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Jan 15, 2004

Racing Today

By: John Piesen

Yes, I know. Making selections for, I buried ‘em
 in the bowls, and I’m 7-1 in the NFL playoffs after going 4-0 last weekend.
 (Denver was the only loser). The hundreds of e-mails and phone calls that
 pour in daily remind me that I’m a football genius.
True or not, I still fashion myself as a racing maven. Football is OK, but there’s nothing like a big-time
 Pick Six carryover to get the hormones raging. That’s why I am psyched for Wednesday’s 270K
carryover at Aqueduct.
That is if there is an Aqueduct. Unlike the old days, racing has a way of getting cancelled these days
 at the first sign of chillblains. And the temps are supposed to drop into the ‘20s in the northeast on
But, on the presumption they will race at the Big A on Wednesday, I will now offer my selections for
the Pick Six races, four thru nine. Nothing fancy schmancy. Just 1-2-3s in each race.
But first about the situation last Friday at Aqueduct. After the first leg of the Pick Six was run, the
 jockeys took off, and NYRA paid out a $7.60 consolation to the thousands who had the winner. That
 came to 373K in consolation payoffs.
Understandably, NYRA was tarred and feathered by angry bettors (not in the press; there was no press)
 for its decision. After all, the pick six syndicates, which chased the 100K carryover with thousands, got
back pennies.
But, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story.
Management had no choice but to take the action it did. Under the terms of a New York State Racing
 and Wagering Board rule, if the pick six is aborted before four legs have been run, instead of granting
 refunds, the pool must be distributed on the basis of the races run.
“We at NYRA hate this rule, we have tried to change it,” mutuels manager Pat Mahoney told
me, “but we have no choice but to adher to it. We have lobbied with the Board for months to change it, but
 we’re caught up in political bureaucracies. Maybe now they’ll move on it.”
After last Saturday’s cancellation, the carryover was cut back to the original 100K, and, since the wager
 went unhit on Sunday, we’re looking at that 270K carryover for Wednesday. Be warned. The fields are
 large, cheap, and not a single to be found.
Not one of the dozen maiden fillies in the body of the race have ever as much as hit the board, so the
 logical thing to do is focus on the first-timers. Maybe there will be a diamond in the rough.
Of the firsters, the most intriguing are Tulane Grad and Changing Gears. Both come from reasonably
high-percentage barns, both are drawn outside, and both have talented apprentices aboard. Look at Her
hails from a good first-out barn, and she shows a :48 work, but her rider never wins.
PIESEN’S PICKS: 1) Tulane Grad 2) Changing Gears 3) Look at Her
----------------------------------------FIFTH RACE (Leg Two)
More maidens, and lots of them, but better quality. They are running for a 41K purse instead of 15K.
Obviously, it’s wide-open, but I’ll take a flyer with Dreams of Ranco. She got off poorly from the one-hole
in similar race the other day. She has a better post today, and she’s first-time Perez.
Katee Kris and Burning Fluid exit the same race, and must be used. And you need to use Hope’s Diamond
 off the cutback to three-quarters.
PIESEN’S PICKS: 1) Dreams of Ranco 2) Hope’s Diamond 3) Katee Kris
SIXTH RACE (Leg Three)
The closest thing to a single is Pagan Place, who steps up looking for his fourth straight for Sandy Goldfarb.
 His numbers dwarf the field, and he’s well-placed outside with Bridgmohan.
The sleeper in this contest is the outside horse, Ohio shipper Your ABC’s. He was beaten three lengths
 in the Best of Ohio Sprint three starts back.
PIESEN’S PICKS: 1) Pagan Place 2) Your ABC’s 3) T.J.’s Knicknack
Reaching Up just failed to last as heavy chalk last time, and April Trust finished strongly behind her
after a stumbling start. These two fillies appear to dominate this race. Silkworth moves way up on a wet track.
PIESEN’S PICKS: 1) Reaching Up 2) April Trust 3) Silkworth
Irish ‘n Stride, Migliore’s best mount on the card, showed promise in his two starts, and is eligible to blow
 these out of the water. The Irish River has the tactical speed to track the speed, and move when the Mig
gives the word. Tough spot though.This is wide-open.
Include Epoxy, Charlie Whiskey and Noblest among the major players.
PIESEN’S PICKS: 1) Irish ‘n Stride 2) Charlie Whiskey 3) Epoxy
Festy Eskimo jumps off the page. The gelding showed some talent in Canada, was shipped down to Greg Martin
 in New York, and held well for second in local debut. He stays in same class, gets Castellano and an o
utside post, and can speed-pop this group. Our Song drops for Stanley. The obvious second choice.
PIESEN’S PICKS: 1) Festy Eskimo 2) Our Song 3) Ride With Rhythm

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