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Showing posts from June, 2008

Horse Slaughter, Sadinsky & Maggi Moss

We have written about Richard Fields, the owner of Suffolk Downs before. He is trying his best to revitalize racing in New England. He also seems to care about the horses, as well.

In the thoroughbred times, Suffolk is beginning a zero tolerance policy on horse slaughter.

Sam Elliott, the track’s vice president for racing, has informed the leadership of the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association that any trainer found to have sold a horse for slaughter will have his stalls revoked and be denied stalls at any time in the future.

Is this doable? One would think it would be very tough to manage. And we all know the issue is bigger than the game right now. There are only so many homes and so many fields for our retired equine buddies to roam around in. However, putting it on the front burner is never a bad thing.

There was an editorial in the Niagara Falls Review about the Sadinsky Report. Some quotes:
According to the report's authors, the industry itself is prin…

6 Months for a Whip

Getting caught up a little bit. Sometimes our game is flat-out bizarre.

In the land of runners Jeremy Rose was suspended six months for whipping a horse in the face during a race at DelawarePark.In the official ruling, DelawarePark stewards contended that Rose “engaged in extreme misuse of the whip during the stretch run while on the horse Appeal to the City.” John Wayne, executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, said the horse experienced some hemorrhaging around its eye due to contact with Rose’s whip.Appeal to the City, a 5-year-old daughter of Appealing Skier, was initially examined by commission veterinarian John Peters, after which she was taken to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s NewBoltonCenter for treatment. Wayne said though the injuries were serious, he believed the mare would be OK and would not lose her eyesight.The stewards' ruling also stated that Rose would be responsible for all veterinarian bills for the car…

The World Wide Web's Sadinsky Report

We have spoken a good deal on the blog about social media, chat sites, customers being heard everywhere from Dell Computer, to Wal Mart.

In racing it is no exception.

Since I have been away and not updating frequently, why not pass along another blogger's views on the Sadinsky report which we touched upon below.

Agree, disagree, whatever. The time taken by Cangamble to put his own Sadinsky report together is the world wide web today.

Industry Review Panel & a Few Notes

I've been away from the races for a little while. But I did come across some news tonight.

The biggest of which is the Industry Review Panel Report for Ontario horse racing. There is some huge stuff in this report. Racing might never be the same in this province. I am pretty sure our fractured stakeholders will have something to say about this - and many will not be happy. But most of this I think needs to be done. Most of it people in one way or another have said has to be done.

I will have a few opinions on it after I digest it a bit more. But at first glance, a thumbs up from this cat.

Andrew Cohen of Harnessracing.com shares his opinion on the recent ORC ruling against Woodbine Entertainment. Agree or disagree with Mr. Cohen, but never accuse him of not making a good argument. Another well thought out piece from one of this games fine spokespeople.

There is a thread at Paceadvantage.com about "is thoroughbred easier or harder to handicap than harness" Good thread and all…

Sixty Minute Six

Well we spoke about the 4 in 48 – a harness pick 4, offered by a track when no others are running, to capitalize on the wagering vacuum. Now, recently announced by thoroughbred racing is the Sixty Minute Six. NYRA, DelawarePark, PhillyPark and Monmouth have gotten together, offered six races in an hour with a $100,000 guaranteed pool. It will be run each Saturday from June until August.A few stumbling blocks with this; pitfalls that we would not have with the 4 in 48, are apparent to me.One, there is too much racing on Saturday’s. We can bet pick 6’s, pick 9’s, pick 4’s, dime supers, on and on. How much money do people think we have to drop on low hit rate bets, with zippo churn? With so much competition, I think this bet might struggle.Second, it is not too dissimilar to the Magna 5.Third, those tracks are far apart in trainer colony and bias’s. It’s tough to feel comfortable in betting all those surfaces on a given day.Fourth, no low rake guarantee to entice us.Five, no 50 cent or 2…

Congress Calls for Uniform Rules & a Commissioner

The congressional subcommittee has been making some headlines. In a New York Times piece yesterday titled “House Panel Takes Aim at Horse Racing Practices” it seems change might be forced on all of us.

The committee appeared to unanimously endorse a central governing body for the sport, and threatened to use the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978 to make that happen.

Breeders were especially hit hard:

“The best racehorses in the sport no longer make money for their owners on the race track — they now make money in the breeding shed,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois, who chaired the hearing entitled, “Breeding, Drugs, and Breakdowns: The State of Thoroughbred Racing and the Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse.”

