It was an Odd North America Cup Night

Hi Everyone. Last evening's North America Cup card is in the books, so please allow me to share a few thoughts. 

Handle came in pretty solid, although it's hard to compare historically because of the number of races and a super high five mandatory; the latter in what I hope is another indication shows this is a gambling game, as new money for the carryover was more than was bet on the North America Cup. To those of us who gamble, this makes sense, but really, it was about the only thing that did most of the night. 

We saw massive form reversals like American History at even money in the open, horses stopping, numerous breakers including Atlanta who seemingly never breaks, the best pacing filly in the country who looked like she should've stayed home; we had horses racing off the course for no reason. 

And it in the Cup itself, well we had some head scratchers. 

$1 million on the line, glory, biggest pacing race in the world and everyone but one horse tucks? 

Most of us made serious light of Bob McClure choosing to drive a longer shot rather than an elimination winner, and that was not the case as his choice was inexplicably lower odds than the elimination winner. I say inexplicably on paper. Captain Kirk, who is two and ohh against Papi Rob Hanover and almost beat Tall Dark Stranger in his pace elimination, raced exactly like the dead on the board horse he was. Jody was ducking faster than a solider on the Maginot Line in summer of 1940. Maybe Bob knew the horse would be no good; I have no idea. We peons are usually in the dark about such things. 

Why so few other horses came to race - this is still the richest pacing race in the world - is something maybe more than one or two of the local drivers would like a do-over with. That no one other than Bob tried to get placed near the front is bizarre. Kudos to Drury with Moneyman Hill. A recent purchase for a reported $80k US, the horse fell into third, sat third and came third, pocketing $120 large.

Something surely a lot feel haoppy about as do I, is for Gingras. The dude moved to Canada, quarantined and did so primarily because he wanted to win this race. 

The race was a total snoozer, but the best horse and driver won. 

Overall, and bigger picture, I'm happy for all involved, as they got this race into the books. Still, I can't help but think of next year with better horses, better drivers and a deeper undercard. It should be back to its old self.  

Have a nice Sunday everyone. 

#theyknew Hold it Who Knew?

 The Theyknews are the talk of the town on the twitter very often. And also very often they're pretty good, especially in smaller pool tracks where it's easy for the connections to be on something that you aren't. But, last card at Mohawk, there was a theyknew where I have no idea who the they were. 

In the second we opened the PP's to a two horse race. Free Flying Ticket had beaten better and was going for three in a row as the 2-1 morning line chalk, and favorite in the doubles. The five was a close second choice in multis, and had a nice win last time. 

The betting started off weird, and especially because I thought the five had a shot to beat the chalk, I was dismayed (intervals below). Then I checked the perfecta payoffs and saw a decent edge with like a $10 and $12 payouts (two was still chalk in ex's) and I told a friend, "I can't believe I am thinking of boxing these two, it can't come any other way can it? Is something up here, they are too high?"

The two came out on the track, looked perfect, the five looked good as well. It felt like a green light, but something also felt very, very odd and it got odder at the gate: The five horse went to 1-2 and the two horse went from 7-5 to 2-1. 

You're probably saying that you've seen this before and it was the typical #theyknew. But here's where it gets interesting. When we see a theyknew, the rider or driver is usually in the know - they know the horse isn't great; she felt off, the connections told her she was sick last week; whatever. And they underdrive or underride the horse. Not this time. Paul Mac pulled at exactly the right time, was aggressive, and at the half looked like a 1-9 shot. He drove her to win. 

 

 And pffftt, the filly crumbled. So, if Paul didn't know, and if by deduction, the connections didn't know, who the hell knew?

I have no idea. 

Have a nice Thursday everyone. 

Horse Racing Trade Media Disconnects

It's a pretty common occurrence to see analysis of the media - any media really - nowadays that contains a whole lot of grains of truth regarding a strong disconnect; a disconnect with statistics - like handle and TV coverage - or something seemingly as tangible as what's happening on the ground right in front of our eyes. 

Last night, this was the headline from a trade paper about a performance of a driver. Big night; one for the ages! When you scroll the article, youtube videos are linked, including to the second race, which was not won by the driver in the headline.


 

 Jody was driving the 1-5 shot and if you watch the video, there was something for the ages and it was something. He sat behind a leaver, and never pulled, only getting out at the end. It's one of those drives that in Hong Kong would get you shipped onto the next plane to Northern Tibet Raceway. It was one of those drives where in North America, bettors scream "fix!" and head to the poker tables. It's the drive customers were were talking about on twitter. 

If you read the headline of the trade paper, you'd never know it even existed. "Local Driver Has Great Night", time to move on. 

Now, I don't point out that drive to suggest something sinister happened. Not only do I not believe it did, suggesting it (without fact or knowledge) I'd be as bad as the media we criticize so often. The filly could've felt like she had zero go, she could've felt lame; a hundred things where a chalk might sit in. 

But the fact remains - what you at home were talking about was not reflected in a trade media story. 

Horse racing media - and I think this is true with most media - lives in a vacuum. Sometimes this is by necessity (advertisers, don't rock the boat) and sometimes it's by an unwillingness to listen and understand what's happening around it. For whatever reason it's been here since what seems the beginning of time. And it doesn't appear to be getting fixed anytime soon. 

As for Jody's drive, well, that's a pox on horse racing's house. As I note, I have no idea why he drove the filly like that and neither do you. And that's the problem. 

Information needs to be disseminated in this sport; things can't just be buried. When upwards of $200,000 is bet in multis and in-race wagers on a race like that, the people giving you their hard earned money deserve more than silence and a story in a trade paper about what great a night the guy had. 

It leaves you scratching your head and it leaves me scratching mine too. It's no way to run a gambling sport. 

Have a wonderful Travers and Hambo weekend everyone. 


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