Happy Thursday everyone.
It's a good weekend in racing.
Tom Durkin's last day is Sunday. "End of an era" is used a lot these days in sports and entertainment. This time it really means something. We grew up with Tom - both in harness, "here comes Nihilator on the outside with swift and powerful strides" and in thoroughbred racing, "Sunday Silence in a racing epic" - and I, like many, can't feel anything but a bit sad about him leaving. Good luck Tom. Enjoy life.
The card on Saturday at Mohawk is astoundingly good, from a fans perspective. We've still got that silly "winners pick posts" thing going on, which makes stakes finals more of coronations, not races. Unlike previous or some current big cards, however, Mohawk has at least tried to make things better for the punter too. The Super High Five will be paid out, and we should get good value.
The Zweig is Friday at Vernon and Monday is the Cane Pace, the first leg of the very popular Harness Racing Triple Crown.
Churchill Downs names a new CEO. Bill Carstanjen, which to me is always tougher to spell than Leroydeserdesonomeaux, is the dude. I think we can expect more of the same with this appointment. Let's hope after the terrible spring meet he does not raise rakes to 30% to "make more money", though.
I am almost through the fascinating "The Sure Thing", a book about Irish professional punter, horse trainer and jack of everything racing, Barney Curley. There are plenty of unique and interesting stories, but one made me laugh.
Learning he was going to be in New York in the early 1980's, The New York Post decided to interview him. When asked about American racing, the only thing the long-time professional racetrack gambler said was "At 18% pari-mutuel takeout I would not last twelve months." Maybe we should send that quote to Bill Carstanjen.
What doesn't fit in this DRF article on Saratoga handle? Handle is down (expected), ontrack handle is near flat (expected, I guess) but attendance is up 12.1%. We'll get Columbo on the case to see if they're counting barn cats in the attendance figures.
Old school time and why John Campbell is the best who ever lived with a square gaiter: They gave Nuncio time to learn to race from the back, and it's worked well. 98 out of 100 horses nowadays are not given that much patience.
Speaking of patience, Barney Curley was a friend and fan of Charlie Whittingham. He marveled at how patient he was with horses, along with his ability to get them to peak. He shared the often used Bald Eagle quote about the Arlington Million back in the 1980's. A reporter asked when he thought his charge - Estrapade - was a winner. Charlie responded, "when I entered her"
Kentucky Downs opens soon. Get your handicapping sheets ready. It's got the best betting value in North America.
Loved this. A horse went a big mile at Charlottetown and set a track record with new driver Billy Davis on her. Some cried "juice" but a nice post on a chat board in defence sets some straight.
I got a gazillion hits on yesterday's post. People must like to hear about iPhones or something. Thanks for reading and sharing it.
I think Bettors Edge beats Sweet Lou this weekend in the CPD final. I thought he would get beat two races ago as well, so beware any PTP Sweet Lou Proclamations.
Have a great day everyone!
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