Friday Notes

It's Keeneland opening day. And it's supposedly raining cats and dogs, or for my amateur French hobbyist Frances, chats and chiens. Sometimes I have to remember what the track is made of with all the chatter, but since it is poly, the field size should hold up some. So, I am handicapping to play the card.

Rich Nilsen has a "7 Reasons to Play Keeneland" piece up, that I found pretty good. Keeeneland's website usually has some great handicapping stuff up too, and is always worth checking for gems, that may help wade through the big pools.

 Fred Pope is back on Paulick, looking for revenue. This time he doesn't want to tax players through higher signal fees, where magically handle stays the same (I call it "California Dreaming"). He's really on his horse though, and it appears he is not a huge fan of some power brokers in this sport.

At Keeneland, rumor (none of it makes a ton of sense, this is racing, so we'll use rumor) has it Keeneland wants the Breeders Cup, and that has a better chance of getting approved racing on dirt. That in itself, from a business perspective, is slightly annoying. What's wrong with once every five years or so having it on Synth? Europe might bring a few more horses, especially with weather they're used to, and it makes it a slightly different event. Really, was the 2009 Breeders Cup at Santa Anita bad? No, nothing of the sort. A few dirt horses didn't show up, but the races were awesome to bet, handle was good. The last two years all we saw was that ridiculous speedway.  Racing should be more open minded, it's not like this sport is growing.

The Church of Joe Drape wrote an article last night on Keeneland's surface switch. I must say, as much as people in this industry love to dump on the dude for his articles, this one Keeneland could've foreseen from a hundred miles away.  Racing brings most of its problems on itself.

Most people I've spoken with about the Keeneland switch are bummed from a forward looking perspective. With last week's news, a new focus on breakdowns, and racing getting hit from just about everywhere in this new urbanized, connected world, they were expecting more. Instead they feel like Mark Casse does in today's TDN (page 8 PDF):
  • With the Asmussen deal a few weeks ago and with this, I feel beat up. I do. And if anyone shouldn't feel beat up, it's me. I am very fortunate and train for some wonderful people that stand behind me. But I don't really worry for me; I worry for my son Norman, who
    has devoted his life to this. And I just don't know where this industry is going.
People pine for a commissioner in racing, but sometimes I think racing already has one. His name is Rod Serling.

Aside, I find the difference in reaction from east coast trainer to west coast when Santa Anita switched pretty telling. Some east coast reaction is "I thought we were building something here" versus the west coast "weee, yippee racing is saved". There apparently is an east coast, west coast bias. 

Long time trainer Jerry Silverman calls it quits. I liked Jerry's training and horses. Good egg.

Enjoy opening day at Keeneland everyone.

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