08/19/2008 11:46PM

Dark Day 4: Q&A Catchup


Took an actual day off today and am about to crack open Wednesday's pp's for the first time, but just to keep the chain of daily postings unbroken, let's catch up on a few of the many questions you've posed that I haven't gotten around to answering.

--saratoga_mike said: "Given the severe overnight downpours and current drenching rain, it looks like we might be off the turf for Wed."

He wrote that at 7:40 this morning, when indeed it had been raining for hours, but it stopped by mid-morning and it's been windy and sunny all day and the forecast for the rest of the week is pretty benign. So I'm handicapping as if tomorrow's races are staying on the grass.

--tim_roberts said: "Steve, you gonna give me directions that will get me from Belmont to Saratoga in exactly 3 hours?"

I took the Cross Island to the Whitestone to the Hutch to the Cross County to the Thruway. Where I drove 75 the rest of the way.

--ray_manley said: "Several months ago someone on Dan's blog mentioned that Churchill Downs would end up with this years Breeders Cup due to the never ending track problems at Santa Anita. Have you heard anything about this? This would certainly be one way of bringing Curlin and Big Brown together.

I think it would take a complete disaster with the new Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup to be relocated at this late date. Personally, I would have relocated it to Churchill or Belmont last spring after the problems Santa Anita had, and given them a year rather than three weeks to race on it before using it for a day of championship races, but I think that window has closed.

todd_r said: Has anyone heard a good, valid, justifiable explanation as to why the Breeder's Cup is being run two years in a row at Santa Anita? I thought it was a terrible idea when it was announced way back when, and as we inch closer, I think it is even more of a horrendous idea given the synthetic surface. Any thoughts?

The official explanation was that there were "marketing benefits" and "synergies" in having the BC at the same site for two years running, and that Belmont (franchise negotiations) and Churchill (dissatisfaction with revenue-sharing deal) did not make acceptable presentations for 2009. I'm dubious about the importance of the first argument and think the second could have been overcome by giving both situations a little more time. The legislation extending NYRA's franchise was passed shortly after Breeders' Cup made the announcement, and I fail to see why the 2009 site had to be announced 19 rather than 18 or 16 months before the event.

--virgin_queen said: "Do u know off hand whether pete rose was a chalk eating weasel.by the way do u think he should b in the hall of fame?

From all accounts, Rose was no chalk-chaser. He liked to play the pick-6, and the horse Rob Murphy touted him on was a 40-1 shot. And yes, I do think he should be in the Hall of Fame.

--prozac_jack said: "If a trainer has an uncoupled entry can he CASH a winning Pick 6 ticket with only ONE of his horses?"

The way the rule is written in NY, a trainer may not bet against his own horse. It would probably be splitting hairs to argue that using only the obviously stronger half of an uncoupled entry would be betting "against" the other one, but it would certainly raise eyebrows if he used his 10-1 shot but not an uncoupled 3-5.

--larry_villasmil said: "Do we have access to info on the actual weight of the horses in a race? Where I come from, the "forms" included the actual weight of each horse in a race, and I used it as an indication of wellness and advantage...

This (along with adoption programs for retired racers) is an area where greyhound racing is ahead of the Thoroughbred game. Greyhounds have a permanent assigned weight (Badger Pluto and Badger Popeye were both 78-pounders) and they must weigh in before the race within two pounds of it or they are scratched. Their actual racing weight the day of the race also becomes part of their permanent past-performance record. We'd happily provide this information in DRF but no U.S. jurisdiction collects it or is required to do so.

--silkysullivan said: "Where do you get your info on will pays, number of possible winning tickets etc.?"

I get it from the NYRA Rewards account-wagering site where I do most of my betting. Almost every account-wagering service has some version of them, or if you don't have a betting account you can try the live tote at drf.com. I find this a lot handier than waiting for the displays of will-pays on track monitors, which takes forever.

--mark_s said: "One 6-oz corn dog = 375 calories, 21g fat (6g saturated), 75mg cholesterol, 1170mg sodium (!). To burn this off, you can do 103 mins walking, 43 mins jogging, 31 mins swimming, or 57 mins cycling. Your choice.

Okay, but how many calories does one burn while handicapping? And does it double for statebred turf sprints?

On that note, time to burn some midnight oil as well as some calories. Five grass races tomorrow, with a total of 73 entries. A few days of running some grass races with full fields and we might just get the first double-carryover of the meeting. I can't remember a Saratoga with only two single carries and no double carries in four weeks.