“The breeders no longer have an incentive to breed horses that are sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of racing, and instead, promote fashionable, but unsound, bloodlines that are known for precocity and speed.”

Further in the DRF, virtually all panelists and sp…

'HANA', HD & Other Acronyms

Horseplayers are organizing.

HANA - Horseplayers Association of North America is a fledgling group of horseplayers trying to make a difference in the game they love. Currently the mission statement, and goals are being discussed over at Paceadvantage.com.

One of the groups founders is a professional handicapper. He is trying to drum up some support. Here are a few of his thoughts in getting this off the ground. If you agree with any of this, and are a fan of harness or thoroughbreds, you can be a part of this if you wish. It is free for now, although I am assuming they might want to drum up some funds over time.

Horseplayers have become increasingly more and more fed up with the way the industry is being run. Horsemen withholding signals from ADWs, track management's disdain towards the customer, trainers who are constantly rewarded for cheating, and a tote system based on obsolete technology - these facets of the game and more have resulted in an industry that is, to put it kindly,…

Breaking Down Barriers

I have been searching here and there for some reaction outside harness circles on Somebeachsomewhere. People have (rightfully) noticed that there is not a ton of press about him, or the victory south of the border. This is not unexpected of course. We're harness racing, and this colt has not wowed them at the Big M; he's done it here.

However, on some blogs and on chat boards in thoroughbred land, there is some buzz about this animal. One of the very best and longest running thoroughbred blogs, Left at the Gate had a recent post about the Truro Nova Scotia horse.

The track, located in Campbellville, Ontario, around 25 miles from Toronto, no longer keeps attendance figures, but it was said to be "wall-to-wall" with an estimated crowd of 11,000. This is an undefeated (in nine starts) horse who is evoking the kind of genuinely heartfelt reaction from the public that I felt was notably absent around Big Brown.

And from the comment section, from our galloping gaited cousins:

What's Next for Somebeach?

We know owner Jess Jackson, of Curlin, is a sportsman. He is planning to try the super Curlin on the grass for a run at the Arc D'Triomphe. Why would they risk it? Why run a horse on grass who can crush all dirt competition? Because they want to. Let's face it, with 99% of owners out there, he'd be at stud right now. Not with these connections. That's racing folks.That's why we buy horses - not to make excuses, not to breed them, to race them. Is my horse better than your horse? Let'[s find out. I wish them all the luck in the world.

So what do we think Sombeach does?

Conventional thinking: The Meadowlands Pace, maybe one more trip on a big track, then off to Lexington for a run at 146, then a break, then the Breeders Crown. Dot the i's and cross the t's. Keep him off a half mile track, keep and protect the undefeated streak at all costs. That is racing with stud deals where we breed to breed, not to race. We have seen it countless times in this business.

Astonishing

I had a look at the US Open results tonight to see Tiger Woods - on a bum knee - manage two eagles en route to the lead in the years second major championship. He simply outclasses a field, and we are lucky to be living in his era.

We saw similar tonight.

People can say what they want - everyone has an opinion - and rightfully so. But this horse is the most dominant animal this sport has ever seen.

Has anyone seen $750,000 made so easily? I haven't.

The moment Brian Sears got stuck in the two hole, not prompting a pace, this race was in the books. It was not long ago that a 54.4 first half was considered fast, and a push. We were not sure if a three year old colt could come home quick enough to withstand the backfield off a half like that. With this horse it is academic. A 54.1 back kicker under a hand ride is all that is needed. No one can get close to this horse. It was over at the quarter.

I think we may see this horse go 145 and change at the Red Mile this year. I hope he does it. …

Cup XXV Analysis & Full Card Speed Figures

Well today is the day - Cup XXV.

#1 Santanna Blue Chip - Should be trying to scoot out of there to get a nice spot, and probably will do so. Likely to hit the superfecta ticket if things go his way.

#2 Somebeachsomewhere - There is not much left to say. It seems like the only way this horse can lose is if he beats himself. Big Brown beat himself last week by most accounts. I am interested in the driver strategy. If Paul blasts I can see a whole lotta drivers saying "whoa". If he waits for things to settle he should be ok with a brush move, or first over move, and we should be looking at a Cup winner.

#3 Deuce Seelster - Is simply a very nice little horse. He should be able to get some sort of trip there, and is likely to hit the ticket somewhere.

