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Showing posts from September, 2008

Strange Quotes & More Talk

Thanks to the Horseplayer Association of North America for this gem from a story in Horseplayer Magazine:

This is a true story. I was talking to a general manager of a racetrack and said "how about that 25% takeout on exactas?" And he said "I know! The state won't let us take any more than that!" I think he missed the point slightly.

That is frightening.

Looks like the Harness Tracks of America & Thoroughbred Racing Association's conference is off and pacing/running. Strong words from a HBPA member (not usually one to complain about too many race dates) regarding too much racing.

As for the number of the tracks in the United States, Higgins said it’s time to consolidate. He said he races at small tracks and likes many of them, but having so many in operation isn’t practical as field sizes shrink.

“I’d like to see at least half of them go out of business,”

“Please do me the courtesy of going out of business.”

And on slots subsidies, something we know all to we…

Keeping the Comical Theme......

.... this recent post at Paceadvantage.com about horseplayers and rumour is laugh out loud funny (in my opinion anyway).

For the full thread click below. It is worth a read for a laugh.

I was at the track at Prairie Meadows yesterday, listening to some of the simulcast bettors complaining about this. To give you an idea of how naive some horseplayers can be, here was the conversation:

Man 1: Belmont cancelled today?

Man 2: It looks like it. Anybody know why?

Man 3: Something to do with the weather.

I decided to have some fun.

Me: The rain blew the fuse that runs the toteboard.

Man 2: Why can't they put another one in?

Me: They don't have any on hand, and the hardware stores don't carry the kind the toteboard needs, so they have to order some from Chicago.

Man 3: Well you think they'd be smart enough to have a few spares!

Man 2: I hope they're shipping those fuses overnight!

Man 4 (walking up): I hear Belmont canceled because of the rain.

Man 2: Nah, they're just making that…

Quite Comical

This weeks Hambo Poll is out, signifying who is the best horse in Harness racing.

I said to myself last night "I wonder if finally Beach will take over as number one." Seeing that he just paced the fastest race in history, and lost his only career race in the second fastest race in history one would think so.

Nope, he is still number two.

It can only be described as comical. I stand by my original thought on this: I am sure that many voters simply do not watch the races.

Another thing that flies into the comical file is the fact that this horse will be retired in about two months. We have made our case here about lowering takeout and sending people home winners will help racing from the gambling end. We hear a lot of people with opinions on how to grow the game with 'fans'. Well how about that Beach news. He brings people out to the track; hell he brings people out to watch him train. He has had more mentions on the blogosphere and press than any other horse I remember. …

The Video Evidence. Beach, Curlin and Z

Today we had a marvelously interesting harness race. On the runner side there were a couple of tilts that we have to follow too.

First, here is Somebeachsomewhere's world record.




According to harnessracing.com "When the three-quarter timer flashed 1:19.2 the crowd at The Red Mile rose as one with loud applause, which grew as the colt came down the stretch." That is what happens up here in Canuckland with this horse too. Speed knows no borders.

From one of our comments below, we hear this piece of Canadiana and it shows just what a great local horse can do for small communities:

I was lucky to be in Halifax, Nova Scotia this weekend. I went to the local teletheater to watch The Red Mile Card.

There was probably 150 people there. When SBSW got behind the gate everyone in the place was standing. When they hit the 3/4s in 1.19 people started cheering,and cheered him on through the stretch. When he hit the wire in 46.4 there was cheering, clapping and high fives. It was unbelieva…

And Curlin says.....

.... take that.

He is a monster.

Horses are not supposed to be this good after this type of year. And as we know, almost all of them have bad days. He has traveled more than a Presidential candidate.

But amazingly he just keeps winning.

Somebeachsomewhere - 146.4 World Mark

The double world champion is now a triple world champion.

Through splits of 26.4, 52.4, 119.2 the Beach sprinted home in 27.2 to set a new World Record for 3 year olds and tie the all age mark.

I was a bit concerned seeing that he was off a sickness and only had one reported fast work. Further, seeing Dewey come home slow under a lot of stick with that wind, I figured 47.3 or 47.4 might have been more realistic. But as usual he delivered.

If I had to make a guess, I would think that if the stars completely aligned, 46 flat would be easily hit by Beach.

