Wednesday, April 26, 2023

ITP-Joyce Movie Finale. Mayhem. Chases. Free Food. And in a Cinematic Shocker, the Ring Leader of the Computer Teams is Revealed

I've had this blog for over 14 years. There are 3,000 plus posts. I don't think any of them have reached the fevered interest that my exclusive sneak peeks of the ITP-Joyce Buddy Movie have the past month. Well, maybe one or two of my Derby Top Ten Lists because no one does those other than me, but other than that, nothing close. 

I'm proud to present the final scene, thankfully allowed in its entirety by the crack script writers of <Movie Yet Not Named>. 

When we left the preeminent pair they were summoned by Frank Stronach and were given a task - find Ashley Mailloux, and learn about Elite Turf Club so Frank can use it as ammo to take Magna back from Belinda. We also learned in a Shamalayan twist that ITP was Ashley's brother. No one saw that one coming. 

Now, hold your breath, here we go. The conclusion. 

Not ITP and Joyce, these are actors

After the white van Gabe Prewitt lent the dynamic duo broke down four times on the way it got dicey, but they arrived at the warehouse at 11PM for the midnight meeting of the Elite Turf Club. 

They surveilled the building from afar and scanned the door. Our intrepid two didn't recognize anyone, not even the rumoured Australians, and decided to make their way to paydirt. 

"We get in, we get Ashley, we uncover what Frank needs to take back Magna from Belinda and we're gone, right?" ITP directed Joyce. 

"Right, but they might have a good spread and I'm peckish," said Mike.  

"Let's just go," replied an annoyed ITP. 

They found the door (labelled) and knocked. A shadowy face opened a small slit. 

"Pass phrase", the voice commanded. 

"Low takeout for me, not for thee", said ITP. 

The door opened. The dim figure motioned our perfect perfecta towards gear laid out to them, which consisted of hooded brown capes and what looked like some sort of staff. 

"I haven't seen you before. Who are you?" asked the figure.

"We're new! We're Elite 31!" Joyce said, as per Frank Stronach's instructions. 

"No who are you, you look familar. Are you from the media?", the increasingly agitated Elite Turf Club henchman asked. 

"No, I am part of McBaffert's Team 31. I do pedigrees. My name is, um, Sid Fernando", Joyce stammered, leaning on the only pedigree guy he ever heard of. 

"I think I've met him before, are you sure?", questioned the skeptical henchman. 

"I am him..... I have thousands of horse sex videos on my phone. Want to see, look!" interjected Joyce holding up his Blackberry. 

"Carry on," said the doorman, clearly not wanting to watch hours of copulating colts. 

The dream team entered and surveyed the situation. The warehouse was dim, only lit by tiki torches, and people were milling about in groups which appeared to be the Computer Teams. Everyone wore the brown robes and not one person showed their face. They all appeared to be waiting for something, or someone. 

"I'm going to look for Ashley," said ITP. "Stay out of trouble."

"It looks like team three has cocktail weiners. I'll snack", said Mike. 

ITP moved through the warehouse seeing nothing, but suddenly he heard a sound, opened a door and there she was, tied up in the corner. 

ITP's sister, but at the track, not kidnapped
His sister Ashley. 

ITP removed the ropes and they hugged, like only a siblings can. 

"What's going on? Why were you kidnapped?" big bro asked. 

"I came here for Mr. Stronach," replied the western New York native. 

"I was suddenly brought into a room and was told in no uncertain terms by the leader of the teams that I had to stop constructing tickets the way I did."

"The way I showed you?" asked ITP. 

"Yes. They said I was making horseplayers better and they hate that. They told me if I started giving 4 by 4 by 4 by 4 pick fours with the first through 4th choices they'd let me go. They imprisoned me up here and told me to ponder my fate. I am so glad you're here!"

"Bastages", said a visibly upset  ITP. "Who was the leader, was it Scott Daruty?"

"Yes, he did all the talking, but something tells me he's not really in charge. He seemed to be taking orders from someone higher", reported Mailloux. 

"Let's get you out here, but we have to find Mike Joyce first." said ITP. 

"Mike Joyce? I thought you guys were at each others throats on that twitter spaces where every second word was f......"

"Quiet, you know how mom feels when we use that language," interrupted ITP.  

"Mike isn't near as bad as I thought. We're on a buddy trip. But the jury is still out", added Ashley's big brother. 

The two made it back to Mike, who was at the team 14 table where the Aussies were grilling shrimp. 

"High rebates mean good food," said Mike, who quickly noticed ITP had suceeded. 

"Ashley! Boom!" said Mike. "High five ITP", which ITP refused. "Let's just get out of here Mike," he said. 

Stock picture
Right then the torches burned brighter, timpanis boomed and everyone fell to their knees. Our terrific trifecta followed suit, as a train of Elite Turf Club henchmen entered with a palanquin.  

"Daruty must be in that mofo," said Joyce. 

"I can't see who it is, but Daruty is at the head table waiting for whomever is inside." said a crack Ashley. 

"Who the hell is running this pop stand then?" asked ITP. 

"It's the man who gives the rebates," said the woman beside Joyce, who was wearing an "Elite 11" name patch. "We bow to him, then he hands out this week's prices. We're hoping for 22% back on Mountaineer tris. We're killing it there lately."

Then the man stepped off his chariot, walked on the stage, "All hail, all hail!" the teams chanted.  

He removed the robe covering his head. 

ITP looked confused. Ashley's jaw dropped. Mike spit out the Italian sausage he got from team 16's snack table. 

The man - the man behind the Elite Turf Club, the rebates, the everything -  was Pat Cummings. 

"Jeezus!", ITP exclaimed. "All the Byk appearances, the blog pieces, the tweets, the freaking tweets! He was behind Elite Turf Club all the time. Let's go, we've got enough to report back to Frank and end this forever!"

"Arggggghhhhh!", Mike yelled to no one in particular, but loud enough to catch the attention of the main table and the eagle-eyed ring leader. 

"I know you, you work for TVG" said Cummings, 

"It's actually called Fanduel now," mumbled Mike. 

"You should not be here!", Cummings continued. "Elite 8, bar the rear entrance! Elite 4, disperse! Elite 20, to the front door! Elite 9, take that hamburger from Joyce!"

Our horseplayer triple threat found themselves triple trapped. 

"Guys, in the corner of the kitchen there's a secret door. No one is watching it, we can escape there," directed ITP. 

The hopeful trio ran to the kitchen; a crafty Ashley barred the door. 

"Here, help me move these cases of Frank's Energy Drink", ITP pleaded. 

