Last night was an interesting evening in harness land. At the Meadowlands, ostriches and camels and maybe some sort of Russian alpaca's raced; and there was some harness racing. At Pocono, the best of the best was on display with eliminations for three huge stakes races, culminating in a big night next weekend.
From an attendance and handle perspective, the camels and ostriches kicked some butt, forever reminding anyone who yet doesn't know, the Meadowlands rules the betting world.
At Pocono - 'I cant believe this track races one full mile' - Downs, we saw speed rule speed, with very few bias busters.
A few notes:
People bet drivers, and they sure look at confirmation bias when doing it. Conversely, Vinny Ginsberg grabs some catch drives off pros and sets lifetime marks; Doug Mcnair takes some horse's off Tetrick and rolls; Andrew McCarthy does what anyone with a pulse would do with Dynamic Youth and roars to a lifetime mark. I have no idea why people don't remember the driver switches that confounds their biases, while only remembering the good ones.
The horse, post position, gate speed and the circumstance of a race tends to lead to a race result. It's been that way forever.
Taking supreme advantage of the above were the horses who were sharp and who made the lead at Pocono. Seemingly no matter what the fractions, the speed demons won. In every pacing race you had to be on top, in the pocket or first over to win. In the trots it was not much different, except for Royalty For Life, who was mind boggling after breaking stride.
The winners, to me, proved one thing - they were the winners, but most could also have lost with a different trip. Does Captain Treacherous beat Vegas Vacation if Sears makes the top? Does Foiled Again set a life's mark at 9 without that trip?
Next week should be marvelous. In the eliminations we had a lot of speed sorting themselves out, but next week, instead of four speeds, we have eight. If we are betting the Finals, I'll be looking at value on the odds board, because trip will matter. And as we see with Vinny Ginsberg, Andrew McCarthy and Dougie McNair, I certainly won't be looking at drivers to make my choices.
Harness racing, this year anyway, is a different game. It's a bunch of fairly good gaited well bred horses knocking heads, all capable of putting up a fast mile with a trip. It makes for interesting betting affairs, and I expect we'll see some neat races next week.
A few horse by horse thoughts:
Heston Blue Chip was a complete no try but I thought he looked fantastic. He had plenty of horse in the lane, and I bet he's a big try for all the chocolates next week.
Betterthancheddar has had a pretty bizarre career. He was the colt who went crazy in a nw 2 at three, then raced sick a couple of times, apparently, which hurt his summer. Last year he got injured. This year he looks to have come back worse than last year, but people keep hammering him. I know the connections have been trumpeting him up, but any good handicapper uses his or her eyes, not his ears. If you did that, you made some serious coin betting against him this season.
Smling Eli looked 'pully' in the post parade, in my opinion, but he raced well again. Maybe something is pinching him, but he has so much quality it doesn't matter.
Everyone wants to make the Captain a standout, like a Well Said or Rock n Roll Heaven was. I ain't buying what they're selling. If a horse trips out against him, he can easily be beaten, unlike those previous two, who could spot them 5 and still win.
I remember betting Royalty For Life in the BC last year, but I wasn't sold on him. Now I am. That horse has come back amazingly fast.
I watched Michael's Power at Mohawk. Ya, first start, blah blah blah, but I thought the horse off those Q's looked substandard.
Have a great Sunday everyone.
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