Art Official bounced back. He cruised to the top easily and was pushed to the three quarters by John Campbell and Share the Delight. I expected someone to run at him off his three previous sub par efforts, but he rebuffed that this time, and came home in a tidy 26.3 under some decent stick.

Curlin & Beach. Same Day. (Updated)**

The greatest horse currently in thoroughbred racing goes today at Belmont in Race 10.

The greatest horse currently in standardbred racing goes today at the Red Mile in Race 14.

Belmont is currently a mud-bath. The Red Mile seems quick today. The weather is not scorching, but it appears to be alright should Beach get some sort of huge half and Paul wants to go for the record.

Regardless, it is a great day to be a fan of both breeds. Will Curlin romp and head to the BC Classic? Will Beach bounce back and scorch in 47 or 48? We'll find out soon.

Update: Greg Blanchard reports on HPITV that "today appears to be the day". He was speaking to Paul MacDonnell and it seems they will try for the record in race 14. The weather seems next week to be off, so it might be now or never.

PTP Changes Commish Vote

I was on the Jason Bourne for harness commissioner bandwagon since he is a super-duper ass kicker. But ever since Matt Damon started giving wacky interviews about dinosaurs, he is out.

My new choice for harness racing commissioner is FusionMan.

If a guy can jump out of a plane with a boomerang on his back and fly across the English Channel, he is a shoe-in to fix the whipping debate.

I have now thrown all my support behind this flying Swiss dude.

Speaking of the whipping debate, the drivers are speaking out. Jamieson and a few others met with the WEG judges yesterday. We'll try and find out what FusionMan thinks.

Mike Hamilton

Knows some numbers.

I have said before it takes me only a few minutes to type a post. I don't think much while typing, which is probably apparent. Anyhoo, I think that post on the Jug took Mike more time than my last month's worth of posts.

I hope Willmott gives him a big fat raise.

NTRA Task Force - New Fans

Kudos to the NTRA task force for getting bloggers on board with their ideas. Kevin from Aspiring Horseplayer, Jessica and Dana, two other influential bloggers all played a part. Here is the story.

There is much to go through in the report and much of it is interesting. Most of it new. New ideas from passionate fans. It's a good thing.

The main difference with other groups, like The Horseplayers Association of North America, is that the NTRA task force works on newer fans, or the entertainment part of the game, while HANA tries to grow the gambling side. They do not focus on takeouts and such. I guess a simple way to put it is: They try and get fans to walk through the door and takeout groups like HANA try and keep them here when they do.

"New" fans generate about $30 of daily handle (if you look at casual fans on big days and track handles). Maybe they come twice a month. If the NTRA task force gets 1000 new fans with some new ideas (a good thing) it might result in $700k o…

Somebeachsomewhere Works Out as Racing Watches

The Beach wowed them at Lexington this morning. Folks, this story from harnessracing.com (great work by the way Kathy & Gordon!) describes perfectly why we on the blog are so confused that this horse is not even ranked first in the Hambo poll. It's excitement, it is buzz. This horse is so interesting and looked at as royalty. He brings to mind people at Woodbine in 1973 sneaking out to watch Secretariat jog in the morning.

The paparazzi were out in force at The Red Mile Wednesday morning as cameras were clicking away as “The Beach”—Somebeachsomewhere—stepped foot on the historic racetrack for the first time for a training mile.

he effortlessly went a training mile in the range of 1:51-1:52 as stopwatches were also out in force by the dozens of onlookers.

Cameras were clicking away as MacGrath climbed into the sulky to take SBSW....

Horsemen lined the fence to watch SBSW and the grandstand apron had its share of onlookers too. As I said earlier, cameras and stop watches were aplent…

Like a Sledgehammer

Interesting blog post by business writer Seth Godin.

....lots of organizations end up hitting a wall with no warning.

He goes on to explain that each year, despite having a clean record, his car insurance went up. He believes that organizations do this quite often: Squeeze the lemon and if the lemon keeps producing juice, squeeze it a little more. He also believes we reach that point, the breaking point, and for a business this can be fatal.

Something in my relationship with the insurance company shattered. After all, it's not like they had done anything for me, not like I knew anyone there. It was just momentum. And the number was suddenly enough to make me take action.

