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Showing posts from July, 2009

Learnin' Something

In the last post we mentioned the story of a Hambo winner, lost in war-torn Europe. I learned something. Well, a few more things I learned today.

What was the first $1M horse race in the world?

What website describes harness racing at Aylmer Quebec with this language? "The air is filled with tension as the standardbreds and riders enter the starting gate."

Who thought the Canadian Pacing Derby was a power-walking event?

What producer produced both "Racing From Rooselvelt" and Captain Kangeroo?

Mike Hamilton always has a fact or two on his Woodbine Blo.... er Column. The last two are worth the read, here and here.

Hambo's of Yesteryear

I like glancing from time to time at Colin's Ghost, which has a story up once a week or so about the history of racing. Sometimes it's about a horse, or a trainer, or a track, or even a bettor from yesterday. Whomever writes that blog does a very good job.

In harness racing it is not a secret that the sport has lost its fans. Because of that we tend to see very few blogs on our sport, and very few stories about its past. But an interesting past it is. Today on ESPN.com Kristian Dyer has a well researched piece on a Hambo winner of days gone by - 1929's winner Walter Dear. After being sold to German interests, the war got in the way and the colt was never heard from again. The piece gives us a good look at not only a racehorse, but an excellent look at just how things went after the war in Eastern Europe.

I always found the way the story of Black Beauty was told to be right on. A horse goes through many owners, or trainers, and sometimes moves from place to place like a nomad…

Bad Beats and Lucky Wins

I had to have a chuckle at a paceadvantage.com post regarding someone who made a bet he should not have and won.

I was down at the simulcast betting some B-harness tracks on a tuesday night. I was up about 40... or maybe I just had 40 left to lose and ready to leave. It was race 5 at Northfield Park and I spotted a sweet driver change that I was sure was going to win.... Almost 3-1. So I went to the terminal bet the 40 to win on the 5 and got ready to see if my trotter was going to get away clean. He did...... got away second and I thought I had an easy winner..... then his odds popped up under the number and it read 30-1!!! I couldn't believe it..... I glanced quickly at the program and realized I bet the wrong horse!! I meant the 6 and bet the 5 (Just as I'm typing this I realize it must have been because it was race 5)..... I was disgusted... there was no way the 5 was going to keep up..... He had Charles Smith Jr driving..... I have a rule against betting on anything Charl…

We Knew What to Do.... in 1935

Cangamble weeds through old-time articles and sees that takeout was a hot topic. It turns out, that in 1935 many in racing wanted takeouts dropped. The kicker is, they wanted to drop track takes from 8% to 6%.

The California legislature is considering an amendment to its parimutuel betting law reducing the takeout allowed the tracks from eight per cent to six. A Los Angeles assemblyman introduced it, but the change is being opposed by William P Kyne and John W Marchbank operators of the Bay Meadows and Tanforan tracks, who say they cannot operate successfully if the reduction is made at this time.

When six percent was balked at, some in the industry tried to hold firm the 10% number overall:

"We have apparently failed to get across to state legislators and other public officials the message that a takeout from parimutuel pools of more than 10 or 11 per cent is not only unfair to the patrons but also is unwise and detrimental to the long term health of the sport."

It seems the l…

That Damn Internet & That Funky Twitter

It is always interesting to read old school versus new school on the web. Yesterday there was some fun had, witnessed by Ray Paulick's headline on his site ("Zast upset about transition to the web...written on his website") about Vic Zast's piece on the new reporting of racing on the web.

It is funny that in this day and age we are still having this debate. Two of the most successful horse racing news operations today are The Paulick Report and Equidaily.com. Ray Paulick is perhaps as fine an example as we can uncover. He was a print guy, now he is not. Nice to see people like Seth and Ray in our business, rolling with the punches.

It is intriguing to me that in racing (and to be fair elsewhere these days) you have to be for or against something, you can not like a little, or a lot of both.