#4 Badlands Nitro - What does Sears do? I think he will blast. If so, he should be right near the thick of it turning for home. Obvious to hit the exactor ticket.

#5 Sand Shooter - As we have said, he was foul gaited last week. Can Mille…

Handicapping Friday: Speed Figures

The horse had a 66 Beyer last time, so you knew he was good.

The horse had a Prime Power number of 88, so I expected him to do well.

Those are comments in the thoroughbred world, not ours.

Our game is about trips, traffic trouble, intent and post position. Among others. But not so fast. From track to track and surface to surface and night to night, winning times change. Time is only important in jail is a misconception in harness racing. Time is important. The fastest time wins the race.

Joe, who runs the website Buggies Don't Pay is a handicapper - a pretty darn good one. He has been making his own figures for awhile, and doing pretty well by all accounts. He does not use his speed figures as a panacea, he uses them to find the speediest horses, then he handicaps.

Often on the blog I have stated the opinion that we do not have enough tools in harness racing to encourage the bet. We don't have a website with tons of harness-only information. We don't have software. We have very…

Odds & Ends For Thursday

It Takes Time

Mohawk handles are up.

Business & marketing writer Jack Trout has long trumpeted the idea that you have to know who you are to succeed - sell yourself for what you are. Many products try to be something they are not and more often than not they fail miserably. Harness racing is rural, it is grassroots. Going back to Mohawk in the summer was poo-pooed by many because leaving metro Toronto was deemed wrong. Early on they seemed to be right, but in business you never try things for a week and say "didn't work", you test until you have data that tells you it works, or it does not.

Mohawk works. It is a better surface for good racing. And kudos to WEG for sticking to their guns.

Using our TV Time Better

We have been proponents on the blog about using our TV time to our advantage. We have too many human interest stories, too much fluff. Not enough about the betting, or attacking stereotypes that hinder our sport.

Thoroughbred trainer Tom Amoss felt similar about t…

Jamieson: "I've never seen a horse like him in my lifetime"

As Cup XXV gets closer, the Globe and Mail has a piece on Somebeachsomewhere.

Driver and co-owner of Santanna Blue Chip (post one) says this:

"This horse is just a great horse," Jamieson said of Somebeachsomewhere. "He's a creature. I've never seen a horse like him in my lifetime. I don't think the people that are coming to the races right now may ever see another horse like him. I guess they'll say that Niatross was the same kind of horse, a dominant kind of horse, but I never got to see Niatross race. But I've seen Somebeachsomewhere race, and I'll tell you, he's an absolute great."

The accolades just keep coming. Lucky Beach is a horse, because if he was a human, he sure as heavens would feel some pressure.

This weekend, at Mohawk Racetrack - in my opinion the most beautiful harness track to watch a race on earth in the summer - who knows if history will be made. Who knows if we see a 1:47 mile. Who knows if the horse comes up short and r…

Fair Odds Line for Cup XXV

Here are a couple of stabs at some fair odds lines.

Mine (Post-Horse-Odds-Percentage Chance (out of 100):

1 - Santanna Blue Chip
24-1 4.0%
2 - Somebeachsomewhere
7-10 58.8%
3 - Deuce Seelster
18-1 5.3%
4 - Badlands Nitro
9-1 11.1%
5 - Sand Shooter
16-1 5.7%
6 - Mucho Sleazy
70-1 1.4%
7 - Art Official
9-1 10.0%
8 - Dali
30-1 3.2%
9 - Lennon Blue Chip
150-1 0.7%
10 - Keystone Horatio
45-1 2.2%

Second entrant, Greg R:

1 Santanna Blue Chip 15-1

2 SBSW 1-1

3 Deuce Seelster 8-1 (I give him credit over art official for winning the elim)

4 Badlands Hanover 5-1

5 Sand Shooter 20-1

6 Mucho Sleazy 25-1

7 Art Official 10-1

8 Dali 12-1

9 Lennon Blue Chip 30-1

10 Keystone Horatio 15-1

North America Cup XXV Final Drawn

Here is the field for the Cup Final (courtesy Standardbredcanada.):