The cases were moved and sure enough, just as ITP said, there was a trap door. 

"Frank whispered to me before leaving the office today - if you're in trouble tonight look for my Energy Drink, it will lead you to safety," said ITP. 

"God bless Frank!" said Mike. 

The terrific trifecta replaced the energy drink, entered the tunnel system and came out on a hill well beyond the Teams' Lair. 

"We made it. We have enough information to return Magna to Frank!" said Mike. 

"And he promised rebates for all, not just the chosen few, which will help horse racing, the sport we all love" said ITP. 

"We saved racing. We've levelled the playing field. And I won't have to give ABCD tickets out on track feeds!" said Ashley. 

"It's a great day," said Mike. 

There's a little more, and you'll be happy to know we at the PTP blog have a whole team with CGI capabilities and movie making skills. This is a mock up of the ending exclusively for PTP Blog Readers. 

"Why don't you just admit it, you two work well together". We could not agree more Ashley. 

I'd like to thank everyone for reading this movie script given to me in confidence. I hope you pay $12.99 when it reaches theaters this fall. 

The following are the closing credits. 

Starring, in order of appearance

ITP - Himself
Mike Joyce - Dave Weaver
Andy Serling - Himself
Jason Beem - Himself
Todd Schrupp - Ed Helms
Chuck Simon - Pete Aiello
Frank Stronach - Himself
Ashley Mailloux - Teri Hatcher
Doorman/Henchman - Peter Lurie
Elite Turf Club Leader - Pat Cummings
Elite 11 Member - Kylie Minogue
Extras - America's Best Racing Brand Ambassadors

Key Grip - Alan Gobbi
Casting - Seabass
Vehicles  - Gabe Prewitt/Hialeah Autobody and Gun Range
Legal - Clark Brewster
Betting Consultant - Tony Z

Assistant Director - Martin Scorcese
Director - Ray Cotolo

Monday, April 24, 2023

Monday's Super Spectacular Blog Vol 4 - Maloney, Twitter Dust Ups, Seconditis, $111k Scores, A Potential Consistent Judging Sighting, Joyce & ITP Visit Frank Stronach, Probabilities & the Best Wager in the Nation

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Super Spectacular Blog. I truly appreciate those of you who read this each week. Even when I weed out the Russian bots, a bunch of you visit. 

With that, if the Eclipse Awards ™ come calling I want everyone to know that getting presented a prestigious award from a famous person like Peter Lurie or Mattress Mack or Buck Swope from twitter next January would be great but it won't change me. Jason Beem started calling chuckwagon races at backwoods South American racetracks as a small boy and has now reached fame and fortune. Jason's always taught us advice that I heed - stay humble and don't change. Well, until he started employing assistants and wearing silk robes around the house and stuff. 

Anyway enough of that, onto this week's blog!

If you ask who's my most favorite person in harness racing, I'd probably answer Moira Fanning of the Hambletonian Society. Moira is truly the bomb. When pivoting to the runners, my answer is usually Mike Maloney. I was stoked that he was Chris's guest on the Bet With the Best pod this week. 

A few things I found interesting or helpful:

  • The CRW's changed his play from skinnier supers, tossing out the no hopers, because this edge eroded over time. I've found this to be true. In my opinion, if you like a horse the CRW's are off and he or she hits even the three or four slot, supers can still pay. 
  • When looking at a race the first question is "where's my edge". And this part was most important for me -- most races it's not there. We have to (especially at the big signal tracks) pass races more often than we have before. The pools are very efficient for even people like Mike and there's no use fighting it. 
  • Mike's handle is 15% of what it was ten or fifteen years ago. The raising of takeout and signal fees has decreased his play dramatically. Around 2007 racing made $800,000 from Mike, in 2017 when he calculated it, that number fell to $320,000 a year. "Handle is going in the tiolet because of high takeout", says Mike. In this case revenue has, too. 
  • If you're ahead of the curve on bias you can almost always find some value in a race, but it can be frustating because as the race unfolds, the horse you are betting to take advantage of the bias can be running against it (ruining your bets). 
  • Use "guardrails" where you know yourself and your play, where it keeps you from going off the road. Low variance bets help Mike stay on the road when he likes a horse because it takes the worry out of missing the exotics and losing money on the race. 
  • Betting a speed who crushes and using closers underneath can still pay dividends, but the betting teams have caught up with this the last 365. 
  • I bet the percentage of people who knew about Mike's tote security examples is small. "$12 was the largest the tote would allow" was a real gem about the Fix Six story.
  • Something I do not do enough. If you go key-key in a pick 4 or five, don't forget the double (if they're rolling). If your key-key hits and you miss the pick 5 it's tough mentally. 
  • "It's easy not to maximize your opinions" - top notch advice for me. I am often flat-out terrible by underbetting a strong opinion sometimes. 
  • The real time wagering example was really good when you watched the race. 
I could be here another hour highlighting this pod, but the Monday blog already has enough tongue for ten rows of teeth, so I'll just say it's well-worth a listen. 

Is Chuck right? We'll never know for sure in this sport because good luck getting some sort of announcement, but maybe?
People ain't wagering at the sports betting parlor as Massachusetts' first month of sports betting volume was only 3% retail. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Big Keeneland Pick 6 carry on Friday had 43% of the wagers processed in the last flash, about $2M in bets. Basement betting is everywhere.

In the politics of American sports fans study, horse racing skewed  ..... you can click to see the graphic, which is pretty neat. I like PGA Golf and Women's Tennis, which apparently makes me weird, or a John Anderson voter. Holy s*** I just dated myself. 

I love, love, love it when regular people on the feed make a score, especially when they have names like @JohnnybetsKY, his feed is all about a guy betting racing in Kentucky, and it pays $111,000 at his home track. Way to go Johnny, that was a crazy sequence and a tough get. 

In the amateur driver race at the Meadowlands Friday, the three, driven by Nicole Dicostanzo, battled the grizzled vet on the four Bruno Chiodo. Their weights are highlighted. No, this isn't thoroughbred racing. 

Curious about what your horse might pay at post? Marshall shows how to do it with double prices here

I thought soon to be President of HISA (update, he's in the kissing babies phase) Charles Simon had a great line on his pod with Barry this week. Paraphrasing, he said he's never seen an industry where more people believe what they want to believe, that fits what they've always believed, no matter how wrong it is, than horse racing. Lasix, takeout, cheating? He probably makes a good point. 

For this week's edition of Tilt, I remember when I was betting one of my win experiments years ago. I had a 35 race streak that went something like 35-0-27-4 in a massive case of seconditis. It was so frustrating, and I can't remember if I went on tilt, but I probably did. 

