11/11/2007 1:38PM

Stallion Sunday


The national stakes schedule shows no graded stakes in North America Sunday, and the day's richest races being for New Mexico-breds at Zia Park, but there's an added starter: The G3 Long Island Handicap, rescheduled from last Saturday's wind-cancelled card at Aqueduct.

The Long Island picked up a key added starter when it was redrawn: Barancella, for whom the original date would have been too quick a comeback from her third in the E.P. Taylor Oct. 21. In the original Long Island field of seven, Beverly D. winner Royal Highness was 1-1 on the morning line, followed by Green Girl at 4-1, Dalvina at 5-1 and Miracle Moment at 6-1. In the new field of eight, Royal Highness is 7-5 on the ML, with the entry of Barancella and Rising Cross(originally 12-1 on her own) at 5-2 and everyone else a bit higher than their original prices.

2:48 pm EST, Aqueduct race 6, G3 $150k Long Island H., 3+f, 1 1/2m-T(good)
It's tough to look past the two favorites. Royal Highness and Barancella have been right there in G1 races and appear fully capable of handling 12 furlongs, while most of their largely European opposition has already been shown lacking at that level in one or two American starts. The stranger, and most plausible alternative to the top pair, is first-time U.S. Dalvina, a 3-year-old who was beaten only two lengths in a G2 at the Curragh in September.

--Aqueduct's Sunday card has eight stakes races, six of them New York Stallion Stakes events. While the races are reminiscent of many of the statebred stakes races run throughout the year, these are a little different in that they are open only to offspring of New York stallions rather than all statebreds. So some of the familar faces are missing and there's a smattering of non-statebreds as well.

The net effect, though, is a lot of heavy favorites. A race like the Perfect Arc for older filly turfers would be a competitive event among the usual suspects who met in races like the Yaddo and Mt. Vernon, but the likes of Rewrite, Latitude Forty and Half Heaven are absent, leaving Factual Contender an odds-on choice. Red Zipper usually has to tangle with the Mohawk-West Point-A.T. Cole crew of Al Basha and Dave and Spurred but is a stickout today in their absence.

--Speaking of Dave, thanks for asking but his victory at 14-1 in Saturday's Red Smith cost me and a busload of others yesterday's otherwise numbingly chalky pick six, where 6-of-6 including Dave paid $21k and consos paid a whopping $54.50. I was pretty baffled by the Red Smith and didn't have clever ideas in the other obvious-looking races, so I just made a rare little caveman play -- 1x2x1x5x4x3 for $240. Felt pretty smart after getting through the 1x2x1 part and when that pick-three paid $59, it occurred to me that if I'd spent the $240 on a pair of $120 pick-3's, I'd already have $3500, but the pick-six had to pay more if I got through it. I felt a lot less smart when the 9-5 favorite won the fourth leg in a romp where I'd gone five-deep, and then along came Dave to spoil everything. So I got four of those juicy $54.50 consos, a return of $218 for my $240.

Trainer Barclay Tagg won both of Saturday's graded stakes, sending out Dave to win the G2 Red Smith and then Bit of Whimsy to take the G2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill. If we had divisional championships for grass 3-year-olds, Tagg might have won one last year with Showing Up and would be in contention for two more this year with Nobiz Like Shobiz and Bit of Whimsy.

--Here's a weird one: On Wednesday, a two-day Aqueduct carryover of $154,615 attracted $598,558 in new money. Yesterday, a Saturday when you'd think more people were playing the races, a $118.054 two-day carryover drew $388,168. Why would a carryover only $36k smaller draw $200,000 less on a weekend?