09/13/2007 12:16PM

Thursday Mailbag


jay asked: Comment if you will on the wgt advantage these grd 2/3 euro horses have. they run with 130 lbs come here get 10- 15 lbs!! how's rac sec justify that?

Horses routinely carry higher weights in Europe than they do here, but when they come here they don't "get" a 10-15 pound "advantage." The floor is just lower. It wouldn't be fair to make them continue to carry 130 while the locals carried their usual 115-120. In the Garden City, the conditions were: "122 lbs. Non-winners of a Grade 1 on the turf allowed 2 lbs. Non-winners of a Grade 2 on the turf, 4 lbs. Non-winners of a graded sweepstakes, 6 lbs." These are known as "allowance conditions," sort of an automated handicap.

Personally, I think all Grade 1 races -- with perhaps a few historical exceptions like the Big 'Cap -- should be run purely at weight-for-age. Handicap weights are an anachronism, a relic of a pre-exotics era where they might have been necessary to enliven the betting in a race with a heavy favorite. At the highest level of competition, don't we want the best horses to win and prove themselves the best horses?

bruce_friday asked: When calculating the cost of superfectas "the formula is: (x) times (x-1) times (x-2) times (x-3)" is really only true when you carry your top 3 horses in each subsequent position and so on. This sounds roughly equivalent to your "caveman Pick 6 ticket". Is this really the way you play supers or are you more likely to take a stand such as your top horse must finish 1st or 2nd or horse A will finish in front of horse B (etc) and thus allow yourself to spread more on the bottom?

I really don't have that much experience playing supers since 95 percent of my betting is on NYRA races and it's almost impossible to play supers in NY: We still don't have dime supers, and thanks to some ridiculous rules that need to be changed (i.e., no coupled entries in super races, no supers on seven-horse fields) you never know which NYRA races are going to have supers on any given day. But yes, when I play tris I frequently am keying on one or two horses in all positions rather than always making an ever-widening part-wheel.

Here's an example of a double-key superfecta play where, as you point out, the cited formula doesn't really apply. Let's say you wanted to key two horses (#1 and #2) in all positions and surround them with five others (#3-#7). Your first of the six required tickets would be 2x2x5x5 but the cost would be 2x1x5x4, since those five "surround" horses do not appear in the first two positions. Those six tickets would each have 40 combos (so $240 for $1 or $24 for a dime):


I'd be curious if anyone has found a way to make this play without punching out six different tickets. In my experience, if you try to do a "partwheel box" of 1/2/34567/34567 it either gets rejected or comes out at a much higher amount.

billy asked: You noted the inner turf course was "rock-hard". Can the same be said for the Widener course? How different are the two course other than the obvious aspects of dimensions? Is the grass the same? Maintained the same?

The hardness of a grass course is almost entirely a function of how much or little rain there's been rather than maintenance, so when one turf course is hard the one right next to it is too. At Belmont, the inner course has historically been a little kinder to early speed drawn on the inside than the Widener, but that's more a function of the course layouts than different maintenace on the two courses.

mikethedog asked: Doesn't it seem ridiculous in this day that you cannot fund your NYRA Rewards Account online?

It sure does, but I think you can blame the government for this as well as NYRA. The Justice Department's fixation on money-laundering and the idiotic Internet Gambling Prohibition Act have made it much harder than it was a couple of years ago to get banks to agree to electronic funding of wagering accounts. Having said that, NYRA Rewards is way behind the other ADW platforms in providing funding options.


vicstu asked: [F]eel free to post pictures of your retired sprinters any time you wish...they look so at peace with life and domesticated. Question, though, do the dogs still raise their ears and get excited when they hear a squeaking noise like a rabbit?

Like I needed more encouragement to post pictures of the hounds. They still see plenty of actual rabbits here on Long Island. Their first year off the track, they went into full-alert mode and tried to pull my arms off when they saw a bunny, but now they've learned that they'll get a biscuit if they chill out instead. They now confine their primal needs to attack squeaky things by destroying their chew-toys.

