Belmont Opines

Happy Monday. I figured I would write a quick post on some of the happenings on Saturday, just for kicks. It was a strange, fun, interesting day. Horse racing is never boring.

The board for the Belmont, both here and most of the day on Betfair, was close to what we all expected earlier in the week, except the eventual winner. Tonalist was 14-1 for quite awhile (about 11-1 at Betfair at one point). There are those who like to bet "early money" like people know something. If they followed that mantra, they were pretty disappointed because it signaled Tonalist stepped on a safety pin or something.

California Chrome broke a teeny bit awkwardly, but seemed to settle ok with an inside trip. When VE moved him near the head of the lane, the horse with multiple gears was stuck in second, looking more like a grinder. After the race it was revealed he had a nasty gash incurred in the race. In my view, that played little part in his loss (in the heat of battle horses get these gashes, loses shoes, any number of things they run right through). My theory is like most: He raced well for a horse who has been through the grind and who might've been a little bit pedigree challenged at 12f.

After the race, Steve Coburn and Wilfred Brimly simultaneously trended on twitter.

A non-horse racing fan I was with when Frank Sinatra Jr was announced and "New York, New York" began to play: "Hey, don't they use that Alicia Keyes song?" That change was more than a one year wonder I guess.

Bayern was my nemesis. Lying in the pick 5, pick 4 and a pick 3 sequences, I pitched him off all three tickets, costing me money. He was the most impressive winner of the day, most likely, yet I would not have bet him with stolen money.  I, like you, usually have one or two Bayern's a card, which costs us big time in multiples.

I thought the riders and the track played well. The horses were fit, riders used their speed without being stupid about it, and the track played fair. if you went 46 flat in an 8.5f race, you could get picked up.

I think a lot of us out thunk the Palice Malice race. The rail at 8f is fine at Belmont ROI and IV-wise. I thought the Met Mile would be more of a sprint too, and that was a mistake.

Belmont handle was up and there was a lot of googoo gaagaa about the card. With a Triple Crown try it is impossible to judge handles and what if's, but since that's what we do here, we will. The Belmont itself was up 40%, and the card was up 47%. $8M in purses and a whack of grade I's were added to the final card. What would the overall handle numbers be with no added stakes or stakes purses? Since the non-graded stakes were up huge, arguably up not less than 35% or so. The thing we have to remember, though: Opportunity cost and return on purse spend. Met Mile weekend was off about $10 million this year because the race was moved from Memorial Day to Belmont Day. Showcasing some of these other stakes on their own weekend would boost handle $6 million or more those days, as well. I think the overkill did not result in positive return on purse spend.

Reaction to Tonalist winning? Not as bad as in past years it seemed when I asked that question on the twitter. 
 LL Cool J was loud. The NBC talking heads had to really yell over him, but the entertainment portion seemed to go over well. Chris Kaye might not know much about horse racing, but he knows the rap.

Comment on email: "Typical that with all this Coburn nonsense, there has been little if anything mentioning that his idea would lead to pukey Belmont Races from a bettor's standpoint. But then again, who cares about the customer."

Poor old Churchill Downs. Their handle was even off Belmont Day. 

I've had the idea for a harness track to run a 4 in 48, which is a pick 4 in 48 minutes. At PTP Downs I am running a 10% takeout pick 4 in between the Manhattan and the Belmont. If I ever (shudders) get a PTP Downs.

Steve Coburn apologized this morning. Cowboys usually end up doing the honorable thing.
I hope everyone had a good Belmont Day. And carry that over and have a great Monday everyone.


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