December 7, 2001

New Mark Cramer Booklet
Hey, kinkmeisters! Some good news for you. Mark Cramer's newest book, tentatively titled Kinky, Quick and Dirty: Uncovering Racing's Hidden Probabilities, is in the final stages of editing and is headed for a publication date of Jan. 2 by Cynthia Publishing.

In inimitable Cramer style and packed with unique research, Galileo-inspired thinking and writing (with high-level concepts made easy to grasp, thanks to Cramer's renowned facility with the English language), this new booklet is an ambitious blend of the nearly mechanical, the almost-magical and the fully inspired. That's because our friend Cramer takes 10 time-honored and simple handicapping concepts and pulses them through the kink-o-master machine, coming up with a stunning creation of staggering beauty and elegance that's good enough to eat.

Whoa. That's just plain silly. But you get the idea. Kinky, Quick and Dirty: Uncovering Racing's Hidden Probabilities is going to be another valuable addition to the handicapping literature, courtesy of someone who knows how to do just that.

For more details or for ordering information, click on this link (address: and select one of the very special offers available before Jan. 2, including a super-duper deal for current C&X Report subscribers or those who want to holiday-bundle the new booklet along with a new subscription. Definitely check it out.

A Winner (Hopefully More Than One) on the Inner
Even though the temperatures these days in New York are rivaling those here in sunny Southern California, that hasn't stopped the good people who run Aqueduct Race Course from switching the main-track racing to the winter-ready inner-dirt course. Again, it's so unseasonably warm back East right now that turf racing is still going on at the Big A.

For that reason, the winter-track trends established from the cold-weather months of the 2001 inner-dirt season might take a little longer to apply. Closers, not yet having to make up ground by running headstrong into razor-sharp gale-force winds off Jamaica Bay, are OK, for the moment, until the mercury begins its expected descent, the effects of global warming notwithstanding.

For starters, the six-furlong distance is the only sprint available on the chuteless inner oval, and by far the best move to make takes place during the opening quarter-mile, where a decisive majority of winners are already up close and personal with the lead. Additionally, winners are nearly twice as likely to be within a half-length of the lead in the opening half-mile as they are to close from farther back than that.

Routes behave similarly. The flat-mile distance utterly stomps on horses a length behind or more at the stretch call. The same goes at a mile and 70 yards. Things get a little better for the late-runners at a mile and a sixteenth, but the lead is still the best place to be into the clubhouse turn. If you are inveterately attracted to come-from-behinders who won't start moving until after six furlongs, wait for a race at a mile and an eighth.

And when the track is anything other than fast at six furlongs, give even more credit to the front of the race.

This year, stabling concerns at Gulfstream Park are forcing trainers to abandon ideas of shipping south for the winter, and more top-flight horses and horsemen will be based at Aqueduct instead. Therefore, the following trainer plays might be a little less reliable in 2002.

In terms of volume, your top handful of surprise-minded trainers were Gary Contessa, Joseph Aquilino, Scott Schwartz, Gary Gullo, Tino Attard, Richard DeStasio and Richie Schosberg.

Contessa's best longshot work comes from older horses going long, in the middle of an established form cycle. He won't fire at a good price off the bench, preferring to wait a few before popping.

Aquilino much prefers sprints to routes, and his lone route upsetter was indeed a stretchout. He's solely a dry-fast-type, too.

Schwartz (thankfully not a fathead) is powerful with nonclaiming horses stepping up in class (from maiden special to NW1, for example) and especially with horses moving up from claiming races of any kind.

Gullo struck often with entry-level allowance horses, like Schwartz boosting them up from claiming company.

The Canadian Attard, if he ships in again, doesn't dazzle with flashy moves, and his best prospects will not feature much in the way of noticeable changes.

DeStasio was the off-track master at decent odds, but only with nonclaimers involved in major distance-structure changes.

And Schosberg looks inviting when dealing with nonclaiming horses taking logical steps up in the nonclaiming ranks, such as from straight-maiden to allowance, or even allowance to stakes.

And there you have it. Best wishes for profits to keep you warm all winter long.

Tomorrow's Featured Action
Lots of activity down south on Saturday, headed by Louisiana statebreds taking over Fair Grounds and the annual December stakes pick 4 at Calder Race Course.

At Fair Grounds, there's also an all stakes pick 4, but you have to decipher a blasted American Quarter Horse race in the eighth, and we're not about to go mixed breed anytime soon. The easiest part of the seqeunce looks like race 9, the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Stakes, where your top two morning-line choices -- Midge Too and Wild Squaw -- dominate the affair.

The other two Thoroughbred events in the series, are complete toss-ups, and you can make a good case for at least half a dozen in each of them. For added pari-mutuel excitement, we recommend One Brick Shy in the seventh. The 'Brick is zip for his last 18, which will keep the price high. But he could be making noise late in a bulky field, never a bad thing at Fair Grounds. And in the 10th, the big event, the Classic Stakes, Valadour could be a shocker. Valadour is six-for-66 overall, but three-for-12 at FG. He's another devoted late-runner.

At Calder, let's examine the two juvenile events. In the ninth, the Three Ring for two-year-old fillies, Stormy Frolic has been talented and versatile in her last two, both over off tracks. Her consistency around two turns must be respected.

In the 10th, the What a Pleasure for the boys, there are three to look out for, none of whom are the morning-line choice. Dr. Greeley has run the same race in each of his four starts, and not much should change in his first route try; he fits. So do Speedy Leon and Notable Editor, both at double-digits in the official track program. 'Leon has really taken off (in a good way) when stretched out, and you can toss tye troubled turf try last out. And Notable Editor is trained by Ken McPeek, the hottest juvenile-stakes conditioner back East. It doesn't hurt that 'Editor will be positioned nicely throughout.

And there you have it.

New Contest Is for the Long Run
If you prefer a route of ground to a one-turn sprint, the current edition of the Big-Prize Handicapping Contest is for you! For more details, please click here.

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