There is plenty going on this Wednesday in our sport.....
65 is the number, and racetrack management, New Jersey racing, and everyone who has a lick of care about the sport is not happy. For this Friday's card at the Meadowlands, only 65 horses were entered and SBOANJ President Tom Luchento is none to pleased:
"It is beyond comprehension how there could only be 65 horses in the entry box for Friday. It is like a kick in the teeth to the SBOANJ, Jeff Gural and all those who stepped up to help. It is a disgrace." he wrote.
On this blog since about 2007 we have written about the need for some sort of organization which dictates a semblance of a schedule for the good of the sport. Chester and Pocono with their over-the-top breeding bonuses and Yonkers with their slot money were a harbinger, and it was as plain as day. What we are seeing now is not really due to the horsemen (although of course they could easily fix this by entering), it is because of a lack of central authority. When a dumb horseplayer like me brought this up three years ago, I am sure others could have done something about it. Even in Ontario, where tracks that no one bets were protected by horsemen groups (like Woodstock), change has happened. No longer is the status quo acceptable, but it took leadership and the use of the word "no" to participants to change it.
Colins Ghost does not write non-history posts very often, but he should. He took a look at the Derby in a post-script message today. I think those who were looking at the Derby winner, and the betting, were looking at it differently this year than most years. This year, as we have alluded to, we had one question that needed to be answered: "What horse could step up and run a 100-105 Beyer at 10f". That, in effect was your Derby horse and it was different in past years where there are so many who looked able to run a 105+ at their best. Animal Kingdom, off a solid figure at TP, was that pick for some - and they were correct.
Preakness betting is next. Punters are wondering what kind of odds board we'll see for the Derby. The DRF ponders that even favoritism is a question mark, citing Charismatic and Mine That Bird. I think AK will be favored, because he, on paper, does not have the negatives of those two (Charismatic was a mega bomb, and in a claimer before the Derby and MTB came out of nowhere with connections very few knew, with a female shooter added to the mix).
What AK does have working against him from punters is a regression possibility reflected by sheets players and cycle enthusiasts. But I doubt that will be enough to bring him down: The Triple Crown is the silly season, as witnessed by Pants on Fire and Twice the Appeal's odds, and regressions off tops are trainer functional in subsets - Graham Motion is such a subset. I'd be shocked if he was not a solid chalk.
I agree with Colin about the lack of coverage post Derby on sports networks. I fully realize the Derby is a one-off type of party, but so in many ways is the Super Bowl. You can see features on that for a month after the big game.
Are you watching the Molson Pace this year? If so, take a look at the pick 4 because it is a HANA Pool Party. You can pick what races you'd like to see in the sequence here and Western Fair will card them. I picked the two preferred's and the Filly and Mare Open. Gold Series Final's are often chalkfests, which can really screw up a pick 4, so I ditched those. I think my choices present the best case for a nice deep field.
Have a nice Wednesday everyone.