Stop! Enough already!
The congratulatory e-mails and phone calls keep pouring in in the wake of my dust-up last Saturday of the Stakes Pick Four at Calder. Only the Jets had a better weekend in north Miami.
I was on the road at the time so I asked (begged) a friend - tuned to TVG - to ring me every half-hour with the race calls.
Turned out to be a good idea.
Up first I heard first choice J'Ray win the first leg by a length-plus at $9.20. Plus the $47 exacta box.
A half-hour later, I heard first choice Indy's Alexandra win the second leg by four as the $3 chalk.
(As a bonus, my buddy piped in the Aqueduct feature between Calder races - and Control System won by three at $6.70 as my phone service best bet (888 612 2283).
Moments later, I heard first choice Check It Twice win the third leg by three-plus at $5. Plus the $10 cold exacta...and the $35.20 cold Pick Three.
"Piesen," my buddy said, "...you're the best."
Leg Four provided good news and bad news.
The bad news: Go Between, my first choice, ran out.
The good news: Ballast, my second choice, got up by a neck at $9.
The bottom line: three top choices and one second choice combined for a $209 Pick Four payoff.
Not bad for a rookie.
Looking ahead, there are some interesting betting opportunities Wednesday afternoon on both coasts.
At Aqueduct, the eighth-race feature is a $58,000 allowance for 3-year-olds and up at a mile/70 over the inner dirt track.
The reader has to know my preference for 3-year-olds over older horses...and this race provides Exhibit A.
The 3-year-old in question is Perfect Vow, a lightly raced Broken Vow colt who is 2-2-0 from five starts.
When I saw Perfect Vow in the Wednesday entries, I rang up trainer Danny Peitz of Hot Springs, Ark.
"Last spring," Peitz told me, "we thought enough of Perfect Vow to want to run him against Curlin in the Arkansas Derby off his maiden win. "But he had a setback at the last minute so we held him out.
"He later strained his knee, and we gave him some time."
Peitz brought Perfect Vow back on Nov. 2 at Aqueduct, and the colt rallied to win by three at $7.10 as my phone service best bet.
"I figured Perfect Vow would run good," Peitz said, "...but I didn't think he'd run that good. We'll run him one more time (Wednesday), and then he's off to Oaklawn Park for their big handicap races."
That would be the Essex Handicap in February, the Razorback Handicap in March, and the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap in April.
"I can't wait to get him to Hot Springs," Peitz said.
Too bad there's no futures on the Essex Handicap.
Speaking of the Essex, last week in their infinite wisdom, the National Graded Stakes Committee downgraded the Essex from Grade 3 to ungraded.
Bad enough...but here's the kicker: The Arkansas Derby was not - repeat not --upgraded from Grade 2 to Grade 1.
There is no bigger farce in this game than the National Graded Stakes Committee.
In the last four years, the Arkansas Derby was won by Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Lawyer Ron...and Curlin.
One would think such a record would qualify the AD as a Grade 1.
Unfortunately, it is obvious there are no thinkers - qualified or otherwise - on the Graded Stakes Committee.
Oh, well. The good news is that the DRF makes Perfect Vow 7-2 on Wednesday, and no one in the consensus box gives him a tumble.
Hey...maybe you'll get 7-5 on him.
Crossing three time zones, Hollywood Park is offering a Pick Six carryover of $172,765. As usual. the six Pick Six races (3 thru 8) are great betting races.
Here are some angles -
Brian the Bold (#6) has been close-up in all three grass starts, twice as the favorite, and retains jockey Gomes, who is a mere 23-22-7 from 84 mounts at the meet.
Jockey Solis replaces jockey Migliore, who is in Hong Kong, on major player Jupiter's Stone (#2).
Lost Paradise (#7) is first-time grass. Shantivan (#1) is a fast-working first-starter from trainer Drysdale.
Call or Raise (#12) is the in-form speed from the outside, but why is trainer Mitchell dropping him in half?
Swiss Swiffer (#6) ran in the Hollywood Juvenile in only his second start, and led to the stretch. Hard to leave out.
Dark Past (#8) and Somthintomakimrun (#2) must avoid kamikaze duel.
Gomez jumps off Tates Queen (#1) to ride Life at Ten (#5).
Theycallmeladyluck (#4) looks to be the main speed going long, but jockey Espinoza is having no luck of late.
Iaintnobunnyrabbit (#2) outran his odds (71-1) in second start for Hendricks.
Skylighter (#6) ran OK for trainer Frankel as the chalk in New York debut.
Jitterbug Ball (#5) got off bad from the one-hole last time. Better post today, and first-time Smiling Jon.
Wilburs Mr. Ed (#1) and Evanston (#8) return from year-plus layoffs. What's a mother to do?
Who's going to run with Gray Black N White (#3)?
Wingspan (#5) beat Breeders' Cup winner Lahudood on the square last summer in New York. The obvious class from Pletcher/Gomez.
Sohgol (#6) closed for second at 10-1 in a carryover turfer a month back.
Rockella (#1), a claim to fame, is the controlling speed from the one-hole going 12 furlongs on the green.
Partywithlarryz (#10) is the obvious chalk with Talamo.
Familiar Stranger (#3) attracted a 40K claim by Sadler in his debut, and returns for same tag.
Jockey Smith stays late for firster Media Maker (#6).
Always consider a firster named Joaquin Murrietta (#5).
And, I must remind you, always consider checking out my red-hot phone service at 888 612 2283
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