12/30/2009 1:00AM

Aqueduct roundup



Mike Miceli

Some folks are referring to Miceli as "The Ladies Man," after the jockey-turned-trainer sent out three winning fillies from his first five starters on the inner track, in addition to another at the Fair Grounds.

First-time starter Salty Dog ($54) got the stable rolling Dec. 10, rallying from 10th to win her maiden by better than five lengths. A day later, She's Prime ($15.80) won her second-level allowance condition. Apparently slowed only by the fact that Aqueduct was dark for 12 days, Miceli got into the holiday spirit last Sunday, when second-time starter E Z Passer ($12) came again tenaciously on the inside to win a maiden sprint off a 35-day layoff, and Who Is Lady ($11) ventured to New Orleans to win a restricted claimer on the turf off a 57-day layoff.

David Jacobson

As the final racing week of 2009 began, Jacobson had sole possession of second place in the trainer standings, with an average mutuel ($11.90) that was tops among the six conditioners with at least four victories.

Whereas Miceli had a hot hand with fillies, Jacobson's five victories all came with older males: Wolfson beat $10,000 sprinters ($7.80) Dec. 3 and doubled up to take a $20,000 dash ($8.10) Dec. 13; Executive Search ($31.40) closed his 6-year-old season by stretching out to win at a mile in his 63rd career start; Angelic Aura ($5.20) dropped in class to win a claiming route in his final start at 9; and Midwatch ($6.70) finished his 10-year-old campaign by wiring a basement $7,500 route last Sunday - his third win on a wet track here since mid-November.

Channing Hill

His $27.70 average mutuel topped the leaderboard heading into this week. In addition to bringing in the aforementioned Salty Doll and E Z Passer for Miceli, he has guided Royal Lord ($19.80) and Lyrical Bobcat ($24.80) to stretch-running upsets for trainers Pat Quick and Pat Kelly.

Jorge Chavez

He's been partying like it's 1999 (his Eclipse Award-winning year), with double-digit wins aboard Country Trick ($15.40) for Richard Stoklosa; Meese Rocks ($21.40) for Ed Barker; Thousand Excuses ($12.80) for Mike Maker; and Papaleo ($19.20) for Scott Volk.


Guess what happened for the umpteenth time - it rained on a Saturday! Indeed, when racing resumed following a 12-day break on Boxing Day, the inner track was labeled fast to start off under showery conditions, still fast but sealed for race 4, downgraded to good for race 6, and finally downgraded to muddy for the late double. Good luck with your track variants on a surface that played exceptionally slow no matter the designation. Winners came from anywhere and everywhere, with three races won in wire-to-wire fashion, three won by stalkers, and three more taken by stretch runners rallying from fifth or farther back.

Sunday's program was run over a sealed muddy strip that also played considerably slower than par (up to approximately two seconds slow in routes). There were four front-running winners, two each in sprints and routes, along with five who made up early deficits ranging from two to nine lengths after the opening half-mile.


The Todd Pletcher-trained Ibboyee was expected to attempt to emulate Haynesfield's Damon Runyon-Count Fleet double of last winter. The 35th running of the $65,000 Count Fleet Stakes for 3-year-olds will be run Saturday. Haynesfield, of course, won the Empire Classic on New York Showcase Day soon after his return from a freshening by Asmussen Inc., and that New York-bred is reportedly eyeing bigger and better things after concluding his 3-year-old season with a score in the Grade 3 Discovery here Nov. 21.

Notable Count Fleet winners include Thunder Rumble (1992), who went on to win the Jim Dandy and Travers; Prairie Bayou, the ill-fated 3-year-old champion of the following year; and Smarty Jones, whose bid for the Triple Crown fell just short in 2004.

Sunday's featured attraction is the 33rd running of the Ruthless, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies that has been won by the likes of Xtra Heat, who was the champion 3-year-old filly of 2001, and Justwhistledixie, who won the '09 running and subsequently won the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss and Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park, before running second in the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont Park on the Belmont Stakes undercard.


1. Don't chase - not ever.

2. Digest relentless bad news with a grain of salt; this is supposed to be fun, after all.

3. Wherever you play, check your ego at the door.

4. Bet fewer races - but bet with conviction when you have an opinion.

5. Every so often, stand at the rail and feel the thundering hooves, hear the crack of the whip, just to remember this is no video game.

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.



Trainer: Chip Dutrow

Last race: Dec. 26, 4th

Finish: 2nd by nose

Returned for his first start since mid-May, lagged nine lengths off the leaders after the opening half-mile, and finished fastest of all, only to run out of ground in a New York-bred maiden-claiming sprint. May appreciate a stretch out to two turns.

Geno Green

Trainer: Bruce Brown

Last race: Dec. 26, 1st

Finish: 2nd by nose

Won a pace battle but lost the war to a perfect-trip stalker, narrowly missing a fourth consecutive victory. The gelding was reclaimed at the first opportunity by Bruce Brown. A versatile sprinter in terms of pace and footing, he won twice on the inner track last winter.


Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last race: Dec. 26, 2nd

Finish: 1st by 5

Purchased as a yearling for $235,000, this colt by Unbridled's Song tracked his entrymate Kaiser Chief down the backstretch, took over around the turn, and widened under a hand ride in a highly promising debut.

Yawanna Twist

Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.

Last race: Dec. 26, 6th

Finish: 1st by 5 1/4

First-time starter stalked the leaders inside after breaking from the rail, eased out three wide turning for home, and drew away after catching the 9-5 favorite. The Yonaguska colt earned a Beyer Figure of 85, well above par for juvenile New York-bred maiden races.