My buddy (and some of yours on the twitter) @ryanwillis1 is on one of those tears and I've watched it in real time over the last few cards. Saturday alone he had 8 seconds and they included a 64-1 (by a nose), a 26-1 (by 3/4's) and a 33-1 (by a half).  That was on two racecards. 

If just those three horses got marginally better trips he's definitely up five figures. Instead he's tossing the remote out the window. This game can completely blow your mind can't it? 

Say hello to this week's sponsor - The Optix EQ's Derby Package! Kidding, no one is advertising on this silly blog. I just expect their Derby package will be worth the money. They do the work. 

Here's a link to the NAHU pod where they look at tonight's races at Yonkers. If I keep promoting this pod Ray Cotolo has promised me an autographed Rosecroft racing program. 

We may wonder why horse racing has not uncovered proper pricing mechanisms, or lacks big innovation, but keeps plugging along. A new paper by smart people might explain some of it. Researchers found that large firms who are politically connected fall behind on productivity and innovation, but have higher rates of survival. When we see ribbon cutting or lobbying for alternate gaming (so racing can survive in the face of new competition), but the customer a bit of an afterthought, I suppose it does fit.

Quite the twitter dust up this week with Serling and Marcus about morning lines, and criticism and such. Then Saratoga Angie popped in with a can of whoop ass by noting most everyone criticizes them from time to time. Remind me to stay on Angie's good side. 

Morning line making is hard. A whack of harness tracks switched to computer morning line making (through trackmaster) the last couple of years. Some of the lines are super goofy, but we can only yell at computers, and until they become AI driven and release missles to kill us all I don't think they care. I have no dog in this fight, and I have not had enough time to follow Keeneland closely this meet. But Nick is sharp and line-making at Keeneland is brutally difficult. 

The Yonkers seeded Thursday pick 5 continues to be what I think is the best bet in the racing world. Only about $30,000 was bet last week, if there's team play I haven't seen it, and it paid 6X parlay. If smaller capitalized players want a seat at the pick n table, here it is. 

Hawthorne handle has been good this meet. Whether the juice change made a real difference or not, who knows for sure, but it's trending right. I like Jim, and Illinois tracks have been at a big disadvantage for so long, it's nice to see some positives. $2M in handle is nothing to shake a stick at. 

Eric has compiled the Woodbine ADW takeout rates for 2023. For those who don't know, on various wagers at US tracks the Canadian customer pays more. Nice customer friendly policy, eh? 

You can see from the chart what tracks and pools where the rates are jacked up, so if this concerns you, they can be avoided. An example might be the popular Del Mar signal, where place, show juice is increased from 15.43% to 19%, and the trifecta pools go from 23.68% to a whopping 29%. There are sadly many other examples. 

Joe Kristufek was on the Beemer pod this week. I think Joe is pretty bright and worth listening to.  

I chuckled when I saw some of the reaction to the SpaceX rocket blowing up this week because anything involving Musk can have the camps arguing for hours. One simple google search revealed that the probability of this rocket blowing to smithereens before orbit was more than 50%. It was a coin flip, the little rocket lost, and that's all we kinda needed to know. 

Probabilities can be our friend, because beyond being handy for odds lines, converting into American odds etc, they tell us what's expected devoid of noise. Did a jockey win 3 races today, but rode in ten and was 2-1 every race? Then he or she performed about as expected. 

When not standardized, though, the downside of them is they can tell us absolutely nothing. 

I was watching the NHL playoffs this week and ESPN noted that when the Rangers score first their record is 40-6 (or whatever). This is not helpful, because when all teams score first they lead 1-0 and it's an advantage. We'd need to know the Rangers' number compared to league average (or better yet, a team like them over a large sample) to learn something. Maybe their coaching system plays better with a lead than an average team? We'll never know because they use lazy numbers.  

Those using databases or Formulator generally pay attention to what helps these conundrums - impact values. Quirin's great book back in the 1970's introduced this concept to horseplayers, where we learned Ainslie's "Big Win" had a positive IV, while some others did not. Gosh, that was such a good book that was ahead of its time, in my opinion. 

Just for fun, here's some Chad Brown impact values below (by various metrics this program offers). It's a limited sample, but kind of interesting in this snapshot that post time chalk has a high IV and low ROI; the same goes for last race brisnet figure. This ain't news to you, and those generally hold because it's tough to make moola with obvious positives, especially with well known trainers - 

John Rallis is a downtown Toronto kid we know from twitter who loves racing and handicapping and he was hired by Woodbine last week. I find it fun when young people like John get hired into the game they want to work in. Good luck John!

Bob Marks has done it all in racing - track handicapper, breeder, and I'm sure he's swept the stalls at some point. He once told me, "when I bet a horse I own him for the race". In the Trot magazine survey, drivers were asked who they drive for. 5% said the bettors.  

Another nugget I found interesting - 62% of drivers wager. Which is fine of course, but the contrast is wild when considering the NFL just suspended six players for wagering. 

- ITP-Joyce Buddy Movie Update

The script writers went all out for the last two scenes and they have approved the first for release here (exclusively) at the Super Spectacular Blog. Because it's so amazing I made the title above bigger. 

Mike & ITP played by paid actors

This update is a little longer than usual, but when I reached the plot twist at the end it really got me fired up. 

We last left our two heroes at Beem's house eating a hearty 14 course breakfast with fresh fruit Beem had flown in from Madagascar when suddenly Mike Joyce's phone pinged. 

"It's Frank Stronach. Says it's urgent. Beemer, thanks to you and Alexa for the great hospitality, but we have to scram," Mike told the gracious world class announcer.

Beem sent the buddies exacta out with a bowl of fresh oranges.  "Oranges, high five ITP!" said Joyce. "I don't high five," replied ITP. 

Arriving at Gulfstream just before post, their beeline to Frank's office was interrupted. 

"Hey Schrupp, what's doing", Joyce said to his TVG colleague. 

"Just trolling the tarmac for pick five tips. I spoke to Pletcher and he told me his firster in three cleaned up the feed tub, has never had a bad day, is working a hole in the wind and they have grade one hopes. When I told him it was off the record he said the horse was slower than dial up. I might spread. Who's your friend."

"McBaffert" replied Joyce. 

"Hey McBaffert" said Todd. 

Hearing activity and seeing potential voters, Chuck Simon walked over with pounceful purpose. 

"Hey fellas, I'm working on my campaign for President of HISA today. Pressing flesh, talking to the people. Can you guys get me on TVG? Did either of you bring a baby?"

