04/10/2007 11:00PM

Longshots payoff as weather warms

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It is said that horse racing is a game of numbers. That has been quite evident the first three days of the 105-day spring-summer meet that began at River Downs last Friday. The 40-degree drop in temperature from opening weekend last year resulted in a drop in ontrack handle of more than 20 percent. With high temperatures in the upper 20s both Friday and Saturday, along with intermittent snow flurries, only the heartiest of fans were out on the apron for the races. The open grandstand held only a few heavily dressed observers.

That all changed Tuesday when the weather warmed, as did the toteboard. Three of the nine races were won by horses that went off at odds of 50-1 or more. The parade of big prices began in the fourth with Goldenbuckle ($114.80), who was returning from a four-month layoff for trainer Wayne Huston. In the sixth race, Choice Union ($103.60) got up just in time for jockey Dean Sarvis after coming off the Polytrack at Turfway Park. The ninth and final race was won by Lacassine Special ($110.80), a Saratoga Six filly whose last out came in October at Great Lakes Downs.