Twitter is something that seems to inflame passions. It is as polarizing as polytrack, and it seems either you like it or hate it. I don't love it, I don't hate it but I thi…

Slots, Rakes and Bare Midriffs

A plea from a lobbyist in New Jersey to turn the Meadowlands into a racino.

...... convert The Meadowlands Racetrack into a racino. Let the casinos run the track. Offer both racing and machine play. Take a portion of the revenues generated and allocate it to racing and breeding. Take the remaining dollars and split it between the casino operators and the state.

For once..... just once I would love someone in this business say "take the portion of the revenues and allocate it to racing and breeding and lowering takeout so we can keep horseplayers interested in Jersey racing"

Further a rally is held for slots at Aqueduct in the New York state capital.

Placing VLTs at the Aqueduct track creates money for the state, for education and the thoroughbred industry.

Cool. More money for everyone but the horseplayer.

Then again, slots work wonders to grow handle and interest in racing, right? Whoops, maybe not. Racinos in New Mexico want to slash 28 race dates due to falling demand for wager…

Tricked Up Tracks?

The speed show we have seen this year at several venues - Mohawk, Georgian, The Meadows and Chester - makes me wonder if these tracks have been tricked up.

The biggest change appears to be at Mohawk. A few years ago there was a debate about Mohawk versus Woodbine and which track would be faster. Since Mohawk had never raced in the summer before it was a decent debate. Would Mohawk's sweeping turns be more conducive to speed? I would say most thought so. But it turned out to be not the case. Big event after big event the speed at the Hawk could not approach the speed at Woodbine.

But that appears to have changed. On several nights this meet, Mohawk has been at least one second faster than previous years, and by any estimation, just might be faster than Woodbine.

The last two years for the Breeders Crown and Canadian Pacing Derby at the Hawk: 150, 149.3 and 149.3 (all on fast tracks and nice days, with good splits)

This year: The Open Pace has gone quicker than that three times. The Op…

High Fives in the Maple Leaf Trot

Ironically, just last week I wrote the post about harness folks showing a lack of emotion when their horse wins a race. Well, maybe I should have prefaced it with "some owners and trainers and drivers of superstables who win all the time", because in the Maple Leaf Trot tonight, San Pail, a family type horse, threw down and defeated the best older trotters in the world. The winners circle was electric, Waples (great job Randy) was stoked and all was well. It is really nice to see this win for these people. These folks got a life changing win and a $360,000 payday which will never be forgotten.

For a look at the exciting tilt I have the youtube thingy below.

Harness Racing Turf Angles

Tonight at the Meadowlands we had a turf race in race 5, for what I think is the first time ever here across the pond. The winner was a New Zealand bred, Onedin Legacy, paying $15.20.

As frequent blog contributor Greg states, this gelding was the only horse in the field with turf experience (not seen in the PP's), the trainer and driver (Chris Ryder) is from Downunder and was the only human in the race with turf experience as well.

So, for those keeping track at home, standardbred horses who have raced before on the turf have an ROI of 6.60, and standardbreds with no turf experience are stuck at a donut ROI.

:)

Well Said Energizes a Division

Last year I was at the Meadowlands for Adios Elim day. The field was not bad, but I did not even watch the races. I got an email saying "Shadow Play won in 148.2" so I guess I should have been watching, but wasn't.

This year the early stakes for three year olds were pretty boring. Several of the highest rated horses were hurt and not racing (in fact this has only been added to with Dial or No Dial on the shelf), and Well Said was less than impressive in his first couple of starts. Ho hum.

But, that all changed. Well Said had me watching the Adios elims this year for the first time in a few years. He won his elim, wrapped up in 149 and in no way disappointed.

Last year in the thoroughbreds we had Big Brown against the clock, history (and his foot problems); and competition in the races was not on our minds - watching Big Brown was. This is happening this year in harness racing. We are tuning in to watch one horse against the clock. It might not happen all year as it is prett…

Two Year Olds and Different Strokes

The two year olds are starting to roll at the Meadowlands and elsewhere. Two that have caught ones eye would have to be Rock n Roll Heaven and Il Villaggio.

