Saturday, July 13, 2013

Meadowlands Pace, Speed Shows & Gary West Metaphors

Tonight the biggest nighttime card at the Meadowlands occurs: Meadowlands Pace night. There's a good set of races assembled, and two races in the late pick 4 are especially interesting - The Haughton and the Meadowlands Pace.

Past performances are available here.

In both races I think as a handicapper we have to do what we always have to in contentious races - handicap not the horses, but ourselves. The Haughton is a deep seeded affair with no clear standout. Warrawee Needy, who just tied a world record last week, is fast, but so are so many others.  I think the crowd may overbet Warrawee Needy, Sweet Lou and Golden Receiver. I will let those horses beat me.

Four horses that should provide some sort of odds board value are Pet Rock, Bolt the Duer, Razzle Dazzle and Foiled Again. Pet Rock was beaten by a first over Sweet Lou in crawling fractions which happens all the time with horses of this caliber, so don't hold that against him. Bolt the Duer did nothing wrong last week in the least, and had little chance to win. Razzle Dazzle, on his best day can trip out against these from a nice post and be there somewhere, and Foiled Again is a complete fade from a lot of punters due to his Meadowlands record, even though he has been right there in many of his Big M starts. Of those, I think Bolt the Duer might provide odds better or near his win probability. He's for me.

In the Meadowlands Pace, the field is not quite as deep as usual, but we can use the same gambling principles. One thing about the Pace: On paper what might look one way, the trip often works another. A second quarter with someone hung, a horse on the lead who wants to be there, and a second over brush a la Somebeachsomewhere can result in a 52 half. In that case, it's game on.

You might think the Captain has a 50/50 shot to win this race, but you are not going to get 6-5, so that immediately makes all the other horses playable.Mega bombs Resistance Futile and Uncle Peter can win with a pace meltdown. The one and the two are obvious contenders, and even a Beach Memories who has had allergy issues but has been on medications, can surprise, perhaps with some sort of trip.

I might not do much in the Pace in terms of betting, other than probably taking some bomb superfectas, but that does not mean I am disinterested. I think there's a chance something really interesting happens tonight, unlike last year.

Zoooommmmm. Why have harness horses seemingly gotten faster? That question was attempted to be answered in Harness Racing Update today (pdf page two). 

As horse owners and participants we all know this is no longer your grandfathers harness racing. Drivers buy equipment worth $10,000 or more. I don't know about you, but I am paying for medications for ulcers and joints and a million other things that did not exist years ago to help my horse feel better, heal better and race better. We're buying horse's that take minutes, not months to break. Give the article a read and tell me what you think.

Gary West compared change in racing to "Dracula" today in one of the best pieces about the state of the sport I have read in a long, long time.

" the mention of lowering takeouts, as if he had been waiting eagerly and expectantly in the wings for his cue, Dracula rushes onto the stage hoping to suck all the blood out of the idea. What is Dracula, aka the Prince of Darkness, aka dissension, doing in this tale of hopefulness? Well, he has become one of the stars.
Next to the fans -- and nobody really cares about them anyway -- the horsemen, meaning the breeders, owners and trainers, are the largest stakeholders in the sport. And horsemen won't accept any change or innovation that could possibly, even if temporarily, lead to a decline in purses, which lower takeouts could do. So takeouts remain high, sales low."

Hard hitting, maybe hard to read for some, but excellent work. 

Enjoy your racing day everyone.

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