American Turf Magazine
1-800-645-2240
View Cart
0 item, $0.00



Oct 15, 2004

RACING TODAY

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.

Rockport Harbor.

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.

What else?

"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
1:18 3/5.

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

control thereafter.

"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

that spirit.

"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 mystique?

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
be 40-1.



<< Back To Newsletter


Redeeming a gift certificate or promotional certificate? We'll ask for your claim code when it's time to pay.