The former (a nice catch drive for Dube, and a lesson to cappers that the horse a driver chooses is sometimes not the best) made a really nice late move to win. Bruce Saunders seems to be a guy who can have a good one and keep him going for the long term. This is witnessed in his chart lines. While some trainers want their horses to roll big time early, Bruce is working this horse into it, with his sights on the later stakes. Right now he looks good and the test will be the Metro.

Il Villaggio looks like some stock. For the first few races, Break the Bank K looked to have a stranglehold on the jersey breds, but as we spoke about below, when you turn up the purse size, competition is there and you have to bring your game up a notch. Ill Villaggio has.

The Meadowlands does things that make sense, and even with the massive handle drops…

Best Public Cappers

I read and watch quite a few of the harness handicappers from racetracks and in publications. It got me thinking, who are the sharpest out there?

This is a question that we have to take with a grain of salt a little bit. Andy Serling, who handicaps Belmont for the thoroughbreds, does not worry about hit rate, he worries about ROI. You will hear that as the crux of his analysis every day. The phrase "the six is 4-5 and you have to be nuts to bet this horse", or something like that is said by him fairly often. Of course, the 4-5 shot is most likely to win the race - he knows that and we all do - but he is constantly talking value for your wagers.

Conversely, I have seen written by quite a few public handicappers that they have to pick lower shots (ofttimes at the direction of track management) because it is more important for them to show gross winners, instead of money making, because the people who use public handicappers find it more important to cash tickets at a day at the…

Show the Harness Racing Greats Some Respect

“______” is better than ‘Rainbow Blue/Niatross/Somebeachsomewhere/Nihilator/Greyhound’.

This is a phrase we have been hearing from time to time the last six or seven years. With horses who run out of their skin and flash big times it is almost assured that some fan, or some watcher, or some race owner will say it.

The latest is Art Official owner Jim Jesk.

“He is the best pacer in North America and we haven't seen the best of him yet.”

“He's better than good. Nearly everyone says that Somebeachsomewhere was the best racehorse in North America, but I honestly believe my colt was better.”

I’m glad he likes his horse, but there is a big difference when you like your horse on what he accomplishes, versus mentioning another horse to illustrate it, which requires a jump of faith, and logic.

Somebeachsomewhere, by anyone anywhere at one time or another last year, was described as the best three year old colt we have seen since Nihilator. The evidence was certainly there – 20 for 21, four w…

High Fives

Mark Hetherman discussed a topic today in his blog piece, which is always good for debate. In effect, the question: Why don't drivers show more emotion after a win?

I am always amazed at the difference between jockey's and drivers in this respect. I watch Hollywood Park sometimes and when a jock wins a race he is usually pretty pumped. The winners circle looks like a party, with hugs and high fives. When the jock goes to weigh out, the scales dude always has a big smile and pats the jock on the back or gives him a high five and the jock is equally happy to receive it. The sceen shot ends usually with the jock looking at the camera and giving viewers a big thumbs up.

At Mohawk conversely, the winners circle tends to look like a gathering of people comforting someone who just lost their dog. There is a smile, but it is virtually silent. The drivers are speaking to the trainer, getting grilled on how the horse performed, and there is usually a complete disconnect from the fans.

I wa…

Admiring the Lack of Cliches, and Wanting More of it From Racing

I watched the Tour de France yesterday for the trip up the mountain. The hilly stage was well anticipated as it would show who has the gusto to win the gruelling tour. With about seven kilometres to go, Spain's Alberto Contador, teammate of Lance Armstrong, flicked his wrist and burned rubber, accelerating up the hill like he was going down one. Lance Armstrong, much to the dismay of fans who figured he was a contender, simply could not go with him. Contodor won the stage easily and took the yellow jersey. Armstrong was over a minute behind.

