11/25/2008 9:48PM



Here's the Thanksgiving Weekend lineup of 14 graded stakes, four of them Grade 1's and all at Aqueduct, Churchill or Hollywood:

Thursday's featured Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct is not a graded race this year but was among the 10 currently ungraded races that are being elevated to G3 status next year, part of the annual tinkering by the Graded Stakes Committee that was announced earlier today. A few quick reactions to the announced changes:

 Grades --I'm not clear why the Pat O'Brien at Del Mar needed to be upgraded from a G2 to a G1. This now creates a summertime coastal inequity: Del Mar's two sprints for older males are now both G1's (the Bing Crosby and the O'Brien) while Saratoga's Vanderbilt is a G2 and the Forego is a G1.

--Similarly, why upgrade Keeneland's Madison from a G2 to a G1 without doing the same for Belmont's Gallant Bloom? Just because Ventura won it last year? It's hard to see much difference between the two races for older filly sprinters.

--And if it sounds like I'm just whining about New York races not being upgraded, I see no reason why the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont deserved a boost from G2 to G1 status. Top 3-year-old grass horses should be running against their elders by October, not being encouraged to stay out of those spots with a G1 restricted by age so late in the season.

--The GSC deserves credit for not bestowing Grade 1 status on all three of the Breeders' Cup races introduced last year that were eligible for grades for the first time in 2009. They made the F&M Sprint and Dirt Mile G1 races but gave only a G2 to the Juvenile Turf. Here's hoping they're even more conservatiove next year when the newer Juvenile Turf Fillies, Marathon and Turf Sprint are eligible for grading. None of them shold be given G1 status.

Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
Regarding the track surface debate, do not believe a second turf course is warranted at the Big A with the limited season, unless they figured out a way to use it during the Spa season, perhaps on Tuesday they could run an all turf card downstate? Otherwise, would prefer they winterize the outer track and add a cushion surface on the current inner, of course both should be completely rebuilt from he base on up with modern drainage systems. This way they could run a variety of distances all winter, while using the polytrack for off the turf races and pre and post turf season when the weather is moderate but the turf is not fit to be used.
Bernard Downes More than 1 year ago
Dear bochall, you may care to add the sponsors name to the Premier League, I do not. Do you think football fans arguing in a pub ever add Barclays to the name? They do not - certainly not this side of the pond. What happens if the sponsors change sometime in the future, does that make it a different league? I think not. Regards - Bernard
eeebayou More than 1 year ago
Had a really bad Thanksgiving day. My better half said it was OK for me to play the races at the local off-track betting facility and I had an OK day at the windows. What made the day bad, you might ask? I left my computer screen on Maylan Studart's MySpace page (her Carnival photos are awesome) and now I'm catching grief as some kind of dity old man!!
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
Lots of action at Holly Park on Friday. Pick 6 is carried over, and Super High 5 is likewise. Both WO amd HP look pretty chalky to me. Secret Play is as good as anything, when nothing stands out. You can play to win, or key the SP in Superfecta. No more trips for me to Off Track shops. I finally got an account set up and can get replays, DD probables, etc., for all tracks. Can also put on bets from my car with cell phone. Now, if I could just get my GPS to show me live races while on my way to hockey games!! I think with heavy snow forecast for Sunday-Monday, it might be a good time to curl up with the Crist book of EXOTIC BETTING. Maybe then, I'll know all about Matrix and the ABC charts. They are in the book.
bochalls More than 1 year ago
No sooner do I post the Davidowitz axiom about playing against top weighted 3yr olds and one wins... Sunday at CD R8, Golden Country wins at 122 lbs vs older at 4-5 or something... oops!....actually guys, it's the Barclays Premier League. Not the English Premier League...how bout that Dimitar Berbatov?!
raps07 More than 1 year ago
Quick story from Thursday. 6th Race BIG A., Coa on 4/5 favorite. Watch replay if you can. Horse broke running but fell into a garden spot behind 3 wide duel. Instead of ducking into a rail spot, Coa stayed in 10 path instead of dropping to the golden rail that was the Big A yesterday. Moved up wide on turn under NO urging. Turn for home arms going everywhere looking like he is doing all he can. Well 3 or 4 patrons were steaming calling Coa everything. One gentlemen walked up and casually said, " Happy Thanksgiving boys, welcome to the club, you've been COA'D. "
dale tillotson More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, happy belated turkey day. This comment may want to be forwarded to drf's harness expert Stan Bergstein. Your comments around election day and the vote in Mass. to ban greyhound racing were right on. Unfortunately Plainridge has added to the fight to ban all racing in the state by allowing Walter Case to drive. This just gives the anti racers more ammo in their fight against the racing industry. Any thoughts?
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
Justin Stein off all mounts today at WO. In the nightcap,GOLANI looks primed to pop out of pp1. ML is 6-1. Also, #6 should be included in Super. Top 2 finishers could be 1-6. I will be on them both. ML fave (3-1) STEELKIT is late scratch (hurrah!!!), so field will be more wide open. #12 PORTERS COURT in the money in super--sports a ML of 20-1 and adds blinkers.
Larry Thiel More than 1 year ago
Barclay Tagg shouldn't be allowed to get away with his excuse that Funny Cide lost the Belmont because of an off track...Funny Cide got away during a 5f work on the Tuesday before the Belmont that went in 57.92 or faster. Bobby Frankel, and I, immediatly said that Funny Cide would have nothing left for the Belmont. And he didn't.
gofor broke More than 1 year ago
If Commentator wins the Clark it will be interesting to see how the voters choose older male champion. It's an unusual year with the BC on pro ride. Commentator was faster on the numbers and more visually impressive than Curlin, who beat Wandering Boy by 3/4 in the JCGC and Past the Point by 1 after PtP dueled in 109. Both races at scale weights. All the East coast dirt races for older males were weak this year, with a lot of the best horses staying in SoCal to prepare for the BC there.