Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Notes

Good morning everyone.

There were a few items that caught my eye today:

Bacon reported that trainer Chris Grove got a class I positive test in West Virginia recently.  The drug, as far as I know, has been tested for a long time, and it's not exotic, like the tree frog drug was. This strikes me as odd, and I feel a similar way whenever a positive test is handed down with blatantly tested for bad drugs with someone who should know better: Why would someone with so many starts, who is making a good living, knowingly use a drug that everyone knows is tested for? There's a lot of "one strike and your out" talk going on, and that's fine; we have a problem in racing. But, when the circumstances around it don't make sense, that's where the one strike rule breaks down. In these cases especially, the accused needs a day in court.

It's anyone's guess what happens in Ontario, but it appears Ted McMeekin (the Minister of Agriculture) is up for listening to the recent panel, which recommended that $50 million over three years is not enough to help horse racing survive. If so, that's fairly good news. $100 million over three years may help sustain racing, if the various fiefdoms can be controlled. If they can't, racing will have a very tough time.

@o_crunk on twitter kills me sometimes.
What he is referring to is that almost every time an attendance figure is posted that is good, accompanying it is a tweet from someone (retweeted a dozen times, with many in agreement) saying "so much for a dying sport". Looking at the anecdotal, rather than the overall numbers has plagued horse racing for dozens of years. Social media doesn't fix that, it tends to accelerate it.

I think we need a "handle clock". I watched Chris Christie's speech late last night at that political convention. In the background I noticed there was a National Debt Clock. That's probably a smart move - most people realize that the status quo is not an option if you are constantly spending more than you are taking in. In racing, while handles have been precipitously falling since the early 2000's, we seem to see one number at the end of the year and shrug. Handle - not slots deals, or giveaways, or an attendance at a Travers Day - represents the health of racing. It's the only number that matters from a business point of view.

Jay Cronley took a look at public handicappers in his last post, and it was kind of funny as usual.  Speed fig handicapping is fine, because the fastest horse tends to win the race. However, with developing horses, different distances, and differing pace setups, the "fastest" horse in speed fig land might not be the fastest horse at all.

Jessica (who is back doing some blog posts, which is nice. She's one of the better ones out there) thinks Alpha is a "hanger". If you watch the Wood, and the Travers, that may be so. However, as horse's season and learn what they're out there for, they often develop ways to run through that phase. If Alpha races for a couple of years, we'll see if he's a hanger, or it's just one of those things.

Speaking of Alpha, I had an interesting weekend. He was my Derby horse and he won the Travers. Golden Ticket is a horse I have been throwing on tickets for awhile, because in the Tampa Bay Derby he was along the inside and closed well, on a track where the rail had been awful the previous couple of weeks. He dead heated with him. Dullahan, who won the Pacific Classic, is a horse I think is a superstar. Three horses I like won two races. Funny, I could not turn that into very much money though.

Speaking of Alpha II, I find the most overused catch phrase in racing (toolspeak according to Tom LaMarra) is "the horse dug in", like he somehow sped up at the end, not decelerated more slowly. Often times it's because the other horse wouldn't go by and digging in had nothing to do with it. If Jessica is right, Gemologist did not "dig in" in the Wood by speeding up when he saw Alpha like so many stated as fact, he simply kept going while Alpha faltered.

This weekend one of the best cards of racing in the sport occurs at Mohawk, perhaps for the last time. Take a look at these races! If you are a harness bettor and fan, cards like that don't come along too often at a place where pool size will be formidable. It's a must play.

Have a great day everyone.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Dean, you may right about Alpha. With a horse as high class as he is, I definitely wouldn't rule out the possibility that he'll have an a-ha! moment that turns him into the sort of competitor who drops his head and lunges for the win with every ounce of his ability. Until I see him do that, though, I'll pass on betting him on top in any race as the favorite.