19 minutes later, I was at Geico.

He is but one person, but during this time how can he be the only one?

When you hit the breaking point with one person, it might be 1,000 or 100,000 people who do the same thing at the same time. And you don't get a second chance. They're gone.

You can stretch a rubber band for …

Kentucky Set to Ban Some Internet Sites?

The state of Kentucky wants to ban internet sites that are there for gambling.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said his administration has asked a Franklin County Circuit Court judge to give the state control of 141 gambling Web site domain names. Beshear said he's looking to restrict Kentuckians' access to Web sites with names that include some of the most popular gambling sites for U.S. players...

The head of the poker players alliance had a good quote:

"Poker has a proud heritage in Kentucky and simply because the game has evolved into the 21st Century, it should not be treated as suspect activity," Pappas said.

That's what it is all about, in my opinion (and part of what we spoke about below with the NFL): Gaining traction in a 21st century global market. The more time we spend trying to stop the inevitable, the more we lose market share.

I am sure stagecoach operators wanted to ban paving roads in 1900. But of course we can not find that out for sure because they are…

Handicapping Auction Results

Standardbred Canada's handicapping auction was last night. 23 handicappers took part in a unique contest where each horse was auctioned off for a dollar amount. Each handicapper had $100 to spend on the potential 204 horses on two cards at Grand River and Mohawk. It cost $100 to enter and the winner received about $1600. The winner also got a free trip to the Nationals at Woodbine.

Pull the Pocket represented very well! Kicked some major butt.

Ok, not me Pull the Pocket. I came about 15th or worse. But that was to be expected. Two contributors at our blog here slayed it out and came one-two. The big hits were 25-1 shots at Grand River in race 5 and Mohawk in race 7. That set those two apart. Congrats Roy and Jame!

Jame did think he was going to win, and why not? One guy (Roy) had to hit a bomb, and J would have to be shut out. But bombs away when the Sudbury Slammer Mike Saftic scored in race 7. Roy will be celebrating all Croatian holidays now in homage to Mike Saftic. Dobro Mike!

I …

We Are What is Wrong With Racing

When he took over in 1960, as a little known fallback choice of the league's owners after 23 rounds of voting, professional football was chickenfeed - an uninspiring hotchpotch cluster of local teams, local markets and purely local enthusiasms. By the time he retired, the NFL had outstripped major league baseball to become a national institution, the country's richest, best run and most widely followed sport.

That is from the official obit for NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle.

Does the fractured NFL/AFL of the 1960's sound a lot like us?

We have spoken a couple of times about what the NFL has done to grow. I won't go into another central organization or commissioner tirade, which I am sure you are happy to read, but it is interesting to look at that history. I was watching the NFL Network last evening and they had a decent show called "Top Ten" on. This shows topic was "Top Ten Innovations of the NFL". There was a common thread in these innovations, but …

Somebeachsomewhere Ready to Roll

From Standardbred Canada's blog, Beach trainer Brent Macgrath posted that he "trained Beach today in 2:05, scoped clean immediately following the trip. His white blood cell count is down and everything seems positive. We plan to head to Kentucky at the first of the week."

I believe his first race is the Tattersalls on the 27th. Let's see if he can break the beam in 46 or lower. If I was a betting man, holy smokes I am, I would make it 3-5 that he goes faster than 46 in a race or TT.

I remember back as a kid. I was stoked because ESPN was covering the Hambletonian in 1985. Sure it was going to be fun to watch Prakas and a few other good trotters, but I, like everyone wanted to watch Nihilator go for the World Record. I remember after the half being on my feet. Then the three quarters came. I waited for the track announcer "It's Nihilator against the clock", with that pause for the final time..... it was so cool. I remember like it was yesterday.

If the same…

HarnessLinkTV is Launched

The folks at Harnesslink.com have really tried new things and innovated the way racing is presented on the world wide web. I know what you are saying, innovated and racing in the same sentence? :)

They recently have compiled Youtube harness racing videos and have linked them in an easy to use, searchable way. They call it HarnessLinkTV.

* The ability to browse by racetrack - so if you only want to see videos from the Meadowlands that’s all you’ll get.
* The ability to browse by popular users/channels - we’ve been on YouTube for more then a year now, so we know the people that upload the best stuff on a regular basis.
* Smart search - try searching ‘little brown jug’ on YouTube and see what you come up with. The same search on Harnesslink TV will only give you relevant harness racing content.

