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Sep 13, 2013

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-BELMONT PARK OPENING WEEKEND

By: JOE GIRARDI


               Belmont Park got its Fall championship meeting underway on Saturday September 7th. They hosted the Grade II Bowling Green Stakes over the turf on that day but that wasn’t the biggest highlight of the day. For the first time ever Belmont offered a pick 5 on their first five races. The pick 5 would have a bettor friendly 15% takeout and will not offer any consolations to those who don’t hit 5 winners. So for example if there are only 4 out of 5 winners the entire pick 5 pool will be carried over. The opening day pick 5 pool had $238,514, a very solid number for a new bet. That was almost $17,000 more than the early pick 4 pool which starts in race 2.

               The prices of the early pick 5 were in the first race, $7.40, the second race, $7.10, the third race was a $2.90, the fourth race was $5.80 and the fifth and final leg paid $5.60. The parlay on all of those horses was just over $309.00 and the pick 5 for $2 paid $780.00 more than two and half times more than the parlay. Definitely off to a good start as far as the amount of the pool and the payouts. This looks like a bet that will really take off a in New York, a 50 cents minimum, over five races with the chance to score big. Let’s hope it continues to do well.In the next few racing days the pick 5 pool continued to be strong. On Sunday, September 8th the pool was $212,466. On Wednesday, September 11th was $165,628, easily besting the early pick four pool for that day. On Thursday, September 12th, the pool was a steady $161,050, more than $15,000 more than the early pick 4. Obviously there would be less money during the week then on the weekends and the betting is only four days old. Look for this bet to pick up steam as it catches on.

               The new tote machines which were implemented the day after Saratoga closed were used for the first time on live racing at Belmont. Amtote, is the new tote provider for the NYRA. Just like with anything new there are going to be some issues but this transition seems like it will be a lot easier than when they switched totes machines some years back. There is a major presence of Amtote employees all around the racetrack to help with the new machines if you have any problems. They are also very receptive to suggestions for the machines, tweaking some things to make your experience at the racetrack a pleasant one. This is definitely a much better situation this time around then when they had switched to the United Tote machines.

               The Grade II Bowling Green Handicap featured Grade I winner Boisterous who was coming off a poor effort in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga when he checked in 8th as the favorite. In the short field of six horses, Boisterous was once again sent off as the favorite, this time at 3-5. The second choice in the race was Hyper, from the Ken and Sarah Ramsey barn who seemingly were winning every race they enter. As the gates broke, Quick Casablanca was sent to the lead, setting fractions of 24:1, 48:4, 1:12:4 over a firm turf course. London Lane stalked the lead from second while the favorite got a good trip in behind the leaders along the rail. As they moved into the far turn, Hyper, started a wide move as he reached the leaders while Boisterous was stuck in behind. Into the lane Hyper, took over the lead and was trying to hold off the deep closer in Finnegans Wake while 3-5 Boisterous had to check and alter course losing all chance. Hyper, under jockey Javier Castellano dug in and held on for a half-length win over Finnegans Wake. Boisterous was another two lengths back in third in a final time of 2:01:1.

               In the next race on the card, Maylan Studart, who had been out of action for a while with an injury she sustained furing training hours got her first win back with a nice ride on Unprecedented who got up to score by ¾’s of a length at 11-1. It was just a $16k claimer on the turf but it was nice to see her back and hopefully there will be plenty of more winners to come.

                



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