In an interview afterwards, Armstrong said "If someone like Contador shows today, 'Hey, I'm the best,' you have to accept it."

There was no, pardon the acronym, BS. There was no "it is a long race, and I have sponsors, and I have a shot, and I am going to take it day by day, and anything can happen, and I can turn this around, and I was not feeling well, and I had a bunyon". It was just a cold hard realization tha…

Tom Watson

Today at the British Open we saw something magical. 59 year old Tom Watson had viewers from across the globe glued to their TV screens in his pursuit to win the Open, decades after he last did. A person his age is not supposed to do what he almost did - win a Major Championship in golf. That is supposed to be reserved for Tiger Woods, or other twenty or thirty somethings with agents, mental coaches, big contracts and computer swing analysis, at more an hour than I make in a week.

I spoke via email and on the phone this morning with a few non-golf fans, all watching and messaging "do you believe this?"

After watching last night's Meadowlands Pace it struck me again that those in racing who constantly pontificate "if we only did 'x', with regards to our big races, racing would be popular again", are simply off the mark. In the Meadowlands Pace in 2008, Art Official's win was one of the most impressive wins I have ever seen. Anyone who watched the race w…

Well Said Romps; Pace Handle Poor

As promised it was the Well Said show at the M tonight, where he destroyed a field of overmatched horses on the way to a super sharp 147.3 tally. Last year on the blog we always seemed to say "what if" with this guy, and early in the year we were left wondering if he would ever be a force. Not any longer. He is the best colt by far in 2009.

Vintage Master raced really well to be second, and our ex pick here was a good third, after being limbed three high on the first turn. Chasin Racin raced ok to be fourth.

The topic of the evening has to be the card. It was probably the worst Meadowlands Pace cards ever assembled, mainly due to the horse shortage caused by Yonkers and Chester. The crowd responded by barely betting $4M. It was only a couple of short years ago that $4M was a slow normal Saturday at the M. It is a shame how far it has fallen.

For those who did go, they saw an awesome performance. I guess now the question is, in this weak crop of three year olds can Well Said fin…

How Good is Muscle Hill?

Muscle Hill won the Dancer last night at the Meadowlands with a statuesque Brian Sears in the racebike, in 152.1. This race will serve as a prep for the Hambo elims in two weeks.

For this, and any race when speaking about a horse's place in history, we have to look at the past, and what others have done thus far into their careers. One of the things that the public tends to overlook is the final result - wins and losses - rather than how a horse wins and loses, and what competition he is beating, or being defeated by.

Muscle Hill's record is clearly defined. He has only lost once, and it was in his first start:

M $39,750 6 7/11H 7°/8 6°/5H 4/2 2/NK 1:58.4 27.3

He went to the back, the field crawled, and he stormed home in 27.3 with a fast last half, where he had to go around traffic. He had no shot, but still almost won. When he won the following week with a 55.4 back half (pretty much unheard of for a 2 year old trotter in July), handicappers were not surprised.

He has won …

Pace PP's are Up

The Meadowlands Pace free PP's are now up.

My quick analysis:

In a slightly different, and very suspect crop in 2009, we find that four contenders will not be using any gate speed. Well Said, Hypnotic Blue Chip, Arctic Warrior and Vintage Master are all heading to mid pack, or the back of the bus (so the story goes). That does leave the door open for some leavers at a price to hit the board. I expect that Chasin Racin, or If I Can Dream will foot the bill. Chasin Racin raced ok last time, and Sears would probably want to take a shot. Knucks Brennan, who the words "ease to the lead" are not exactly made for, has a dead speed horse as well, capable of firing. He raced well last time, pacing his third quarter under a patented Brennan bullrush in 26.1 and still having something in the tank to come 4th. Lesser horses would have come home slower. I think using him underneath might be an idea.