$1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup

PP - Horse - Listed Driver - Trainer - Line

1 - Santanna Blue Chip - J. Jamieson - C. Jamieson - 10-1
2 - Somebeachsomewhere - P. MacDonell - B. MacGrath - 8-5
3 - Deuce Seelster - J. Campbell - D. McCall - 8-1
4 - Badlands Nitro - B. Sears - B. Teague - 4-1
5 - Sand Shooter - D. Miller - J. Arledge - 8-1
6 - Mucho Sleazy - M. MacDoanld - C. Coleman - 15-1
7 - Art Official - T. Buter - J. Seekman - 5-1
8 - Dali - L. Ouellette - D. Marfisi - 8-1
9 - Lennon Blue Chip - T. Tetrick - C. Coleman - 30-1
10 - Keystone Horatio - Ra. Waples - J. Kopas - 15-1

I am having some serious trouble with the odds line. 6 out of the 10 horses are under 10-1? SBSW at 8-5? He has never had a horse on his saddle pad in his career, let alone been headed. He should have been 4-5 or lower, in my opinion. And only two horses (Badlands and Art Official) should be below 10-1.

If there was a head to head match up odds line…

Cup XXV Monday & Great Horses

Some good stuff out there today for fans who want to handicap the Cup.

The Harness Edge has video interviews with George Teague, Paul MacDonnell and Darren McCall. I love Paul Mac. He is so cool about all this it is frightening. Steady is as steady does.

Standardbred Canada has some stories up. Included is a poll question on who will win Cup XXV. The elims are all up there for those of you who have not seen them.

Shiny Woodbine handicapper Mike Hamilton chimed in on some numbers for this years Cup. Some numbers is probably not accurate. How about a ton of numbers. More numbers than a NASA scientist uses to land that thing on Mars. More numbers than Einstein uses. More (negative) numbers than our stable's tax return. Anyway you get the drift. If you are looking at some NA Cup trivia, look no further than here, at Northamericacup.com.
Just click the "By the Numbers" link.

The post draw is tomorrow, so we will have a fair odds line soon. Also, I am trying to enlist a few guys t…

The Two Big Races

Notes from the Cup elims and the Belmont. In my usual quiet non-opinionated way :)

People do not like Richard Dutrow.

From ESPN.com's piece titled "Trainer Dutrow eats crow after Big Brown busts at Belmont"

Someone asked trainer David Carroll, whose Denis of Cork finished second, whether he felt bad about helping spoil a Triple Crown.

"No, I don't," Carroll said. "Not one little bit. There's a right way and a wrong way. You win with class and you lose with class.

"Basically what [Dutrow] has been saying is, [Denis of Cork] is a P.O.S. And he isn't. He rubbed me the wrong way."

I agree with that. When you are in a race with other owners and trainers who love and respect their horses, and who worked their asses off to get him ready, you never show any disrespect. You wish them well, nothing more. Tooting your own horn is completely unacceptable in this business, and it never has been acceptable.

As Zito said here: in the latest on Big Brown: …

North America Cup Elims are in the Books

It was a busy day today. I will pop up a post on the Belmont later for those who might want to offer some opinions. But first, harness racing:

Tonight's elims for the Cup are over and done. For full results, you can use the standardbred Canada link.

In the first elimination, it was frankly a walk in the park for Badlands Nitro. I thought he looked fabulous. On 7/8's tracks the most important fraction is the middle half. He went a solid 54.3 and still had plenty in the tank. Santanna and Horatio (with a dandy steer from Randy Waples) made the final. As I noted before I am a fan of Share the Delight, owned by commentator Andrew Cohen. He unfortunately made a nasty break. They are probably so, so disappointed tonight, and that was sad to see. I was really pulling for them.

In the second division, Somebeachsomewhere won in 149 flat. I am not even going to speak of him in this post. There are simply no adjectives left. We've been touting Art Official this week, and he raced awesom…

Superhorse

Today will probably be the day the Triple Crown is won. I thought a post about the one and only Secretariat is apropos.

There will be many throwing around the word greatness if Big Brown should win tomorrow. But we should all step back and take a look at the past. Secretariat was and is greatness. People don't throw around the word "Superhorse" when speaking of him - he invented that word.

Here is the full footage of the 1973 Belmont via Youtube, including post-race coverage.

I thought it was a good time to watch that again, just to put things into perspective. I could watch that race all day.

Later on Saturday we get to see our own version of Big Brown - Somebeachsomewhere. Can he be the next Superhorse? We'll be back tomorrow with a North America Cup recap.

Photo Courtesy the Time Magazine Website.

