Friday evening quick picks

Don’t forget: Toys for Tots at Aqueduct on Saturday! Marines will be on the first floor of the clubhouse accepting unwrapped toys from noon to 2 pm. You can also donate cash; make checks payable to Toys for Tots.

And odds be damned, I’ll be rooting for Gary Contessa’s five entries on Saturday, as he’s pledged 10% of any trainer’s commissions he earns to Toys for Tots; NYRA will match whatever Contessa’s horses earn. And if his horses earn nothing, both Contessa and NYRA will donate $1,000 to the organization.

The luck of the Irish was not at Aqueduct on Friday afternoon, as Oh So Irish finished third in the first race; Irish Majesty was scratched out of the seventh; and Irish Blast finished fifth in the eighth.

Adding insult to injury, Brooklyn Backstretch favorite Irish Blast was claimed from Allen Jerkens’s barn by Rafael Ramos. I met the colt a little over a year ago, when he was still on the farm, and loved watching him dominate at Aqueduct last winter. He hasn’t been the same since returning from an injury earlier this fall; still, it’s a blow that he’s going off to live and work for someone else. I know that we’re not supposed to fall in love with horses or think of them as anything but racehorses…but that’s never worked for me, and I’ll miss visiting this guy. Good luck, and take good care of him, please, Mr. Ramos.

If you’re not yet sick of Richard Migliore, there’s yet another interview with him up at the NYRA website, this one by Jenny Kellner.

On last week’s Thanksgiving edition of Pardon The Interruption, Michael Wilbon voted Richard Dutrow biggest turkey of the year. I suppose it’s good that horse racing was even part of the conversation.

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