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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wait til Next Year

Well I gave it the ole' college try yesterday in the BRIS/Twin Spires Club contest. Gave it my best swing. Can still look myself in the mirror. Yep, you guessed it, wait til next year space fans...

I was going to post a picture of Scott Norwood based on the events earlier in the week at One Bills Drive, but hey it's not the end of the world as we know it (as it was that January evening in 1990).

I broke well out of the gate winning the first two races from Churchill (Races 3 and 4) picking Montalvo ($13/$4.40) and No Image ($3.80/$2.80). The $24.00 bankroll total propelling me to vault to the top of the leaderboard (first time that's ever happened - stop the contest!). The third of eight mandatory races was from the Fair Grounds (a place I admittedly have little experience handicapping) and I picked Kim's Gem (8-1 ML, 5-1 at post time) who finished dead last. Good bye leaderboard, it was nice knowin ya.

The next race was the killer, again from Churchill. I was between two horses, I really liked Master Mizzen (7/2 ML, 4.1 post odds), but also had Barastraight (6-1 ML, 6.5 at post) highlighted during my Friday night analysis based on his shortening up to a mile for the first time in a number of races (an angle I like to play). But with Leparoux up and a win at a mile two back, I went with Master Mizzen. Barastraight held off a charging Master Mizzen in a photo at the wire, where he made a thundering late run at the leader. This added $5.80 to my bankroll, instead of the $22.40 from Barastraight, ugh. Up to $29.80 after four races, not bad, but coulda woulda shoulda at this point. The next two races were from Calder (another track I rarely play - although I used it in September at Sunset Station in several non-mandatory plays) where I went with the ML favorite Cinnamon Road (odds 3.7 at post) and Hey Byrn (8-1ML, odds 4.7 at post) in races 9 and 11, respectively. Cinnamon Road led throughout his race, but tired in the stretch to fifth, and Hey Byrn was right there for most of the race, rating nicely, but had nothing to make a late run at How's Your Halo and Golden Spikes, finishing fourth. I really thought he had the most class in the race and would be there at least in the top two, alas two races to go.

I felt I could still make some noise with my entry in the 10th at CD, but he scratched, a Smarty Jones firster (Smart Attire), who would have been a big number. He had some very impressive works over the past two weeks and thought a late big longshot strike might be needed on my scorecard. So I was relegated to my alternate, Oceanage, who had the lead at the top of the stretch, but again like some of my other contenders, faded to third. I finished on a high note as Union Strike ($7.20, $4.20), won the final contest race at the Fair Grounds in an impressive performance as the second choice. I finished the day with $41.20 (ROI $2.58) in 92nd place with the winner at $76.80 (and third place at $69.80), a mere $35.60 (and $28.60 from a qualifying spot) away. All in all respectable, picking 3 winners (37%) and a runner-up, but just not getting it done. Looking forward to trying again next year, maybe even in a couple more in-person events.

Well a little good football news surfaced here in Buffalo, all while the tundra continues to freeze, as the University of Buffalo football team coached by former Nebraska QB Turner Gill beat Bowling Green on Friday night to qualify for its first bowl game since the 1958 Tangerine Bowl. Interesting note on that was that they declined to appear in the '58 bowl game when the hosts said UB's two black players wouldn't be allowed on the field. Ironically, UB is currently the only Div I program in the country with a black AD (Warde Manuel - hired away from Michigan), a black football coach, and a black basketball coach (Reggie Witherspoon - another super guy with local ties). Hopefully this year's team can take this opportunity to make a statement on the 50 year anniversary of the rascist snub that occurred in Orlando.

Back to your regularly scheduled racing blog, Aqueduct's feature today, the $65K Itaka Stakes, going one mile, features Tampa Bay Derby winner Big Truck, (who finished in 17th in the Derby for trainer Barclay Tagg), Preakness show horse Ichabad Crane and the ML favorite Stormin Normandy for Dick Dutrow with Edgar Prado in the irons. Gary Contessa enters an interesting longshot play Finger Lakes shipper (20%) South Fourth St. just off the claim (22%) with Javier taking over for the first time. This looks to be a super race and will be on the Space Den radar screen later today.

Enjoy your Sunday. *searching for Cubs hat*


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