Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

17 January 2010

Another Trip To Aqueduct

Completed yet another trip to Aqueduct. My first thoughts walking into the joint is that I know all the faces. It is smart that NYRA does not market this joint because they can't seem to lose the customers they have nor have they gained any customers in the last 8 years. It is just the same faces; the skin gets older and the heads get balder. It is almost like a neighborhood bar, but a neighborhood where everyone has a tough of gambling vice or loves ponies.

Northbound Aqueduct/N. Conduit Subway

While I have been mum on here of late I have been following along the inner meet. What I have gleaned is that there was a noticeable speed bias since the return from the Christmas break. At times this bias bordered on a mega-bias. This is a bias that continued for three weeks; it made life easy as all deep closers were easy tosses from handicapping and were at a severe disadvantage. The freeze broke this week and the track has opened up a bit. Closers had a fair shot all week especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A bias scrambling rain event is forecasted for today so things could change again especially if the track is sealed. I will be looking to downgrade all of these wire to wire winners that were logged from 30DEC09 13JAN10 as they return to race again.

A Train As Seen From Aqueduct Manhattan Terrace

There was action in the paddock before race seven yesterday. I had a "play of the day" type bet down on One Tough Belle. She looked like lone speed on paper, had a class edge and this was a field filled with many mediocre mares. She started off looking great but then her approval ratings began to drop like a politician in a recession. The first thing that gave me the skeevies was her lack of a work from mid December to mid January. Then she opened up cold on the board. 7-2 on a Dutrow/Dominguez collaboration that looks great on paper is too good to true; this means there are problems at the barn. The word was out not to bet on One Tough Belle. This is when the greatest seats -the Aqueduct power perch- in all of sports paid dividends. From the Aqueduct power perch we spotted that One Tough Belle refused to move! She just stood there and refused to walk when Dominguez mounted her. They smacked her on the behind, pulled her but she would not move. This carried on for ten minutes and they had to pull out all of the tricks to deliver her to the post. While all of these shenanigans were happening she was clicking down from 7-2 all the way down to 6-5. The money was pouring in on her like a sieve. This was a mare that had no shot whatsoever to win; frankly I am surprised she made it to the post. At about 2 minutes to post me and my friend who also had a large wager on her said enough is enough and we ran to the machines to cancel our wagers.

Post Time for the Evening Attire Stakes

Negative behavior like this is the most useful information one could glean from paddock watching. Predictably One Tough Belle left the gate at 6-5, safely raced mid-pack and crossed the wire at 7-5. Certainly all of those last minute paddock watchers canceling their power wagers drove her price up late. The winner Star Over Malibu was the only other mare with a semblance of speed; she gamely took the field wire to wire winning a 9-1. I hate to redboard but after quickly canceling the bet on One Tough Belle I landed on Star Over Malibu due to her front running profile in a speed parched field. I cashed a modest race 7-8 daily double that secured a modest profit on the day. Next time One Tough Belle runs make sure to check the paddock as she should be on your negative behavior watch list.

Empty paddock at 3 MTP

No real progress at Aqueduct as far as construction. The place is clean as far as the restrooms are cleaned daily and all tickets are collected from the floors. A small section of the grandstand remains open along with the apron but the place is in disrepair. At this point I think that it is very possible that Aqueduct may be in its last years as a viable venue for racing. Like an elderly person the only visitors she receives are the truest and most devoted. For too long she has been neglected and I could see the politicians just moving the whole show over to Belmont for an endless Philadelphia style year round meet save two months upstate. With Aqueducts location right on the Belt Parkway I could see some tired/cliche big box store moving to the property like Wal-Mart. With this in mind I will be sure to enjoy my visits to the Big-A, my favorite racetrack whose days may be numbered.

Evening Attire Stakes past the grandstand the first time

Undertstatement hits the wire first

pressbox/racecallers perch

a few fans in the grandstand before race 8 won by Toulouse Lautrec

lead pony grazes on the bushes

All photos by Joseph Burns

1 comment:

Bklyn's Best said...

Great read, One Tough Belle didn't lift a hoof that race, you had the advantage being there to see what was going on while all the OTB and TV money was hitting the board.. this was something that wasn't noticed or even if it was, spoke about on t.v.
Sounds similar to the incident that happened on Sunday with Sgt. Karakorum who was bet down to 3/1 and didn't move when the gave was opened..
just a money suck.. to kill your tickets and plays.

Being a Big A regular, it's tough to see what's happening with the place.. I was there on New Year's Day and the place, even with the people there (calendar day), just didn't have the same vibe as from years ago.. If and when it goes .. which I hope is doesn't , we will all lose a piece of NY racing history and that is a sad thing..
Good Luck
Bklyn's Best