Sometimes I find the pages slow loading at the Link, and it is a shame that my provider seems to have some trouble with it, because they have a wonderful site. This part of their site load…

Friday Wrap-Up & Takeout Increases

Great post by Alan at Leftatthegate about the Jug and USTA bloggers. I read the transcript of the live blogging. Moira and Tim did great! I know Moira and she is awesome so my judgment might be clouded, but I think it is a great idea that worked well. Kudos.

Some nice comments on the aftermath of the Jug sniffed out by the Harness Edge. Of note, Dave Miller always had faith in the horse and that the hoof problem is not as bad as originally thought.

Courtesy the Equidaily headlines: Takeout is looked at increasing in Kentucky to "pay for stuff". When are they ever going to learn. Further, NYRA increases takeouts across the board.

What business in the U.S. treats its customers with more contempt than horse racing? Yesterday, an across-the-board increase of 1% was added to already onerous takeout on all wagers on NYRA races, making takeout in NY State one of highest in the nation.

You got that right Ed.

Shadow Play Runs and Hides

Shadow Play won the Little Brown Jug easily today. It was a fine performance for a horse who has not gotten much respect. I have said a few times here that I thought the Confederation Cup was much tougher than the Cane Pace, and many other races, since this colt was a part of it. I think that is true. He is a good horse.

Phil made a comment after the elim that if Art Official is anywhere near favorite status in the final that he would be loading up the truck. He was right. I for one can not believe that Art Official was anywhere near 2-1. He would have had to improve by around 20 lengths to win that final. He had virtually no shot on paper.

When Art broke scoring down I took a sizeable shot on Santanna and pitched Art from the exotics. As well I bet Santanna to show, as Art had a full $50,000 on him to show. I can not believe that Sanatanna could not pace away there. He only paced 52.3, which for him is a terrible mile. Jeff Gillis posts on the Harnessdriver site from time to time, so m…

Change is Coming

Three heaters? Whipping?

Change seems to be coming.

Today in the Jugette, a three heater was needed. If we show three heats on network TV I think that would earn us about, oh, no fans. "I can't believe those horses are raced three times in a day" would probably be said by more than one new viewer. It's not unlike the uneasy feeling that I get when I watch steeplechases. I close my eyes over almost every jump. Anyhow, back to reality - The Jug folks are letting it be known that going to one final for the Jug is open to them. Andrew Cohen explored this fact on his blog. We have spoken about this here before and there are numerous comments at Andrew's site.

Next up, the change banner is lifted by Hall of Famer John Campbell. He writes to the Harness Edge mailbox that changing the whipping rules is "... a responsible measure to ensure the human treatment of the horse."

Further, breeding expert Norman Hall replies on the Harness Edge to the Harness Horse Associ…

Aside: Political Betting

We spoke before about the Jug Future pool and how interesting future bets are, and how they have changed the betting landcscape. This is no more prevalent than in the betting in various forms of the US and Canadian elections that are scheduled within the next month or so. (Aside: this is a gambling post and no politics here are allowed, there are plenty of blogs that talk politics).

First off, you have to make sure that in your jurisdiction this betting is allowed. This post is not an encouragement to bet.

I have watched election betting on the web since about the year 2000. That year of course was the contested election. Volumes were large, and it was a precursor about what was to come. Election betting has captured the imagination of millions. Here are a few basic rules, if one wishes to watch and participate this year.

First, tight elections are the ones that generate the most volume. So far this election fits the bill. In 2004 we had a unique election where people (the mainstream) di…

The Top Five Horses of the Decade

It is time to have a little fun. Who are the top five horses in the 2000's? Well that is a question that anyone can answer. Opinions can be different, and I am sure they are here.

