A Jackpot At Gulfstream

by John Piesen

As promised, the John Piesen Hot Line (888 612 2283) hit the jackpot this past weekend.On Friday, the Hot Line made only one selection at Gulfstream Park -- in race three. Piesen's top choice (Feel That Fire) wired the field at $9.40. Moreover, JP had the next two in order for a cold exacta ($45) and a cold trifecta ($95).

My backside connections had tipped me to Feel That Fire last July at Monmouth Park, and I'm happy to say I have a good memory. The same outfit tipped me on two more winners coming up within the month at Gulfstream. I got a kick watching the Gulfstream paddock chatter on Friday. Neither the guy nor the gal gave Feel That Fire a sniff, which was alright, but the gal didn't even know that Red Oak Stable, the filly's owner, is Hialeah president John Brunetti...and has been so for 50 years.

Obviously, hitting a cold tri doesn't happen every day. But it's not the first time I've done so on the JPHL, and guaranteed it won't be the last time. Also, on Friday, I nailed my best bet (Electric Gold, $7.90) at Aqueduct, while his other selection, High Flying Adore, finished third to an odds-on winner. On Saturday at Gulfstream, I hit the $30 exacta cold in race three, and on Sunday, nailed best bet Dahlgren Chapel ($8.60) in New York.

My only regret is that I let Joe Bravo get away. In most years, Joe merely uses Gulfstream as a winter playground as he prepares for his serious summertime business at Monmouth Park, where he has won 13 riding titles. But last summer at Monmouth, Joe was no match for young hotshot Paco Lopez, and Jersey Joe isn't about to knock off Paco this winter at the Gulf.

But Joe didn't get the message. On Saturday, Bravo won a $50,000 grass allowance on Sleepless Knight ($8.40) for main man Kelly Breen, one I kicked myself for letting get away. And on Sunday, Joe won both stakes on horses I wouldn't have tabbed if I had seen the next day's paper in advance. JB won the Marshua's Dancer Stakes on Justaroundmidnight ($54) for trainer Biancone. My choice, Mary's Follies, had a nightmare trip from the one-hole, and clearly bears watching next time, no doubt with a change of rider (Bravo?). Then, a half-hour later, the wire got there just in time for Bravo and Little Mike ($27.80) in the Fort Lauderdale for trainer Iwinski.

If you live in the New York area, don't bother looking for Gulfstream Park results in the newspapers. You won't find them. You will find Joe Bravo the next couple of days taking his talents to South Beach before getting back to his other action Wednesday at Gulfstream. And the Hot Line will also be at Gulfstream on Wednesday with at least two selections.

The Hot Line also supplies daily selections at Ramon Dominguez Downs, otherwise known as Aqueduct.Last Friday on this venue, we noted that RD would ride six favorites Saturday at the Big A. And so he did. And five of them won. Somehow we beat RD on Sunday with Dahlgren Chape l, who, at $8.60, was the next to longest win mutuel on the day.Loved DC after seeing him get left at the gate last time. The highest mutuel on Sunday's program was Igoturback in the final race at $13.60.But that was a disgrace.

In all my years in New York, the names of the stewards would change, but their MO would never change. They would have the elevator waiting for them after the final race so that they could beat the crowds out. Sure enough, in race nine on Sunday, Igoturback and jockey Chavez racked up half the field leaving the gate...but not a word was spoken by the three wise men, who presumably were rushing home to make the Packers-Eagles kickoff.

Some things never change.

And, off course, there was that incident on Saturday when jockey Alvarado was kicked by a horse in the paddock, and it took medical personnel 10 minutes to arrive on the scene. The jockeys threatened to walk, but cooler heads prevailed, and they rode the last three races. Fortunately, Alvarado, after spending the night in the hospital, was released on Sunday, and was given the green light to ride on Wednesday. NYRA promptly announced a laundery list of changes, and promised next time will be better.

I also find it strange that Aqueduct and Gulfstream have the same dark days -- Monday and Tuesday.

But somethings never change.

Speaking of changes, Calder plans to ask the Florida Racing Commission to race all-year. And Gulfstream has asked for December dates, meaning the two Florida tracks would go head-to-head next December. And we're not even talking of Hialeah, which plans to run thoroughbreds next winter.

And speaking oif all hell breaking loose, next Monday they will announce Blame as Horse of the Year...despite a recent national fan poll which voted for Zenyatta: 87 per cent to 13 per cent. But what do fans know?

Thank you for checking in, good luck this week, don't forget the JPHL, and see you back here Friday.


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