Art Colony and Hypnotic Blue Chip will both be overbet as they are the obvious horses, s…

$1M Meadowlands Pace

The Meadowlands Pace goes Saturday at the Meadowlands. This is annually one of the best races to watch in the world of harness racing. The Meadowlands has been proactively promoting it with something I think every track should do: Player rewards. Twinspires.com is offering 10X the points on this race, which works out to be a hefty rebate for players big and small.

For the race itself (free PP's for races 1-4..... why those 4 races I have no idea, but I assume this will change with the Pace PP's.... here), Well Said will be favoured, deserves to be favoured and is the horse to beat. However, with not much speed in here, there is perhaps an opportunity to make some cash using a leaver in the tickets. Unfortunately it looks like Art Colony will be that leaver, and he will be well bet. I might have a closer look at it tomorrow, but with a well bet chalk that looks more than solid, it looks like a tough race to formulate a plan to make some coin to me.

Snowballing?

Illinois passed video lottery terminals. Good for racing, right? Yummy, we get a slice of cash; after all we are entitled to it. Not so fast. Kentucky: No to slots. Pennsylvania: We want more slot money for the government. Now Illinois.

Restaurants and bars will have up to five video poker machines, and there may eventually be 45,000 machines in the state. None, however, will be found at racetracks or offtrack betting parlors, which were written out of the program.

h/t to Ray Paulick

In other news, the dog racing zealots have looked to ban dog racing in Rhode Island. This is why the whipping debate and horse safety stuff must be addressed in harness racing. They will come after us next, and we need to have proactive pro-horse policies in place so we have something to combat them.

$100M Gone from Pennsylvania Racing?

Bloodhorse reported today that because of a budget shortfall, up to $100 million could be taken from racing in the Keystone State. This money comes from slot machines.

The Pennsylvania horse racing and breeding industry is fighting proposed legislation that could take roughly $100 million from the Race Horse Development Fund and use it to help balance the state budget, which is billions of dollars short.

The $100 million would come from purses and breed development programs for Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds.

I remember reading Seth Godin's blog awhile back, or perhaps it was in one of his books. The newspaper industry, all the way back in the early 2000's, invited him to speak to them at a conference. His presentation said to them (paraphrasing) 'if they do not get their act together half of them won't be around in ten years'. His warning was met with a yawn, because money was good and everything looked fine.

It is not much different in racing. Money was good and eve…

Harness Edge Goes Online Only

In a first that I have seen in racing, a print magazine is going online only. The Harness Edge's first online edition will be on their site in early August. Some snippets from today's podcast that I found interesting:

Yearling ads for the sales will have embedded video of the little fellow or gal romping around. A brilliant idea.

Stud ads, when an offspring wins a big one, will have embedded video of the race won.

Of course, not unlike regular news items on many news websites, pictures and video can be added to every story.

Last of all, the online edition of the magazine will be free. Today's podcast announcing the change and what they have planned is here.

The One Man Gang

Horseplayers are a passionate lot. With judging, where judges are often times perceived to be too close to the participants, this is usually apparent. All you have to do is visit any chat board, thoroughbred or standardbred, for a glimpse of that. Usually, however, this never goes beyond a gripe or two, or maybe a letter.

Well on Harnessdriver.com, the preeminent chat board for harness racing, one man has taken it to another level. "Timebomb" a Windsor Ontario racefan has been on a crusade to get the judges of harness racing in the province to call infractions based on the rulebook. If it is in the rulebook and it is not called (the fines and suspensions are published via the web at Standardbred Canada) he is making sure people know about it.

Some snippets:

Well the ORC should have made a LOT OF CASH for whipping fines tonight

Race1....Tim Tetrick whips between the legs 3:01 on the replay

Race 3...JODY JAMIESON once again whipping away between the legs of FEDERAL FLEX
watch the re…

New Sites, More Racing & Lost Horses

New websites for racing that encompass media are springing up, and our very own TBA Blogs is one. It contains blog posts, news, twitter feeds and more. That is a damn good job Patrick P.

