Jul 15, 2005
THRU THE BINOCULARS
By: JOHN PIESEN
The sellout crowd at the All Star Game sat on its collective hands for the entire
game -- with one notable exception.
In the top of the eighth, with the A.L. up 7-2, Alou, on second with a leadoff
double, stopped at third on a single to left center when he could have scored easily.
As a result, you could hear, plain as day, booing erupt from the stands.
Were they booing Alou for not hustling?
Or were they booing because they had the over (9 1/2)?
Whatever, announcer McCarver made a point of mentioning the booing, and
Obviously Tim made no mention of the total. Only Al Michaels would have
The bottom line is...booing over the total. That would be a first.
Speaking of baseball...
Why doesn't baseball investigate the Red Sox? Last Thursday night, Francona
sat his left fielder, center fielder, shortstop and catcher at Baltimore. The Orioles
Forget the gamblers. Doesn't Francona have a responsibility to the fans (a sellout)
who pay top dollar to see the real players?
Last Saturday, in case you missed it, the six division leaders all lost. The three
NL leaders were all shut out (by a combined 4-0), and the three AL leaders
scored a total of four runs.
In one Vegas line I saw this week, San Francisco is a shorter price to win the
World Series than San Diego. Can someone please explain that to me!
Shifting gears to racing...
We finally have a possible challenger to Afleet Alex in the 3-year-old division.
His name is Surf Cat, the winner of the Swaps Stakes last Saturday at Hollywood
(as picked here). The colt won by a pole despite being re-shod in the paddock,
and blowing the first turn.
As for Afleet Alex, he worked five-eighths in a minute last Sunday at Belmont,
his first work since winning the Belmont. The colt is right on schedule for the
Haskell Aug. 7 at Monmouth. The only problem is finding some horses to run
against him. Too bad Lost in the Fog is waiting for the King's Bishop at Saratoga.
A possible rival for Alex in the Haskell is a New Jersey-bred named Joey P. This
guy is five-for-five (all sprints), and two weeks back he gave his trainer,
Frank Costa, the first graded stakes win of his career in the Jersey Shore at Monmouth.
This is significant because Costa is 72 years old, and has been training for 50 years.
Not only was this Frank's first graded stakes win, I believe this was the first time
that Frank ever so much as ran a horse in a graded stake.
This is a great rags-to-riches story. I would love to see the mainstream media
(ESPN?) take a swing at this.
As for Afleet Alex, trainer Ritchey was interviewed the other day on the
Delaware Park in-house TV show.
Asked if he had a good thing worth betting coming up, Ritchey paused and
said: "Yes, I do. August 7 at Monmouth."
I'll be at Delaware Park Saturday to see the Delaware Oaks, which, as I've said
in this space before, will be the race of the year. Sis City, co-owned by
Joe Torre, vs. Round Pond going a mile and a 16th. If you want to drop by and
say hello, I'll be in the New Castle dining room on the third floor clubhouse.
Ritchey is running old friend Separato on the undercard, and I suspect he will
take some beating.
As for the Oaks, there's no bigger Round Pond fan than me, but she'll have to
bring her "A" race to beat Sis City, who'll be hard to catch over a speed-favoring
And they sure aren't making it easy for Round Pond. She drew the eight-hole
in an eight-horse field, and that first turn comes up awfully fast.
On Sunday, they will run the Delaware Handicap, and it pays to note that
jockey Bailey will give up a full card at Belmont that day to ride Island Sand for
trainer Larry Jones.
First-time Bailey isn't the same as first-time Prado, but it's the next best thing.
After the Oaks at 3:54 Eastern, I'll shoot up the Turnpike to The Meadowlands for
one of my favorite races -- the $1 million Meadowlands Pace. Rocknroll Hanover
will be the favorite, and he looks pretty much unbeatable. Maybe I'll box him in
the exactas and trifectas with Village Jolt and Stonebridge Regal (1-3-5).
Finally, last week I started what I had hoped would be a new career as a
But I got off to a rather shaky start.
I tried to arrange the sale of a Midwest-based 3-year-old filly. All was going
well until the potential buyer was willing to spend $50,000...and the seller
Maybe I better stick to my day job.
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