01/11/2008 12:34AM

Q&A 1/11/08

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bob_mcgeehan says: Do you think that after the official approval at NYRA, whenever that is, that there will be some consideration to adding more superfectas to the cards? I dont know why they cant have a super on all races with 9 or more horses, or maybe a cap of 4 per day? It seems all other tracks can do whatever they want and New York has to have three years of voting before they can approve anything...

One of the nice things about settling the franchise mess one of these days or years will be that the track operators and regulators can finally stop spending all their time on politics and attend to a long list of wagering issues overdue for reform. Many of them are no-brainers, like fixing the rules for pick-4 scratches, minimum starters in tri and super races and, as you suggest opening up the betting menu. There's no reason every race with six or more starters shouldn't have a superfecta.


c says: Not that I really care about the Eclipse awards, but I'm more surprised that the vastly overrated Pyro is nominated in that category. What has he ever won? War Pass clobbered him 3 times. At least Kodiak Kowboy put together some convincing winning efforts during the summer. Pyro is a nose away from being 0-4. What qualifies him to be a nominee?

Pyro's a nose from being 0-for-4, but he's also one poor start and one horse (War Pass) away from being undefeated. Running second to the undisputed juvenile champion in the Champagne and the BC Juvenile is a pretty solid campaign. I voted War Pass-Court Vision-Pyro as my 1-2-3's in that order. I thought Court Vision's Kentucky/New York duo of victories (Iroqouis/Remsen) was more impressive than Kodiak Cowboy's (Bashfor Manor/Saratoga Special.)


dave says: Have you made or thought of any personal wagering resolutions for the coming year?

I've resolved to try to solve my turf-sprint problem by undertaking a study of these races before they resume in May. I found myself passing or missing a lot of NYRA pick-4's and pick-6's last year because of the increased presence of these races. I can't duck them, so I'm going to try to figure them out.


jim_brown says: I had a question about the third race at Aqueduct. I noticed that there was 32,768 in the super pool. The payoff listed the super paying 427,000 and change. Even if there was one .10 winner that would be 42,000 can you explain how this works.

The third race superfecta pool at Aqueduct on Dec. 28 was actually $31,498. There was one winning dime-super ticket sold that got the whole pool, and after the 25 percent takeout, that amounted to $23,609.30. Multiply this by 20 and the $2 price was reported as $472,186.

Some people object to this kind of payoff-reporting but I am not one of them. Personally, I think ALL parimutuel prices and odds should be posted and reported based on a $2 payoff for consistency's sake. I find it very annoying that some tracks now post exacta probables in $1 rather than $2 units. Why, if I'm looking at an exacta probable paying $17, should I have to wonder whether this particular track uses a $1 or $2 system and whether I'm getting 7-1 or 16-1? There should be one standard and it should be the return for a $2 bet.


Honeymoonersgreyhound
cjdstable says: Are you an Odd Couple fan? I received the second season for Christmas and (coincidentally) watched the dog racing episode just before I came down and read the blog. Oscar wins a greyhound named Golden Earrings in a card game off a guy named Salty Pepper (sweet name), sneaks the dog to Miami to race over Felix's objections, and the laughs ensue from there.

The Golden Earrings episode is a classic. Speaking of racing greyhounds in popular culture, I've run across two other recent examples: The all-black version of "The Honeymooners" was widely (and correctly) panned as a terrible movie, but featured a black-and-white greyhound as a key player in Norton and Kramden's big scheme. And in the recently-released "Charlie Wilson's War," Julia Roberts's character, an eccentric right-wing fundraiser, is constantly trailed around her mansion by her two greyhounds.


--Those promised further thoughts on my Gulfstream trip ended up being my Saturday column. Don't tell anyone, but since I said I'd share them in this space, here's a free copy: Download 0112column.doc

And here are a few pictures to illustrate it:

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Tim More than 1 year ago
Whats more depressing? Going to Aqueduct race track or going to Saratoga Harness Track? Where are there more degnerates?
Tim More than 1 year ago
Saratoga Harness Track is a first class dump. Its depressing to walk in there, even for the simulcast. Its dark and filled with weirdos. Makes it doubly painful to lose money. Walking out of their broke makes you feel like the biggest loser in the world. You can get lung cancer just walking down those stairs.
caulks More than 1 year ago
"Cassandra's Dream", Woody Allen's new film that opened last weekend features two greyhound racing scenes around London. Fields in English greyhound racing are limited to six pups.
machouno79 More than 1 year ago
Steve, What are your thoughts on any future solutions to the problem of retro disqualifications? A few years ago, Valhol won the Arkansas Derby and was later disqualified because it was proven that the jockey used an electrical device. Everyone who bet on Valhol cashed tickets, while everyone who bet on Certain got burned... More recently, NYRA disqualified a horse named Bonus Size from placings in his last five races! Every month, it seems there are a few of these "retroactive disqualifications" that come down the pike... My initial thought was that since more and more people are signing up for online accounts with YouBET and even NYRA, there might be a way to get that money back, but it wouldn't be right to take money from the accounts of people who had the "now disqualified" winner.. Is there any reasonable solution, or do we all just need to suck it up and move on?
Stewart More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve: Greatly enjoy the blog and am looking forward to seeing you at the NHC finals next week. With respect to your New Year's resolution, I have some suggestions and a few thoughts on turf sprinting: 1. For the 5.5f turf races at Saratoga in particular, prior sprint success, speed and sprint pedigree are much more important than turf pedigree or prior turf routing success. This is particularly true in the numerous NYB turf sprints carded at the Spa, where there isn't a lot of established turf form or pedigree. Horses who have shown an ability to stalk and be close to the pace in fast-paced sprints on dirt are always a threat in turf sprints, even if there is little turf pedigree or if the horse has previously failed going long on the grass. 2. Turf routers who run close to the pace in routes are, in general, terrible plays when turning back to the shorter sprints (5.5f or less) run at the Spa or other tracks. Unless such a horse has previously shown you an ability to stalk or close in a sprint race, dirt or turf, the much faster early pace of the sprints will likely croak them, particularly at Saratoga, or find them so far back that they can't make up the ground even if the race falls apart. Note, however, that you will find that these Turf routers, if they have shown ability to close at shorter distances, become a much better play in the 6f or 7f races in the Fall on the wider and kinder Belmont turf courses. 3. The same trainers tend to win a lot of the turf sprints, particularly in the NYB races. You should also pay attention to trainers who have had prior success in these races on other circuits, particularly at Monmouth and the mid-Atlantic tracks where they have run lots of these races for years. Linda Rice, Barclay Tagg, Assmussen and other trainers who have won turf sprint races for years before they became NYRA staples are always dangerous in these races. Of the established NY grass trainers, Clement does deceivingly well but several of the other "name" grass trainers are not good plays in these races, because they don't generally train their grass horses for speed. Thanks again for the blog and interesting comments.
Bruce Friday More than 1 year ago
Tony: regarding your comment: "Re:Gulfstream park mess- One thing I know for sure it will NEVER happen to Saratoga !!!!!!" It already HAS happened to Saratoga; a half mile down the road at the harness track. The racino (and planned hotel) there makes the notion of a racino at the flat track redundant.
Duane H More than 1 year ago
Having lived in Miami in the early 70's, the column describing the new Gulf was disheartening. I can't remember much about the quality of racing but I'm wondering if there was as much winter racing back then up North. I could understand why a trainer wouldn't want to ship south if he could stay and race north based on cost alone it would seem. Too bad for all concerned I guess. Is Flagler Kennel Club still operating? Used to go there often also. Since I still am a working stiff, I prefer to spend weekends at my local Canterbury Park for Simulcasting. It's a cozy little place and they take care of their customers well. They keep trying for a Racino, maybe that would make things into a circus here also. Time will tell.
hz hackenbush More than 1 year ago
One more re greyhounds: There is a new AP article up by Thomas J. Sheeran. Story is about retired greyhounds donating blood. Easy to Google.
Michael More than 1 year ago
Steve, For quite a few months now the NY stewards seemed to have adopted a policy regarding dq's or non dq's where if the incident didn't affect how the outcome would have played out, there was no dq. That policy has been well greeted by many people who seem to agree with the rationale that if noone was cost any purse money and the order of finish wouldn't have been any different than there is no reason to dq a horse. Why exactly did the winner of yesterday's 6th race come down? The horse who was affected still held the place spot, and the incident itself was nowhere near as bad as one that stands out in my mind just a month ago. On December 6th at Aqueduct in the 8th race, Throbbin Heart did the same exact thing that the winner did yesterday to Dill No Dill except that the incident on December 6th was far worse. The stewards didn't even post an inquiry on that incident, and a riders claim of foul by Lopez who had ridden Dill or No Dill was quickly dismissed. At the time I remember thinking to myself that the stewards had definitely chosen to adopt a firm policy that if an incident had no bearing on the outcome that the result was going to stand. I have absolutely no problem with either school of thought regarding dq's. If the letter or the law is going to be enforced fully, with any foul resulting in a dq thats fine with me. If the stewards are only going to make dq's regarding incidents that altered what the outcome would have been thats fine with me too. The problem I have is that either school of thought has to be applied consistently in order to be valid. You'd have a very hard time showing someone a replay of the December 6th and the incident between Throbbin Heart and Dill or No Dill, and showing them the replay of yesterday's dq and convincing them that one horse came down and the other didn't.
C More than 1 year ago
Tony, Don't be surprised if it does. Just in the last 5 years, I've seen drastic changes in this sport that I never would've imagined. Like horses running on rubber instead of dirt in California and other places, or the rearrangement of the national stakes schedule, which has eliminated some races, while moving others to different months and even different tracks. And tell me Saratoga hasn't changed over the last decade. From the backyard flea-market to 'Karaoke with Mitch' to the extension into Labor Day. I wish I shared your optimism, but for some reason, nobody is willing to just leave things alone anymore.