"We're just here to see Mr. Stronach but I'm voting for you," said ITP. 

"Killer pod, and I don't like the Olive Garden either my man," added Joyce. 

Minutes later they were in Frank Stronach's office. 

"Close the door," Frank commanded. "Anyone for a Frank's Energy Drink?"

ITP and Mike politely declined. 

Frank Stronach
"I've called you here because I am in a real tough spot," said the Austrian-Canadian now Austrian-American. 

"I read about you two on that Uncle Bill's Twitter Spaces. The transcript was heavily redacted due to language, but I was impressed. I think you could help me with my problem."

"Thanks Frank, anything we can do, we're here for you," said Joyce. 

"I'm worried Belinda is messing up my company. The great company I built. I follow Pat Cummings on twitter and he has been talking about this Elite Turf Club place, so I investigated and I'm not sure this is on the up and up. The takeout rates seem so low, there are big odds drops, there may be Australians involved. I'm concerned." said Frank. 

"Last week I was informed the teams have weekly meetings in a basement in a warehouse about 20 miles out of town," the great man continued, "I needed a friendly face to make contact and report back on what was going on, so I asked Ashley Mailloux - you two know Ashley, one of our TV handicappers - to attend."

Joyce nodded, ITP's eyes rose from the Delta Downs past performances where they were having a $938 pick 3 carryover. 

"Well, Ashley has not been seen or heard from in over a week. She won't answer calls or texts; no one knows where she is. That Pompano Park fellow who got his ass kicked by Pete Aiello in that charity harness race has a phone full of millenial and Gen Z contacts and knows everyone. He says no word."

"Gabe Prewitt. He's plugged in, he even got us the white van we're driving. If he can't find her, she could be in trouble. What can we do?" asked a concerned Joyce. 

"They have another meeting tonight at the same warehouse. I've arranged for you two to go."

The Teams' Lair
"You will walk down the second set of stairs on the west end of the property and will see a large door. Knock three times and you will be asked for a pass phrase - tonight's is "low takeout for me, not for thee". You'll then be in. You'll simply be known as "Elite 31"," Frank informed the dream team.  

"From there I want you and McBaffert to establish your covers, then find Ashley and bring her home safe to Gulfstream. Second, I want you to get the information I need to save my company from Belinda's wild scheme," directed Frank as he chugged down another energy drink. 

"We won't let you down," said Mike, as Frank pulled ITP aside and whispered something in his ear. 

Mike and ITP left for the elevators. 

"This is amazing!", Mike said. "I feel so alive, this is way better than talking to Kurt Hoover all day." 

ITP was silent and looked white as a sheet. 

"What's wrong? I thought you'd be stoked. Frank Stronach wants us to be his Batman and Robin, his Simon and Simon, his Remington and Steele. Maybe he'll reward us with solid gold Pegasus statue replicas. For some reason you look worse than when I use an all in a pick 3," asked Mike. 

"It's Ashley..... Ashley Mailloux," a visibly shaken ITP stammered. 

"Yes, the in house handicapper Ashley, what about her?" asked Joyce. 

"She...... she's my sister."

Next week we'll have the Big Final scenes. Will they find Ashley? Will Mike and ITP remove Magna from the cluches of Belinda and return it back to Frank? Will they unlock the hidden Elite Turf Club secrets?

Happier Times: ITP teaching Ashley to pitch bad chalk at a family picnic

I don't know what all 19 of you reading this think, but damn, next week can't come soon enough. 

Thank you for reading and passing along the Super Spectacular Blog. You should know that the tens of thousands of advertising dollars I've earned here the last month just went into the pools at about $0.21 ROI, so you're welcome. 

Have a great week, be nice on the twitter, and most of all, go cash some tickets (preferably the size of Johnny's from Kentucky). 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Monday's Super Spectacular Blog - Big Pods, Pick Five Rule of Thumb, Pitching Chalk, Odds Drops, ITP-Joyce Movie Update (With Jason Beem Cameo), & Hersh Trifecta

Welcome to this week's Super Spectacular Blog. Not many have flamed me on twitter for things I've said on the SSB the past few weeks (other than the usual cranky suspects) so that's positive and I thank you all. 

In addition, I have not received one of those tax calls where they tell me I am going to be thrown in jail unless I give them my social security number, so the Russian bots must be happy. 

Let's try and keep these good vibes going!

The mysterious ITP was Chris's guest on his Bet with the Best pod this week.  It was longer than Titanic, but as far as I could tell no one ran into an iceberg. I thought it was really good. 

The one section focusing on finding value by throwing bad chalk out of verticals I found particularly interesting and informative. 

An example from Monday at the Woodbine harness races - 

In race 8 there were two 6-5 chalk, but one of them could be labelled suspect. The bumpy gaited four horse was heading back into his previous barn after being claimed two races ago and he was coming off a sub-par start. This horse looks like he may crossfire (hit himself) and is quirky enough where a barn change could've gotten him out of his routine. The other 6-5 chalk looked legit. 

We often want to throw out one chalk but is there value in using one on top? There probably was, but it can get really good if you find something underneath. In this case you likely could.

The leading trainer at the track had a horse who was second off a layoff and classified well. The rest of the mid-priced horses were all fairly blah, or could not leave the gate. 

We have a case where we can pitch a 6-5 shot right out of the super, and had a decent possible lean who was taking no money, but could fit underneath. Using this horse in the two and three positions with logicals (leaving our pitch horse right out) is simple in say a twenty cent super. It's not any more complex than a place or show bet, and there is no need to play scared because any player could spend as little as $15 or so trying it. 

As luck would have it the bad co-chalk was bad, and ran out, while the legit fave won. The second off a layoff horse stormed home for second and the super paid $5,000 for $1 and the $2 tri paid $1,500.

We might look at this race as just a pick 5 "get by race", or leaning on chalk for a $10 super or tri. But one angle with a finnicky horse with a barn change and a little smart ticket making resulted in a score. 

We have not pumped the Great Marcus Hersh on the SSB yet, so we'll do it this week three times.

 Some horses bleed, some horses can be corrected somewhat without lasix and some horses can't. 

Jim Lawson will step down in the fall from his post leading Woodbine. As Eric notes in his tweet, he hopes his replacement looks into paying track takeout rates for Canadian customers of US tracks. This practice that puts Canadians at a disadvantage to others is one of the more obscene in the sport, in my view. Eric has worked tirelessly on the issue, taking it as far as the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency to no avail so far. Let's hope something changes. 