Saturday night harness was more than just Meadowlands races. At Mohawk, Shadow Play returned off a foot ailment and was second. He does not yet look like the old Shadow Play, but it appears he is heading in the right direction. A few years ago American Ideal, who was super-fast, raced in the shadow of Rock n' Roll Hanover and was brought back at 4. After a nice first effort, he suffered some nagging injuries and was retired. I hope this is not a repeat of that. I would love to see this big colt add his name to the list of Canadian Pacing Derby (which is shaping up as the best race of this year) at Mohawk next month.

At Georgian, Yellow Diamond was beaten soundly in an OSS final. The week before she took the lead and won, snatched up by driver Mark MacDonald. However, she was not pacing through the …

Pace Elim/Haughton Recap

Shark Gesture, who is becoming a war horse, won the Haughton last night at the M, in a great effort (story and video here).

A few notes on the Haughton: i) Sometimes we need to be reminded, but speed wins races. Closing into the teeth of a 55 back half is tough to do with quality horseflesh on the front end. SG ran away from this field. You can never, ever, ever bet harness horses at 3-5 when they will get off seventh like Mr. Big did. You will lose your shirt and it is the worst bet a player can make, and arguably the worst bet in all of racing. ii) Bettor Sweet is a quality animal. Yes folks, 4YO's, even the ones who are left after all the best three year olds retire, can compete against older. iii) One can argue Mr. Big has lost a step, but I disagree. Bettor Sweet, Shark Gesture and others are all racing superbly. Larry Remmen has Shark better than he ever has been. Add in Art Official and a couple of others and Mr. Big will find it hard to dominate this year. iv) Speaking of …

New Horizons & A Chance at a New Life

Often times we get a comment or two from "New Horizons" here and I neglected to check where that came from. Doing a twitter search today on twazzup I find that it is from a Wallaceberg, Ontario woman who has made it a passion to rescue standardbreds.

The Kitchener "sale", and I use that term loosely, is a place where unwanted horses go. They don't go for kids, or pony rides, the bulk of them go there to die. Claudette frequents that sale looking for horses she can save, on her own dime.

There are at least 25 Standardbreds on average going through their ring every Tuesday,” says Claudette. I’ve also taken two horses directly off the track, Yankee Buck, who has a fractured coffin bone that’s currently being treated, and the other, Whiter Than Snow, called Poppy, a grey 16.2 hh Standardbred mare, who just wasn’t fast enough. Then, I had one given to me, Grapes Magic Trick, who’s already trained in Western pleasure.

In addition she rescued another one recently - a yea…

$688k Haughton - A Must Watch and Bet

Tomorrow night the Haughton Final goes at the Meadowlands. It is, in my opinion, the best race of the year thus far for bettors and fans. The field assembled for the tilt is stunning. About $10M of career winnings are represented with the field.

From the rail out:

1. Palone Ranger
2. Shark Gesture
3. Won The West
4. Bettor Sweet
5. Dali
6. Mister Big
7. Winbak Speed
8. Art Official
9. Dragon King

Looking at the field one could make the case for seven out of the nine to hit the winners circle. Shark Gesture was absolutely brutalized last week in a first over journey. Won the West closed from Chicago to win, Bettor Sweet probably used the race as a prep and should be better, Dali was scorched and did not give it up until late, Mister Big was awesome from downtown, Winbak Speed has been solid all year and Art Official raced very well in his prep, just missing.

I will be looking as always for value. I assume Mr. Big will be overbet, so I will look elsewhere. The trip that Shark Gesture endured last t…

M Pace, Gold in the Hills & a Touching Tribute

The Meadowlands Pace elims are off and pacing this weekend. We will have some analysis over the coming days. Of note, Bob Heyden had Mr. Wiggles at number three heading into the race, but he is not entered. Anyone see why?

