Submitted by John Piesen on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM
THRU THE BINOCULARS
By JOHN PIESEN
In case you missed it, the worst beat in racing history occurred last
Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
There was one ticket alive going into the final leg (race 12) on Collimito, a 15-1 shot, in the Rainbow Pick Six. This gimmick, unique at Gulfstream, is paid out ONLY if there is one
The pool, which carries over on a daily basis, had reached $1.3 million going into
the 12th race, and one ticket was alive on Collimito.
So what happened?
Colliminto, who had been beaten a pole in his first start for Gary Contessa, went wire-to-wire under Luis Saez...but was disqualified for what most folks considered a phantom foul in deep stretch, and Strategic Keeper, who had placed, was put up at an $80 mutuel.
A lucky break for Gulfstream Park. Instead of getting hit, the Rainbow lived another day,
and remains unhit this week. The track’s hope of course is that the Rainbow doesn’t
get hit, the pot continues to swell -- until hopefully closing day when the pool must be paid out to all holding winning pick six tickets.
By that point we may be looking at a $4 or $5 million carryover -- a bonanza for Gulfstream
Park...instead of one player hitting a $1.3 million bonanza last Saturday. As we said,
maybe the worst beat ever.
Coincidentally, Contessa is back in the news this weekend as the trainer of Uncle Sigh,
a major player in the $500,000 Gotham Stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday at Aqueduct.
A New York-bred son of Indian Charlie, Uncle Sigh comes into the Gotham with a 1-2-0
record in three starts, and exits a tough length loss to Samraat in the Withers.
Uncle Sigh gets a five-pound swing in his favor from Samraat, and gets a rider change from
the inexperienced Morales to the veteran Nakatani, who will make the 6,000-mile
round trip from California for the mount.
Nakatani is the regular rider for 2-year-old champion Shared Belief, but SB is sidelined with a foot injury, and his Derby status is iffy at best.
Another reason to like Uncle Sigh is the fact that he is owned by the Wounded Warrior
Stables, which earmarks a percentage of all its purse winnings to various disabled veterans
Samraat, a Noble Causeway colt from Rick Violette, is a perfect 4-for-4, and no doubt will be favored under regular rider Jose Ortiz.
Not to forget, but my Gotham selections will be up and running among other picks on-line and on the John Piesen Hot Line (888 612 2283).
It must be noted that I’m having my usual success picking races on the Derby Trail.
Last week for example, I nailed the $513 trifecta box in the Risen Star at Fair
Grounds. That was one week after hitting Tapiture at $13 (plus the $175 tri box
on the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
The Gotham is far from a two-horse race.
Three of the 11 starters in the Grade II at 1 1/16 miles hail from the all-conquering
Todd Pletcher. They are Harpoon, Master Lightning and Monopolize, who of course
will run uncoupled.
None of the three have won a stake, but Harpoon came thisclose last time, losing
by a whisker to uncoupled stablemate Vinceramos at 9-5 in the
Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Irid Ortz replaces Saez on Harpoon, another of those running Tapits. Harpoon’s resume also includes a second to Cairo Prince, the current Derby favorite.
The Aqueduct co-feature Saturday is the Top Flight, a $200,000 Grade III for fillies
and mares, 3 and up, at 1 1/16 miles, and wouldn’t you know, Pletcher is sitting
in the catbird seat with Teen Pauline, who will be odds-on in the field of six, and
Irid Ortiz rides Teen Pauline, a winner of her last two -- both stakes over
the track -- by a combined 15 lengths -- and Nakatani will pilot Royal Lahaina.
Weather permitting (we are looking at the teens and high winds), players will
be chasing a $105,348 Pick Six carryover on Friday.
Management will make life difficult because the two shortest-priced horses on
the card (Fade to Black and Masasi) will go in races one and three, respectively, while
the pick four starts with race four, at 1:52 p.m. Eastern.
Let’s take a quick look:
The brothers Ortiz are locked and loaded in this 16K maiden-claimer for 3-year-old
fillies at 5 1/2 furlongs.
The inside has been pure gold, at least before the three-day layoff, so Star Magnolia may have the edge with Jose from the one-hole. Golden Annie, with Irid up, will be
closing fastest and widest from the six in a field of nine.
The brothers again are looking good in this $51,000 starter allowance for fillies and mares, 4 and up, at 5 1/2 furlongs.
This time Irid is down on the rail with Violet Hour, and Jose has the one to beat in
Your Time Is Up from the outside post in the field of eight.
Long Water exits two poor tries at Gulfstream, should welcome the class relief in this
$65,000 maiden-special for 3-year-olds at a mile. Trainer McLaughlin adds the
Winter Games beat Engine in a similar race in December. A blast from the past: Leon
Blusiewicz ships the improving Spartiatis from Maryland. A shot at a price in the field of 10.
Trainer Jacobson and jockey Rice, both winning at a 25 per cent clip at the meet,
team up with Mrs. Bean at a short price in this 20K claimer for fillies and mares, 4 and
up, at 5 1/2 furlongs..
Myperfectvalentine and Wisdom of Oz exit strong seconds in the field of 11.
Would be no surprise if this is a Pick Six killer.
Jockey Maragh, riding in top form, should get the trip aboard Highestmaintenance
in this $62,000 allowance for fillies and mares, 4 and up, at six furlongs.
Lost in Success, despite the 121 pounds, dangerous entry, but one may scratch.
Carameaway takes ’em as far as she can in projected field of nine.
Irid Ortiz can cap big day on Insighting in the finale, a 16K maiden-claimer for New York breds, 4 and up, at 5 1/2 furlongs.
Brother Jose is the speed from the rail with Wood On the Fire in 10-horse field.
Good luck this weekend. Thanks for tuning in, check out the JPHL and see you back here next Friday.