Dan MacKenzie More than 1 year ago
When was 4025.10(d) officially amended ? http://www.racing.state.ny.us/about/thbred/Sec4025.1-4029.9.html Wednesday - City Bird did not have the smoothest of trips in a 7 1/2 length victory at Belmont on July 9. Interesting.
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
PS- Does no one but me love the Tin Cup Chalice story? Small time owner/breeder/trainer running all his life for 10k purses at the Finger Lakes striking gold from his modest program and finding himself on the verge of huge score if he wins todays Albany completing the NY Bred Triple Crown?
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
Basically, with no double carryovers and only two single carryovers so far this meet, plus no horse winning at greater than 9-1 in quite a while, we are due for a few bombs today so I can sit out the P6?
AndyScoggin More than 1 year ago
dan_mackenzie, Sorry, I am in Shushan, NY, which is a small town 45 minutes east of SAR. I don't have wireless, so have to go into town and sit in a cafe. Also, spending time with my in-laws! Enough said there. First prize is over $15,000. 10 people get paid with 10th about $600. 8 prizes over $1,000. sero, TY, for the advice I thought these never went the whole meet. Good thinking in the end in '04.
Micclay More than 1 year ago
Got an e-mail from the BC hawking tickets. Seems like the early lottery with the June cutoff left available seats. They have ruined that event. Spreading to two days, female races all grouped on Friday and outrageous ticket prices. I had gone to every BC since 1988. Can't remember the reason why I got PO'd last year and sold my tickets on Stubhub for my cost. Stroke of genius when both days washed away. We usually try to turn the day into a vacation. This year we booked a cruise from LA thru the Panama Canal ending in Puerto Rico - a little 13 day jaunt. The ironic thing - I don't thing I'm going to the BC this year. Ticket prices are an insult, plus the seat location stinks, unkown track and may be mediocre fields by past BC standards. Might do a game time decision and stop by. Then again, I might just sit on my wallet and get ready for the cruise!!!
Micclay More than 1 year ago
Stevo: I looked for you a the Washington County Fair last night? Great concessions - corn dogs, Fried Dough ($4.00), Sauage and Pepper grinders. Great cow pavillions - talked to a farmer for 20 minutes and now I know all I wanted to know about cows. They had a lawn mower pull last night - pulling weight sleds in different engine types. Maybe little Andy can handicap these events. His picks and analysis at Siro's put him into this group. Good to see TCC win the Albany. Where was the rest of the field letting him run 3 qtrs in 15 and change? He deserved to win and credit is due to his jockey. Both of my greyhounds have been sick with a stomach virus and have passed it to each other back and forth. There weight has dropped several pounds with the sickness and bland diet - rice and apple sauce. The male is back to normal and the female hopefully is just about back. My expertise at the track is a little lacking the last few weeks. Hopefully some real turf races (not sprints) will help. Decided to concentrate instead on eating. Tonight - Filet Mignon on the grill, sugar snap peas and sauteed mushrooms along with a very nice merlot. Last night - fresh swordfish grilled with brocolli and cheese before heading to the fair. Undecided about tomorrow night - maybe a nice cab and a grilled strip steak. The extra half hour at the track for a 10th race squeezes the evening a little too much. Think I'll stop printing the last race.
walmatt More than 1 year ago
Just another restaurant review..... Went to Mexican Connection last night. It's a tiny place located behind the Brentwood Hotel next to the Horseshoe. You'd never know it was there. Food was great, Margaritas were even better. Place was mobbed with locals on a Tuesday night. Give it a try
buffalo joe More than 1 year ago
Virgin Quenn, Funny you should ask, Sat at about 12:45 a while I am wiping the sleep out of my eyes, downing my first cup of coffee of the day, the phone rings. My wife and I pick up seperate hand sets and answer together as soon as she heard the canadian accent she hung up, knowing it must be one of my racetrack friends. Any way we had a nice little chat, talked about the secret play, but ony at 3-1 or better. He has been busy at his business, and is laying low until after Saratoga ends. one reason is he is unable to paly dime supers at US track just as we in the States are not able to play 20 cent supers at us outlets. I have the best of both worlds living in a Border town with betting outlets within 7 or 8 miles of each other on each side of the Peace Bridge (international crossing Buffalo,NY/Fort Erie, Ontario), plus my twin spiers account. I laughed like hell the first time he called and my wife answered, as I wasn't expecting his call, she looked at me kinda of funny handing me the phone saying some guys looking for "Buffalo Joe", now my wife has called a lot of names and has heard me called a lot of names, but Buffalo Joe is not one of them. Anyway I'm expecting to go over the border tonight to bet WO simulcast as well as Penn National, I'll try to call him later to see if he like any bombs at WO. Horseplayers Poker player, all alike, no one has real name your known as Pete the suit, Brantford Tony or London Tony, someone might say I was in a pot with Mark, you known, Then you say MGM, shotgun Mark, skinng Mark??? You might know a guy at the track 30 yrs talk to him all the time and not known their name, "New Yorker", "Johnny Shortsteps", "PaPa Nick" "The Sheriff"(he never wore a badge in his life) but you respect his opinion and they are all standup guys and that is what really counts, tell that to a square, and he won't understand you. I've met some great people and wonderful characters across the table and across the paddock and Flipper Dawson is one of them.
Walt More than 1 year ago
Couple of items: Since you brought up the BC, did any other tracks even try to bid for the 2009 edition besides SA, Belmont and Churchill? I would think Delaware Park could for instance serve as a great site for the 2010 BC, especially since from what I remember they have as many normal seats as Belmont, and probably could hold 55-60,000 without much of a problem. Speaking of the BC, I have written many times in the "Letters to the Editor" section that in my opinion the BC needs to become a nighttime event (even if it means paying ESPN or another outlet through the nose), where it could potentially see a $1-1.5 BILLION handle coming from Japan, Hong Kong and Australia (where it would be Saturday and Sunday morning for a BC on Friday and Saturday night here). That could potentially allow the BC Classic to be worth as much as $25 million, the Turf and Distaff as much as $15 million each, the Mile as much as $10 Million, and so forth (while to put the emphasis on races for older horses, the races for two years olds would be capped at $2 Million), as well as put in massive supplements into races for older horses like the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Santa Anita Handicap, Arlington Million, Hollywood Gold Cup, Met Mile, Whitney Handicap, Pacific Classic and so forth that can have such events worth anywhere from $2.5-7.5 Million for BC eligible horses. Doing such would reduce the temptation of retiring horses at three if the big money in racing is mainly available for horses who are four year olds and older. Do you think we will ever actually see a nighttime BC, perhaps as early as 2010 (which obviously would eliminate the example I just gave of Delaware Park) to tap into the potentially huge windfall that could come for BC Handle out of Asia and Australia?
Kennedy More than 1 year ago
A question for your next dark day. What is your general feeling on the viability, accuracy and usefulness of point systems? Do you think they would be beneficial and if so what would it take for you to advocate for their creation/inclusion on the DRF website?