As I discussed below in the Hambo Poll voting, I think a lot of these votes are a popularity contest, or they are political. I always look at things from a different perspective in these things. I don’t care if a horse won $1M or more, or a few high purse races, because each year there are many in each division who can and do that. There is little doubt that a horse like Always A Virgin would not be making a whole lot of scratch this year against Art Official and the Beach for example. What I look for is extreme talent, horses that did something we rarely see, those who might be able to step out of their comfort zone to beat older, or horses of a different sex, or those who are mentioned with harness racing true greats. To illustrate, a horse like Artsplace would be on my all time list, not for what he ne…

Fair Odds and Becoming a Winning Player

It's probably a cool time to chat about fair and board odds. I have heard a few times today from people (after the fact) that we have to concern ourselves with picking winners, and we will be winning players. We know that is not the case; picking ROI positive winners is the only way to make money. But we had two examples of a lot of this chatter today: With Dewey in the CTC and Big Brown in the Monmouth turf.

Big Brown was sure to be overbet. There was no question he would because weekend bettors bet reputation, not fact. Fair 3-5 shots, or 1-5 shots, are reserved for open length winners, doing what they always do, with no question marks. They have to 1) Run their race, with a good post/pace scenario 2) Have no physical question marks and 3) Have beat similar fields handily, under similar conditions. Big Brown clearly had several question marks: He lost the Belmont while being pulled up and he won his last on dirt, by a smidgen under a heavy drive. He was changing surfaces, as well…

Dewey Bounces Back in CTC; Shipps Solid

In a strange race (hey, Ray what about taking him off the pace :)) Dewey got the lead easily, sat a pocket and went on to win fairly easily in 153.2.

Posters here are speaking of "taking off the flip flops". If that is so, I would leave them flip flops off, as he had more fire tonight. Ray once again proves that he can drive with anyone, or maybe more accurately, anyone can drive with anyone if they have a good horse. That was a perfect drive on a speed favouring track.

Clerk Magistrate came second for me, but did not meet the threshold of 7-2, so no bet. I thought he raced well, and I don't think he grabbed that sloppy surface. The third quarter was pretty pedestrian, yet he could not hook Crazed. He is too good a trotter not to be able to head that horse in a slow quarter, after Crazed was stung hard in a 27.2 second panel.

I would make that Clerk bet again, as Crazed was overbet, and boy was Dewey ever overbet. 7-5 from the ten post? Wow. I bet in that situation your ROI…

Canadian Trotting Classic, Jug Draw, and Bets

The CTC is on tap for tonight. Rain is here, and it looks like it will continue. This makes for an even more interesting race, as if it is not interesting enough.

I made a fair odds line. I would like to make a play according to it, by trying to hit something with my $1000 betting bankroll. I do believe Clerk Magistrate will be tonight's overlay. I will bet $30 to win on him, at anything over 3-1. Dewey will have to deal with traffic, no doubt, and I have his fair odds at 6-1. I am interested to see if he comes off the pace tonight, though. He was fabulous off the pace last year. Crazed I fear will be overbet. I do however have him as my most likely winner at 3-1 fair odds.

The Jug draw is out. There are three elims. My two plays in the future pool, the Field (which includes Art Official) drew the rail. He should be able to control this race. Then he probably has to hope that two speedballs do not draw one and two in the final. My other play, Santanna Blue Chip (13-1) has drawn the …

Handicapping: Pick 4's, 6's and More

Multi-leg bets are wagers that require you to pick the winners of multiple races. The usual bets are the Daily Double, Pick 3, Win 4, Pick 6, and Super 7. These wagers typically have a higher takeout than normal win betting. So, the question that you have to ask yourself is why make the bet instead of a regular win bet?
The answer is that you gain an edge with the multiple bet against making a parlay in the win pool. The takeout on the WEG circuit for Win is 16.95%, Daily Double 20.5%, Pick 3 26.3%, Win 4 25%, and Super 7 26.3%. Taking the Daily Double as an example, every $1 wagered returns 79.5 cents. If you took $1 and wagered it in the Win pool under the expectation that you would receive an average payout of your wager minus the track take and then parlayed the following race, you would have $1x.8305x.8305= 69 cents. Your Double bet gains 15.2% over the win bets. The corresponding numbers for the other bets are Pick 3 73.7 cents versus 57.3 cents (28.6% gain), Win 4 75 cents vers…

The Whip Around Racing

Some interesting tidbits in the sport for Thursday.

Thanks to The Paulick Report, we see a potential claiming out of spite story in the soap opera that is Dick Dutrow. We all know Dutrow had some brave words for Contessa earlier this summer. When the claim box opened for a recent race which had Dutrow's "favourite horse", Contessa went and claimed him. As the Trainer Turns.

