• La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 3 days ago
  • Rubilinda (6-5) finds the wire just in time to take the Pebbles Stakes.Posted 3 days ago
  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 3 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 6 days ago
  • Romantic Vision (6-1) takes the sloppy Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.Posted 9 days ago
  • Unique Bella (1-5) returns with a clear victory in the L. A. Woman (G3) at Santa Anita.Posted 9 days ago
  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 9 days ago
  • War Flag (9-1) wins the stretch battle in Belmont's Flower Bowl (G1).Posted 9 days ago
  • Separationofpowers (9-5) impresses in the Frizette at Belmont Park.Posted 9 days ago
  • Roy H (4-5) lives up to favoritism in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.Posted 10 days ago
Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Summer At The Spa

Gotham Day - Live Blog!!

11:55 AM ET -- Welcome to sunny Aqueduct! If you’ve followed this meet, or - for that matter - you live anywhere in the northeast, you have an idea of how great it is for me to compose that first sentence. Some clouds are expected to roll in a little later, but, for now, we’ve got a nice day out here in South Ozone Park, NY
And we have some really nice racing today. Four stakes are on the program, the feature, of
course, being the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes. Originally, a field of nine was scheduled to go postward, but scratches have taken the field down to seven. Preachintothedevil and Dawly are early scratches. I’ll post all of the scratches and changes at the bottom of this entry.
Eleven big races on tap today, and the plan is for me to be here to chronicle all of them. We’ll be with you right through until 6:00 pm. Just keep on refreshing this page, and every twenty minutes or so you’ll see a fresh dispatch from me.
My computer does not have a memory card slot. So I will not be able to upload photos on this page today. Damn it all. I will be taking them, though, so I’ll post ‘em, hopefully later today or tomorrow. We’ll try and catch a glimpse of some of your favorites. I will be venturing down to the paddock for both the Tom Fool (race 5) and the Gotham. So if there’s a particular horse in either of those races that you’d like to see, let me know.
Please leave your comments and questions at the bottom of this page for me. This will only work if it is a two-way conversation. I happen to be horrible at delivering soliloquy’s. My college acting teacher told me so.
Thanks for stopping by! Let’s have some fun! I’ll be back at around 12:20 with more.


12:20 -- Lunch time at the Big A. Hot pastrami and rye on the menu today. This is all kinds of win.

Speaking of which, let’s set an over/under number for Charlie Sheen references in this blog. 12 ½ sounds about right to me.

Serling and Donovan on the desk for “Talkin’ Horses” today. Surprised Blewitt didn’t get the call. They usually trot him out for the “A” days.

Full house in the press box here. Getting ready. T minus forty minutes to first post.

Our pal Derek Brown (a popular twitter whose handle is @NJDerek) breaks the ice in the comment window. Thanks for checking in, Derek!

Dahlgren Chapel in the Tom Fool....hmmmm...interesting. I've always liked him. Nice horse. The question is, will he be in a little over his head today? Looking for Calibrachoa alternatives, though, is something a lot of people will be doing.


12:45 -- Expect the come home times to be a little slow today. The horses will be facing a pretty strong headwind when they hit the top of the stretch.

Curious to get everyone’s thoughts on the front-loaded stakes. The three undercard stakes all drew five horse fields, and so they will be run as races 3-5, out of the pick six sequence.

Is everyone okay with this? I mean, we’ve got some pretty low level races surrounding the Gotham. I know there are only five in the Tom Fool, but it is a graded race. We haven’t seen one of those around here in six weeks. For it to be carded as the 5th seems a little ridiculous to me. But I’m curious what you think about it. Weigh in at the bottom of the page.

Field of eight set to go in the opener. $7,500 claimers going six furlongs. Good times!


12:55 -- Thanks to “Memphis Moonchild” and Marcy Emery for checking in. Very much appreciate the support, gang.

Marcy, you have some information on your open house tomorrow for my readers? How they can help you guys out over at New Stride? Marcy’s non-profit does tremendous work, and I urge “Big A Confidential” readers to check it out. Details to follow.

5 MTP for the first.

1:05 -- Good news for the connections of The Fed Eased and Nacho Saint - as Four Star General took ‘em all the way around for trainer Joe LoStritto.

Four Star General was ultra game in victory, as he held off the challenges of both Little Wise Guy on the outside, and Timber Cruise on the rail. Is the inner track conveyor belt in play today? Bears watching.

Meanwhile, it’s cookie time! Some nice chocolate chip cookies have been put out in the press box. #Winning (2 Sheen references so far, if you’re keeping score).

17 MTP for the 2nd.

1:25 -- There you have it. Newstride.org. Marcy does tremendous work in finding homes for retired thoroughbreds. Please support her.

So…Marcy asked about what an Aqueduct newbie should know about the Big A (and, btw, Marcy, do NOT understate the importance of press box food. We haven’t had it in 3 months! Lol.) Here’s a little info to get you caught up.

