For the former, Dan over at Thorotrends has a wonderful post on it. If you are planning to visit and you aren't a regular, it's a must read.
Although it is fodder to get flamed, I honestly don't look forward to either meet (when compared to fans, that is). It's not because I don't like watching good horses, the setting, or anything else. In Saratoga's case, for years the meet was not offered on my ADW (I have been playing racing on the 'net since the 1990's), so I never really made it an important part of my summer. As a player I need to be able to bet something, to, well, bet something. As far as Del Mar goes, I have not looked at it much either, mainly because of the rake hike several years ago. Before that point I did play it somewhat. I find both meets too long.
I think it's more than that, though. As an everyday player you simply need downtime. I find the dog days of summer to be that downtime. In the winter months I begin in earnest, with the onset of cold weather, and play very religiously. Since as far back as I have kept records, most of my hay was made from January to May. I seem to get back into the swing of things for the Turfway meet in September, onto Keeneland's, and then take another break and wait for Gulfstream.
I like watching Saratoga and Del Mar, but I don't have the energy to play it like I need to, to succeed. It's probably as simple as that.
Now that y'all think I am cray cray, I'll move on.
At the start of any big meet or a Triple Crown race, you tend to find an article about something wrong with the sport. This isn't uncommon and happens before the Super Bowl (head injuries), or Daytona 500 (falling NASCAR attendance) and other events. Yesterday, James Odato wrote an article about falling metrics in horse racing with the start of the 'Toga meet. Give it a read if you like.
In articles such as this I always find something that sticks out. In the article, Odato quoted two people, Eugene Christansen who was extolling the benefits of racing changing by innovating and offering a better gambling product, and Rich Violette with an opposing view.
Violette, when speaking about Christiansen's prose that he has been forwarding about horse racing gambling for years, said:
- "Richard A. Violette Jr., ..... calls Christiansen's observations "soundbites.""
Eugene Christiansen, from his website, has the following partial resume:
"..... he has conducted studies of the economics, taxation, financial structure, and regulation of casino gaming, pari-mutuel wagering, and lotteries.... Representative work includes studies of the efficiency of a U.S. state lottery; estimates of the demand for casino gaming, lotteries, and pari-mutuel wagering in U.S. and foreign markets; the feasibility and revenue potential of off-track betting; the financial structure of the Atlantic City casino industry; the impact of gambling on U.S. Indian reservation lands on State-authorized gambling industries; analyses of gambling taxation; procedures to increase wagering and improve the efficiency of pari-mutuel betting operations; the changing nature of communications media and the implications of the changes for horse racing; the interrelationships among evolving consumer expectations, casino gaming, and other forms of entertainment....."
Conversely, Mr. Violette is part of a horsemen group and is a horse trainer.
In the horse racing solar system, Mr. Violette's words carry the weight of a hundred suns. Mr. Christainsen's, about a three by three rock in the Asteroid Belt.
With a defacto Triple Crown for three year old pacers concluded, harness shifts to the trotters, with the Hambletonian on tap in a few weeks. This card is the most successful card in harness racing, and it is not really close. Over the years, through exporting and some good cards, handle has not fallen like so many other big event days. Mark it on your calendar.
The Captain has won the first few months of the harness racing season with some good performances, going undefeated. After a break we'll see if he can continue that dominance, or if others can step up. The three year old's are not a lot different in harness racing or thoroughbred racing. The early leaders can some time lose their mettle and others take over.
There's a nice late turf bias at Belmont. Little good that does me now that the meet has ended. I don't see any major bias at the venues I have been playing lately.
Good luck to everyone playing today. Have a great Tuesday!