Sunday Notes

Good morning fellow racing fans!

Last evening at Balmoral Park, the Am Nats were contested. After Odds on Amethyst broke, Father Patrick cruised. The hard luck Thinking Out Loud won the older split, and the most interesting and controversial race of the night was the older trot won by Creatine.

A few thoughts on those races......

Creatine was five or eight the best - proving once again a good four year old can win these races - but no matter how you slice it, there was a violation. What got many so upset was not the judges leaving him up, but saying he didn't go inside a pylon, when he clearly went inside at least two and probably three or four (judge for yourself). This was a strange situation. Do they throw out the best horse in a stakes race because the driver was impatient? Do they call it to the letter of the law? Pylon violations are this sports' nemesis when it comes to judging.

It was a strange race to begin with, quite frankly. The rail horse was 9-5, who could not come home quicker than 29 in his Q. Market Share was much lower odds than Wishing Stone, and he was nowhere as good in the Allerage. There were question marks off big trips - Creatine and Master Of Law. Maybe the race was supposed to end up like that.

Foiled Again had tough luck again, having to park out Tetrick, who tried to brush by a horse he was 99/100 times never going to get by.  He went a huge middle half on that cool night and was clipped at the end by Thinking Out Loud - another hard luck horse. He's a horse who is best coming from off it, in a sport that is early speed laden, and even when he is super sharp, he needs to be huge to win these races. He raced really well last night - getting bounced around like a ping pong ball at the half - and looked more like he looked in the summer.

Balmoral had an excellent pick 4 yesterday, where logical horses did win and it was extremely hittable, yet it carried over. $33,000 is carried over to tonight, so give it a look. Nice job setting up the races, race office. 

I played Thoroughbred racing in the afternoon, but mostly small. I had some work to do and really didn't feel like diving in full tilt (I played a Derby Wars game and made a few small bets). However, at Keeneland I am pretty sure I was not the only one taking time off. Handle was down again yesterday; this on a day with terrible weather at Belmont (there were 38 scratches).  Keeneland has been plagued by dirt racing's fields and style - if you don't believe that now, you never will - with (before yesterday) 58% of dirt sprints going to chalk, and over 70% of all dirt races going to the first or second choice. Keeneland's edge with players has been its lack of sameness - it offered field depth where 8 out of 12 horses could hit the board based on pace and bias. It was a spread track, like a track in the UK, not like Santa Anita. So far this meet it isn't.  It has hurt them.

Speaking of Santa Anita, they ain't doing great shakes either. The track who raised your double rake, but then created a couple of promotional double bets (you can't make this stuff up) had a meager handle, with a carryover in the pick 6.

There were scratches in the OSS Super Finals yesterday but they were late. Doc has a good point. 

Do you want to play a track that has been offering value? Try Woodbine.  If you are in the US you can get some okay rebates and the fields have been very deep. Prices are good. Handle has been good as well, more often than not over $4 million.

For those north of the border may I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I will be eating turkey at 6, watching the Cowboys play. It's like American Thanksgiving, but a little early.

Have a super day everyone.


Ron said...

Keeneland handle has been down,but don't forget they were down in the spring also, 7% if I remember correctly. That was on poly. Amazingly gpw is up big time over Calder, I'm not sure why other than the big fields.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi Ron,

GPW was a good idea I think. They're using the GP brand and takeout rates (which for multi horse exotics are still high, but better than Calder).

This spring at KEE had some issue with two year old racing and FS. Their regular race field size and handle on the poly were fine.

The big loss this fall meet has been poly shippers that fill the box and give us slugs deep claimers/OC to bet. Its cost them over 1 horse per race from last year, thus far.

Regardless, people like to paint doom and gloom on one thing, one meet, but we all know it's more than that. My issue with Keeneland was that they were building on their handles almost each year, and growing incrementally. Racing needs this badly. It needs differences, big fields, great turf racing, good takeouts. Keeneland still has some of that, but I think they've hit the wall. Their dirt racing is like Gulfstream's, and if people want to bet Gulfstream, they'll bet Gulfstream. I am unsure if they can grow any more by trying to be the same as everyone else (who are not growing).

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.


ron said...

I agree with most of the things you say, and you're probably right about Poly and I'm probably wrong. Though Oaklawn had huge gains this past year without Poly or grass. I believe you've stated the big computer guys can still find a way to sneak into Oaklawns pools, but I monitored closely last yr and the late odds changes aren't as noticeable. I belive the whale will be the death of racing before dirt. Last night at Hong Kong a horse was 9/2 when they left the gate and he crossed the wire in front at 2-1. Sorry to change subjects.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi Ron,

As I note as much as I can, I believe no one thing will kill or not kill things as we know them. What I do believe is that appeasement and catering to fiefdoms who yell the loudest, rather than concentrating on the numbers, is a detriment. People scream lasix is an issue. It won't change handle appreciably, I think. Dirt was supposed to "rock the Santa Anita pools" - after we heard how horsemen and bettors "hate it". Handle was down $200 million when they switched.

You can have lower rake, but if the fields are crap it's not going to save the game. If you have teams hammering chalk to below fair, it's not dissimilar. On and on.

We need more people standing up for the numbers. If Keeneland is building a brand like they have in this lost handle landscape, dont go backwards, look to improve. If Kentucky Downs, with a differing turf course and low rake have increased handles by 300% like they have, give them more dates not fewer. It doesn't matter what any of us think, because the proof is in the pudding.

Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful comments. I don't expect folks to agree with me, or you, all the time (nor they should), but I appreciate them.


Anonymous said...

Was Calder takeout lowered?

Pull the Pocket said...

Calder's meet was changed from CRC takeout rates to GP takeout rates, which are lower in blended fashion.



Carryovers Provide Big Reach and an Immediate Return

Sinking marketing money directly into the horseplayer by seeding pools is effective, in both theory and practice In Ontario and elsewher...