07/31/2007 11:14AM

Dark Day #1

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No one was trying to denigrate Lawyer Ron, NYRA or thoroughbred racing in general by saying that the times of Saturday's races did not fit together, and identical questions would have been raised had the winner been any other horse in the field. And I find nothing sacrilegious about questioning a timing system where, as several posters noted, a certifiably inaccurate first quarter of 21 and change was posted during the running of the Diana 90 minutes earlier in the day.

One thing the flap illustrates, not that additional impetus was needed, is the need for NYRA to install the Trakus system as soon as it can. The accurate, real-time display of the running order of the entire field during a race is a terrific step forward in the game and would be especially welcome in New York, where an antiquated manual placing system often shows a completely different running order from the actual one. Trakus also generates a ton of individual horse data that may well prove to be the next frontier in handicapping once anyone figures out exactly what to do with it.

--In the course of trying out your computer suggestions, I was horrified to see that the 10 categories of supposedly objectional material one can block through Internet Explorer's "parental controls" to protect the young'uns includes "depictions of gambling." No one's saying tykes should be playing online roulette, but does "depictions of gambling" include Dostoevsky and "The Sting"? And why no controls for "depictions of playing the stock market," "depictions of collecting bobbleheads," "depictions of buying designer shoes" or any other activity that, performed imprudently or obsessively, might be expensive?

--I mentioned a couple of days ago that My Typhoon might find the distance of the BC F&M Turf a challenge because of its 10-furlong distance. Oops. As one of you pointed out, the race is at 11 furlongs this year -- even more of a challenge for the middle-distance specialist. The F&M Turf is one of three races that will be run at the "wrong" distance this year because of Monmouth's course configurations: The new Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile will betray its name by being run at a mile and 70 yards, and the new F&M Sprint will be at six furlongs this year and seven furlongs thereafter.

--Quick restaurant tout: I ate my first Saratoga meal of the season that was not delivered in a box or served on a bun last night at Hattie's, which I had not visited since the early 1980's when it was known as Hattie's Chicken Shack. The fried chicken is still outstanding but so is the rest of the Southern-style menu. While Mrs. Blog would doubtless advise me to warn that it is not the most artery-friendly menu in town, my cornbread, hush puppies and jambalaya all got high marks and even she was able to enjoy a fairly guilt-free piece of prosciutto-wrapped fish.

dgstan More than 1 year ago
A couple of notes: - First, Saratoga has reasonable concession prices. Beer and food are relatively inexpensive, and I think that helps bring out the families. Personally, I'll forgo the Place Pick All if I don't get gouged at the snack window. Of course, I'm comparing it to Del Mar where you can't even bring in a cooler of brew. - Second, the Del Mar site has Trakus data up for every race. I don't know whether you can extract the data you need, but they do offer a premium package with more info. http://www.dmtc.com/racinginfo/trakus.php
Green Mtn Punter More than 1 year ago
Nice to hear Hattie's Chicken Shack being touted again. I haven't been since the '80's when Hattie was still doing the cooking but it was always a Saratoga original for this Vermonter to look forward to. Went to the Wishing Well last week-end and it is, for my money, still the creme de la creme of Saratoga as it has been since 1936, and under the present owners since 1968. That's quite an achievement for any restaurant in any location. I am, however, dismayed by the average age of the patrons- probably 55+- but that is the younger generation's loss as Wishing Well food quality, ambience,and service never go out of style- they always deliver the goods!
SamG More than 1 year ago
More betting options would be nice but when everything goes synthetic I find a new hobby.In the Del Mar handicapping contest I`ve won $3,500 so far by picking the worst looking horse in the race.Also trakus might be nice but pace is far less usefull a factor on polytrack.
david More than 1 year ago
Hattie's has maintained quality through the years. The ownership has changed at least once since Hattie sold it. For a fancier type meal, Dine (Henry St) served us well last season
Tom Atwater More than 1 year ago
Re: Computer problem: I am also of the opinion that it is some kind of a spyware, which as has been pointed out is not detected by most anti-virus software. Here is what I recommend: 1) Run the best anti-spyware software available, as others suggested 2) If that doesn't work, reinstall Internet Explorer 3) If that doesn't work, reinstall WIndows I had a problem at work with web page redirects to spyware sites. None of the anti- programs worked. I finally had to reinstall Windows. THe problem went away. The best solution though is probably to install Firefox. Probably the quickest solution too, it only takes a few minutes to install. If you do stay with IE, in the future, stay away from sites that offer anything free. SOme of them offer a little too much free stuff, like adware/spyware. But we you *really* want is a Mac ;-) Ask Randy Moss.
Jamie Edson More than 1 year ago
Do you like your DRF character drawing as much as I do? That is a classic, need more pony tail!
Silver Charm More than 1 year ago
Steve, You do not need to apologize to anyone for questioning the final time of the Whitney. As a reporter its part of your job. This is a wagering sport and people need to know people are watching. No one said the winner didn't deserve to win they just questioned the validity of the time. As a handicapper if I can't trust the Time, Tote, PP's and Speed Figures then I am kidding myself. I am really playing Lotto...........
Mark More than 1 year ago
Steve, Why is there a lack of 7f races carded this year so far. I usually have success with these races in the past and I miss them. Are the turf sprints taking there place? Besides the Test this Saturday I don't think I've seen any carded so far.
Aaron in NY More than 1 year ago
I remember reading about the Trackus system over a year ago, when it seemed to be a far ways off. Trackus seems to have the potential to solve the problems that have hindered pace handicappers. I would love to take the Trackus data, and play around a bit to see if any patterns come to light. To my knowledge, though, there is no way to extract manipulable data. Do any readers know of a way of doing this?
Kellsboro Jack More than 1 year ago
So with the confirmation by NYRA, et al that Lawyer Ron's time in the Whitney is correct (and now a significant track record) will the post race Beyer fig remain at 116 for his effort? I for one have no issue with anyone questioning the time. The DRF clockers were there so it isn't as if this was a question based upon a mere gut feeling.