For those who watched the Modern Games Keeneland turf stake where a 23-1 shot went down to 9-1 last flash, yep, it's really hard to watch. David is right on, in my opinion. Tracks should display estimated off odds, just like many of you can figure out as seasoned players. It's not hard. 

Future HISA President (update, not quite yet, but close) Chuck Simon had a great rant about it (his blog is a great read, by the way). He's right, and those who play the harness races see odds boards at 10 minutes to post that look absolutely nothing like one at 0 minutes concur especially. 

But with people not playing on-track anymore, and with so much real-time track choice it is what it is. And it's not just the teams doing it. It's essentially why post drag works so well - people don't bet early, they bet when they see zero. Pools are not efficient until after the bell. Only an exchange truly addresses the issue. 

Land is worth too much, racing is worth too little. Turf Paradise to be sold. They'll race one or two more seasons it seems. 

Great thread on betting for a living (including horses). 

A recap of the Bet with the Bet podcast at HRU

Betting teams have to push volume as a business case, so they're going to be all over, including the win pools at Hawthorne. 

The Yonkers $10,000 seeded pick 5 has not attracted the betting teams on Thursdays and we're seeing some value.  This is likely due to not being in the carryover feed. Thursday's pick 5 attracted only around $30,000 with the $10k seed and paid over double parlay in a chalk sequence. 

Speaking of Yonkers, the NAHU guys do a pod for Monday night's stakes races and Ray Cotolo promised me @ryanwillis1 will guest star in his next film if I promote it each week on the SSB. Done!

A jackpot bites the dust to be replaced with an 11.99% pick 5.  

Lots of chatter about takeout this week, including the hikes at places like Keeneland. I've always felt the corporate view of pricing hikes - i.e. squeeze for the short term until there's no squeeze left - is good for the quarterly report, but bad long term. And I'd suggest the cratering of retail handle the last 20 years is evidence of that. 

The sport never really has had a Ford, who looked at the health of bankrolls as an indicator of the market for cars. The Massachusetts state lottery has that view, and lowered juice on scratch tickets from well over 60% to (in some cases) below 20%. They've created a lottery culture in the state and this has consistently lead the nation in lottery play at $933 per capita,  77% higher than nearby high lottery takeout New York. For contrast, per-capita horse racing play in Australia (that North American racing is envious of and often cites) is around $871US.

The Marcus Hersh Game Plan is on fire. If the man loved football I'd call him Marcus the Greek. But, hell, I might anyway. All hail Marcus the Greek. 

ITP-Joyce Buddy Movie Update – Last week our dynamic duo was at Aqueduct for the big triple pick six carryover. ITP boycotted because of the higher rake on carryovers, but Mike fired big time and just missed when his single in the last leg got herded into the ice cream stand on the tarmac. No inquiry.

From that debacle they decided they needed some good cheer, so they texted Tampa Bay Downs announcer Jason Beem (not him directly, but his people) and he invited them to spend some time at his new home in Tampa Bay. They packed up the Minivan and off they went.  

They arrived at the Beem estate ("pod hits must be good" said Mike, as they drove in), and were quickly ushered in by Beem himself, who was wearing a silk robe. 

"Nice place", said ITP. 

"Thanks McBaffert. It's modest but it's home," replied the man who took over from a legend. 

As Beem showed them around the many rooms, ITP and Mike shared stories of seeing Andy Serling in the Hero Sandwich place in Jersey and Mike's near miss because of the NYRA herding. The Southbound writer listened only as he can. Then he had an idea. 

"I sense anxiety, so let's paint!" he offered. 

They made their way into the palatial painting room and saw there were three easels ready to go. 

"Alexa, smooth jazz," Beem bellowed. 

"Right away Mister Beem," a tiny woman said as she ran in and placed an album on the turntable. 

"Now, close your eyes, relax, breathe deeply, and paint what makes you feel good; makes you feel happy, what makes you, you," 

A half hour later it was time to unveil what the three men came up with. 

Beem turned around his easel to show what looked like Gabe Prewitt in a wig holding a puppy

Mike sheepishly turned his painting around and  ....... he had painted ITP. 

ITP, now blushing, turned his painting slowly to face Mike. It was like looking in a mirror. They painted each other. 

"You two make each other happy! Now let's eat and watch some of my greatest calls on the DVD player", Jason said. 

The bond between Mike and ITP appears complete. 

Next week our dream team will be tested when they visit Frank Stronach at Gulfstream. He has a task for them. 

Les is a very good horseplayer and I thought this tweet was great. How should we analyze favorites? It's a mindset.  

One of the hardest things for players is deciding when to pass or play a pick 4 or 5.  

One rule of thumb I'd offer is - check the tickets of public handicappers that we know blanket or pick logically. If we're wanting to go three deep when they do, or single what they are, or spread where they are, we might want to sit it out. 

This is not a shot at the public cappers who are doing what their bosses are telling them to do for the most part. But I think that leaning on their AB's when we have the same AB's probably tells us we're not seeing the ball well on that particular pick five. 

There's nothing better than back to back Jonathon Wong play-on-words tweets when he wins and pays $100. 

There's an online censorship bill going through in the Tundra and it appears the PTP Blog is caught in its web. A guy named Bill from the government called last week and told me I need 36% Canadian ad content or my blog will be going the way of Racing Roulette. Thankfully I scared one up. Please watch this episode Sunday at 8 and let them know you saw the ad at the PTP Blog. 

That's it for this week's Super Spectacular Blog. If you made it to the end I applaud and thank you profusely. Have a great week everyone. Go cash some tickets. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Monday's Super Spectacular Blog - CRW Symptoms of a Business Disease, Pushing 2YO's, Curious Preps, ITP-Joyce Buddy Movie Update & A Guest Appearance from Kiefer Sutherland

Welcome again to the Super Spectacular Blog! 

Thank you, as always, for reading and supporting our many advertisers. And to the Russian bots, I admire your relentlessness in breaking through the most recent iteration of my firewall. You're as tenacious as Rich Strike on a stable pony. 

Here are some thoughts that caught our eye this week. I hope you enjoy them. 

I listened to Beyer and Cummings this week on the Steve Byk show deliving into the Computer Assisted Wagering topic, which has been hotter than usual lately. 

It's nothing that they said, or even alluded to, but I fear this topic might go off the rails a little. Namely, the chatter we hear that cutting CRW's out of pools will somehow fix things. 

Back in 1909 a bookie on a street corner in Brooklyn was taking bets with ten cent football lines. No matter what iteration we've seen since then - technological advancements, inflation, computers, all the way to corporations owning sports betting in 2023 - people are still betting into ten cent football lines. 

