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Mar 19, 2004

RACING TODAY

By: JOHN PIESEN


On an otherwise quiet -- but glorious -- afternoon down here in Hot Springs, Ark., I received some

startling news. Normally, nothing can happen in the racing game can get me mad. I"ve seen it all.

I"ve heard it all.

But this time I"m ripped. And I"ll be happy to share the news with you -- my faithful and loyal reader.

The key word is loyal.

I was told -- from an unimpeachable source -- that Jerry Bailey has moved Rene Douglas off Madcap

Escapade.

Let"s review.

Madcap Escapade, a 3-year-old filly with Douglas riding for trainer Frank Brothers, won her two first

races in Florida -- including the Old Hat Stakes -- by a combined margin rivaling the length of the

Queen Mary. After her stakes win, Douglas dismounted, and promptly anointed Madcap Escapade the

next Ruffian. And no one was heard to disagree.

Douglas, a very competent rider on the tough Florida-Chicago circuit, has ridden some top-quality horses

in his career. In fact, he won a Belmont Stakes on Editor"s Note for Wayne Lukas. But, in 20 years in the

saddle, he"s never been on a horse like Madcap Escapade. He"s waited a lifetime for a horse like this.

But...hello? Wasn"t that Jerry Bailey on Madcap Escapade for a workout the other morning at Gulfstream

Park?

When asked about it, Brothers said: "The owners like Jerry. He"s a good friend of theirs."

So obviously, the next time that Madcap Escapade runs -- which may be this weekend -- the rider will be

Jerry Bailey.

Now, I"ve known Jerry for 20 years, and there"s lots to like. He"s a fine rider, has a great wife, and a good

kid. But where is it written that he has to ride every good horse in North America?

This year, already, he moved Cornelio Velasquez off Cajun Beat, now Douglas off Madcap Escapade, and

he rides every top 3-year-old male in the land. Unfortunately, Jerry can ride only one horse in the Kentucky

Derby.

I knew Jerry back in the early "80s when he would spend most of the afternoon watching TV in the jocks"

room, ride two or three a day. And the irony is that he was just as good a rider back then when he couldn"t

beg or steal a mount as he is now when he"s Eddie Arcaro and Bill Shoemaker.

A few years ago, Jerry fired his agent, a fellow named Bob Frieze, who had merely been providing him

with the best horses on the planet to ride for 20 years. Bob was fortunate to land on his feet with Edgar Prado.

And now he "fires" poor Rene Douglas.

What a great game!

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That said, let"s take a look at Wednesday"s two Pick Six carryovers: 220K at Santa Anita, 86K at

Oaklawn.

SANTA ANITA:

Race 3: Most of these horses exit the same race. I"ll take Il Meglio, who finished second that day, and

Massoun, who got left as the second choice, and finished fifth.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #5 Il Meglio 2) #6 Massoun
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Race 4: I"m not much on Beyer numbers, but Mercedes Dancer has a 20-point edge in the Beyers.

Maybe it will mean something here.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #8 Mercedes Dancer 2) #9 Scarlett Memories

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Race 5: Alices Silver Lady has been racing in hard luck on the weeds. Should get the outside trip here.

Red Opal training well for return. Party Pirate belongs.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1)#7 Alices Silver Lady 2) #1 Red Opal

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Race 6: Stormica, a 600K yearling, won her U.S. debut like a champ. Likely repeater. Five Star Meeting,

Thermal Ablasion figure close.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #7 Stormica 2) #3 Thermal Ablasion

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Race 7: Legal Logic may work out a rail trip in the toughest race in the sequence. Skywalker Red, Logician

and Fade to Blue need to be used.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #1 Legal Logic 2) #7 Logician

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Race 8: It"s now or never for Gross Margin, second as the favorite in last three starts. Magical Dynasty

may be the fastest firster.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #5 Gross Margin 2) #2 Magical Dynasty

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OAKLAWN:

Race 3: Party Dreams ran into a buzzsaw in debut; gets the call from the one-hole. Duplicate Reward,

Jackson"s Delight worth a look.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #1 Party Dreams 2) #5 Duplicate Reward

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Race 4: Campaigner has been working well for season debut. Trainer Turco is red-hot. Soze on the improve

for Servis barn.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #2 Campaigner 2) #6 Soze

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Race 5: Gracewithapproval, beaten at 1-2, goes back to Thompson; looks best of weak lot. Etbauer"s

Starlet drops notch for third start. Live at a price.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #3 Gracewithapproval 2) #7 Etbauer"s Starlet

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Race 6: Count on the Tuna, Golden Blue Chip are first-starters from winning barns. First At Last

(Holthus-McKee) is best of those who have started.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #3 Golden Blue Chip 2) #8 First At Last

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Race 7: Time for Etbauer was a victim of an entry ambush. Will turn the tables on Chocolate Rose. Eastern

Sky tough Arky-bred.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #2 Time for Etbauer 2) #6 Eastern Sky

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Race 8: The last race in the sequence is the toughest. The two best fillies are Mae Hapo and Red Cell, but

they have the worst posts.

PIESEN"S PICKS: 1) #9 Mae Hap 2) #10 Red Cell

Well, that"s it. Good luck to all.



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