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HRN Original Blog:
The Weekly Tout

The Wood Hangover

Aqueduct Mural 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Sue Kawczynski


I made a visual judgment while standing on the subway platform in the gritty bowels of Penn Station. An announcement said I needed to change trains and then get back on the original train just to get to the track. Looking at these two guys I said to myself, “those boys are going to Aqueduct.” I asked and I was right. They told me to follow them and they took me under their wing and got me through the hard parts all the way to the track. 


I noticed that there was no snow on the ground. The trees were budding, and across from the Big A subway stop, boys played baseball. Jerry and Dave kept me company with stories of the glory days of Aqueduct on the way out. We talked harness racing, and I was told of an express train that used to run right out to the track from Manhattan. And they got me there well before the first race. Thanks Jersey guys-Jerry and Dave.


Walking the concrete path lined with pretty cloth flowers (?), I stepped into the track and started to get the lay of the land. With half hour to go before the first race, I bought a huge cup of mac and cheese from the New York Mac and Cheese truck and sat on a bench eating and making my picks. Going with a horse called Joking, I did my usual across the broad bet and went to the rail. He placed after a huge back of the pack charge from Real Estate Rich. I collected eight bucks.


The main thing I noticed was how nice the NYRA staff was from the women who sold me my winning tickets to the guy who passed out the tan and teal Wood Memorial hats. I didn't expect that. Aqueduct itself is tired, but functional and in that tired old place we zipped into the second race, where I hit with Reggie D. who paid $12.40. I hit the third with Sokitumi Samurai paying another $13.90. I was on fire at the Big A. The fourth race was won by Upward and I had him for $10.40.  And in the fifth I scored big with Chilton giving me $20.40


The sixth, I got smoked by a 74 to 1 shot, Sea to Sky that paid a little over $150.00.  I picked up a place and show for a few dollars more and that was it for me, except for the bitter disappointment that followed in the Wood.


What I have decided to leave out of this story until now, was the fact that I had drunk so much of the Kool Aid on Social Inclusion that there was disenchantment in my future. For the final time I trudge down the stairs to the paddock (ugh my knees) and there he was tall and red, it was Social Inclusion. The New York superstar Samraat was being saddled as well a few stalls away. The paddock was full of whispers as if folks were waiting for the bride to come down the aisle. I thought I should have boxed the Samraat-Social Inclusion exacta. As it turned out, I was right about not betting that exacta and wrong about Social Inclusion. He was frothy, spooked and nervous. His lack of experience showed and there are now questions about going a mile and 1/8 or longer because Wicked Strong came down from the outside strongly and shocked a lot of people at Aqueduct including me. I had a Kool Aid hangover.


I found the world friendly and excited about horse racing there. I collected a majority of my bets and I found Aqueduct adequate and clean although some of the seats are old and some of the façade paint is peeling like bells. And in spite of itself, the place was crowded and came alive in ways that only New York can do. New York is still charged up about Samraat and I may jump on his band wagon, who knows. And do I think we’ll see Social Inclusion again in the Preakness, so pass me that glass of Kool Aid again. Thanks NYRA and NYC for a great show. Riders Up



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Older Comments about The Wood Hangover...

The 74-1 shot was Hard Not To Like.I was there to and got to say hello to Mike Watchmaker of DRF in the new NYRA Rewards parlor on the second floor.Check it out it's free if you've got a NYRA betting account.(Otherwise it's $5)
I had a blast all around good trip Matt thanks for the hang.
It was a great day of racing and it was great hanging out with you at the Big A.

Meet Johnnie Carrier


With 10 years of writing a humor column for his home town paper under his belt, Johnnie Carrier has decided to try something different. He is a graduate of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s Clown College Class of 1977 and traveled the West with Circus Vargas in 1979.

 In the 80’s, Carrier lived in New York City and Boston, but he settled down however in the smallest city in Massachusetts late in the decade and married Dawn Luskin in ’88. David was born in 1991 and has been blessed with his father’s sense of humor, but luckily his mother’s good looks.

 Racing has been more than a casual interest having lived so close to Saratoga. He started going to the track at a very young age with his parents and has tried to instill that passion into his son by taking him at the same age. In 2003, Carrier started to write as a freelance writer with the North Adams Transcript and can be followed there at the paper’s website.  


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