Sunday, November 30 2008


SPRINGSIDE UPSETS SKY DIVA IN DEMOISELLE


Springside, dismissed at 5-1, overtook heavily favored Sky Diva in the lane and continued on to 9 ½-length upset Saturday afternoon in the 87th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Demoiselle for two-year-old fillies at nine furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Owned by James and Alice Sapara, the Awesome Again filly was vanned off following her victory, which came in 1:51.71 on the fast main track. According to Dr. Anthony Verderosa, chief examining veterinarian for the New York Racing Association, Springside suffered what appears to be a fracture of the right-front pastern and was taken for x-rays. It was her first start on a conventional dirt track.





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AQUEDUCT NOTES, Saturday, Nov. 29,2008


The Maryland racing circuit has a history of producing quality jockeys who have moved on to successful careers in New York, notably Edgar Prado and Kent Desormeaux (both Hall of Famers), Mike Luzzi and Ramon Dominguez.

As racing at Aqueduct switches to the inner dirt track on Wednesday, among the new faces in New York this winter will be two additions from Maryland: Sheldon Russell, the leading rider at the current Laurel Park meet, and Rosie Napravnik, who are expected to move their tack to the Big A.





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Saturday, November 29 2008


LEAH’S SECRET SHOWS TOP FORM IN TOP FLIGHT


By Francis LaBelle Jr.

WinStar Farm’s favored Leah’s Secret backed off of an early speed duel and came late to pick of the pieces at Aqueduct Racetrack on Friday afternoon, rallying past Slewfoundmoney for a three-quarter-length victory in the 69th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Top Fight Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile.

With Any Limit, Slewfoundmoney, Altesse and Rite Moment bent on the lead, jockey Eibar Coa allowed Leah’s Secret to relax into a stalking position. Any Limit emerged with the lead, but had to run an opening quarter mile of 23.24 and a half of 45.92 on the fast main track to do it.





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Friday, November 28 2008


BACK ON DIRT, FABUOUS STRIKE COASTS IN FALL HIGHWEIGHT


By Francis LaBelle Jr.

Maybe he’s just a traditionalist.

That explains why Walter Downey’s Fabulous Strike, sent off as the even-money favorite by Aqueduct’s Thanksgiving Day crowd of 3,239 Thursday afternoon, lead at all calls and easily defeated He’s So Chic in the 95th running of the $111,200 Fall Highweight Handicap.

Carrying top weight of 136 pounds – he spotted seven rivals from four to nine pounds – the 5-year-old Smart Strike gelding broke on top, entertained Grand Champion for about a half a mile and then glided over the fast track to a 1 ½-length victory in 1:09.02 for the six furlongs.





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Thursday, November 27 2008


HILL ‘N’ DALE CIGAR MILE COULD FIGURE IN BIG WEEKEND FOR ZITO


Nick Zito has always taken the time to count his blessings, and he was more than willing to share the appraisal on Thanksgiving morning. The Hall of Fame trainer will send out Stone Farm’s Wanderin Boy at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday in the 20th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile – the feature on a nine-race card that will also include the 95th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen for two-year-olds at nine furlongs and the 87th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Demoiselle for two-year-old fillies at nine furlongs.

First race post is 12:25 p.m., and there will be self-service wagering only on Churchill Downs race 1 at 11:30 a.m.

Friday, Zito will be at Churchill Downs to saddle Tracy Farmer’s favored Commentator, a two-time winner of Saratoga’s Grade 1 Whitney, in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap.





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Wednesday, November 26 2008


AQUEDUCT HOLIDAYFEST NOTES


HolidayFest at Aqueduct Racetrack begins tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, and with first race post at 11:25 a.m., there is plenty of time to get a day of racing in before the traditional feast.

Aqueduct’s last live race on Thursday will go to post at 3:10 p.m., with the second-floor clubhouse remaining open for simulcasting until approximately 5:30 p.m. Telebet/internet wagering closes at approximately 6 p.m.





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Monday, November 24 2008


IDIOT PROOF MAKES NY DEBUT IN FALL HIGHWEIGHT ‘CAP


It has not been a particularly good year for Idiot Proof. After posting a 4-2-1 mark from eight starts in 2007, including a Grade 1 win and a second to Midnight Lute in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Idiot Proof has yet to win a race in four starts this year.

But now in a new barn on a new coast, the 4-year-old Benchmark colt will try to reverse his fortunes in one of New York’s more popular and tradition-rich races, Thursday’s 95th running of the $100,000-added Fall Highweight Handicap at six furlongs.





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JUVENILES HIGHLIGHT HILL ‘N’ DALE CIGAR MILE UNDERCARD


When Thoroughbred owner Jeff Puglisi expanded and restructured his racing operation in 2008, included in his business plan was a multi-million commitment to purchase 2-year-olds, the vast majority of which would be fillies.

“In terms of residuals, fillies hold their value better than colts,” explained trainer Steve Klesaris. “If they become graded stakes winner and have some family, they’re worth something.”





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Sunday, November 23 2008


WISHFUL TOMCAT MAKES THE GRADE IN DISCOVERY


By Francis LaBelle Jr.

Winter Park Partners’ Wishful Tomcat won his third consecutive race and became a graded-stakes winner at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday afternoon, taking jockey Ramon Dominguez to a front-running 1 ¾-length victory over That’srightofficer in the 63rd running of the Grade 3, $110,100 Discovery Handicap for three-year-olds at nine furlongs.

“He has a heart of gold,” said trainer Gary Contessa, after the Tactical Cat colt returned $16.20 to win. “All I can say is, `Watch out New York-breds!’ I would like to see him dominate stakes races here this winter. It’s extra cold today; maybe it will push out the Florida trainers sooner.”





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Friday, November 21 2008


AQUEDUCT HOLIDAYFEST NOTES: Friday, November 21, 2008


Next Saturday’s 20th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile is the feature race of HolidayFest at Aqueduct Racetrack. It’s the biggest week of the Big A’s Fall Meet and will get the holiday season off to a running start.

Expected for the Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile are Arson Squad, Bribon (FR), Harlem Rocker, Kodiak Kowboy, Storm Play, Tale of Ekati, Visionaire and Wanderin Boy. Past the Point is questionable at this point.





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Thursday, November 20 2008


LOOKING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE IN DISCOVERY ‘CAP


Deep into the racing season, Saturday’s 64th edition of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack offers three-year-olds one final chance to compete against their contemporaries.

Eight sophomores, all of whom officially become four years old on January 1, were entered in the 1 1/8th mile race, and all but two will be seeking their first victory in a graded stakes.





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AQUEDUCT NOTES; WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19, 2008


Anak Nakal, who dead-heated for third with Ready’s Echo in the Belmont Stakes, is highweight at 121 pounds for Saturday’s 64th running of Aqueduct Racetrack’s Grade 3, $100,000-added Discovery Handicap for three-year-olds at nine furlongs.

Owned by Four Roses Thoroughbreds and trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito, the son of 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop rebounded from a fifth-place finish in Saratoga’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy to win the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park by a neck. He comes into the Discovery off a troubled second to Arson Squad in the Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup last month.





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