Monday Notes

Good morning everyone.

Ray Paulick has an amazing story about a con man that a few of you might remember in your travels on social media the past year. Because you and I do not think like this gentleman, it shocks us how someone can be so creative and brazen, but when you think about it, a few well-placed emails, seeded stories and what have you can make for a persona that sounds legit.

Although I am sure this can work in any type of environment, it is conducive to work in horse racing. Racing, through backside innuendo, rumor etc, has always been ripe for this sort of stuff. A lot of folks are predisposed to believe a good deal of it. To overuse horse cliches, it's best to get any story from the horses mouth in this sport.

Racing is on soft footing in Trinidad and Tobago (hold it, they race there?). It seems a government imposed 10% betting tax on each tax bet has helped kill the business. Punters have moved play to the non-taxed sports betting circles, or moved offshore and handle is down over a third.

I'm not sure why in so many locales the horse racing business seems to think raising the juice will make more money for them. Not long ago in Australia, which only had the tote, offshore wagering was through the roof under similar circumstances. When the corporate bookies were allowed to do business without a net, this offshore money came back on shore. I read a recent study where offshore, illegal horse wagering there was below 10%. Not bad, and still probably less than it was in the neighborhood bookie days. Price matters. Racing needs to remember that truism in every decision it makes.

Horses sometimes throw clunkers. Sometimes a reason is given, or obvious (high white counts, lameness, something) and sometimes you just never know. Palice Malice's Whitney was a clunker, and Pletch does not know why. Underlying issue or simply a bad race and a bounce back? We'll find out in the Woodward.

There was quite a bit of information from the Jockey Club round table yesterday. Of particular interest to horseplayers, the JC came out and said that new testing must be funded by purses, not by raising the takeout. The latter was trail-ballooned over the last year. I'm glad the JC is standing up for the wagering side of the game instead of just horse owners.

I watched the Dan Patch this weekend and at the quarter I thought Sweet Lou was beaten. He just seemed to have a little hitch in his giddy up. That did not happen. He raced really well once again, and is clearly the top older horse in training. If he somehow wins out, Ake's uber-talented Sebastian might have a run for his money in HOY voting.

I can't help but wonder with Lou, however. What would he be doing if the "handicap" division was as deep as last year? Warawee Needy, Pet Rock and A Rocknrolldance were all capable of toughing it out in 147. As we see with the Captain's record this season, who you race against matters.

Have a nice Monday everyone.

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