In my opinion Arlington Park has had a fantastic meet so far! It’s just not because I’m actually making money (ha-ha) but the racing has been excellent to kick off 2012. Let's review my 10 observations of the happenings a month and a half into the meet.
(Pirates Vow - photo by me!)
1. Next Wednesday marks the arrival of Curlin’s first foal to race: a two year old filly named Evolutionary will take to the Polytrack for trainer Donnie Von Hemel and Pin Oak Stables. Many of us have been waiting for this moment for some time and I personally can’t wait either. Channing Hill will get the mount for this anticipated event! Channing has 7 wins out of 80 mounts as of 6/9/12. 2. Well it’s about time, someone finally hit the Jackpot High-5 at Arlington today. The winning ticket paid $1.1 million and apparently went to someone out of state. Gotta love online and off-track betting! Congratulations to the winner! I admit it’s not a wager I would normally play, but when the “jackpot” started getting larger and larger, I kept throwing a $1 straight ticket at it in hopes of getting lucky. Apparently someone outside of Illinois is luckier than I am (and it’s great to see that Arlington has fans all over the country!!) 3. I learned a lesson this weekend. I was enjoying a day at the races with my brother Scott, his girlfriend Kim, and my son Gabriel. Apparently my handicapping was sharp as I proceeded to choose 9 winners in one race card (including the Belmont stakes too.) Normally someone might be happy with picking that many winners in one day, however I was not. The reason: I only bet on one of the races all day. Sure it was $12.60 winner Wild Pantera (and who wouldn’t bet on a horse with Pantera in the name,) but that was it as I sat out the remainder of the day. My brother thought I was an idiot and I also received some wise advice later that afternoon, “you can't win by sitting on your hands.” Sound advice that I will most definitely heed in the future. What would Horse Racing Nation’s handicapping genius Jasen Mangrum say? 4. In the jockey colony Cisco Torres picked up right where he left off after the Hawthorne spring meet. Thus far he has scored 27 victories as of 6/9/12 and has a decent lead over James Graham who has 20 wins. There is no doubt that Cisco is one of the best (and nicest) riders around! 5. On the trainer side there are no surprises as Larry Rivelli leads with 15 wins as of 6/9/12. He has historically done very well at Arlington as he attempts to score the trainer title for the second year in a row. Mike Stidham follows with 12 wins and trainer Roger Brueggemann has 10 wins. 6. Was Silver Max impressive in the Arlington Classic or what? I was on hand for the race and I’m still picturing the fast-fraction gate-to-wire performance from May 26th in my head. After reeling off 4 wins in a row I can only imagine that he’ll return for the second leg of the Mid-America Triple, the American Derby, on July 14th, my birthday. If you haven’t seen the replay of this race, you should really watch it. CLICK HERE.
7. Sometimes (or often times) in racing the unexpected can and does happen. In this case I’m referring to Havelock’s victory in the Hanshin Cup. Jockey Florent Geroux helped steer Havelock in a perfect trip to victory. I, along with many others (including the connections) thought one mile might be a little too far. Havelock paid $19.60 to win and was impressive closing from behind late to score by a neck over Lonesome Street.
(Havelock in the winners circle - photo by me!)
8. Just part of my own observations of the track, both turf and Polytrack, being on or near the lead for the first two points of call gives you a better shot at victory this season. I think the track has been playing very fair when comparing the rail to the outside. After checking the official stats on Arlington’s web site I found that I am only half-correct. Closers have only been winning at a 28% clip on the turf course and 21% on the Polytrack (as of 6/3/12)! Wow! However on both the turf and the Polytrack the winners are coming from the inside much more than the outside. So much for my own observations! 9. As with last year, Arlington continues to provide enormous value for their horseplayers! Check out these stats… (as of 6/3/12)
Based on a $2 wager, the average payouts have been:
Win - $11.65
Double - $74.79
Exacta - $77.56
Trifecta - $505.09
Superfecta - $2,756.42
Pick 3 - $501.86
Pick 4 - $4388.57
WHOA! Looks like I need to bet more often!! (See point #3 above) (Also, when your wife tells you to bet more often, you probably should.) 10. Is Arlington the most beautiful race track in the country or what? Seriously. OK so maybe I haven’t been to as many tracks as Brian Zipse has, but I just have a hunch that Arlington is the best, period. So there were some things that I have noticed over the last month and a half at one of my two second homes. Stay tuned for this weekend’s Chicago Dark Horse coverage as I will be featuring the SIX Illinois-bred stakes races otherwise known as the Prairie State Festival! Following the Prairie State Festival, join the crew at the Galloping Out’s second annual fundraiser! More information can be found here.