04/03/2010 2:28PM

Wood Day '10 Live


3:30 pm: Well, live from a distance: Despite the best of intentions, this groundhog's staying underground a bit longer after his laptop power-cord blew up or otherwise somehow died shortly before planned departure for the Big A.

I'm not feeling imaginative enough to take stands against the three odds-on favorites in today's graded stakes at Aqueduct or attack what looks like a chalky $500k-guaranteed pick-4. So I might as well try to surround it with the two wide-open statebred races bookending the four stakes and make a rare non-carryover pick-6 play:


[Chart via TicketMaker.]

Be kind. I'm a little rusty.

3:50 pm: Spa City Princess at 7-1 as an A was a great start to the pick-6 -- or would have been if I hadn't gotten shut out. My fault for remembering to actually make the bets I'd just posted here with only one minute to post, but with one minute to post the NYRA Rewards screen was already showing the race as closed. Arggggghhhhhh. Like I said, I'm a little rusty.

Maybe I'll be celebrating saving $984 a couple of hours from now, but now I have to sit and root against myself for a while.

Very nice gesture by NYRA and Repole Stable between the 5th and 6th to parade Cool N Collective, the popular 13-year-old gelding who made his 81st and final career start on March 3 -- 13 days short of the 10th anniversary of his racing debut at Aqueduct on March 16, 2000. Here are his career pp's: Download Coolncollective


4:20 pm: Eightyfiveinafifty ($3.20) just won the G3 Bay Shore in 1:21.89 but not before an anxiety-inducing first quarter. After breaking to the lead, he turned his head and was looking into the infield for a few strides, during which Hurricane Ike went right by him on the outside. Then he straightened himself out and led the rest of the way, scoring by 2 1/2 lengths over Hurricane Ike.

I don't think he ran back to that freakish 105 Beyer he ran on the inner track Jan. 9 but this colt is clearly a work in progress. Harold Lerner, one of his onwers, said after the race that the Derby Trial April 24 and then possibly the Preakness are next, though he said he wasn't "ruling out" the Derby itself. Yet.

4:50 pm: Goldsville ($5.10) proved best in the G3 Excelsior, the only other two-turn dirt race on the card except the Wood. He stalked a tepid pace of 1:13.79 and crossed the wire in 1:51.43. Let's see how the Wood stacks up against that. Eskendereya just opened as the 1-2 favorite with Awesome Act 2-1.

5:25 pm: Madly flipping and clicking among NBC (Wood/SA Derby), TVG (Ashland/Illinois Derby), HRTV-on-PC (SA/GP) and Nassau OTB (Wood/Carter.) Eskendereya (es-ken-DRAY-ah) sure looks like your Derby favorite off another blowout, winning the Wood by what Tom Durkin estimated as 9 lengths [update: officially 9 3/4] in 1:49.97. Going off the time of the Excelsior alone, and his beating Jackson Bend by about the same margin he did in the Fountain of Youth, Eskendereya probably earned a Beyer in the 105 to 110 neighborhood. [Update 4/4: Eskendereya earned a 109.]

6:00 pm: Even with all those fancy overhead NBC cameras, it's a little tough to tell exactly what happened on the far turn of the Santa Anita Derby. Lookin at Lucky checked inside Who's Up, plummeted from 3rd to 7th or 8th in the course of a few awkward strides, then came back on to be a distant third to a long-gone Sidney's Candy.

Back at Aqueduct, Warrior's Reward ($9.10) outfinished Musket Man to win the G1 Carter in 1:21.62. If I hadn't gotten shut out, I'd be alive to the 1, 4 and 11 in the finale for pick-6's paying $7,938, $6,717 and $1,952. Nothing personal if that's you need, but Let's Go...Anyone Else. Small consolation: Even if I'd started putting in tickets a minute or two earlier, the AAAACA ticket going through Warrior's Reward was the last ticket on the list and it would have been far more painful (and costly) had I been shut out of only that one.

The all-stakes pick-4 came back $95 for $2, with the pool of $681,991 easily clearing the $500k guarantee.

6:23 pm: Of course Tom Kitten ($7,938) nailed So Scott ($1,952) at the wire to provide an expensive lesson: Do Not Attempt to Play the Pick-6 with One Minute to Post.