These bookies didn't need to rebate, or court betting teams. They just offered a fair line.  

Horse racing, when parimutuel wagering was invented around the same time, had 5% takeout too, but then it kept going up. Not because the customer was doing anything differently, but because racing (and the government) prescribed monopoly pricing. 

This left us with an artificially priced product, and when we have that, we create a black market. The black market is really good for twenty or so teams right now. 

CRW is not the disease, it's a symptom of the disease of monopoly pricing. Booting out those mean old betting teams doesn't fix anything, it just decreases handle and discourages others. 

A fella with a fedora and a grade six education in 1909 Brooklyn figured out the right price for his product. This massive sport with its billions of investment and capable people with lots of letters after their names never has, and in my view, most issues like CRW trace back to that fact. 

Derby prep weekend deep analysis -- After watching the races closely I honestly have no idea. 

But once again, what a great job by this sport in promoting the three preps back to back to back. 

I do see that Twitter is ablaze with Japan references. At this rate their horses could be this year's Patch. 

Nick Tammaro believes Forte's Derby odds won't be less than 7-2. That sounds right to me.  

Sliding over to a topic that fascinates a lot of us who watch both breeds - thoroughbred training versus harness training is so different.

I was reading the Mark Etsell interview column in Trot and this was his response when the two year old he was training down got a little spooked and went a :57 second half mile.

"This [fast half] is way too much at the time. I’m standing there and the groom is bathing her. I’m looking at her and I’m thinking ‘Oh man, I just screwed this filly’."

Meanwhile, a thoroughbred baby pushed to run a fast quarter is being bid on for millions.

There are many reasons standardbreds are more durable than thoroughbreds, but the strong foundation put under the standardbred with lots of slow miles before asking for anything of them is certainly one.

Sports betting was open! 

I miss the Derby Trial. For those that don't follow my lament, they actually moved a Kentucky Derby prep to Derby Day. Rick Dutrow is back, but even he wouldn't run a Kentucky Derby starter in the Derby Trial on Derby Day. Well, maybe he would, but a week earlier is better and I'd like to see someone try the Trial-Derby double just because it'd be some cool throw back stuff. 

Play the win pool they say. Use Kelly to figure out your edge, they tell us. Bet a unit bet, they say. It's kinda hard when the horse you like is 27-1 at 3 minutes to post and ends up 2-1

Riddle me this. 2012 handle on Blue Grass day was $21.6M. 2023 looks to come in at $26.8M.

Now, the top line "growth" is devoid of inflation adjustments, economic and population growth, freer money, less intra-racing competition and the growth of big days in the sport. So taking that into account we should see a big jump from $21M a decade ago.  

But in 2012, the handle was at about 17% blended takeout, and it's likely upwards of 80% of that handle was near those rates with lots of retail players. In '23 the (posted) blended takeout is up a couple of points (after Keeneland raised juice), but upwards of 40% of it is being heavily rebated, well below posted rates. 

With mathematically a probable slight reduction in juice rates, this is shuffling deck chairs, with the only big difference being who pays the freight, which is the retail player. There are not surprisingly fewer of them firing now and this is not dissimilar to what California racing has seen after its rake hike back in 2010. 

Why do tracks raise the top line takeout? When you crunch the numbers it truly is a mystery. 

We’ve all been there little dude. 

This week's announcer update is about um, burgers. A trifecta announcer chat about White Castle (Beem and Edison put the cue in the rack, Cololo a big yes in the shadow of the wire). 

Chris's new Bet with the Best pod is out with Matt Miller. I haven't listened to this one yet but it's on my list. 

First quarter wagering saw handle decrease 3% with purses up 9%, according to Equibase. 

Sports betting handle in Louisiana dropped after a record setting January. Not coincidentally, promotional spend (free bets) fell 50% from January. Crunk proferred that the sports betting promo spend (and immersing these bettors into the medium) has stickiness though. If that's true, the high customer cost per acquisition from promo spend might not be as insane as it looked. And if so, that tells us that racing's meager or almost non-existent promos were and are missing something. 

Lots of people on the twitter are posting the time it takes to complete a baseball game now that they're using the pitch clock (hint, these games are moving fast). We never post times for post drag, because we never actually know. Is it 8 minutes, 9, 12? The thing that really messes me up with post drag is when I'm playing a track that has a short drag. I see "zero" and figure I have time to finish my taxes and I always end up getting shut out. 

Whatever you think of the changes to baseball rules I think the point that resonates with me most is that they can change them. And in baseball - an old historic game - it can't be easy. I wish we could do similar with uniform rules on say herding. 

@john_rallis picks pretty good at the Meadowlands over at the NAHU website, so when my brother called me last week and asked who I liked and I was busy I said “take a look at John Rallis’s picks, he watches replays and maybe you’ll get some ideas” and sent him a link. One of the horses he picked won, and my bother bet it.

My brother is notorious for messing up names and when I spoke to him the next day, he said, “I bet that horse in the 10th your buddy John Rahm liked”.

Congratulations to John Rahm for the nice Meadowlands winner, and winning his first Masters.

Speaking of the Masters, it reminded me of a piece on Skiba, who won the $1M DFS Golf Championship a couple years ago. The Q and A talks about racing, and has some gems about playing pick fives and sixes. 

Rallis's good friend @ryanwillis1 was super cranky this week (I'll make this an official update and give it a 9 out of 10), but I gave him a winner and he cashed and he got nicer. Oh and Chuck Simon President of HISA Update - Dark forces are at work and we're not there yet.

ITP-Mike Joyce Buddy Movie Update - The script writers and show runners are working overtime, and I'm starting to think this film could be a hit. They've allowed me to share one scene that I believe is a cinematic tour-de-force. 

Mike and ITP hop in the Minivan and map out a trip to Aqueduct for the big triple pick six carryover. They decide to stop in Jersey for a hero sandwich (for people outside Jersey I think this is a sub) and sit down. Right at that moment who walks in - Andy Serling. 

Wow. Awkward. 

Mike knows Andy and they greet. As we'll find out when watching the film, this is a pivotal point in the plot. You see, Mike is beginning to like ITP and a bond is being formed. Earlier, during the Keeneland leg of the trip, ITP convinced Mike to single a C horse and he made $48,000. But it's more than that, it's the beginnings of a deep seeded friendship.  Mike doesn't want to blow ITP's cover, and possibly cause a scene. 

"Who's your friend," asks Serling. 

"Ummmm it's ...... my driver, Scooter, Scooter McBaffert." replies Joyce. 

Andy looks at him funny, grabs his sandwich, signs a couple autographs and leaves. 

