The Red Blood Cell Count & More Sunday Notes

For handicappers a horse blood test doesn't mean much, but it should. When a lot of handicappers see a horse race poorly they try and chalk it up to a bad ride or drive, a "bounce", the track surface, the pace or distance or any number of other issues. Often times the horse is simply a little under the weather.

Today in Harness Racing Update, a horse owner uploaded a pdf of his horse's blood test (it's in the letters section on page 6). It's always neat to get familiar with some of these items; for example "GGT" was a liver level that Uncle Mo had that they could not get down.

One level - the red blood cell count - is what the letter writer focus's on. This count, which can be elevated due to illegal blood builders like EPO/DPO and Aranesp, is generally a scourge and has felled several super-duper trainers before. The writer believes that elevated counts signal wrongdoing and we should start pitching people for high counts.

As it has been explained to me, the RBC can be elevated on its own, so that's why commissions can't do much about it. However, it seems that if some trainer had every horse in his or her barn with high RBC counts they could do something couldn't they? It's a question - a statistical one - that I have always wondered about. If anyone knows why they don't do more using statistical data, please let us know in the comments section.

Yesterday was a dandy day for thoroughbred racing. The Gotham, Big Cap, and the return of Pants on Fire and Dialed In were all worth watching. The Goat has full replays and recaps from yesterday.

It looks like (although I expect it a longshot) there's a chance California may allow sports betting. I suspect the lines won't be very favorable if so. As has been noted many times in Ontario, the government is not very good at running a gambling establishment.

Congrats to Balmoral Park. Their wagering per card is up over $342,000 in 2012. Good fields, contentious racing, promotion, a couple of low rake bets have all made a difference.

Oh, at the HRU link above we have some thoughts on distance racing in harness, as well. it is something that's always interested me, in a "let's test it" sort of way.

Last but not least - Ninja Cat broke his maiden. It's nice that a horse with a great name like that enters the "winners" record books :)

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