Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

04 February 2008


Spent Saturday at the Big-A, and took some rather poor shots of the Whirlaway entries in the paddock, which I will bore you with. Even more boring is a rant about public transport and another post about how much race fans love going to the track.

One of my favorite things about the Big-A is that the subway stops a few hundred feet from the main entrance. It brings me great pleasure to ride the rails from my home to my favorite place in my favorite borough, reading my favorite newspaper while I try to beat every favorite in sight. The time flies, it is relaxing and I enjoy sitting shoulder to shoulder with my working class compatriots. This weekend however the train ride was extended by 40 minutes due to track work. Not only did I miss the opener, I missed cashing the early double thanks to the MTA. The A train from 168th street is express and makes occasional stops southbound from uptown Manhattan to South Ozone park. However on Saturday the A train was local all the way from 207st to the Aqueduct station. When the train is express it is a somewhat long 45 minute ride with 15 stops. On Saturday with the express trains canceled the all local A-train was an eternity with over 40 stops and 1 hours 30 mins from where I get start my trip on the #1 line in the Bronx. Next time if I or anyone else intends on taking the A-train on the weekend they should check the MTA website for work information.

While many complain about the racing and the empty grandstand at the Big-A I am one of those that relishes the NYRA winter product. Why does the public stay away? Scenes like the empty grandstand pictured here should only be seen on dark days. How could it be that someone like myself who loves the Big-A is so unique. Where are the other racefans? Out of 20 million metro area residents only 4,000 could find their way to the Big A on Saturday?

While many try to gain an edge on the confusing mishmash of shippers at Gulfstream I prefer the cozy confines of the almost closed circuit at the Big-A. While many are looking for a challenge, the Big-A keeps it simple, as there are basically two distances (6F & mile 70 yards) on a very biased surface, which further weeds out the losers. One factor that makes the inner track easier to handicap than some other tracks is at the Big-A a given class of of race usually features a very familiar cast of characters with very plain form. While certainly not top class racing I feel that the Big-A is the most formful racing all year. After a challenging Gourmet like offering of Saratoga and the fall championship meet/Breeders Cup the Big-A is like going home to eat a well rounded home cooked meal. Not flashy, but nourishing, tasty and very familiar. The inner track is something I look forward to all year and something that gets me through the long northern Winter.

Barrier Reef won the Whirlaway after stalking the pace and outgaming Roman Emperor in the lane. Perhaps these two are on the triple crown trail now, they seem like they could get the ten panels of the derby.


Teresa said...

Couldn't agree more with everything you said, especially the bit about checking the MTA website. An absolute must...

See you there in a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

The inner track rocks. My biggest scores have been on the coldest days of winter on the inner. I grew up in your neck of the woods and I gave up the subway ride a long time ago. They used to have a Big A Special train from 42nd and 8th but you might be too young for that one. Give your self a break and get a phone account and watch it on Ch. 71.