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Submitted by John Piesen on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 12:00 AM

BUSY DAY AT BIG A

By John Piesen

Who needs Saratoga in August when there is Aqueduct in December?

Thursday was the coldest day of the year in New York, and I was shocked that the Big A even conducted live racing. We’ve all seen the joint cancel multiple times under similar conditions.

But race they did on Day Two of the inner track, the whole nine yards, and if I was still  doing "binocs" for the New York Post, the sports desk would have had to kill the used car and strip joint ads to find extra room.

John Piesen Legendary NY Handicapper at NY Post and DRF - set the standard in horse race handicapping when he picked winners for 207 consecutive racing days, as documented by The Daily Racing Form. John has the biggest rolodex racing - Jockeys, Trainers and Agents respect his opinion.

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Some of the highlights:

Race One: The price was right. Hundred Acre Wood had by far the worst form in the seven-horse field, and appropriately was the 20-1 rank outsider in the line. So he circles the field, wins by a pole at -- sure ’nuf - a $40 mutuel. Score one for ML man Eric Donovan and trainer Gary (push ’em up) Sciacca.

Race Two: The rail opened like the Grand Canyon turning for home, and fave Rock Me Mama ped through and wins for fun. Shades of Jerry Bailey in his prime.

Race Three: They left the 100K Fickle Fanny Stakes out of the gimmicks for a reason. Five entered, four ran, and Bill Mott’s one (Uno Duo) was better than Servis’ two.

Race Four: Firster Henry’s Gal, 10-1 on the line, opened and closed as the 2-1 fave, and won by a mile, confirming that inside info is good any time of the year.

Race Five: Followers of John Piesen (online at www.nationalracemasters.com or call 1-888-612-2283) made a score as JP nailed the triple cold: Inmyfathersimage ($17.80) plus the $69.50 cold exacta and the $190.50 cold tri. Just like August at the Spa.

Race Six: The folks who play the outside post in every sprint hit the jackpot as Front Cover Dream exploded thru the lane to win by five at a $200 mutuel. No, that’s not one too many zeroes.

Race Eight: On the day the tabs’ back pages  were lauding the Mets’ acquisition of pitcher Bartolo Colon, Geaux Mets gets up by a nose at $17.80...alas over my pick Sandcat.

Race Nine: Long time ’tween drinks for Team Mazza as Coach A J got up by a nostril at $23.60. The NYRA TV announcer was so shocked that he IDd the winning trainer as Jonathan Mazza when it was actually his son Joey.

Back to the real world Friday when trainers Rudy Rodriquez and David Jacobson each run uncoupled entries in a five-horse stake.

Otherwise, Normandy Invasion, my Derby pick last spring until he got hurt, is back in training in south Florida, and trainer Chad hopes to have him ready for the Donn at Gulfstream.

Will Take Charge, my pick for Horse of the Year, also will be pointed for the Donn by trainer D. Wayne Lukas, and, if all goes well, then a trip to Dubai for the $10 mill World Cup, and on to the Whitney, Gold Cup, and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

I realize there are more important things going on in the world than Eclipse Awards, but it burns me that Wise Dan, who made his living in grass miles while ducking the big boys, will join the likes of Kelso, Forego, Citation and Affirmed as multiple Horse of the Year winners.

Fifty years from now, racing historians will be asking: Who the hell was Wise Dan?

The simplest answer?

Wise Dan is the horse who got his second HOY only because jockey Luis Saez went six-wide on Will Take Charge in the BC Classic, and got beat a nose by Mucho Macho Man.

Honor Code, a cinch to win the 2-year-old male Eclipse, will do so with the lightest resume ever for an Eclipse winner: 2-1-0 in three starts.

At this point in time, Honor Code, Rise Up and Kobe are my dogs in the Derby hunt.

The 750K Cash Call Futurity, to be run Saturday at Hollywood Park, may produce one or two Derby contenders from among Tap It Rich, Bond Holder and the unbeaten Shared Belief.

Sad to say that this will be the last big-money race in the rich history of Hollywood Park. The final day of HP racing will be a week from Sunday, and soon after Christmas, bulldozers will reduce the beautiful racing plant to rubble.

Incredibly, next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Breeders’ Cup, which began in 1984 -- at Hollywood Park. In case anyone asks, Chief’s Crown won the first race (for juvenile males).

On Saturday, as an Army man, my heart will be in Philly for Army-Navy (take the points), but I will be investing some time and cash on the 250K guaranteed late pick four at Aqueduct.

They are predicting wet tracks for both venues.

The Aqueduct Pick Four is scheduled to kick off with Race Six at 2:45 Eastern, or just about the same time the Cadets and the Middies are marching in parade dress.

Let’s take a look:

RACE SIX

This is a wide-open $12,500 claimer for three-and-up at three-quarters.

Sportswriter won a 100K stake on the Big A main track on Nov. 14, 2012 -- as the 1-5 favorite no less.

He hasn’t won since, and trainer Jacobson drops him to the basement here. His last published work was three-eighths in :41 two weeks back.

Curve Ball gets a new trainer (Sciacca), and a new rider (Esquivel), and beat better back in June at Belmont Park.

Bizaroworld is first-time Rudy, and looks the one to catch.

RACE SEVEN

Jockey Lopez no doubt will send the fresh Joe Alan from the one-hole in this allowance for New York-bred threes-and-up at three-quarters.

The Big Deluxe exits a lifetime best, and steps up off the Gullo claim.

Western Tryst is the back-class, but sidelined since claimed by Rudy last January at Gulfstream. Kid Blast closed well as first-time Franco; stretch threat.

RACE EIGHT

Only five entered in 100K Queens County for three-and-up at a mile and a furlong. Third straight day this has happened.

Percussion is the in-form, inside speed from Todd Pletcher, but faces double-pronged assault from uncoupled Jacobson entry of Don Dulce and Spa City Fever, who is looking for third win in two weeks.

Jonesy Boy, a Smarty Jones colt from top Jersey guy Kelly Breen, was no worse than second in five out-of-town starts, including a second in Delta Jackpot day stake.

Silver and Onions is the lone 3-year-old in the race.

RACE NINE

The finale is a $12,500 claimer for fillies and mares, three-and-up at six furlongs.

Stellerite one-for-life, but first-time Levine, and Ortiz sticks. Blue Ballerina loves to run second.

Jacobson sitting pretty with Julesco and the freshened Missed Count.

Beware AEs My Cousin Zinny and Darnley Boy.

Thanks for tuning In. Happy gambling, happy shopping, keep the JP at the ready, and see you back here next Friday!

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