Equidaily had a neat link on a history of racing blog relating to the 1913 opening of Belmont. It is amazing that there was no wagering back then. The masses who ran racing seemed to think that they could run brown horses in a circle, ignore betting and the sport would grow. Some might say that almost 100 years later things have not changed much.

The Jug is near and WEG's Mike Hamilton is making the trip. he has a funny post about it up at WEG's columnist site.

We have spoken a few times about blogging and how it is changing things in this sport, and elsewhere. It is an amazing phenomenon. On poli…

Information II

In our last post on Inside Information, we discussed that racing could and should let people know when and if a horse was sick or lame or had his air shut off or didn't like a racing surface, and how he is tonight. These bits of information are huge. With 20% takeouts, the game is hard enough trying to beat it off form, let alone factors we do not know. Hong Kong does this already, and with the internet a laser-fast medium, it is doable in some form.

We got to see this Monday. Brent MacGrath, trainer of Beach has a Standardbred Canada Blog. We all watched the Simcoe on Saturday and it was clear that something was not quite right. But what? It turns out that the Beach scoped sick and his blood was done and his white count was high. A virus. This is great news to handicappers, and to fans of the sport. Usually we only hear such things as backstretch whispers.

Interestingly, a bit of harness racing fact comes out in this. On chat boards and in a few other areas, this is looked at as an…

Why I Never Pay Attention to the Top Ten

For years I have wondered if some of the people who vote in the Hambo/BC Top Ten even watch races. I think it really came to a crescendo when a superstar like Rainbow Blue was second to Windsongs Legacy. Well this year, they have outdone themselves.

This week, Dewey is still on top, with 23 first place votes to the Beach's 11. After getting beat last week, and winning his last two races by a half, and three quarters of a length, under Mike Lachance-like stick, it is astounding.

Of course there is the obvious, Beach has won every start but one (and he was second in it, in world record time, after being parked the half), has made the most money, has set the most world records, has beaten the most world record holders; but it is more than that. Voters do not seem to realize that 151 trotters like Dewey who win the bulk of their starts are seen almost each year. In contrast, horses like the Beach who win by daylight in track record and world record shattering times against possibly the…

The Little Brown Jug

It's time for the magic wand again. You know, the one where we use slots cash and bring the biz together to do something neat.....

The Little Brown Jug is not broken. But it could use a slight resurfacing. A little blush on the cheeks; just so we can bring it into the new century and use it for what it is: Harness racing Americana.

First, some housekeeping.

* Heat racing is abolished. Harness racing is a hard sell. Telling a 21st century public that a horse can race again in a couple of hours makes them cringe. We can explain to each other, or to other insiders that everything is hunky-dorey with heats, but we are not the audience.

* The Jug takes a stand - no one handed whipping. It is often said that the Masters in golf can make rule changes if they want, because they are a beacon of the sport. They have specific rules, like amateur champs playing, and world wide exemptions for other tours. It works. The Jug should use its race to make racing better (for the record, I am not sold o…

Dewey Beat, Somebeach Sick?

In a very interesting evening at Mohawk tonight, Somebeachsomewhere and Deweycheatemnhowe were both on the card.

First up, Crazed ran down Dewey late with relative ease. Dewey did not look himself - he seemed to have no fight - but he has been all out the last two, so saying that was a surprise is probably not true. Handicappers on the blog have spoken about that recently. Not to mention, Crazed is a nice horse. Dewey drew the 10 next week. We will probably see 4-1 or more on him, maybe more fair odds. When was the last time we have seen an undefeated horse who is 1-5 each week go to 4-1 or so the next? Never.

A couple of things that I am happy about though: 1) Ray can not be blamed for this defeat, and 2) In a showing of respect for his animal, when Ray saw that he was beat, he put that whip away. I gained more respect for Ray tonight than I might have through all his years of training. I hope the big colt bounces back.