10 Things you Need to Know About Aqueduct

10. It’s REALLY freaking close to JFK Airport. Like, real close.

9. They’re currently ripping up the place to put VLT’s in.

8. Speed, speed, and more speed. Speed horses do well on the inner track conveyor belt.

7. Eight closures already this winter. Wayyyyy more than normal.

6. It’s REALLY freaking close to JFK Airport.

5. They had been drawing about 2,500 a day here the past few years. It’s been more like 4,000 this year, due to the closure of New York City’s off-track betting parlors.

4. You can actually take the subway here. Pretty cool, when you think about it.

3. Our featured race is the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, New York’s major prep for the Kentucky Derby. Today’s Gotham is a prep for the prep.

2. Ramon Dominguez rules around here. Wins at a 30+% clip.

1. Overall, a pretty nice place.


1:50 ET Gonna hit the paddock prior to the Tom Fool. Derek, I’ll be sure to get a shot of Dahlgren Chapel for you. If anybody wants any other photos, let me know.

Say Toba Sandy takes the second with an absolute dream trip from just off the pace.

Coming up to the Broadway stakes for filly and mare sprinters. Meese Rocks has had a rough winter chasing Nicole H, and some other top sprinters around. We’ll see if she found the right field today.

2:00 -- I could swear we just watched a replay of the first race. Hard-trying, hard-luck Meese Rocks finally broke through, scoring by 1 ½ lengths over Big Brownie, who made a bold run on the rail. Lots of Stones, like Little Wise Guy before him, hung on the outside, and could only manage third.
Richard Migliore sighting here in the press box. The Mig is one popular dude, let me tell you. I’ll hopefully be able to grab a picture with him later.
Cookie update: I have switched to Oatmeal Raisin. MUCH softer. Really, really good. I feel like this is something you need to know.
Heading down to the paddock in a little bit, before the Tom Fool. But next up is the “Cappy” Caposella stakes for three year old sprinters. Notably absent is Fort Hughes, who put on a dazzling performance here a few weeks ago. He’ll most likely be pointed to the Bay Shore stakes five weeks from today. 15 MTP.
2:20 ET -- Some quotes from the winning connections of Meese Rocks. Referring to Meese Rocks’ well-beaten fourth in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap two weeks ago, trainer Edward Barker said ““It was a total non-effort last time, and I knew it. She has a lot of heart, this filly, I’ll tell you that. I love her. We’ll probably give her 60-90 days off and bring her back at the end of Belmont or the beginning of Saratoga.”
He didn’t mention any particular spots for her return, but the Bed O’ Roses on July 3rd would seem to make some sense. Headed into the gate for the Caposella. Back in a few.
3:10 ET -- Senational Slam takes the Caposella for Pletcher-Dominguez, and owner - celebrity chef - Bobby Flay. He did it from off the pace. So that made two front-running winners and two off-the-pace winners.
But the deadlock would be broken when Calibrachoa took the Tom Fool sitting well behind suicidal fractions for the first half. Pletcher-Dominguez again. The song remains the same.
Can they complete the hat trick with Stay Thirsty in the Gotham? We’ll see.
Plenty of great pics to share either late tonight or tomorrow, and plenty of good stuff to write about. I need to catch my breath, but I’ll be back a in a few minutes with some good post-race quotes from Pletcher and owner Mike Repole.
And a quick post-script to good friend Jamie Newell, one half of one of racing's great power couples (along with husband Bob. Two excellent photogs). No Red Velvet cupcakes today! Boo hiss ;-)
3:45 ET -- “When I saw :21 go up, I started to go down to the winner’s circle,” said a low-key Mike Repole following Calibrachoa’s win in the Tom Fool. “Here’s a $40,000 claimer and now he’s come back and won (3 stakes in a row). He looked like a monster.”
Mike Repole was in his glory after the Tom Fool. The New York native was accompanied in the winner’s circle by a host of friends and family (I needed to pan extremely wide to get them all into the winner’s circle photo).
And he played an active role in the victory, according to trainer Todd Pletcher. It was Repole’s idea, according to Pletcher, to enter Have You Ever as a rabbit to ensure a strong pace.
“(The pace) allowed Ramon to ride him however he saw fit, and obviously Ramon sensed that they were flying early, so he let him just settle and he relaxed really well.”
Pletcher mentioned the Carter on the Wood Memorial undercard on April 7th as a likely target for Calibrachoa.
“Hopefully we’ll see you after the 10th,” Repole said.
Main event still to come.

4:05 ET -- Live blog word count: 1,743

Front-running winners: 3

Sheen reference count: 2 (stunningly)

Cookies eaten: too many

Thanks to HR Nation colleague Jared for checking in.

I’m getting punchy.

