I like to call it the squeeze. Toronto wants a bigger share of Woodbine slot revenue, 10% to be exact. If you follow Toronto politics, lately they are after more money. I think they like to spend there. Well, good luck. If the OLGC gives in to this, it opens the proverbial can of worms, and other municipalities can follow. The Ontario government is a fan of cash, too. I think the chances of them giving a local government more of their share are about equal to me flying to Mars for Christmas. Here we thought racings fingers-in-the-pie economics was only restricted to horse owners and tracks. Now it's the cities too!
Regardless, I think we should get used to things like the above. Remember Prairie Meadows? The slots there are doing well. Racing is not. It ran a 29.2M deficit in 2006. Something has to give, in my opinion, so things like the above I think we should get used to seeing. Unless racing fixes itself and grows handles, expect more fingers, and smaller pies.
On the betting front, two things caught my eye. One, remember our story below on betfair? Positive buzz is back at that place, with a story how a man bet a horse in-running at 999-1, and he walked away with a pile of Christmas money, enough so he can "pay off his mortgage." There have been similar stories in the past. When you see someone won by backing a horse in-running, you never hear about the guy who laid him out at those odds. Someone really got stung. We often hear at the track at the head of the lane "your horse has no hope in hell." The gentleman or lady who laid that bet might hold his/her tongue next time. After my next bad beat, I'll think of that.
Not sure if you heard, but Santa Anita is instituting the High Five wager or cincofecta - pick the top five finishers. Minimum is a buck. Message board and commentator buzz is not good. Rich Eng's take seems to sum it up. I don't know why there is so much doom and gloom. To me it is a good idea in a lot of respects. One thing that worries me, and it is only my opinion, is that we are heading to more and more "negative churn" bets in racing. Churn is our friend. A guy bets $100 to show, he has $140 or $160 back and he rebets. Sucking money into Pick 6 carryovers, or high five bets doesn't allow for churn, and it kills bankrolls. Jeremy Plonk, at ESPN.com did a feature on this phenomenon. Good read.
The AP picked up on a harness racing story! Unfortunately it was a story about race-fixing. Something good about that? To me the good is that one of the charges the driver was convicted of was grand theft. I believe that is exactly what it is. If I went and took money from a person who buys my product, or stock, or house it is theft, and I possibly go to jail. It is good for our game if this is treated similarly, in my opinion.
I hate to end on a bad story, so let's find some good. Skill, talent, success. Spell that Brian Sears. I know drivers don't make horses go faster, and I know if I give him a bunch of 100-1 shot's he won't win at a good rate, but on converting his drives, having them in good spots, and knowing every inch of the Meadowlands racetrack, is there a better - or has there been ever - a better driver there? He is running away with the meet title so far. He is winning with long shots, chalk, trotters and pacers. I have said before that you can find a leading driver at a racetrack by looking at who drives the most chalk. Almost without fail that is the elixir to success. Well, get this: Brian Sears, with a 16 win lead has not driven the most chalk, Tim Tetrick has. Amazing stuff. We'll see if he can keep it up.
Until next time I will leave you with a column from ESPN's Jay Cronley. Some horseplayers sure are nice aren't they?
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