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Mar 16, 2009

American turf club lead

By: Joe Girardi

            With only one Kentucky Derby prep over the weekend of March 7th we will also take a look at the guaranteed pick four that involved that race.

            The Grade III Gotham was run on March 7th at Aqueduct over 1 and 1/16th miles with a purse of $250,000. The Gotham attracted a field of nine, five with legitimate shots to win the race and also be major players on the Triple Crown trail. The favorite in the race was the undefeated New York bred MR. FANTASY who was two for two versus New York breds easily defeating those fields by more than 19 lengths. The second and third choices in the race were I WANT REVENGE and IMPERIAL COUNCIL at 3-1 and 7-2.

            I WANT REVENGE shipped in from California for trainer Jeff Mullins with a record of 1 win, 1 second and 4 thirds from six tries but he did miss by just a nose in the Grade I Cash Call Futurity to California’s leading Derby contender PIONEEROFTHENILE. His connections wanted to see if he could run on dirt because he had only run over the synthetic surfaces out in California and they wanted to know what they had over a conventional dirt surface. Well they certainly found out what they had when after stalking MR. FANTASY from the start of the race until the top of the stretch he blew away that rival and drew away for an eight and a half length win in a solid time of 1:42:3. MR. FANTASY on the other hand had led through the first six furlongs through moderate splits but as the racing began he couldn’t go with I WANT REVENGE and he couldn’t hold on to second also just missing late by a neck to the fast closing IMPERIAL COUNCIL who was much further back than many thought he would.

            The top two finishers in the Gotham right now are both being pointed to the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4th. We know I WANT REVENGE can handle a conventional dirt track and his breeding suggests that he will handle longer distances. IMPERIAL COUNCIL on the other hand has only run four times in his career with two wins and two seconds and he was compromised by a moderate early pace and then a fast final time but he was making up ground as the pace was heating up and he should love the Derby distance. His sire EMPIRE MAKER was the favorite in the Derby and finished second and then went on to win the Belmont Stakes and his grandsire was THUNDER GULCH winner of the Derby and the Belmont Stakes.

            With those top two finishers and possibly QUALITY ROAD coming for the Wood Memorial this should make for maybe the best Derby prep right here in the Big Apple.

            The Gotham was the third leg of the late pick four at Aqueduct on Saturday March 7th, NYRA has been guaranteeing the late pick four over the last few weeks for $250,000. That number was easily met on March 7th when it reached $418,226. Like we have written here many times the pick four is the best bet at the racetrack. We had a ticket mapped out for Saturday that started in race seven on a 10 race card. The first leg was a New York bred maiden special weight race with only one horse to race that showed anything we used her and the two well bred firsters that took money. The 11, a first time starter by DISTORTED HUMOR named BANKER’S BUY closed with a rush to score by a head over a longshot also making his debut. The winner paid $8.80. The second leg was the Grade III Toboggan Handicap with a field of nine going postward. We used the 1-2-5-9 and figured we had the race covered. When the early fractions were very fast we had three closers ready to pounce and one did as the backclassy six year old gelding AH DAY closed from last to win by a head at 7-1. Now on to the Gotham Stakes where we covered ourselves again with the top three choices and as we said earlier they ran 1-2-3 with I WANT REVENGE returning $8.60. In the final leg a $7.5k claiming race we covered with four horses the 1-7-9-10 and we never had a sweat. The 9 FREGATA went right to the lead with the 10 FRIENDLY POCKET, getting some class relief laying second. As they entered the stretch, FRIENDLY POCKET took over and drew away for an easy score over FREGATA with a couple of longshots closing for third and fourth but well back. FRIENDLY POCKET paid $14.60 to win. The parlay on these four horses was a very nice $2,239. However, the pick four with that large pool returned $4,257, more than $2,000 more than the parlay. We collected $2,128 for our $144 investment and again proved how with small money you can make a good hit, and clearly the pick four is the best wager at the racetrack.  


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