"Scooter McBaffert?" ITP incredulously asks. 

"Remember when we were snowed in at Tahoe and watched Happy Gilmore? It's kinda the first thing that came to mind," Mike replies. 

They share a glance, just like in this screen shot (but this is not Mike and ITP). 

Next week - Our dynamic duo head to Tampa Bay Downs. 

What's with economists and racing? Caroline Betts, Skip SauerMarshall Gramm are all into this sport. Keith Bush, although not an economist, but is a sharpie with extra letters after his name, is another one (and his Jason Beem pod was dandy). I think we all know there's a lesson in this, and it's probably why we all cringe a bit when we see the fancy hat marketing. 

This game is so big tent - older school people like Mike Maloney and Inside the Pylons to folks in academia and beyond populate this space. Left-brained people are attracted to the puzzle. 

Tiger on scaling back the golf ball.

For years golf actually built longer and longer courses spending millions upon millions of dollars, when they could’ve made a pro ball. It's kind of silly. 

This, to me, is not unlike horse racing. The sport received billions and billions and billions of dollars from slots and alternative gaming the last thirty years and they didn’t use much of it properly to grow the game. Even today when a track has $120,000+ maidens and a short meet like Kentucky Downs does, they decide to raise takeout.

Racing won't touch this blog with a ten foot bale of hay, but others want to advertise for my massive traffic, so please watch this week's sponsor's commercial. The dogs in sunglasses are worth it (and I get paid by the view). 

Here's something apropos of nothing, but I’ll do it anyway because this blog is free.

Back in the early nineties I got called for a game of pick-up basketball on the east end of Toronto. For those who know the city, the Queen streetcar was the method of transport from downtown to Greenwood Raceway, and it so happens my basketball game was on the way near River Street. I’d play, shower up at a friend’s and head to the track.

I’m early as a rule, so I arrive at the meeting place – a big working-class tavern in this fairly rough part of town – to wait for my friends. The place is packed. I look around and see one stool open out of about 50 of them at the long bar. I scurry over to get it.

I give the guy to my left who is sitting there with a pint of beer and a smoke a quick glance and nod (I’m not sure I see girls do this much, but boys do this all the time at the bar; you know, the nod). A half second later it dawns on me. It's Kiefer Sutherland.

I have no idea what some star is doing all alone at this working-class bar, but there he is. Interestingly, I have an out with ol’ Kiefer, should I want to talk to him – I went to university with his neighbor in north TO. But, I’m not one for that sort of thing much, and no one else was bugging him, so I didn’t.

I went and played basketball and went to the track.

Like I said, apropos of nothing, but I watched Rabbit Hole on Paramount+ this week. It stars my could’ve been blood-brother Kief and I thought it was pretty good. It contains dozens and dozens of conspiracy theories that I've convinced myself are all in play when I consistently seem to lose pick 5's or 6's in the last leg. 

Have a wonderful week everyone. Cash some tickets, be nice on twitter and please share the Super Spectacular Blog with important people like Ray Paulick so he can advertise his website here and make me big bucks. My ADW balance is at like 9 cents. 

Oh, and not to forget: To my Russian friends, Я тебя люблю.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Monday's Super Spectacular Blog - In a Sixth Sense Like Twist Scott Daruty Proves Low Rake Works, Fixed Odds Probably Doesn't, Good Pick 5 Finds, Forte vs Mage & an ITP Basement Update

Last week's inaugural Super Spectacular Monday Blog got a lot of hits, and not just from Russian bots (although cпасибо to all Russian readers), so thanks so much for reading. 

We're back again this week with some (way-too-long-probably) thoughts on things that caught our eye. 

There was a longer form missive in the Financial Times this week about Computer Betting Teams; numbering about 20 according to the article. Some of the people quoted you’d recognize from twitter which is always pretty cool.

I don’t think a lot was new, but from the big picture I think the article and resulting stats prove something amazingly simple –

Low takeout works.

For many years the “takeout hawks” have professed that if you give better rates handle will explode. And for those in the article getting better rates, their handle has exploded. Lots of insiders fought that immutable truth with obfuscation or worse over the years, and in an irony not lost on us, some are now running places like Elite Turf Club, which does exactly that.

CRW’s don’t kill racing. HISA rules don’t kill racing. Lasix doesn’t kill racing. More rebates for good casual customers (i.e. lower takeout) won’t kill racing either (and as a point of clarity, nor will it save it). But it would raise handles. And when handles are going up for all segments of the sport, you might just find you’re on to something. The problem as I see it, is instead of being open to offer rebates for 400 million potential customers in North America, racing's brain trust has given them to 20 people. 

Pivoting from things we can’t change to something we might, hitting value pick 4’s and 5’s in this day and age is pretty tough, but last Monday the bearded @ryanwillis1 was not in love with the chalk in race 2 at Western Fair, the second leg of the pick 5. He messaged (and tweeted) that the horse is a terrible claim and is a bad bet at 2-5 or so. He thought the use was probably the four horse.

I took a look at the horse in question and thought the young rascal was smoking Ajax OTB crack. The horse wasn’t going to be 2-5, but probably 1-9. His speed figures (as little as we use them in harness) were much better, he had the coveted rail on a half, he was dropping big time in class, and watching the replays he looked fine. If anyone was playing, this is a free square. 

He saw something, though, and it turns out he was right. The 4 went gate to wire and paid $10, winning by open lengths. The pick five, with this 1-9 out paid $6,000 for $1, and the horses were completely logical, with $7, $4, $12 and $10 winners.

Just out of curiosity I built a little model showing the performance of this type of horse with fairly recent data. These are for thoroughbred claimers, with the highest last race Bris figure, ridden by the leading rider, dropping in class.

Because horses bet below 1-2 in this situation win about 59% of the time it’s pretty hard to blindly throw them out. But at about a 25% flat-bet loss and the leverage it gives us in serial bets, there is probably some obvious value.

But the key for me is - what if we noticed something that isn’t in the past performances like Ryan did? Say a bad work on XBTV, a bad gallop out, or in harness a bad equipment change or something that caught our eye pre-race. Their ROI might not be in the 0.70’s but be in the 0.40’s or 0.30's.

I think this case is illustrative of why structuring a ticket is so important. We ain't going to use that chalk defensively (we'd have to be dumber than a bag of hammers to want a $0.30 ROI horse on our tickets) and we have to leverage our opinion with the horse we came to bet. Keying Ryan's horse (remember it was only a $10 winner) absolutely blew up the pick 5. Even in this game with 20 cent tickets where "bet a little to win a lot" is harder to come by with the teams, it still happens. And the sharp little guy or gal can be the one hitting it. 

