This week’s DARK REPORT contains a fee
, a princess
, a filly, a correct answer, a
philosophy, a rake
, and a pick four!
PAY ME FOR
OK I couldn’t
believe it when I heard it. Could you? So the story goes like this. Multiple
reports spoke about Del Mar’s desire to feature Kentucky Derby and Preakness
winner California Chrome
on Pacific Classic day. And why not?
the horse was only the 13th since 1978 to win the first two legs and
have a legitimate shot at the Triple Crown. Horses like that should be
celebrated. Only the ownership group including Perry Martin and Steve Coburn
declined the offer.
Why, you ask?
demanded a $50,000 “appearance fee” from Del Mar to ship
the horse to the
track. Martin stated via multiple reports, “It costs money to ship him; it’s a
day off from the horse’s training and other things that affect the horse. We
bought the horse to race him, not parade him. Yuba City (where Martin is from)
wants to do the same thing, parade him up here. We don’t own the horse to
parade him. He’s a racehorse.”
(This made one Facebooker very upset)
OK yeah I
get it; you have a horse taking a rest that will begin training again soon.
Most active race horses don’t usually parade around other cities and tracks
while preparing for another race. However this is not where I have an issue. If
I read between the lines, I see that they still would have shipped the horse
for $50,000. So it is really about the horse’s training schedule, or is it
about making a few extra bucks
(thanks Google Maps)
As you can
see by the map above, it’s really only an hour and fifteen minute drive from
Los Alamitos (where Chrome is stabled) to Del Mar
. That’s $333 per minute, round
trip, the owners wish to receive to transport
the horse. And would that 150
minute round-trip drive really take that much out of the horse’s training
schedule? Just for one day? Really?
To me it
seems a bit greedy and not very helpful for a sport that needs all the help we
can get to regenerate a fan base.
We all know
it, yet sometimes we choose not to believe it. Yes folks, there is really no
sure thing in horse racing. Even a horse at 1/9 or 1/5 odds isn’t guaranteed to
win, or even hit the board sometimes (don’t get me started on bridge-jumping). Yesterday’s
Grade 1 Delaware Handicap
proved this once again.
daughter of Majestic Warrior, Princess of Sylmar
, pretty much towered over this
short 6-horse field yesterday. She is a horse that won many Grade 1 stakes
already including the Kentucky Oaks, the CCA Oaks, the Alabama, and the Beldame.
Though she finished 6th
in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, she came back
with a stakes win at Aqueduct and two second place finishes in 2014 Grade 1
stakes thus far. No other horse in the field had as much success as her versus
that type of competition. So she was a sure thing
in yesterday’s race, right?
Well in this
case all it took was a horse setting sleepy fractions (24 2/5, 49 2/5, 1:13 3/5
to be exact) on the lead to have plenty left in the tank to make it impossible
for the others to catch up, and that’s exactly what happened yesterday as Belle Gallantey
took hold of the lead and never looked back
Sure, I won’t
take anything away from Princess of Sylmar; she is a great horse! On some days
horses just don’t fire. All I’m saying is that for as much talk as I saw on
social media, and as the odds reflected, how Princess of Sylmar couldn’t
possibly lose the race…well she did; proving once again that there is no sure
thing in the sport of kings.
buzzing over Lexie Lou
’s strong victory in last week’s Queen’s Plate
(the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown). Sure this may not have
been the strongest field as there was even a maiden, a few one-time winners,
and some horses that faced tougher competition. But in a race where Breeders’
Futurity winning, Spiral winning, Kentucky Derby running, and polytrack
dominating We Miss Artie
sure seemed like a sure thing, a filly prevails once
again as Lexie Lou crushed her competition.
this replay and a perfect ride by jockey Patrick Husbands:
Wow what a
performance! Trainer Mark Casse sure had her ready to go. I hope we will see
her at Fort Erie for the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown! It’s been
four years since the Queen’s Plate winner advanced to the next race. Stay tuned…
P.S. Fox Sports 1 and America's Best Racing did a phenomenal job of covering racing last Sunday!
sent this to me when he was playing one of those iPhone app games:
This post on
Facebook certainly opened my eyes:
to my review of Canterbury’s largest win payout ever in last week’s DARK REPORT
, this gentleman stated that people can’t make intelligent and correct
wagering decisions based on the racing form alone. He claimed that horse
wagering was still “poke and hope” after all of these years. He says to “look
beyond face value and accept the obvious.”
got me thinking. Sure, we’ve seen it time and time again, Princess of Sylmar
yesterday, We Miss Artie last week, countless others in history… are we just
guessing, or does anyone actually know
who will win any given race? I mean, if
we knew who was going to win, our pick four tickets would all look like 1 x 1 x
1 x 1, right? We wouldn’t need to spread in any race, right?
Most of you
have probably seen my exhaustive analyses on wagering
and even I, someone who
has studied racing for many years and constructed computer formulas and the
like, still only win 21% of the time. Am I just guessing? Shouldn’t I have a
higher win percentage? Does anyone REALLY have a winning percentage over, say,
comments have haunted
me since I read them. I’m really going to step back and
take a look at things.
