Friday, June 24, 2011

A Man Walks Into a Bar.....

I am off to meet a couple of friends last night at the Crown and Dragon north of Bloor on Yonge, here in the Big Smoke. For those who might not know, the bar has the best wings in Toronto, not only in my opinion, but from real restaurant critics. Anyhoo, I pop up to the bar, and what's on the big screen? HPI TV. The 6th at Mohawk is just going off. I must say, other than being in an OTB, I have never seen a horse racing channel being the feature at a pub! I got to watch a couple at the Meadowlands and Mohawk before they switched to some-sort-of-a-MMA-slugfest. That interests me about as much as an arts and crafts class.

Further to the strange horse racing reference to the evening, I walked to the restroom and saw paintings of old race meets, and a 1907 Royal Ascot poster. This is not a horse racing bar, but it sure looked like one.

The first person to arrive was a friend who is a professional gambler. While waiting for others I asked if he read the Tom LaMarra Bloodhorse piece on the state of California racing. He had not, so I gave him by blackberry and he read.

"What the hell are those people doing there?" he asked.

That seems to be a familiar lament. From reading customers' thoughts around the Interwebs, incredulity is the best word I can think of.

The article is well-researched and quite good. The state of racing in that state is not strong, and with so much infighting, and so much policy not resting on stated fact, but on what each group "thinks" is the right thing to do, I highly suspect they will be in that funk for awhile. The over/under on handle losses for 2011 is $400 million, and that's a staggering number.

As with most things, my evening, through happenstance or coincidence, focused yet again, on horse racing. I just didn't figure as much in a downtown pub.


Charlie on twitter (@charlie125) summed up his thoughts on all the California racing articles in one Paceadvantage line yesterday. 

Turf writers you want to follow on Twitter? Tom LaMarra, who is @jerseytom. He's a horseplayer.

Claire Novak and others were mentioning See You At Peelers today. Bill Finley's article has legs, and it was linked on Equidaily, as well.

Bob Marks from Perretti Farms emailed: "I would compare See You At Peelers to Rachel Alexandra, not Zenyatta". That is a strong point. Rach's 20 length romp in the Oaks was not dissimilar to SYAP's romps so far against the girls (in harness you are not likely to see a 20 length win in Open competition as the variance is simply not there). In addition, she clearly has the go to beat up on males, and is a horse who uses her speed, and has a wicked ability to separate, just like Rachel did

Nick Eaves, Woodbine's CEO, was interviewed on the Paulick Report. Woodbine has gone through a massive sea-change in thinking the past six years. In the early 2000's, protection ruled the corporate roost - protecting signals from offshore's, protecting their product, and protecting the punishing takeouts. Now, a more competitive vision has emerged. Rebating (something that offshores were doing with success early in the 2000s, that Woodbine had resisited) is a part of the culture, signals are open, and they have turned a corner. They are not there yet, but they are getting there.

Standardbredgal takes a look at the horse's who were "on cereal boxes" the past years, and likes what Jim Carr is doing with pacer Big Jim.

Sid's "Best of Twitter Blogs" is a follow Friday. There are usually several crowdsourced stories of interest each day.

USTA's strategic wagering is doing well. This weekend, for the Hoosier Cup, they are guaranteeing a 20k super.

Queen's Plate day is Sunday, and I might head up for it. I have always enjoyed that day. The problem? I have been too busy to watch much racing, and I feel I will be at more of a disadvantage than usual.

Enjoy your Friday everyone!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey PTP,

Great to see a pub featuring horse racing-a nice change from watching two men in the octagon chewing each other's knuckles. :)


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