Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wiggle it Jiggle it Better Than the Beach? JL Cruze, and Jeff Gural Is Up Against a Culture

Good morning racing fans!

The Meadowlands Pace eliminations were front and center last evening at the Big M, and they delivered one sparkling performance, and a few good ones.

The story of the night was Wiggle it Jiggle it, the division leader. After getting off sixth in 26.4, he came his last three-quarters in 120.2, with a back half of 52.3, and he had to do it overland, scoring in 48.4. Wakizachi Hanover is a pretty good horse in his own right, had a jump on the big horse, but still could not hold him off. Pretty remarkable.

In the first elim, in what might be a first, all horses came home in sub-26, the most sparkling of which was the race winner In the Arsenal and second place finisher Dealt a Winner (recently moved from Hart to Silva). I believe this crop has some pretty good horses, but with Wiggle It in the mix, it feels like they are simply a cut below. It's a horse race, they will all be gunning for the big prize next week, but it should take an off race, or traffic trouble for them to slay the son of Mr. Wiggles.

JL Cruze has taken the trotting side by storm this year and he is clicking on all cylinders. It's tough for trotters to stay sharp for an extended period of time, but right now there is no beating this four year old. His time of 149.4 was clearly amazing. Shake it Cerry, with Takter in the bike almost ran him down and was impressive in her own right. 4 year old pacers like Doo Wop Hanover and Luckbewithyou, along with four old trotters like Cruze have been showing the older horses they not only belong, but can beat them with any decent trip. It might be tough for him to sustain this sharpness, but he looks like he has a great future in this game.

Last night's Super High Five, at 8% juice, paid over 500% more than the chalk superfecta (at 20% rake). I know Super High Five's are a newer bet, that takes time. I know they are not supported much, other than 'throwing a few bucks' at a jackpot bet, or emptying the bankroll on carryover day. I know $10k is a decent pool size for the bet, and I've seen your comments about hard-to-hit bets getting most rake reductions. However, if you're going to spend money into the 5th race superfecta, because you are comfortable with it, you might want to rethink that. 8% juice payoffs are going to be pretty lucrative by filling out one more slot.

The Big M handle last evening was over $3M. 

George Teague said he believes Wiggle it Jiggle it is probably better than Somebeachsomewhere. I don't think he's blowing smoke. Have you seen a three year old since him that even close to compares? I have not, but Wiggle it looks to be in that conversation. Like Beach, who had to face and beat great horses like Art Official and Shadow Play, Wiggle does as well. And he, more often than not, makes them look bad.

Gural's up against a culture that is hard to change (page 3 pdf).
  • “Whenever you do good everyone wants to give you horses” he [Elliott] said. “They think you have the magic drug. That’s the way this business is. I had an owner call me and he said he wanted to give me some good horses. He told me ‘you got the stuff. ‘ I said, ‘really, what’s the stuff?’” In harness racing there’s a belief from some owners that if ‘you got the stuff” (i.e. a nice way of saying you’re cheating), I want to do business with you, and I’ll give you a barn full of horses. Winning begets more horses and more horses. It’s a vicious circle. And it’s been going on for a long time. 
Have a great Sunday everyone. 

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