A $5M Match Race?

Richard Fields loves racing.

He bought Suffolk Downs last year, and hopes to revive it into what it once was. Each time I read a Suffolk headline, it is about some promotion, or him sinking cash into his track, or him trumpeting the fact that they are open for business and come along.

Two years ago he revived the Mass Handicap. It had been going on for 60 years before being discontinued. Now he wants to take it to greater heights. He announced that his own company would put up the cash for a purse increase of the Handicap to $5M, if Curlin and Big Brown stay undefeated the rest of the way, and show up.

“Big Brown and Curlin are regarded as the two best thoroughbreds in the world and racing fans would like nothing more than to see them go head to head,” said Fields. “If they are to square off, we feel that a $5 million purse is a great incentive and what better place than at Suffolk Downs in the city of Boston, the sports capital of the world.”

We know Jess Jackson is a sportsman. We spoke…

NA Cup Morning Lines and Beyer on Brown

The North America Cup morning lines are out.

In the first elim Badlands Nitro is listed at 8-5. In any other year (last year) Santanna Blue Chip would have been the talk of the division. He gets some respect at 2-1. Share the Delight, my pick for a good showing Cup week is third choice. Keystone Horatio just keeps winning, but is listed at 6-1. Can't take them all in this tough division I guess.

In the second elim, 2-5 is the odds on Beach. He'll probably be 1-5 with a huge minus show pool, but that is a good line. Art Official, our choice to ome second to him in our fair odds line is 5-1. Again, a good line, I believe.

In the third division Dali is listed at 8-5. That is too low for me. I would have made him 5-2. The other toughies all get listed at decent fair odds, including Sand Shooter and Rudy Rednose. I think Sand Shooter will be three lengths better this week, so I agree with that line. Rudy has some go.

The program for the good card of racing should be out today.

Beyer Has…

$60,000 win on a 2-1 shot? And a Bit More.

Well, time for a quick runner post.

In the old days we used to go bet a horse, go to the wicket and cash, or crumple it up and throw it on the floor. That's the way it was (well I guess there were bookies too, but I never met one back then). Now it is a different story. One can buy and sell horse futures on an exchange, we can bet prop bets at casino's on many things, and of course, we have the future pool bet. And sometimes they can pay big.

Back a few years ago I put $20 on Funny Cide back in January, at I think 90-1. That was a decent score, and I was a happy camper. Well, how about this. $60,000 profit on a Kentucky Derby Future bet on Big Brown.

"My friend Rob Hutcherson from Louisville, Kentucky joined me out at the Venetian. We are both very big horse racing enthusiasts and happened to bet Big Brown at his Gulfstream Allowance race on March 5th. What struck us about Big Brown is that we have never seen a three-year-old go such a quick first quarter then draw off by 10…

North America Cup Elims; Fair Odds Line & Handy Links

The Cup elims have been drawn. 27 colts connections have made the $8000 starting fee payment. I have also made a Cup Champion fair odds line, based on the entries.

The fields are as follows (courtesy Woodbine Entertainment)

1st Elimination

1 - BADLANDS NITRO
2 - SANTANNA BLUE CHIP
3 - KEYSTONE HORATIO
4 - HANDS TO YOURSELF
5 - SHARE THE DELIGHT
6 - SCAPE GHOST
7 - UP FRONT HANNAHSBOY
8 - TRADE EDITOR
9 - SPACE WALK

2nd Elimination

1 - ART OFFICIAL
2 - LONESTAR LEGEND
3 - LEGACY N DIAMONDS
4 - SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE
5 - MUCHO SLEAZY
6 - FRANKYLUVSMEATBALS
7 - ON THE BRINK
8 - IDLE HOUR
9 - SHADOW PLAY

3rd Elimination

1 - STONEBRIDGE MAGNUM
2 - DALI
3 - RUDY REDNOSE
4 - SAND SHOOTER
5 - FOUR STARZ MOXIE
6 - WARNING ZONE
7 - DALEY DEPOSIT ONLY
8 - DEUCE SEELSTER
9 - LENNON BLUE CHIP

Here is my first crack at a North America Cup XXV Fair Odds Line. We will be updating this after the eliminations.

#1 Somebeachsomewhere (50%; even)

#2 Art Official (11%; 8-1)

#3 Dali (9%; 10-1)

#4 Share the Delight (6%; 15-1)

#5 Badlands Nitro (5…