Woodward Million Dollar Finish Picks: Brett Wiener
By Brett Wiener, NHC Tour
Zivo is on fire. This New York-bred comes into this race a winner of his last six races, including the Grade 2 Suburban where he bested Moreno back in July. He’s rested for this and runs well off the freshening, He’s been working very steadily every seven days. He’s run well over the track and I see no reason why he will not run them down again in the lane. Looking to turn things around is Norumbega. He comes in here off a disappointing finish in the Suburban when he was bet down lower than Zivo and Moreno. Before that he was a winner of the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont. Norumbega adds blinkers today and Javier Castellano, the meet's leading rider, ends up aboard after riding Micromanage to four of his last five wins including two stakes wins. He’s working great and runs well fresh. I see no reason why he will not be in the top two at the wire.
Itsmyluckyday is adding blinkers, draws the rail and should improve the second time over the track. He should be stalking Moreno and Long River from the start and should make his move on the turn. But will he have enough to hold off the charge from Zivo or Norumbega? Micromanage is here off an eight length win over the track at a mile and three quarters. He is now two for two at Saratoga. Rajiv Marah gets the call Saturday and has had some mild success on him with two seconds in his last two tries. He will be closing from far back. If the pace is hot early, he can make up ground in the stretch.
The winner of the Whitney, the speedy Moreno, is coming in off his wire to wire surprise score in which he caught a very beneficial speed favoring track. In his career, he has never won two straight and with the additional five pounds he is to carry, I will take a stand against him.
Last Gunfighter was caught very wide in his past two starts with Castellano aboard. Now with Joe Bravo in the irons, I look for an improved effort. Bravo has won the past two times he has ridden Gunfighter in Grade 2 and 3 affairs. Romansh was bumped and was caught very wide last time on an inside bias track in the Whitney. I look for Jose Ortiz, his jockey, to ride a patient race and close down the lane for a minor part. Distance shouldn’t be a problem with three wins in six starts at the mile and an eighth. The 6-year-old Prayer for Relief does fire now and then, which is apparent when you see his earnings at $1.8 million. John Velazquez takes the call which is always a plus. He will be mid packed placed and may close for a small slice. Longshot Stephanoatsee is entering here off a non-winners of three allowance victory, in which he improved, but I can’t see him in the same class as these today. Long River is adding blinkers and will be part of the early pace from the inside post. He has a nice workout six days ago leading up to this, but seems overmatched and the 1 1/8 miles seems a bit much for him. Since he is coupled with Romansh, a closer, I think he is in here to assure a fast pace.
Projected Complete Order of Finish:
1 – Zivo
2 – Norumbega
3 – Itsmyluckyday
4 – Micromanage
5 – Moreno
6 – Last Gunfighter
7 – Romansh
8 – Prayer for Relief
9 – Stephanoatsee
10 – Long River
Brett Wiener is a six-time qualifier to the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) and a familiar face on the NHC Tour circuit. Brett visited Aqueduct at the age of 13 and has been “hooked ever since.” He’s a multiple winner on the tournament circuit, but his biggest payoff came in a Pick Six at Belmont Park in 1998 when he took home $85,000 (“thank you, Julie Krone, for a great ride,” Brett said). Brett is the owner of Shrine Design, a world-wide leader in the manufacture of memorial shrines and candle stands for churches. He resides in Clearwater, Fla., with his wife, Sarah, a talented handicapper in her on right and a four-time qualifier to the NHC in Las Vegas.