For a take on the Meadowlands and the apparent dancing on its grave (a good opine.... people who think Chester and Yonkers getting top quality horses instead of the Meadowlands is good for racing are misguided), check out Alan's post here.

The Gold Rush hits Georgian Downs this weekend with over $1M up for grabs. We'll see if Louis the whip, our resident B-track guru has any tips.

Last up, iron horse and $1M winner Daylon Trooper escaped from his stall, was injured and had to be put down last week. In a touching obit, Micheal Sweeney of Scarborough Downs lets his thoughts be known on the old champ who deserved a better end.

I met him only once, just days after he arrived at Scarborough Downs. I couldn’t wait to lay eyes on one of harness racing’s elite.

He was a …

Has it Come to Cheering For Injuries?

I saw a recent post at Paceadvantage.com speaking of the minor injury sustained to thoroughbred Musket Man, who was a player in the Triple Crown. The poster (not meaning anything by it of course) said that the injury was unfortunate but that it would assure fans would get to see the horse race next year, instead of winning a race or two in the summer and be shuffled off to stud. What a sad commentary on the state of racing when an injury is looked at like that. It is like saying I hope Tiger Woods has a hamstring injury before each Major, because he will quit when he beats Jack's record, and it will assure we'll get to watch him golf for awhile.

In harness racing we had a year last year - one which thoroughbred racing needs. The presence of Somebeachsomewhere, as well as injuries, has given fans something to look forward to. Art Official, a talented horse, was hurt late last year and it assured that his stud career was placed on hold. Dali could not get a deal, other than a sma…

Handicapping and Golf

Gamblers of other games, say sports betting, or casino gambling tend to flinch when looking at horse racing. "How can someone play a game where you lose so many more times than you win", or "how can you possibly play a game with 22% skimmed from the pot" are common questions.

I usually answer that horse racing is a great game to play because it is just like golf. No matter how good you get at it, you can never, ever master it. When Tiger Woods shoots a 61, he is mad at himself because two missed putts, three off-center iron shots and four missed fairways all occurred during the round. He promises himself he can 'do better next time' and he will practice to assure that he will. In any other sport, or any other vocation how many people think like that?

It is the same with handicapping. No matter how much you learn, there is more to learn. No matter how many bets you make, there is always a way to make them more efficiently. You can never master the game of hand…

Saturday Night Fighting

Many harness handicappers like to criticize prep races for being non-competitive affairs. Tonight in the Haughton Prep at the Meadowlands it was anything but. Jody Jamieson drilled Dali hard from the get go and put the hammer down. Tim Tetrick in a pretty wild move, tried to quarter pole into the quick pace with Shark Gesture and was rebuffed. This tangle set the plate for the backfield and longshot Won the West swooped to take the win. This prep signalled a potentially tremendous final next week. Often the best 4YO's retire at three. This year it is not the case and that makes for some very good racing.

Drop Red won a conditioned race, taking advantage of a bit of a duel as well, proving that horses do not know what their birth certificate says, they just race. He made older horses look ordinary and won easily.

I took a stab at the Meadowlands Pick 4 tonight. I liked Doug's Fame in the sixth as I thought the speed try last week would sharpen him up if taken from off the pace. I…

Studies and Numbers

Being a big fan of Super Crunchers where the author says "don't tell me what you know, show me what you know with evidence", I have always given stock to numbers. If a coin flips a million times and you show me half the time it lands on heads I know you have a pretty good coin. One of the most fiery debates I have read over the years has been on lasix use in racehorses. Talk to ten trainers you get ten different answers. Some of them very militant when espousing that lasix does absolutely nothing to stop bleeding in racehorses. Finally a comprehensive study has been done on the drug. It showed that yes, lasix does reduce bleeding in racehorses. For a blog opine on the study, click here.

Secondly, blog readers know that I have been a fan of trying things new, especially on half mile tracks with regards to equalizing post positions. A couple of ways I have thought out loud about included starting the speed of the speed in trailing positions to encourage movement (posts assi…