Photo: Gary Quill
the past decade or since the emergence of horse racing television channels,
horseplayers have been marketed to believe only races from New York (Aqu/Bel/Sar),
California (SA/BHP/Dmr), Kentucky (CD/Kee) and Gulfstream Park are worthy of
their wagering dollars.
Even HRN’s sister website DerbyWars.com
follows this mindset. Can you blame them?! Not if horseplayers have been programmed
to be interested in only a handful of tracks, then why try to buck that trend?
in 2014, thoroughbred racing in Maryland is primed to challenge the “big tracks” by offering bigger purses, attracting more horses which equates to larger
fields. Isn’t the #1 reason a horseplayer will play certain tracks is based on
large, competitive fields?
Exhibit A: How excited can you get about the G2 Santa Ynez Stakes @ Santa Anita
on Saturday when only 4 fillies are entered? But I guarantee HRTV and/or TVG
will talk it up as if it were the Seabiscuit-War Admiral match race, which by the way was run at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland.
That match race took place long before any of the television talking head
experts FATHER were even a gleam in their grandfathers’ eye.
During that time, Maryland was one of the “big tracks” in the country. Horse
racing was the 3rd largest industry in the state.
Have you ever thought, “Why in the hell is the 2nd jewel of the Triple Crown
run at Pimlico?!” It’s just another reminder that Maryland was once a heavy
hitter in the horse racing industry.
what happened?! Lottery, casinos in neighboring states and politics “happened”.
In the early 70’s when Maryland adopted a state lottery, horse racing was no
longer the only way to gamble legally. Then in the 80’s Atlantic City became a
short drive to “Vegas of the East”, followed in the 90’s by Delaware, West
Virginia and Pennsylvania with slots and table games. All four of those states had thoroughbred racing and
could offer purses 3 times the size of the same class level as Maryland.
So how does Maryland regain that market share? Legislators finally woke up and approved
casino slots and table games a few years ago. Now that all states are on a
level playing field once again, the breeding farms are flourishing, purses are
among the highest in the Mid-Atlantic region and horses are now regularly shipping in
from New York.
In the coming years, more MD-breds will be offered at the various Sales and
with the bonus money on the table, they should be as attractive as ever.
In 2013, we saw a glimpse at the future of Maryland racing, and it was bright.
Hopefully in 2014, horseplayers will find themselves studying the past
performances for Laurel Park and Pimlico, other than Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness
Day, with the encouragement of HRTV, TVG and our friends at DerbyWars.com.
The Saturday Laurel Park card has four (4) $100,000 stakes races with the 9-race card average purse of $60k, same as Aqueduct on this day which features the Jerome. Gulfstream Park has two G3 races on their 11-race card, but the average purse barely exceeds $53k. Santa Anita can boast the biggest average purse at $81k, but that includes two G2 races, one being the aforementioned 4-horse field Santa Ynez.
My resolution for this new year is to tirelessly sing
the praises of Maryland horse racing. If I got your attention, then every
Saturday you can see my opinions for races at Laurel Park (and Pimlico in the spring) here...
Recapping my final post of 2013 for Laurel Park selections from Tuesday, December 31st had 5 winners from 9 races (2 Top Selections; payoffs in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $11.00 (1st
race), $6.80 (2nd), $10.00 (3rd), $5.60 (5th)
and $8.20 (6th).
The BEST BET of the Day (10: 1-2-3) Decisive Edge (4th race: 3-1 M/L; 5-2 PT) stumbled leaving the starting gate, was well back early, turned for home three deep and passed tired horses, getting nosed out for SHOW money.
The LONGSHOT PICK (9: 2-1-0) Mshomecomingqueen
(7th race: 10-1 M/L; 13-1 PT) was outrun early, rallied in mid-stretch but the
top 3 were much better, resulting in a 4th place finish.
FYI – the BEST BET will never be a M/L favorite and the LONGSHOT PICK will simply be the runner having the highest M/L odds among my top picks for an entire card.
PLEASE NOTE: Statistics provided for the BEST BET and LONGSHOT PICK in parentheses represent the Number of Picks: Wins-Places-Shows. For example, the BEST BET (10: 1-2-3) was picked 10 times resulting in 1 winner, 2 places and 3 shows. In the past, I would reset these numbers at the start of each meet. For 2014, I reset these numbers on Jan. 1st in order to chart results on yearly basis.
For the first Saturday of 2014 the weather forecast calls for sunny skies but
sub-freezing temperatures. Selections for Saturday, Jan. 4th at Laurel Park posted below are based on a FAST dirt track. Selections posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.
1st race – $40,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. fillies – 5½ furlongs
#4 – No Wonder At All (5-2)
– Southern Equity (8-1)
– Bogelia (4-1)
2nd race – $100,000 Frank Whiteley, Jr. Stakes for 3 y.o. – 7
#6 – Germaniac (10-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$
#5 – Mr. Rover (3-1)
#1 – Reflector (20-1)
3rd race – $5,000 Claiming for 4
y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles
#3 – Beatnik (5-1)
#5 – Silent Shot (4-1)
#2 – Dual Citizen (5-2)
4th race – $100,000 Marshua Stakes
for 3 y.o.fillies – 6 furlongs
#1 – Jonesin For Jerry (9-2) *** BEST BET ***
#2 – Gracer (4-5)
#6 – Tupancy Links (15-1)
5th race – $8,000 Claiming for 4 y.o. and up – 1 1/8 miles
#2 - Kingofthebluegrass --- SCRATCHED ---
#6 – Symphonic Hero (9-5)
#8 – Termsofengagement (10-1)
#1 – Hughes Next (2-1)
6th race – $100,000 Nellie Morse
Stakes for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles
#3 – Welcome Guest (7-5)
#1 – Firenze Feeling (2-1)
#2 – Hedonemewrongsong (15-1)
7th race – $32,000 Optional Claiming
N3X for 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#8 – The Louisiana Kid (8-1)
#4 – Cherokee Artist (8-5)
#1 – Smash and Grab (10-1)
8th race – $100,000 Fire Plug Stakes for 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#5 – Fersmiley (6-1)
#8 – Service for Ten (5-2)
#2 - Strapping Groom --- SCRATCHED ---
#3 – Well Spelled (10-1)
9th race – $5,000 Claiming N2L for 4 y.o. and up – 5½ furlongs
#2 – New Technology (8-1)
#3 – Readysetketch (10-1)
#11 – Peeds in a Pod (9-2)
Discover Maryland racing... it's no longer your father's small race track. It's more like the big track your grandfather used to know.