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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Knock on Wood

- I was happy to find on yesterday this article by John Pricci, who covered racing for Newsday here in NY for many years. He also has a handicapping and news website called He found a researcher who came up with a system of compiling “knocks” on Derby horses based on historical stuff like number of preps, etc., and the guy comes up with Bellamy Road, Bandini, and Flower Alley. Afleet Alex is out because he’s made over a $1 million!

One knock I’ve always been aware of is the one against horses who never started at 2; that hasn’t happened since 1882. In reading Pricci's article, I see that I was wrong in thinking that there weren’t any such contenders this year; in fact, Greeley’s Galaxy didn’t start until January 15, and he was beaten by 10 lengths in his debut. I’m reassessing his chances in a negative light; I think that’s a powerful angle that’s both logical and time-tested.

- Seguing smoothly to a knock on wood, the incredible story of the ivory-billed woodpecker, one of which was spotted in Arkansas; the last sighting had been in 1944! The bird was referred to as the Lord God bird, because people would say "Lord God!" when they saw it, similar to one might say when getting nosed at the wire by a 38-1 shot.

- Penn National is quite anxious to get going with their racino in Bangor. A company spokesperson said:

The project will generate income for Maine and Bangor, as well as "show that there's no big bad wolf at the door with this project..”

Industry estimates show the largest demographic the racino is likely to entice will be over 60 and comprised of more women than men. [Portland Press Herald, via Albany Law School]
So, they won’t be attracting many depraved criminals, but nor does it seem like a crowd likely to produce many new fans for the racing part of racino.