward Beyer Speed Figure of 94, the third lowest in the last 15 years and well off the triple-digit Beyers posted by such Futurity winners as Afternoon Delites, Real Quiet, Point Given and Brother Derek. One might be slightly forgiving due to the new Cushion Track surface and the relative inexperience of the contestants, or one might note that the first six finishers were only 3 1/2 lengths apart at the wire and may not be a stellar bunch.

Into Mischief is the first G1 stakes winner from the first crop sired by Harlan's Holiday, and it's nice to see a horse who had a long and full career getting off to a strong start at stud. Harlan's Holiday won 9 of 22 career starts, made 17 starts in graded stakes, and won the G1 Florida Derby, Blue Grass and Donn. Into Mischief, a $180,000 2yo-in-training purchase by owner B. Wayne Hughes, was bred by the late James T. Hines, also the breeder of Lawyer Ron.

The closing-day card attracted a meet-high $18.5 million in total wagering. Handle for the 32-day meet averaged $10.9 million, up from $10.4 million in 2006. John Sadler led the trainers with 21 winners, 10 more than anyone else, and Country Star was voted the Horse of the Meet for her impressive victory in the Hollywood Starlet Dec. 15.

--If this doesn't put you in the holiday spirit, nothing will. In an email titled "xmas eve," nicholas165 writes: "With only three tracks running [Monday] and the holiday one would think the form might not be full price but no. you guys can think of nothing but screwing your customer base. with most companies customer satisfaction is a top priority but with drf the motto is [redacted]!! almost everyone has this opinion yet we have no recourse but to buy your trash. at some point soon there will be another option like the racing times available. would you guys like to put your bid in now to buy me out or would you prefer to wait until i get in the position to tell you to stick your offer [redacted]? merry christmas. i hope you all die in a train wreck."

Dear nicholas165,
Thanks for the kind holiday wishes! Please tell me of a single newspaper that changes its prices for one day because the edition is smaller. Newsstands and vendors will not accept a one-day price change. We can't charge less on a three-track day any more than we could charge more on a six-track day.

--Aqueduct drew its Wednesday and Thursday races yesterday, and Santa Anita will be drawing those two cards today. Aqueduct will have a $161,694 pick-six two-day carryover which has been gathering dust since the Dec. 16 rainout and then the holiday break. The sequence:

Race 4: 3+F Msw, 6f (9 entrants))
Race 5: 3+F NYB N1x, 1m (12)
Race 6: 3+F OF C15 N2L, 6f (16)
Race 7: 2F NYB, N1x, 6f (11)
Race 8: 3+F N3x, 6f (7)
Race 9: 3+ NYB, Md35k, 1m (13)

You might want to get started now.

Here's the holiday racing calendar for the next few days:

Sunday 12/23: Calder, Charles Town, Fair Grounds, Hawthorne, Laurel, Philadelphia, Sam Houston, Sunland, Turf Paradise
Monday 12/24: Calder, Fair Grounds, Philadelphia
Tuesday 12/25: None.
Wednesday 12/26: Aqueduct, Calder, Charles Town, Delta, Golden Gate, Hawthorne, Laurel, Santa Anita, Sunland, Tampa, Turfway

ronniej More than 1 year ago
Thanks for a great year of racing and recaps, Steve. I for one am always happy to pay for information in the DRF not readily available anywhere else (and to wash my hands afterwards). Good luck to us, every one!
pigletinapoke More than 1 year ago
(and second and third)
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
This blog has been an almost half year gift to all it's readers and commenters. I consider it's arrival the most enjoyable addition to my racing hobby this year. Many thanks to all my fellow posters, but especially to Mr. Crist who makes it all possible. I must admit to being a creature of some habit, and therefore a paper slave. Can remember the form at $1.25. That in the days when the oldtimers would tell this then kid to run down to the stand (at 1:00 AM) and pickk up the "tely." The paper was then not the tabloid it is now, but a full fold out NY Times like deal that required advanced paper folding skills in order to survive the winter winds of Aqueduct. So best holiday wishes to all (even the train wrecker), and here's to good fortune in 2008 on the track and off. P.S. Santa did not bring my Saratoga seat reservations. I'm getting a little nervous.
Chisox More than 1 year ago
DRF is well worth the $5.50 if you are a serious player and it is amazing to me that some are questioning its quality. Merry Christmas to you Steve and the happiest of New Years!.
Pigletinapoke More than 1 year ago
Merry Christmas, Steven. Here's hoping your picks always finish first. . .
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
Kevin Stafford: I checked out your blog, and you mentioned Into Mischief as the last of five horses in the field who could win. You then spent half your thoughts on the race detailing why Massive Drama won't win, but you decided to use him as one of two picks in your pick four anyway? He was a massive underlay given your reasoning, so why include him at the short price?
Tom More than 1 year ago
Forget holiday karma. Considering Dale Baird just died in a car accident in West Virginia along with two teenagers two days before Christmas, I think jolly ol' Saint Nicholas165 needs a reality check and some therapy. His timing stinks, and if paying a touch extra for a DRF that had three track programs listed because that's all there was scheduled is his worst problem, he should count his bleeping blessings. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good hope NYRA will get its act together someday.
ponyman More than 1 year ago
Steve--Merry Christmas & great racing in 2008----To Nick-165 PEACE ON EARTH
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Stve: Nicholas165 was clearly the victim of a bad-day, and a few too many glasses of corn-squeezin's. Merry Christmas to all of you! Thanks for making my life even better than it is! Van Savant
dale tillotson More than 1 year ago
Here's my story on jacked up newspaper prices. My local paper Burlington free press put out its thanksgiving day edition priced at $1.75. Regular weekday price is 50 cents. This paper was extremely thinner than normal and consisted of very little news. Also inside the meat of the paper were several full page adds by local busineses wishing all who paid the extra $1.25 a happy gobble day Of course the paper was stuffed with tons of adds by retailers advertising the after turkey day sales. So this means the retailer paid to advertise, and the the customer also got charged. DOUBLE DIPPING I say. I wrote a letter to the editor using all these facts and sarcasm. It was no surprise to me that the letter was not printed. Thanks for listening, at least someone did.Happy Holidays.