Oct 15, 2004
By: JOHN PIESEN
I hope you all were paying attention last winter when I was touting
Smarty Jones non-stop in this space for three months as the Derby winner.
And hopefully you all profited handsomely on my expertize.
In case not, you get a second chance.
Write it down.
And since, like Smarty Jones, Rockport Harbor hails from the same Philadelphia Park
barn that produced Smarty Jones, we will now start
referring to Rockport Harbor as Rocky.
"He's only run twice, and he hasn't beaten anyone," warns trainer Servis, "but this horse
does things I've never seen a horse do."
That's trainerspeak for "wow."
Rockport Harbor won by nine first-pop a month back at Philly. Trainer Servis
brought him back on Tuesday at Philly, and the colt won by a pole with 6 1/2 furlongs
in 1:17. By comparison, 3-year-old allowance runners went the same distance 30
minutes later, and the race went in
The next stop for Rockport Harbor is the Nashua Stakes Nov. 3 (Election Day) at
Aqueduct. He then will head to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., to kick off a
Triple Crown campaign.
Will lightning strike twice for John Servis?
Don't bet against it.
And speaking of betting, here are some numbers...
Last week, Bally's Las Vegas was offering 200-1 on Rocky for the 2005 Kentucky Derby, After
yesterday, the price was sliced to 100-1.
By eliminating show betting on Tuesday, Philly Park saved itself a huge minus pool.
Only $85,000 wound up getting bet to place on Rocky, and, of that figure, $50,000
was bet by our old friend, the Mad Bomber. That was a quick $2,500 profit for the
Bomber, which presumably will be used to buy some of that 100-1 in Vegas.
Only one problem:
Rocky broke two-to-three lengths behind the field from the one-hole in Tuesday's
race...but he rushed up to make the lead after an eighth of a mile, and was on cruise
"He was just loafing out there," jockey Elliott told Servis. "I never moved my hands."
"He sure was impressive, wasn't he?," Servis was saying this morning. "The track was
real cuppy, and they were running slow all day.
"I was kind of missing the excitement after Smarty left. So it's good to rekindle
"I got a call this morning from (fellow trainer) Joe Orseno. He told me he hopes I
didn't get rid of those barricades.
"I told Joe I haven't."
Funny. No use for the barricades just yet. There has not been a single word written
about Rocky in the mainstream press or in the trade papers, notably the Form.
Again, if you can get that 100-1 in Vegas, let me know...
Speaking of 2-year-olds, don't jump ship on Afleet Alex just yet. He clearly was much
the best in the Champagne, but couldn't catch a break. Normally at Belmont, a hole
opens somewhere, but not in this case. Jockey Velazquez trapped Jeremy Rose the
whole way, and never let him out.
Needless to say, trainer Ritchey's phone has been ringing off the hook from jocks'
agents. They needn't bother. It says here that Edgar Prado will be riding Afleet Alex
henceforth...and that means Hot Springs.
We sure are going to have some interesting 3-year-old races next spring at Oaklawn.
Speaking of sports betting...
I find it interesting that St. Louis is -220 over Houston, both in game one and in the
series. Wasn't it just two weeks ago that Houston was -220 over St. Louis?
I also find it interesting that Boston is -130 over New York in Game 2...considering
that Boston is 11-19 in games Pedro has started against New York. Where is the aura
And, of course, Fox has done it again. This time, Fox (which obviously calls the shots)
decided to play both games tonight at the same time (8:00 Eastern), thereby depriving
baseball fans of seeing both games.
"Yes," says Fox, "we could have played the St. Louis game at 4:00, but this way we
get the max audience."
I'm confused. How do you get the max audience when the two games are on at the same
time? Oh, well. This is the same outfit that's going to pay a guy $11 million to read the
nightly news nightly.
Tonight's going be a tough on on the old remote. The two playoff games. The debate.
And West Virginia-Uconn.
And, speaking of television, hope you all got to see the third episode of Listen Up. The
plot centered around our hero (Tony K) borrowing Dennis Rodman's car.
Can somebody please explain to me how this program is still on the air!
Finally my condolences to the NFL players who had Houston, Arizona and/or Seattle
last Sunday...as well as those who had the "over" in Carolina-Denver.
We are taling tough beats here.
For this Sunday, they are posting 31 for the Miami-Buffalo total. I may be wrong but
that's the lowest total I've ever seen in the NFL. Heck, if it's true that Miami has to go
with its third-string QB, the number may shrink under 30. Pay to follow.
Finally, this is a sad time for all of us. The hockey season was supposed to start in 48
hours. What's a fellow to do?
And isn't Vegas generous? You can get all of 5-1 on the Lakers to win the NBA title. Put
this Laker team in Memphis, and it would
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