OK so a lot
of you are aware of the dramatic effect the HANA boycott had on the spring 2014
meet. Being aware of this, and attempting to appease fans, Del
announced this week that they are lowering the track takeout on rolling
daily doubles from 22.68% to a flat 20%. So that’s a good thing
Del Mar took a step in the right direction, they are still being blamed for not
reducing the “rake” enough. Both the now defunct Hollywood Park and Santa Anita
have (or had) a track takeout of 18% on daily doubles, so some folks view this
as an increase. Del Mar is also offering a pick five with a 14% takeout and are
seeding pick six wagers with $50,000 each Sunday and guaranteeing $100,000 on
weekdays and $200,000 on weekends.
again are they doing wrong exactly?
completely see both sides of the takeout issue. It’s no different than owners
and players in a major sport negotiating contracts so that the split on money
seems fair. In our case, the fans want higher payouts and the track wants
additional revenue. So who wins?
It’s a dicey
issue. Frankly, from a fan’s perspective, I wager based on what I see on the
tote board and whether or not my selection offers any value. If I think I have
a pretty good chance with a morning-line long shot and the horse is 5/2 on the
board, I won’t make the wager. The track takeout is already factored into my
Yet, the cycle
could play out like this: the payouts would be higher if the track rake
was lower. With higher payouts could come more fans, and with more fans comes
more handle, and with more handle comes bigger purses, and with bigger purses
comes better racing and fuller fields, and with better racing and fuller fields
comes even more fans and happier horsemen and… well you get it.
comparison to one of horse racing’s biggest competitors, casinos, I really don’t
recall anyone asking the Vegas sports book what their rake is on football
betting, or too many people researching the odds on the table games or slots
they are playing. In terms of the sports book it’s the same thing, people make
the wager on the perceived value, regardless of the house takeout.
What a great
day of racing at Arlington Park
yesterday, for what they call “Million Preview
all-stakes pick four included some very tough races to handicap, and the rain
held off for the fans who attended in person.
off, the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap
(preview race for the Arlington Million)
was won by Donegal Racing’s Finnegans Wake
and jockey Victor Espinoza
. In a
short, yet salty, field, Finnegans Wake (son of Powerscourt
stalked the leader Avanzare
through one loop of the expansive turf course
before taking the lead at the top of the stretch. Though he was forced out a
few paths, he held on to win by a head over a hard charging Admiral Kitten
Post-time favorite War Dancer
really close to the pace” winning jockey Victor Espinoza
said to Arlington
public relations. “I wanted to be able to put him in the race. I was worried
about the other horse (Avanzare). He was drifting down the lane, but other than
that everything went well. It was a very close but he hit right on time at the
wire but you never know because you can’t see far inside. I just got lucky.”
was the only jockey not named Florent Geroux
to win any of the remaining stakes
races. Affectionately called “Frenchie” by fellow jockeys and fans, Geroux
swept the remaining three stakes races on the card.
Next up in
the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes (preview race for the American St. Leger), a 12
furlong jaunt over the pristine Arlington grass, post-time favorite and
Chicago-based lawnmower The Pizza Man
uncharacteristically took the lead early,
held off Keeneland-grad O’Prado Ole, and survived a jockey’s objection to win
the mid-summer classic by a neck. Though this was The Pizza Man’s 11th
career victory, it was his first in graded stakes fashion.
(The Pizza Man!! Photo by Four Footed Fotos)
objection was unfounded as it appeared The Pizza Man was spooked both early on
in the race, and near the finish. “There was a camera on the rail and my horse
shied away from it,” Geroux explained to Arlington’s public relations. “It
wasn’t my horse’s fault or his horse’s (Channing Hill on O’Prado Ole). I got
him back straight and we were a mile away from the finish line, so I think his
horse had plenty of time to recover.”
has certainly dominated turf races at Arlington and I hope to see him take on
some world-class competition on Million Day!
following race tested the mettle of the up and coming three-year-olds as the Grade
3 American Derby (preview race for the Secretariat Stakes) saw fourth-place
finisher of the Penn Mile and Todd Pletcher-trained horse, Divine Oath
the victory by a half-length over stretch-leading Our Channel. As noted above,
once again Florent Geroux helped bring this horse home to victory.
(Divine Oath in the Arlington Handicap! Photo by Four Footed Fotos)
plenty of pace in the race,” Geroux said to Arlington’s public relations. “It
worked out good and we were able to go through. (Our Channel) kicked away from
me a little bit, but I caught him at the end.”
expecting to see a lot of these runners back on Million Day in the Secretariat
Stakes! Can Divine Oath do it again?
the most wide-open race of the day, I’m Already Sexy won at Arlington yet again
in the Grade 3 Modesty Stakes (preview race for the Beverly D. Stakes). A lukewarm
4/1 second choice, Geroux didn’t keep the horse too far off the pace as in the
other stakes races and guided I’m Already Sexy to the winner’s circle, only by
a neck. In fact the end of this race was very close as Gulsary lost by that
neck and finished ahead of third-place finisher Street of Gold by a neck as
(This horse was already sexy! Photo by Four Footed Fotos)
local favorites I O Ireland and Kepi both finished well against this tough
competition only losing by a length and 1 ½ lengths respectively. It was a very
glad I got the opportunity from Mr. Catalano, Anna Seitz and (Hit the Board
Stable)," Geroux said to Arlington’s public relations. "I've had a
lot of success with I'm Already Sexy here. She's four-for-four on this turf
course. She loves it and I hope she can keep on going and get a Grade I win. She
ran great for me." As to winning three graded stakes, "It worked out
great. When you have the horses it can be easy."
thought she had the controlling speed and would be wherever she wanted to
be," noted Chicago-based trainer Wayne Catalano to Arlington’s public
relations. "The 13-hole didn't bother me; I thought she'd have enough
speed to get over. She didn't break exactly perfect, but it was good
Geroux pick three paid $82.80 for a buck.
four paid $387.40 for a mere $0.50.