08/29/2012 2:40PM

Northern California notes: Falling Knife training for another marathon after Ferndale triumph


Falling Knife proved his marathon bona fides again by winning Sunday’s 1 5/8-mile C.J. Hindley Humboldt County Marathon on closing day in Ferndale. Trainer Billy Morey now has another marathon in his sights for the 6-year-old Cozzene gelding, who was second in the 1 1/2-mile Grade 3 Turfway Park Fall Championship in 2010 and won a 2 1/4-mile race as Ellis Park last year.

Morey said he is considering running Falling Knife in a 1 3/8-mile starter allowance at Fairplex on Sept. 28. Falling Knife can also handle the turf, so Morey has options available to him.

Morey claimed Falling Knife for $25,000 for his top client Joseph P. Morey (the Moreys are not related) on Aug. 9 at Del Mar, and the horse earned $18,050 of that back on Sunday.

“We definitely did claim the horse for that race and got it done,” said Morey.

Morey has spent much of the summer at Del Mar. With a 1-for-12 record there entering Wednesday’s race, he said he’s had to “grind it out” of late. But things may be looking up.

My Best Bet, whom Morey purchased after the horse won his debut in a $25,000 maiden claimer at Calder in June, ran third in the Cavonnier at Santa Rosa in his debut for Morey. A Best of the Rest ridgling owned by TNT Racing, My Best Bet will make his second start for Morey when Golden Gate Fields opens a four-day holiday week of racing Friday. He looks like the probable favorite in a 5 1/2-furlong starter allowance race.

“We think this is a great spot Friday,” Morey said.

Morey said he purchased My Best Bet because with the fall and early spring stakes schedule for 2- and 3-year-olds at Golden Gate Fields in mind.

Although he has only sprinted, My Best Bet looks as if he should handle two turns well. If he runs well Friday, Morey said he will likely consider running the horse back in the one-mile $75,000 Charlie Palmer Futurity at Fresno on Oct. 6.

Bettor hits pick six on first try

Shane Toroni has been attending the races at the Humboldt County Fair for 37 years, since he used to go with his father as a 10-year-old. On Saturday, he had his best day ever at the races – even better than when he used to find winning tickets on the ground as a child.

Buying his first-ever pick six ticket, Toroni had all six winners to share the $31,746 pool with an unidentified bettor. Toroni spent $2 on the bet.

“That’s the only time I’d ever played the pick six,” said Toroni, who confessed he tried it again Sunday but had only two winners. “A couple times, I picked jockeys, and sometimes I went with the name. I took Random Luck in one race because I knew I’d need luck, and Mustang Casino in another because I have a Mustang. It surprised me that they all came in.”

Toroni picked two winners ridden by April Boag because, “Her father is Gary Boag, and I used to watch him here.”

My Man’s No Lady, ridden by April Boag, paid $8 in the first leg, and the Boag-ridden Aloha West paid $8.40 in the final race, making up a four-length deficit in the stretch to win by a length.

“Coming out of the last corner, she was starting to move up,” Toroni said. “She was closing fast, and I started saying, ‘Oh, my God, she’s coming.’ Coming down the stretch, I knew she’d get there.”

None of his picks was favored, and the two highest-priced winners were Mr. Sambuca ($14.60), ridden by Matt Garcia, and Sport King ($10.20), ridden by Barrington Harvey. Those two riders finished one-two in the meet jockey standings.

Toroni said he also bet $5 to win on each of his pick six winners. He had a seventh winner, the mule Loretta Jones, who was favored in the first race.

Ferndale handle dips

Although it showed a 55 percent increase in handle in Northern California because of additional days as the host track for simulcast wagering, the eight-day Humboldt County Fair meeting showed a 14 percent dip in all-sources handle, from $3,907,067 in 2011 to $3,346,855 this year. Ontrack handle for live races was up 5 percent, from $677,077 to $710,767.

Garcia won the Ferndale jockey championship with 100 points, 10 more than Harvey. Jockeys are given 5 points for each win, 3 for each second, and 1 for each third.

Garcia had 14 winners, 7 seconds and 9 thirds from 46 mounts, while Harvey had 10 wins, 12 seconds and 4 thirds from 35 mounts.

Phil Oviedo, who won three straight races and four overall on Friday, Aug. 17, was an easy winner of the training title with 9 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third from 17 starters, which was worth 51 points. Morris Parker had 37 points and Gary Greiner, who saddled 5 winners from 15 starters, had 35.

Goochio led all horses with three wins during the eight-day meet.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the last name of the bettor who hit the pick six at Ferndale in his first time playing the bet. He is Shane Toroni, not Poroni.