09/13/2007 11:16AM

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.