02/21/2009 1:09PM

A Skimpy Saturday


This as as slow a Saturday for important stakes racing as you'll see until November, with just two graded stakes races on the national menu, neither of them for classic candidates. The only so-called Derby prep is the Turf Paradise Derby, where the favorites are a pair of Santa Anita shippers, 1-for-6 Mayor Marv and 0-for-2 Pauper's Prize. 

Both graded stakes are part of this week's weird Magna 5:     

What's weird about it, as often is the case, is the choice of races for the sequence and the self-contradictory thinking behind it. The opening leg from Laurel is usually the Saturday stakes race there, but today that race has been moved to the 8th on the Laurel card and a $25k conditioned claimer goes into the usual stakes slot -- understandable perhaps since the stakes (the Maryland Media H.) drew a five-horse field with a 6-5 favorite. Okay, but then why include the San Carlos, a six-horse field with a 3-5 favorite?

Darts But the worst choice of all is the Golden Gate race chosen for today's sequence -- a six-horse maiden race with three first-time starters. It's the smallest field on the card, and there are a total of four past-performance lines on which to evaluate five of the six entrants. It's difficult to imagine this race was chosen for the Magna 5 by means other than indifference or the toss of a dart.

In any case, most people will probably be playing the sequence as a Magna 4, singling Georgie Boy in the San Carlos. He's the only graded-stakes winner in the field and his three triple-digit Beyers in sprints are three more than anyone else has mustered. It's tempting to try to beat him, though, if only because he's coming off a vistory in a Sunshine Millions race where a pace meltdown set the table for him, whereas today's field lacks any proven sprint speed at all.

It's not clear whether that kind of pace angle matters any more in California's synthetic racing, and Georgie Boy may simply be better than these, but I'll also be using Past The Point. I'm a sucker for route-to-sprint turnbacks, and Past The Point hasn't tried a sprint since the first two of his 13 career starts. He's got enough talent to have given Curlin fits at 40-1 in the Woodward last year, and appears the likeliest upsetter.

At Aqueduct, the late pick-4 is guaranteed at $250k (the actual pool was $339k last Saturday), and it's worth a look if big fields of statebreds are your cup of tea:

Race 6: Statebred maiden fillies, including five firsters.

Race 7: $10k N2L claimers

Race 8: Statebred N2x milers.

Race 9: Statebred maiden claimers

It's sunny and 40 degrees in New York, but there's no question it's still February.

Jack More than 1 year ago
Lion's share - actually Steve, the lion is actually the only cat that shares. Lions are the only felines that hunt in "packs," called a pride. All other cats are solitary hunters. Hence, the lion is the only predatory feline that shares. Jack
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
I think it would be very interesting to see a detailed report on what odds offer the best return over the long run. I doubt any of them produce a positive ROI over any length of time, but I'm sure some price points at least beat the takeout.
bochalls More than 1 year ago
Carryover schmarryover, trips schmips, figs schmigs....none of it matters today cuz today is one of a few days in the year when racing takes a back seat. IT'S MARDI GRAS !!!! Happy Carnival to all from New Orleans this morning... sunny and 60 degrees all day. As the late Professor Longhair once put it, "If you go to New Orleans you oughta go see the Mardi Gras..." The biggest free party in the world. I have detected a speed bias along the parade route this year. All the horses on the front end of the parades refuse to give up the lead...amazing. Anyway, gotta go. I think I hear the St. Augustine Marching 100 Band leading the Zulu Parade down St. Charles Ave....Rex, the King of Carnival, will follow...all because it's Carnival Time!!!! Good times ya'll, good times....
ponyman More than 1 year ago
Ernie--glad you like my comments,but staying away from horseracing is TOUGH.Just not doing good with either HORSES or Women--Love them both--rough mix--Hope everyone is at the short line today--Ponyman
richiebee More than 1 year ago
I'm fairly certain that if Prozac Jack and the Flipper formed a legally recognized business entity they would be immediately eligible for a bailout by the Federal government.
george315 More than 1 year ago
Did anyone notice the RIDICULOUS betting pattern in the 7th at AQU Sunday? The #3 horse Enter Acting entered the race as a 20-1 pipedream. In four races (3 at Statebred MDCL 35K and 1 at Statebred MDCL 15K) he managed to run near last in all four races, beat home 7 horses (out of 38 total starters), was now moving into the barn of a 1/77 trainer (at NYRA last 5 years) and had a 7 pound bug girl on. He was hammered to 8/5 with 15 minutes to go. An $8,000 pop hit the win pool but the horse only had $320 and $150 in the place and show pools respectively. Late money followed (in the exactas, place and show pools) and he went of at apprx 7/1. Never lifted a hoof. The only reason I can see this happening is the stable or bettor of the winning horse (Battle Ready) wanted to build his horses win price. The 6th race and 7th race DD paid $17.40. The parlay in the 2 races was over $25 ($8.40 and $6 and change). Can't see another reason. Crazy stuff.
Steven G. Berry More than 1 year ago
The "Secret Play" was indeed on the 2nd half of the Daily Double -- printed in a mail-order book from the 1980's by Al Illich. I have it around here somewhere... Lot's of great info. I think it was toss the top 3 morning line horses in the 2nd race, then divide the will pays by remaining morning lines. Any horse with a ratio less than X is the "secret." Damn, I forget X. The angle probably dates from the 1930's. Somewhere in the garage is a box with this nugget... Here's somone's take on it, but I doubt it's original: http://sharpsportsbetting.com/forums/free/racing/index.cgi/noframes/read/7286 Old Al Illich had many fascinating ideas besides the "Secret Play." He doesn't get much credit today, but if there were a handicapper's hall of fame he'd be in it.
Reinier More than 1 year ago
Past the Point doesn't like synthetics, he is the male equivalent of Hystericalady
SarnataroF More than 1 year ago
Wednesday's entries at Aqueduct include a maiden claimer for a tag of $12,500. Lowest maiden tag in recent memory. Can 5k maidens be far behind?? For those longing for the "good old days", there are two $15K maiden claimers carded as well. Only 2+ months more of the Big A. Then we can share in the enjoyment of Belmont Park. Home of the turf sprint!
Stephen Taylor More than 1 year ago
I was actually alive to the Gomez chalk in the Magna with a $72 ticket (had a scratch in the last leg, so had him going twice) by simply hitting the "all button" at Golden Gate. (I do think that a "free square" like Georgie Boy makes the bet more appealing to players who can't or don't wish to invest too much into their ticket)