So, “DK Horse” has launched in 12 states at Draftkings. This product is powered by the Twinspires system.

Leaving aside that a company who spends like one hundred trillion dollars on marketing came up with the scintillating name “DK Horse”, it’s something that is probably positive, especially come Derby time. But as Crunk points out, it has a thrown together feel, like so much does in our sport.

Horse racing and the lack of trying ‘big things’ has bothered a lot of people. When it comes to expansion, new mediums, or new ideas, it always seems to be a toe-dipping exercise. Would it shock anyone if this partnership innovated the other way – for example, next year we might bet pari-mutuel golf tris or supers for the Masters, adding new zeal to sports betting, creating a new thing not for racing, but for something else?

The pari-mutuel product is good and has an edge (despite late odds changes) and the horse racing product is certainly better than same game parlays. I wish we’d think bigger.

Chris's new betting pod is up with Tommy Massis, a guy who plays sweeps different than the masses, no pun intended.  

One thing the sport does really well, in my view, is Derby prep season. It's so easy to follow the happenings when races like the Florida Derby and Arkansas Derby go off back to back. 

In Florida, Forte got the job done at 1-5; to me, like a 5-2 shot does. But I am not a huge fan of this horse like many are, so perhaps I am biased. I think Mage is a good horse, but there wasn't a ton of separation between them, and in fact, the 9 and 8 horse at the wire. 

There's a lot of chatter on the twitter about who was better yesterday, Mage or Forte. I'm more interested in the fact a seasoned Juvy winner coming second off a layoff (where he should be really good) worked hard to win against a horse making his third lifetime start who still runs green. Take away the names, trainers and previous bias - who has more upside?

Timeform US CJ postulated on twitter that Mage has a license to get better, so there's that, but he also noted the Derby in start four is a little dicey. I usually decide who I want to bet in the Derby at around four minutes to post, but could see myself rolling the dice and betting the horse. 

Over at Oaklawn, about a half hour later Angel of Empire looked very good in the Arkansas Derby, and Red Route One didn't really fire although he looked a little more interested with blinkers. Maybe that's too strong - interested like I am interested in water polo, i.e. not a whole lot. Smart cappers like CJ and Aragona were bullish on Angel of Empire and were rewarded with a nice mutuel. He was straight and strong. 

I'll leave the Derby handicapping to the sharps, but in my humble opinion, I don't think anything magical happened on Saturday. Although, I don't think we're talking out of our hat to conjure that the bloom is little off the Forte rose

HISA love on the twitter is not happening, especially when it includes Philadelphia Park. But it does spark a smile, when posters post alluding to the new testing, “Philly Park as a control group so every horse will pass.” Speaking of HISA, this week’s Chuck Simon President of HISA update is – we’re still working on it.

The simple things in racing are sometimes really simple. Last week the Meadowlands reminded drivers that being late for the races (because they’re driving at Chester on Friday afternoons) and causing driver changes after the pick 5 betting has begun messes it up for customers. 

I took a whack of calls, webinars and other things this past week for work, and it struck me I didn't hear one curse word. This is about 5,894 fewer than in last week's Uncle Bill Twitter Spaces. I think this is what HR people call work-life balance. 

Turfway Park's meet concluded and their field size was (dramatic pause) 9.78 Some people don't like betting poly, but if you like betting field size, there's your spot. 

I mentioned I had to sell advertising to pay the large staff here at PTP Blog. I didn't want to, but inflation, new electricity taxes and my last pick five hit being Oscar Night (not the Everything After Everything whatever one, the Will Smith slap one) made me do it. So say hello to this week's sponsor.  

Open source code (code that can be accessed by the public) has done amazing things in the football space, by improving upon what has been released by data providers. People like Jessica Chapel and Dana Byerly and Crunkanator talked about it more for horse racing over the years than I because they didn’t have trouble learning basic Fortran like I did. But I wonder what this could’ve done for not only the wagering space, but stable management and claiming, too.  

Third party apps, line-up optimizers for DFS, and literally hundreds of other products and services have flooded this space, all because these people could easily build things with sports data.

My back neighbor’s kids from Florida are taking extra credit Python courses in grades six and seven. Racing doesn’t seem to be prepared for this, and if we’re being honest, haven’t been for a long, long time.

Speaking of lessons, Pinnacle Sports is the world leader in wagering and has been for a long time. The people who run this place are the NASA of betting enterprises. They tried fixed odds for horse racing recently and it left quicker than Big Brown from the 20 post (Dutrow's back, I had to). How hard is it for a provider to make fixed odds for racing work? That hard. 

TP Basement Update - I talked to ITP's mom and she said he came up to "fix the remote" at one point this week and he seemed happy, so she thinks he's been doing okay with those "super-thingies".

FYI, I'm still working on getting both he and Mike Joyce on board for my 90's style buddy movie. I had a glance what the writing team has come up with so far, and the scene from the ski trip where Mike is calling in his pick 5 ticket to TVG with Pylons yelling "you don't like the 5 so don't use him!" from the hot tub is hilarious. I'll keep you updated.  

Editors note - That isn't Mike and ITP to your left, but it could be. 

The Big M tends to be more proactive than most racetracks, and they issued a driver policy on Friday with the hopes of making the racing better. Probably the biggest twilight zone thing is that most of these (minus a couple things that seem a little hyperbolic) are already rules in the rulebook, but racing kinda says "whatever, do what you want", because, well I am not sure. This, over time, could make the racing better and I can see favorite win percentages drop some over a large sample. But who knows if we'll get a large sample. When you change something in racing the response can sometimes be New Coke. 

This week's Announcer Update is - nothing. They're usually doing some weird things on social media, but this week it's been crickets for the most part. Ray Cololo even seems kind of normal. However, Ray and Mike did do a Yonkers pod for tonight's races with esteemed guest Chip Reinhart. I listened and there was no talk about his bullish thoughts on the Penguins, but his mom will be happy he didn't swear

Capping content is pretty incredible in racing. Whether it be betting pods, or general stuff with polytrack DeRosa has been doing at HRN, Chuck at Circles Off, or people like CJ and David, or Craig J's Derby updates, it's all out there. I guess the most frustrating thing is that there are fewer people to consume this content. It can be such a great game if the business ran better (and yes, 20 people getting an edge over these many years is probably not the way to help this, but I digress). 

As always, thanks for reading the Monday Super Spectacular Blog. Have a great week, whether you're in Madison or Montreal, Moscow or Minsk. 

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