Mike Klindworth More than 1 year ago
You're quite right, Bruce. That's good thinkin'.
SamG More than 1 year ago
I don`t think bucked shins is all that uncommon or terribly serious in 2yr olds is it? If Baffert and Zayat want to take thier horses to a surface that suits them better I`m pretty sure they still have that right.Why don`t we just do away with dirt tracks altogether and run all races on grass?Or better yet a computer could similate the results of races based on the most probable outcome,that way nobody gets hurt and we wouldn`t even need jockeys.Or horses for that matter.
David More than 1 year ago
Andyscoggin, I have been betting dime supers using NJ Acct Wagering for quite some time now. They even give you an option for 20, 30, 40 and 50 cents if you are so inclined.
Green Mtn Punter More than 1 year ago
Steve, handicap races with weight spreads are still, in my opinion, the best determinant of champions. Of course, the BC Classic is run WFA, as are most other key Grade I's these days. "Weight brings 'em together" is the old saw; Kelso and Dr Fager are the best examples I can think of- they carried and won with much higher weights than their opponents- more than once at 135-140 with next highest weight 10-12 lbs less! The ability to carry and win with high weight is still, in my book, the final test of true greatness, a way to separate the very good horses and/or best of a crop from the truly greats, the superhorses. Handicap races haven't been run this way in years and so we have to confer these honors lightly in this era of lower standards. Nowadays, carrying high weight is just too much to expect of the less than firm, lightly raced specimens being produced. Instead we get Polytrack, lots of drugs, and 4 or 5 races and off to stud called a "big season".
Bruce Friday More than 1 year ago
According to my calculations, your $1 Super Part-Wheel Box of 1/2/34567/34567 should cost $480, not the $240 you were expecting. The reason is NOT that you are getting more combinations, but rather that you are betting more on each combination. Suppose that the race finishes with 1-2-3-4 in that order. The top ticket in your six ticket part-wheel (12/12/34567/34567) is alive for a buck. If, however, you bet the $1 super-part-box for $480 you would be alive for a buck with BOTH your A/B/C/D AND your A/B/D/C tickets. You've bet all your combos twice because of the repeated numbers. Thus, the answer to your question is: Yes, you can make your play without punching six tickets. Just make it a 50 cent 1/2/34567/34567 box and you'll get what you want. (I think I'll sit in the DRF box seats at Saratoga next Tuesday.) My mom's favorite bet used to be a $2 box on 1 and 2 in the Daily Double! No matter how many times I tried to convince her that it was an illogical bet, she'd have none of it. I feel a bit the same way about a super-part-wheel-box. Just because you can bet it, why should you? The beauty of your six ticket combination is that you can bet your 12/12/34567/34567 for $2, the 34567/34567/12/12 for 50 cents, and the other tickets for a buck. Isn't fractional wagering wonderful?
Mike Klindworth More than 1 year ago
I routinely make $1 trifecta box partwheels. If they don't know you, a lot of tellers will look at you and ask, "Are you sure? That's boxed, right?". I've found that they're good bets in large competitive fields when you like the chances two mid/large priced horses hitting the board. In my opinion, a 1x2x8 boxed combo for $48 in a 10 horse field covers more ground than a five horse tri box for $60. Steve's superfecta example would come out at $240 on a SAM machine by going: $1 super box 1x2x34567x34566, but would be much higher at 12x12x34567x34567.
vicstu More than 1 year ago
Thanks for posting the pic of your greyhounds...they certainly have the relaxing thing down-pat. Interesting about the biscuit incentive, I know for some the prey drive stays with them for some time, seems yours have adjusted just fine. I know how powerfully many of the active racers pull, I am sure your arm is relieved... Great looking, happy dogs. Looks like they are grateful and very comfortable...
Mark More than 1 year ago
Excellent article on Rags to Riches. I agree with all that you have to say. Interesting to read Pletcher's comment from after the Belmont; "If I dont mess her up" she will not be beaten by another filly. Just curious, do you think that she may be a little "messed up" after her crazy summer? Again, great article!
David More than 1 year ago
Hey, Steve, are you gonna bet on the The Green Monkey, the world's first $16m non-human, in the 4th race on Saturday? By my calculation, it will have to win the purse in the 4th race 500 more times just to break even!
CJSLUCKYBOY More than 1 year ago
This is a question for the connections of Maimonides, Ahmed Zayat and Bob Baffert. You brought the horse all the way across the country to get away from that evil PolyTrack, which, according to you folks, takes "the speed right out of them". You run him twice at Saratoga, on good old fashioned dirt, and now you have a horse with bucked shins that is out of training for months. Your question, Ahmed & Bob: which surface took the most speed out of your horse?