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Showing posts from October, 2013

Breeders' Cup and "Filling the Tank"

As we all know, two of the most interesting and bettable days in all of horse racing are happening tomorrow and Saturday - The Breeders Cup. I have gone through the PP's and a little bit of jcapper and I think the two days are as good as any I have bet and watched over the last 30 years (well, maybe I should not have said that because I was under 18 for some of those and the RCMP knows where I live).

For most people the Breeders Cup can be overwhelming. There are deep fields with runners coming from everywhere. There are horses cutting back or stretching out, there are myriad types of bets to play. It's not your average 6 horse field race card at Beulah.

Fortunately, there are places that offer some help.

Alan over at LATG handicaps some of Friday through the lens of TimeformUS. Their stuff is good so if you are looking for some insight, give them a glance (he is offering a deal). They have a package for sale, and it might be worth a few marbles if you plan to play.

Brisnet als…


There were announcements on the horse retirement side today. Over with the runners, Verrazano and Paynter are calling it quits. On the harness side, Pet Rock, A Rock n Roll Dance and Panther Hanover are all hanging it up. We'll focus on the harness side, because it's pretty interesting, in my opinion.

Each year there is a three year old who seems to be better than the age restricted horses he races. In some years the competition is good, in some years it's bad, and in some years - like last year - it's mind-boggling. Generally what you get for your stud has more to do with who he raced against, rather than due to his ability.

In 2005, Rock n Roll Hanover was going to command a huge fee. He was an all-world colt and he had rich bloodlines. Not far behind him in ability, though, was American Ideal. American Ideal beat Rock n Roll in the Holmes and later on set a World record. I remember the week before he went the big speed. He signalled his fitness with a wide move to t…


Like a Stick to the Face

Long ago now, my father played hockey. He was a pretty good hockey player as a kid, and was drafted in the first OHL draft into the Boston Bruins organization. Back then all the junior teams were "owned" by the big six NHL squads and that was the way it worked.

He played junior for a couple of years, and was not quite good enough for the Bruins at 20, so he was going to continue his career in the AHL.

He didn't end up doing that. He came home. When I asked why he didn't to try and realize a dream that only 120 kids had (six teams with 20 on a roster back then) he told me a story.

One day his team was playing the Galt Black Hawks, which were Chicago's junior team. There was a brawl on the ice and one of his teammates was really getting into it with a Galt defenseman. My dad's line was on the bench and he watched his teammate get free from the bigger player, grab his stick and swing it like a baseball bat, right across the Galt players forehead. The defenseman …

Benny Beam Talks Some Harness Racing

If you are a regular customer on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit over the last many years, or alternatively, if you hang around the backstretch, you surely know Benny Beam (a moniker, it's what he posts as on chat boards, his real name is Scott).

Scott has been around the block, oh ten or two hundred dozen times and usually has something interesting to say - although the way he says it would have him fired from any paid industry position in about ten seconds; let's just say he does not mince words.

But he is worth listening to, as he is sharper than almost anyone I know in this business. He knows his way around a past performance program, the industry itself, insider stuff regarding the horses and their handling that you won't read in the industry press, or what new pre-race is being used on the backside. He's a jack of all trades one might say.

He attended the Breeders Crown this past week and posted some thoughts on a chat board (you need to be a member to read it…

Monday Round-Up Harness Style

Good morning peeps!

Saturday's Breeders Crown is a hot topic. I got a few emails of interest, and there were a few letters and tweets flying the last couple of days. I've been called smart, a doofus, a lover of great horses and a hater of some, too. How one can be all four with an opinion that doesn't move much is what it is, but it's been pretty fun.

Someone wondered why I didn't list the Captain's Breeders Cup win as an "impressive performance" this weekend, like I did with Bee a Magician or Iluvthenitelife or Foiled Again. The simple answer is because when a 1-5 shot gets an easy half and wins by a head I do not find that the least bit newsworthy. In fact, when that happens in any race as a bettor, often times I wonder what's wrong with the 1-5 shot and look to bet against him or her next weekend (especially if the horse that almost beats him is parked first over the mile, going his trip via Tioga). It's not hard to understand why I glossed…

Bee a Magician Steals the Show on Breeders Crown Night

If you ever want to differentiate a "good horse" from a "great horse" the easiest way to do it is to look who sharp bettors or racing historians compare the horse to.

When did you know Somebeachsomewhere was "great"? When people stopped comparing him to Rock n' Roll Hanover and started comparing him to Nihilator and Niatross.

When did you know Rainbow Blue was "great"? When people started asking, "she's better than Shady Daisy and Fan Hanover isn't she?"

After last night's jaw-dropping performance, we are seeing the same thing happen with Bee a Magician. She is not being compared to Maven, or Check Me Out, or any number of good three year old fillies we've seen in the sport the past ten years any longer. She's being compared to CR Kay Suzie or Moni Maker. A few people (and I am one of them) think she is ready, with the right conditions, to break 150.

Will she be as good as that? Who knows, but that doesn't…

Breeders Crown 2013 Upset Specials

Tonight the Breeders Crown card starts at 5 sharp at Pocono Downs. There are some really nice horses competing this evening, and we should see the usual - the cream rise to the top - but there is a chance we might see some upsets, too.

Free program pages are available here.

In the first big event of the evening for two year old colts, the on paper champ, Father Patrick looks like a lock. However, I'll upset hunt in here. For a short priced favorite I like to be sure he will get a cakewalk trip, or is lights out open lengths better than his competition. Father Patrick probably is better than them all, but with a horse like Nuncio from the outside (possibly going crazy fractions again), uncertainty is added to the race. I will take a small poke on Credit Fashion, who might sneak a neat inside trip here.

In the two year old filly pace I am going to be betting She's Da Bomb. Fillies get sharp and stay sharp for awhile, but travel and a change of routine can mess them up. I think …

Pick a State, Any State, Can You Bet?

There is a thread at talking about a new "source market fee" for Pennsylvania. In effect, this means if you live in that state, you will be subjected to having your takeout hiked (if you play an out of state ADW) and your choice stifled as a customer.  Distribution of the signal throughout the state will also be curtailed. As noted in that thread, some of racing's best customers for many years are having their accounts closed.

Why, you may ask, would tracks and horsemen do such a thing to their customers, especially one which already has 30% exotic takeouts, millions and millions from slot machines, all in a sport that's bleeding handle? Because they can, and taking more of a shrinking pie is what this business has been built  hampered with for many years now. It's just the way it is, in a business devoid of critical thinking.

And as the kids say, it's pretty cray cray, because getting a bigger share of the pie for purses has never even be…

Supporting Something (That Makes You Feel Pretty Good, Too)

I got a picture sent to me yesterday via email of a thoroughbred race horse. He was in his stall, perfectly groomed, with super-clean bedding and a stall that looked like a room at the Waldorf. This horse is a darn good horse who has made some money, but it really is not uncommon.

We see it each day.

I remember betting Keeneland last week and a horse in the post parade jumped right off my TV screen. He was glistening, his ears were up, he was fat and happy. He looked like a show horse. Some people look at win percentage of a trainer to choose one as an owner, but I often find myself looking at how the stable looks itself. I figured this horse was trained by Jonathon Sheppard or Graham Motion or someone like that, but it wasn't. This ten claimer was trained by a woman I had never heard of, who had a zero percent win percentage.

We see it each day. Walk a shedrow of a harness or thoroughbred racetrack and the care these horses receive is amazing. Probably unparalleled.