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Friday, August 31, 2007

Betting Public Getting Snakebit

- Some comments I wanted to comment on. One anonymous reader, writing of the 15-day suspension of Patrick Biancone, notes that the ban will start, of course, AFTER the Saratoga meeting ends.

The suspension will be served Sept. 5-19 and Biancone does not plan to appeal, the authority said. [Louisville Courier Journal]
And, referring to the trainer's winner of the With Anticipation stakes at the Spa on Friday, another comment notes: He should be serving his suspension "NOWNOWNOW."

This ban is not related to the cobra venom investigation which is continuing separately, or so we're told. It was June 22 that a vial of crystallized cobra venom was reportedly found in Biancone's barn at Churchill Downs. (The Daily Racing Form reiterated that story on Friday, again attributing it to a source close to the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity). So this has been going on for over two months.

I've been kind of a lone wolf on this, but I myself will reiterate this: I think it's totally incongruous that jockeys would be banned from some tracks because of an ongoing investigation regarding some suspicious exotic bets on races at Great Lakes Downs, but that Biancone continues to be welcomed everywhere. If the authorities in Kentucky really found cobra venom in his barn, why wouldn't that information be transmitted to the tracks (just as the TRPB has done with the riders); and, in turn, why wouldn't those tracks - and Churchill is one which has barred those riders - ban Biancone as well? I mean, I'm starting to think that they in fact do not have the goods on him, because this just doesn't make sense to me. People say 'well, it wouldn't be fair until he has a hearing,' but the jocks haven't had any hearings as far as I know. And I think it's grossly unfair to the betting public for it to have to consider the allegations when they're handicapping a race with one of his horses.

Getting back to the suspension, Gregory A. Hall reported in the Louisville Courier Journal that Tom Amoss, the trainer of Ride Em Cowgirl, the horse that finished second to the now-dq'd runner that tested positive (for theophylline and caffeine), was told by racing stewards at the end of June not to run the horse in any more maiden races....because of a suspicious test from the race. And this I believe created yet another situation which was unfair to the betting public.

Since the race in question, run on May 3, Ride Em Cowgirl ran in two subsequent maiden races. She finished second at 7-10, and third at 1-2 (oh man), the latter on June 27. But for her next engagement, after Amoss was told not to run her in maiden races, she showed up in an overnight stakes at Lone Star. And here's where I have a problem. There very well could have been those in the betting public who were thinking 'hmm, she looks a bit disappointing, but Amoss must think a lot of her to run her out of conditions like this. Let's make her 9-2.' So they did, and she finished last. The truth is that Amoss had to run her out of conditions. And perhaps he felt that she needed to race, and that the Lone Star stakes was the only available spot. If they knew that, some may have looked at her differently. I would have. This is all speculation of course. But it seems to me that bettors may very well have gotten a raw deal there.

OK, I rambled on far longer on that subject than I thought I would. But I also wanted to mention one other comment. Great job by another Anonymous picking up on Spitzer's comment that he's been "fully transparent in what we have done" in the franchise process. As the reader points out, the fact is that, since the change of administrations in Albany, there's been No public input. At all.


allinfun said...

Hey Alan
I was looking at one of Biancone's horses in the paddock today and thinking the same thing. These jockeys had to go out and fight to get their reputations back but trainers just go on and act like it's vacation time if they do get a suspension. I would love to see all of these tracks get together on this subject and start handing down serious punishment. It also bothers me that these same guys get interviewed and are not asked about this stuff at all or asked timidly. Almost with a sympathetic tone. This subject drives me nuts!

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan,

I'm a big fan of your blog, keep up the excellent work.

On the subject of these trainers that cheat and get a nice vacation for their efforts just drives me crazy!

Thanks, Tripcapper John.