12/07/2008 2:41PM

Snow Day



I wouldn't have taken even-money on racing's being held at Aqueduct today the way the snow was coming down around midnight last night with two inches already accumulated, but it was above freezing this morning and what's left looks like nothing but artfully-applied holiday decorations. The track is fast and the show goes on.

 Forgot to switch over to TVG at 1:40 a.m. for the Japan Cup Dirt but NYRA showed a replay this morning after announcing the late scratches. The three American-based entrants were shut out, with Mast Track a scratch after coming up lame on race day, and Frost Giant and Tin Cup Chalice running 12th and 13th of 15. Tin Cup Chalice, legitimately 100-1 or more, somehow went off as only the fifth choice at only 21-1 and led for a while before fading badly in the final furlong. Casino Drive, the only 3-year-old in the top six, was beaten about 2 1/2 lengths as the 9-1 third choice, running sixth behind four 6-year-olds and an 8-year-old.

The weekend's other Grade/Group 1 race was Saturday's Hollywood Turf Cup, where Champs Elysees finally became a U.S. G1 winner in a race that's ripe for being knocked down a grade. The 5-year-old half-brother to Banks Hill, Cacique, Heat Haze and Intercontinental gets some credit for rallying from off a slow pace, but got a perfect trip up the rail to run down the longshot who was waltzing on the lead and then had to get down on his belly to hold off the game but modestly-accomplished Obrigado.

The victory was Bobby Frankel's 12th in a U.S. Grade 1 stakes race this year -- twice as many as Bob Baffert and Rick Dutrow, tied for second with six each and two ahead of Steve Asmussen and John Shirreffs.

--Here's a visual presentation of the changes with the Grade 1 schedule at Saratoga for 2009, for those of you making early travel plans:

Marilyn Lane More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Happy to hear you liked the ThoroFan article 'The Whitney Set the Die' which is now archived on www.thorofan.com Even fans in Japan liked the story. Watch us on-line,we're trying to keep racing fans champing at the bit.
Ron More than 1 year ago
bochalls, and cielo I have the entire Simpson's catalog and there are so many references to horse racing and gambling in general. Another funny one is when Homer's in an anger management program. He's home in a tub with candles all around him telling Marge how calm he is and he has taken these "pills they give to traquilize horses". A glimpse of the bottle reveals the name: "Churchill Downers"
Tim More than 1 year ago
C Says- I couldnt agree more with your opinion on Knot News. It wasnt the jockey's fault. The horse is a nag and simply was running on rubber legs the last 1/16th. It was only a matter of how much she'd get beat by. Its easy to blame the jockey. Ramon knew he had lost the race and just gave up for the sake of "beating a dead horse (pun intended). Knot news was a horrible bet at those odds anyways. Do I think these guys play games? Yes of course but in this case no way. That horse just ran out of energy. Looked like me after running the 10th mile of a recent half marathon (which I went out way too fast in).
sero More than 1 year ago
Talk about integrity of the game....how do these stewards weigh discretion with inquiries when it comes to leaving a horse up or taking him down??? Case in point: Cigar Mile, Ladies HDCP, 7th @ FG on 12/14. Granted these horses probably would have won anyway barring foul. What about placings they may have cost others with 2nd,3rd and 4th purse money when making their decisions...some right, some wrong perhaps. The old adage of "a foul is a foul" is looking more clear cut than letting the fans fate rest in stewards discretionary decisions.
bochalls More than 1 year ago
Simply put, The Simpsons is the greatest show ever to grace TV. I remember a few lines from the racetrack episode...a horse named Chock Full 'O Drugs, and Denman announcing that,"in a strange twist of fate a horse is abusing a jockey!" Perhaps Chucky Lopez should review that last line. His ride on a RUNAWAY winner at AQU Thurs or Fri was shameful as he repeatedly whipped this horse (9 or 10 times by my count) with a 10 plus length lead inside the 8th pole. No wonder some people have a problem with racing.
Pete More than 1 year ago
Thanks TriJet - that's good stuff! Can anybody help with class hierarchy in NYRA races - even a general guide would help.
Matt Harper More than 1 year ago
$146,000 pick 6 carryover at Hollywood Park today, 12/10-08/. 39 horses pre-entered to run in those 6 races for a total of 6.5 per race, and that is before scratches! You got to love how the synthetic surfaces have allowed horses to bounce back more quickly and run in more races!!!!
JanPerson More than 1 year ago
Steve, I noticed for the last two races today (WEDS), the track was listed on the screen as both "SEALED" and "FAST." How can that be, or was it done in error?
Walt More than 1 year ago
One thing now that Arlington's schedule has been announed: It appears NYRA wanted to have the Sword Dancer the week after the Arlington Million, and if so was able to move the Sword Dancer "back" to the third weekend of the Saratoga meet (though in reality only one day earlier than this year) for 2009 because because of the entire meet being essentially one week later next year while the Million remains on the second Saturday in August. I still like the idea (as suggested back when we were discussing what to do with the third weekend of the Saratoga meet) of perhaps also having on that third weekend a pair of $250,000 races: A five and a half furlong turf spring that can serve as a WAYI to the BC Turf Sprint and a revival of the Saratoga Cup at its former distance of 1 3/4 Miles with that a WAYI to the BC Dirt Marathon.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
George 315: Topless Bar isn't a location. He's listed in the 2009 Derby Future book (at 35-1). Since the Governor of Illinois's Blag Bust is racing-connected, from The NY Times (12/10/10): "Delusional, narcissistic, vengeful and profane, Mr. Blagojevich as portrayed by federal prosecutors shocked even his most ardent detractors." Why the shock? Shouldn't this sound familiar? He's a dead-ringer for the disgraced, former New York State governor, Eliot Spitzer. Remember his sham crusade against NYRA "corruption"? Here We Go Again.