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Jul 01, 2005

Thru The Binoculars

By: JOHN PIESEN


Joe Torre has been taking much of the heat for the Yanks' dismal season, but

 don't feel sorry for ol' Joe.

A few weeks back, Torre bought a piece of the 3-year-old colt Wild Desert...and

 on Sunday the very same Wild Desert rattled home the winner of the $1 million

Queen's Plate (800K Canadian) at Woodbine.

Torre's good fortune carried over a few hours later when the Mets gift-wrapped

the subway series finale to the Yanks.

Joe must be doing something right.

Keith Jones, a former NHL puck-chaser, also owns a piece of Wild Desert, and he

was on a Philadelphia sports-talk program Monday morning to brag a little. All right.

 A lot.

Jones said he bet $3,000 win and $3,000 place on Wild Desert, and so cleared

$13,000...in addition to his piece of the 600K winner's share. And, although a

minority owner, he happily accepted the trophy.

"I may be only a five per cent owner," Jones explained, "...but I'm 100 per

cent Canadian."

The majority owner of Wild Desert is Dan Borislow, a

Philadelphia-area businessman.

Prior to the Arkansas Derby, Borislow told me that he offered to bet the

owners of Afleet Alex $50,000 straight-up on the race. The owners of the

 horse who finished in front of the other won would win the 50K...with the

 winnings going to charity.

The offer was accepted.

Afleet Alex, you'll recall, won the Arkansas Derby by eight lengths, and

Wild Desert finished eighth, beaten 15 lengths. Borislow promptly wrote

 a $50,000 check to the Cash Is King people, who donated the money to

Alex's Lemonade Stand for pediatric cancer research.

It was suggested to Jones that, in view of Wild Desert's big win Sunday that

 Borislow offer to double the bet to $100,000 next time -- say, for the Travers.

"I doubt it," Jones said. "We have a ways to go before we're in Afleet Alex's

league. Maybe down the road sometime."

Wild Desert's victory also confirmed the first-time Frankel theory.

First Saint Liam a couple of weeks back in the Stephen Foster at Churchill.

And now Wild Desert.

Moreover, the result of the Queen's Plate makes one wonder why the

Arkansas Derby remains a mere Grade 2. In addition to back-to-back winners

Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex, the AD this year alone has produced Belmont Stakes

 runnerup Andromeda's Hero, and now the Queen's Plate winner.

But before we start reserving a plaque for Wild Desert in the Hall of Fame, we

 need to consider the fact that he ran the mile and a quarter in 2:07 and change.

As for Yanks-Mets, I guess Vegas knew what it was doing when it made the

 Yanks -240.

Oh, yes. In the seventh inning, when Sheffield was called out at first base in

 a close play, Yankee announcer Sterling went ballistic.

"The Yankees can't catch a break," he cried, "...the Yanks can't catch a break."

I guess Sterling forgot the play two weeks back when Sheffield was called safe

 at the same bag when he was out by a step on a double play ball. That play

wound up giving the Evil Empire the ballgame if Sterling remembers.

Otherwise, the best baseball play of the weekend occurred in Bosox-Phils.

Burrell ripped one high off the left field fence. But instead of running all out, he

 stayed at the plate to admire, and settled for a single. That wound up costing the

 Phils the lead run, and possibly the ballgame.

You can imagine how the Philly papers and sports-talk radio handled that one.

While all these events were transpiring on Sunday, the single biggest sports story

 of the day clearly occurred in the ninth race at Belmont Park.

On the Catwalk wired the seven-furlong grass race at $26.80. Patriot Fan, the 2-1

 favorite, finished second, and War at the Top finished third at 9-2.

If that order of finish sounds familiar to the followers of John Piesen's full card

selections on www.NationalRaceMasters, it should. Piesen nailed it 1-2-3. The trifecta came back $424. For a $2 investment. (Piesen also had the $218 late double box).

Yes, Sunday was quite a day. And we haven't even gotten around to our

beloved Pirates tying the Cards in the ninth, and beating them in the

10th at plus 150.

I see Vegas still makes the Yanks and Red Sox co-favorites to win the A.L. flag,

 and the Yanks second choice (to the Cardinals) to win the world series. I guess

Tony Womack in center field makes all the difference.

It was interesting to see two racetracks -- Delaware Park and Colonial Downs -- run

 major grass stakes for 3-year-olds on the same day last Saturday.

In case you missed it, here's what happened.

At Colonial, after five late scratches, English Channel aired for Pletcher-Velazquez

as the $2.80 chalk.

And, at Delaware, the stews disqualified the first two finishers!

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first stakes double-DQ since the 1978

Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park.

Covering that day for the New York Post, I watched Broadway Forli, a 3-5 unbeaten

shipper under greenhorn Pat Day, finish third to horses ridden by Angel Cordero Jr.

and his good buddy Jose Amy.

As I recall, Broadway Forli broke from the eight-hole, Cordero from the

 seven, and Amy from the nine. At the start, Cordero hung a right, Amy hung a left, and they nearly dropped Day.

I raced down to the jocks' room, and found Cordero and Day going three

rounds. As security was breaking them up, the stews DQ'ed Cordero and

 Amy, and made Broadway Forli the winner.

That was the start of a not-so-beautiful friendship between Cordero and Day.

Incidentally, the next day the stewards ruled that Cordero and Amy

blameless...but fined Day $500 for blowing off the film review.

One final note...

Two weeks back, I did a piece on this website about Floyd Patterson. Bill Gallo,

in Sunday's New York News, revealed that Patterson has been suffering from Alzheimer's.

My prayers go to Floyd Patterson.



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