02/18/2010 12:00AM

Aqueduct roundup

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WHO'S HOT

Jeff Odintz

Sure, every time someone says "Karakorum," the entire shed row turns around, but those Odintz-trained Karakorum Farm horses have been well worth following this winter, to the tune of a $3.11 ROI from a record of 5-5-7 with 36 starters.

Digger Karakorum ($7.80) and Bella Karakorum ($32) accounted for 50 percent of last Saturday's $250,000 guaranteed late pick four, which paid $1,973 to those bettors who hooked them up with Smax ($11), a Bobby Ribaudo-trained stretchout, and Itsagoodtendollars ($2.90), a promising Scott Volk-trained colt who loomed a likely single after program scratches moved him from post 10 to post 6 for his second start around two turns.

Earlier on the card, Odintz also sent out Karakorum on Black to a runner-up finish in the opener at 18-1, completing the exacta behind 3-5 shot Geno Green.

Abel Lezcano

Recently transformed from a seven- to a five-pound bug, Lezcano is back to a break-even ($2) ROI at the meet, after wins last week aboard Elusive Fantasies ($5.40) for Greg DiPrima; Let's Fly Away ($23.60) for Mike Hernandez; and Im a Mosaic Rocker ($18.40) for Mike Miceli.

Miceli, by the way, closed the six-day Presidents Day week at 6-2-5 from 21 starters at the meet, good for a $5.76 ROI.

Meanwhile, Ramon Dominguez kept piling up the wins, including a four-bagger last Friday at prices of $3.90, $4.50, $6.90, and $2.90. The problem, as those paltry mutuels suggest, is that his winners are routinely bet beyond all reason, often drastically so. Despite a 70-for-240 record (29.1 percent) at the meet, Dominguez has an ROI of only $1.54 - down slightly from last year's $1.59, which was compiled with a record-breaking 124 winners.

Redding Colliery

Remember late last summer and early fall, when the Dubai import had one troubled trip after another in first-level allowance sprints? Well, Kiaran McLaughlin should be a stud poker player, because he has found two key hole cards with the late-developing 4-year-old. First, he put blinkers on and elicited improved speed to get through that preliminary condition at six furlongs. Then he stretched the Mineshaft colt out to two turns; though he faded to fourth after setting the pace at 13-1 in the Discovery in his final start of 2009, he rebounded to wire a second-level allowance route with a 100 Beyer on Jan. 2, and then proved it was no fluke by leading Monday's John B. Campbell from start to finish, the Beyer coming back at 103.

To recall, last year's running of the Campbell turned out to be a key race: Richard's Kid won it with a 97 Beyer and went on to win the Pacific Classic at 24-1 at Del Mar; most recently, he captured the San Antonio in his 5-year-old bow. The Campbell's second-place finisher last year, Bullsbay, won three of his next five starts, including a score in the Grade 1 Whitney at odds of nearly 19-1.

TRACK TRENDS

Recently, the inner dirt has showed signs of reverting back to last winter, when it was uncharacteristically favorable to late-rallying horses. After exhibiting no consistent pattern through December and January - with the exception of a brief gold-rail period - stretch runners had the best of it during the first fortnight in February: the Racing Flow Figures indicate the surface was extremely biased toward closers Feb. 4, 6, 7, 12, and to a somewhat lesser extent Feb. 13.

After a snowstorm wiped out the cards of Feb. 10-11, there were 11 two-turn routes run during a three-day stretch from Feb. 12-14, and no early pacesetters maintained their advantage throughout. Among the late-rallying winners was Roman Chestnut ($93.50), who came from fifth of seven to win the Busher Stakes as the longest shot on the board.

The trend eased a bit Presidents Day, when Freud's Notebook and Johannesburg Smile went wire to wire, but Freud's Notebook was a 5-4 favorite; Johannesburg Smile drifted out badly in the stretch; and three other route winners came from off the pace. Moreover, four of five sprints on the card were won from behind, including Navedano ($22.20), a last-to-first winner who erased an 18-length deficit; and Bailzee ($5.90), a first-time starter who was eight lengths behind turning for home.

The only sprint winner to go wire to wire Presidents Day was Rereadthefootnotes ($4.80), who was gifted with a clear lead through a dawdling pace (23.32 and 46.48) to romp in the six-furlong Hollie Hughes. The winning time was 1:09.93.

"I was quite surprised when we made the lead that easily," said his trainer, Mike Hushion, who won the Hollie Hughes for the fifth time. "The final time was pretty good, considering how easily he went the first quarter."

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Routers are in the spotlight the next two weekends. This Saturday, it's the 38th running of the $65,000 Rare Treat, for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.

In the condition book for Sunday is "The Cliffie," a $60,000 overnight stakes at one mile for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies.

Who's got Cliffie Fever?

Next Saturday's scheduled feature is the $65,000 Stymie, for older males at 1 1/8 miles. Todd Pletcher trains seven of the 23 nominees, including Understatement, who would be odds-on off a 115 Beyer for winning the Evening Attire here Jan. 16 - his third win from as many starts on the inner track.

Understatement had his first workout since the Evening Attire last Sunday, breezing an easy half-mile in 49 seconds.

BETTING SYSTEM OF THE WEEK

OK, tired of getting caught in the switches insofar as win betting is concerned - and it only accounts for a small fraction of my play, anyway.

So here's the plan for "action bets" I will henceforth be making according to how my published 1-2-3 picks are bet, based on the "ABC" approach outlined by Danny Holmes in his book, "Ten Steps to Winning":

* Minimum win bet odds are 4-1.

* Bet one unit to win on all selections at 4-1 or better.

* When one of the top two picks is under 4-1, and the other two picks are 4-1 or better, bet the latter pair to win, and key them in exactas under the low-odds selection.

* Pass all races when two of the three picks are under 4-1, unless the top pick is 4-1 or better, in which case bet that horse to win (duh).

Sounds simple enough, and it should keep me out of trouble between pick 4 scores.

I'll keep you posted as I fiddle around with this method through the rest of the winter.

HORSES TO WATCH

Bailzee

Trainer: Pat Kelly

Last race: Feb. 15, 10th

Finish: 1st by 2

Bet to 9-5 favoritism off some bullet workouts first time out, the Grand Slam filly lagged well off the early pace, remained eight lengths behind turning for home, and unleashed an impressive late run to win going away.

Gracious Victory

Trainer: Chip Dutrow

Last race: Feb. 15, 7th

Finish: 3rd by head

Making her first start since Oct. 8, she was up close early, eased back to avoid hooking up in a speed duel with her pace-setting entrymate Hot and Bothered, rallied in traffic to take the lead between calls in deep stretch, and just missed in a sharp effort.

Judge Sonya

Trainer: Ben Perkins Jr.

Last race: Feb. 14, 4th

Finish: 2nd by 1/2

Broke on top but was allowed to drop back to last, rated along to the stretch, altered course to the rail, and then finished gamely to narrowly miss vs. odds-on Fuzzy Britches in the Dearly Precious Stakes. Consistent filly has never been out of the money.

Mor Chances

Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.

Last race: Feb. 15, 4th

Finish: 3rd by 5 1/2

Defending Hollie Hughes champ was up against it in this year's renewal, as he returned from an eight-month layoff and had to chase an easy pace set by the razor-sharp Rereadthefootnotes.

Reptilian Smarts

Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.

Last race: Feb. 14, 1st

Finish: 1st by 5 3/4

Made his second start back from a layoff, and improved to 8 for 13 on the inner track after running down $25K routers despite a dangling shadow roll near his right eye.