Tuesday Notes

Harnessracing.com is doing a pretty bang-up job covering the sport of late. Their exclusive yesterday was a call to Jim Takter regarding the health of See You at Peelers.

“All day Sunday we had a veterinarian here,” said Takter. “We jogged her and she was not good. She was also laying down. I almost took her to the clinic but a couple hours later she came back.”

Handicappers, who know a sub-par appearance when they see it, were all over that on Saturday night. She is an absolute monster, but she will always have some nagging questions when she throws a bad one in like she did in the Tarport Hap, and when she consistently runs-in badly. Sometimes I wonder what she could pace if she didn't run in badly. It's scary.

Silly policy usually ends up on the chopping block. That's Mark Davies take this morning, and he is confident some of the decisions in Europe against betting customers will be changed. Mark, can they come across the pond next and change them here? Start in California and work east.

Del Mar uses their noggin to increase field size in a common sense way, rather than pissing off thousands of their customers raising takeout that doesn't even raise field size.

There is some obligatory chatter from thoroughbred fans on harness racing at Pace. I notice the old breaking rule is mentioned yet again, and as I have ranted about before, it is a rule for a different age (i.e. one where a monopoly could do what they want to keep your money in the pools). If a slot machine malfunctions and does not give you a third spin to complete your line, you get a refund. If a horse does not get onto the field of play on stride, you get a losing ticket. I don't know how to fix it, but it is something that is intellectually dishonest to new patrons.

One thing we have over our running cousins is good, deep fields that race as older horses. For example: Saturday's $700k The Maple Leaf Trot. This is one of the finest fields you will ever see assembled in the older division, with the precocious Il Villagio, Arch Madness, San Pail and Lucky Jim. Fabulous race!

Warrawee Needy stayed undefeated last night at Rideau. I am not sold on the horse, but he is sure racking up the wins.

There was a post at Harnessdriver.com asking Woodbine to kill the twenty cent pick 4. This is not uncommon lament from handicappers, because it dilutes the payoffs. Even with a $50k pool, a lot of us don't much care to bet them. Case in point, the late pick 4 on Saturday evening. A 4-5, a 2-5 and a 3-5 all ran out in the sequence, and it paid $1300.

There was some sharp comments below on the Pace handle Saturday. A couple of their points: Why is the Hambo handle about the same as it was several years ago, but the Pace handle has fallen off dramatically? It's at the same track, and for comparisons sake, pretty apt. In addition, the Pace handle at 3.9M is about $500,000 less than the typical Saturday several years ago at the M. That would be tantamount to Woodbine's North America Cup handle coming in at about $1.1 million last month. One player simply believes it's the card (two young trots carded in the first two races does not exactly energize bettors), and the pool size turning him off. Via Twitter:

I too did not bet much. I have always believed that tracks do not come back quickly, or are destroyed quickly. It's incremental. The Meadowlands road back will take quite awhile, in my opinion, just like Woodbine (who has stabilized and started to even grow) did not change, nor grow overnight. Bettors all don't get up and leave, or decide to play you on a Saturday, it takes many Saturday's.


That Blog Guy said...

No doubt the Meadowlands was on a downslide because of no slots for the past several years, but Christie killed the Meadowlands business when for months it was "The Meadowlands is going to close" and then the "Will they or won't they survive nonsense".

Blaine said...

There's no question that handle is down at the BigM. However, given what they've been through over the last year and a half, there had to be some collateral damage. Having said that, the quality of racing is still #1 and the size of the pools are by far #1. Time will tell whether they get better, worse or remain the same.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Christie killed the Meadowlands. Harness racing and the Meadowlands was falling long before he even got into office.

7 horse fields on a Saturday take a toll on bettors-sooner or later they look elsewhere.


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