4:20 ET -- It has been an absolutely glorious day so far, it really has. The expected rain has held off (so far), the crowd has been great (I’ll try and get an attendance figure for you when it becomes available), and the racing has been fun.
I’d liken the atmosphere here today to the first day of school. Lots of hellos and “how are ya’s” among the press crowd. Lots of catching up after a long, cold winter.
Eight races in the books now. Inside speed did it again, as Buddy System took the eighth, for trainer John Tebutt, and rider Daniel Morales, his first Aqueduct winner.
And we’re now out of cookies. Damn it all. That, most definitely, is not #winning.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some Gotham! Back with one more update before I head down to the paddock.
4:40 -- Uh-oh. Few clouds beginning to congregate and hover. Not threatening - yet. But I hope I didn’t jinx it.
Headed down in a minute. Want to thank all of you for reading and commenting so far. You’ve been great. And this has been so much fun.
Enjoy the Gotham!

5:35 -- Stay Thirsty my friends! Back in a couple of hours to recap it.

Thanks again for joining me today.

Race Program # Horse Time Notes
2 1 She's Got Bling Early
8 10 Bazinga Early
  11 Mich's Gem Early
  12 Pam's Lucky Lady Early
9 4 History Starts Now Early
  7 Duke of York Early
  12 Smokin Conrad Early
  14 Zen Village Early
  16 Tympanic Early
10 7 Preachintothedevil Early
  9 Dawly Early
Race Program # Horse Changes
9 15 Mount Karakorum Cc. Lopez
10 3 Starship Caesar J. Jara
Race Program # Horse Changes
2 2 Chaka Bwana +2
  5 Pure Vixen +1
4 1 Diski Dance +1
  3 Rift +1
5 2 Deputy Daney +3
  3 Fastus Cactus +3
  4 Dahlgren Chapel +3
  5 Flat Bold +1
6 7 Heir Raiser +1
8 3 Persky's Heart +3
  7 Winged Bandit +1
10 1 The Fed Eased +1


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Older Comments about Gotham Day - Live Blog!!...

you know charlie sheen would so bet a pletcher horse named stay thirsty. not only is stay thirsty the offical derby horse of coolcoleman but hes also the offical derby horse of charlie sheen; the dos equis guy and every AA group. the question is does he have enough #tigerblood to be #winning the derby?
you know damm
you know damm
jello shots!!!!!!! winning charlie sheen tigerblood
Joeski ready to see Toby romp in the Gotham?
Hey Joe. Nice job on the Fast Track this morning. Enjoying your live blog. Go Stay Thirsty!
  • BigAConfidential · Thanks Jared! You too. You're a tough act to follow ;-) You're on the Stay Thirsty train, huh? · 2419 days ago
  • mdracing69 · Stay Thirsty is a projection of what he might do as opposed to what he accomplished as a juvenile. I like his pedigree and connections bought him with his 3yo season in mind. We should learn much more about him today. I liked Toby's Corner in the Whirlaway and he is an obvious threat in the Gotham. · 2419 days ago
Thanks for the burning information on the cookie situation, Joe. I look forward to more hard-hitting updates on whether or not you find any red velvet cupcakes! ;-)
Signing off now JDP and friends but the place I'm headed to for my meeting is showing Aqueduct so I'll be keeping an eye on the action from there! Enjoy your afternoon!
im looking to bet the family farm any suggestions?
  • BigAConfidential · Go with Wounded Knee. It's a lock. ;-) (lol. sorry, dude. couldn't resist.) Hope B'more went okay. Too busy today, but gonna call you tomorrow. · 2419 days ago
  • Dr.Moonchild420 · wait til monday sir ill be off again on monday. · 2419 days ago
smart ass that was good tho
im looking to bet the family farm any suggestions?
So what does a newbie horseplayer on the other side of the continent and in another country need to know about Aqueduct? Besides what kind of food they serve in the press box...
Hey all! Please visit www.newstride.com to check us out. We are a TB adoption group from BC Canada and work with horses from Hastings Racecourse mainly, though we've had many US bred grads go through our program.
I'm supposed to be working on my pitch for this afternoon but i thought I'd do you a FAVOUR and check in here...
...hit enter to quickly...where he lost all chance at the start, I think he fits with these. I'm against Flat Bold and I think he gets overbet.
Dahlgren Chapel is kind of interesting to me in the Tom Fool. Taking a big step up in class, but if you toss the race

Related Pages

 Meet Joe DePaolo

My love of horse racing dates back to the 1999 Belmont Stakes, where I was fortunate enough to witness Chris Antley's heroics in saving the life of Charismatic from just yards away. Since then, my passion for the sport has only grown, to the point where it fueled my desire to be involved on a professional basis.
A product of Queens College and the world-renowned Bronx High School of Science, I've spent the past few years producing news talk radio on the national level. Most notably, I have worked with; Ron Reagan, Arianna Huffington, and Thom Hartmann.
In 2010, I teamed with heralded freelance writer Claire Novak to host the popular "Youbet: On Track" podcast. Together, Claire and I chronicled the Saratoga 2010 meeting daily, covering everything from Blame's thrilling conquest of the Whitney, to Rachel Alexandra's stunning defeat in the Personal Ensign. Our weekly "Backside Buzz" segment, in particular, earned great acclaim from many in the racing community.
I currently live in Bayside, New York. Contact me at jdepaolo85@gmail.com if you have any comments or questions.

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