Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pocket Files: Meadowlands

Obvious handicapping factors are useless. So, let's go with the less-than-obvious to see what has been happening this meet, and see if it can continue.

On the driving front, Eric Goodell has been making noise. He is a capable driver who is simply being overlooked at the windows. We like those. There is sometimes enough dumb money in the pools betting Tim Tetrick (current meet ROI lower than 2X takeout) because they read a story about him in the Times, and other guys can get a boost in the pari-mutuel market. Edge is often found in capable drivers no one knows. So far this year, Mr. Goodell has been a good bet. He has only driven one post time favorite this meet, but has six wins, quietly getting drives from some of the bigger stables. Those six wins were bombers, put into position to win nicely, and betting his starts blindly has given you an astronomical ROI of 2.50.

Flipping over into trainerville, which is sometimes as difficult to figure out as your tax form, we have some head-scratchers. The one who stands out so far is Todd Marciano. Since the 2005 meet, to earlier this year, his Meadowlands training stats have been, well, let's say less than impressive. 35 starts & 0 wins. This year his 4 for 17 record is eye-opening, but more impressive is the massive lack of form these horses are showing which is being reflected on the odds board. In a stat rarely seen in racing, if you blindly bet his 17 starters you realized an ROI over 10.0. They have been ultra-bombers. And they have been live. Ignore this trainer at your own peril.

Head Scratcher File Part Two

Watching the seventh race last night made me think of the words of John Campbell, who recently told an audience at the Jug that he thought racing rules should be made uniform. Well, I wish someone would listen. For those who did not see it, Eric Goodell drifted a little bit off the rail as the leader in race 7 about three-quarters of the way down the lane. Wanting to close off the inside, he drifted slightly back towards the rail. I just thought that was a smart move from a smart driver. Apparently that is a no-no at the Meadowlands. He was chucked. Flip over to Woodbine, where we often see fines for "allowing a horse to pass on the inside". Forgive me if I am confused. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't in racing, depending solely where you are racing. If a driver of a horse you bet gets chucked, try to stay calm and remember that they might need a law degree to figure out rules in our sport.

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