There is a man named Glen that I know. He is a good man, always …

Less Demand and More Supply

In the wake of the massive drop in wagering here in Canada and elsewhere, and the recent news of handle drops in thoroughbred racing (Del Mar off, rumours of another overall down quarter like the first), it looks like we are a long way away from seeing growth. As this drop in demand occurs, we seem to see more and more supply. Once again, as Andrew Beyer put it in a recent column, the racing business seems to be one that thinks the principles of business do not apply to it.

Just to illustrate how much racing there is, and how we can now pick and choose what we want to play, and when, consider this:

Twenty years ago I would go to Greenwood Raceway. If the card was bad, the weather was bad, the track was off, the wind was messing things up, I would still play. Hey, there was nothing else to do. You bet Greenwood, or went home.

Today what I do is completely different, and we all do this. If it is raining at the Meadowlands and three horses break in the first, we turn off the M and head to …

Beach Balls, Handicapping and Flexi Bets

The balls are being throw at the Beach. Not the beach at Amherst Shore near Truro, Nova Scotia, but the Beach as in Somebeach. Everyone, well virtually everyone, wants this horse to go to the Jug. The chat boards, letters to the Harness Edge, and the grandstand is buzzing about this and it will not let up. Will it happen? It might. Remember, this horse was not slated to go to the Confederation Cup either, but he did.

I understand that the Jug is a bit of an anachronism, but it is our anachronism, so I fully expect people to be asking Brent to take the horse there. On the flipside, this is their horse, and they do not have millions in the bank that they have made time and again in this game, or elsewhere. We are not talking Jess Jackson here. So they have to plan out the best way to make their horse money, and make the horse last the year. I understand both sides of the argument, and respect both sides too. Is there an easy answer? I don't think so. If he does go to the Jug and jogs…

Blogs & Stuff. Revisted.

We spoke before on blogs, and social media taking hold in 2007 in several posts that I am too lazy to link. We wanted harness racing to get rolling on that. Harnesslink wrote an excellent article on it.

We are really seeing this idea stoked the past while. Outside of racing, in politics, there were some blog posts stating that Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's down syndrome child, was actually her daughters'. This was the sad side of social media - it was hogwash and a terrible abuse of blogging. But it took hold. A couple of news organizations and some influential political columnists reported it. This despite the fact that there were pictures of Palin for anyone to see with a simple google images search, pregnant with a child dated 2008. It has become the story this past week, and the word 'blogging' has been used on network TV a heck of a lot more times than I have seen. That kind of stuff annoys people who are out there speaking opinion on any subject, and w…

Art Official Wins the Cane

Art won the Cane in 51.1, in a somewhat flat effort. He held of pocket sitter Badlands Nitro by maybe a half length.

Off that effort I am not sure my 5-1 price for the Jug is that good. I think Santanna can beat him if he races similarly. 13-1 on him is a nice price, I think.

New Harness TV Show & Old Warhorses

Putting their cash where their mouth is - kinda like me when I bet, although I hope it is more successful than that - the Hambletonian Society and several harness stakeholders have started to run a show on TVG. The show will be hosted by Gary Seibel. For information on the show, you can visit trotterspacers.com.

In the scratch your head file, Artist Stena, a former Adios winner and sire was brought back to the races recently, winning a 6 claimer at age 13. Let me type that again, yes Artist Stena was brought back to the races in a 6 claimer. There are some things in this game that make you wonder. I know one thing, if I ever have an Adios winner, I can guarantee at age 13 he will be on a farm, eating carrots, with a picture of his Adios win hanging over his stall.

Breeders Crown, Metro in the Books

I went to Mohawk last night for the festivities. I did not cash a ticket, but had a good time.

Some thoughts and observations.

The crowd was large and it was a great day in the area, but cooled off at night. I think the times were a little bit slow, as it was cooling all night.

Handle was a fairly solid $2.6M, which we do not see too often any longer. For contrast, North America Cup night handle is usually $3M.

Corleone Kosmos beat the Mohawk jinx finally and won a big one there. He seems to have trouble up here as Greg alluded to in his post. I played Digital Image in that one and I thought I might catch, but no dice. Good entertaining race.

I walked around the grandstand and a couple of sharp cappers liked Straight Shooting in the Metro consolation. In another sign that sharp handicappers are some of the only ones left playing racing he opened up at 2-5, despite being third choice in the pick 3's. He jogged and paid $4.50.

There were no Rainbow Blue's in the She's a Great Lady…