- Here's an interesting thread from Dave Tuley's ViewFromVegas forum site. It's regarding a recent trend which has seen first-timers doing well at Santa Anita, and the poster proposes the theory that the rock hard, lightning-fast conditions of the pre-polymer'd Cushion Track has left horses who ran over it extremely sore. "Some horses had to wait up to 3 weeks before they could even begin training again," he writes.
I think we are seeing now, the affect of those hard tracks and the toll it took on the horses. 1st time starters, horses off a layoff, horses coming off turf, and horses shipping in have dominated. Of course there are exceptions, but I don’t think it’s any coincidence on what we are seeing right now. For example, here is what happened today [Thursday] in the main track races:Just one day's results of course, but it sounds quite logical and may be worth checking out over the weekend.
2nd Race- 1st time starters run 1st and 2nd [winner was 24-1]
4th Race- 1st time starters run 1st and 2nd [winner was 33-1]
5th Race- 1st place finisher wins off layoff, 2nd place finisher comes from the turf, and 3rd place finisher comes off a layoff
6th Race- 1st place favorite does win and ran at SA in last, 2nd place finisher comes from GG, 3rd place finisher is a 1ster
7th Race- 1st place winner comes from BM's, only runner who didn't run on SA surface in last
8th Race- 1st time starter runs 1st, 2nd place finisher comes in from GG
- On the other hand, Just Zip It bounced out of her win at the Big A in fine fettle, and is entered to run back in the 7th race on Sunday. She'll drop back into state-bred company and go six furlongs in an entry level allowance.
- As pointed out in this comments thread, Z Humor runs back in the Fountain of Youth just eight days after his disappointing Sam F Davis. No, certainly not Mott's MO, and especially strange considering that the colt has all the graded earning he needs. So owner Ahmed Zayat obviously has his reasons, and perhaps we'll understand more come Sunday. (He also runs back Halo Najib 13 days after he won at Ocala, but this colt needs the graded stakes earnings.)
- Horsemen and racetracks in New Jersey are still waiting for the promised relief in the form of a new subsidy package from the state and Atlantic City casinos. The Meadowlands has decided to maintain their purse structure, believing that a new agreement is near. But at Freehold, where harness racing...dates back to 1853, long before the selfish casino companies came to AC, purses are down drastically - 40% today as compared to three weeks ago, according to the NY Daily News' Dave Little (27% is the official number). Tom Luchento, the president of NJ's Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association, says that "without a doubt, horsemen are leaving Freehold for Saratoga and Dover Downs."
"This has gone on much too long. We are at the point now where it's like pulling wings off flies. They're just torturing us and I get nothing from the state. No information from the casinos. They leave us out of the negotiations. We are never at the table." [NY Daily News]The Asbury Park Press reports that frustration with the casinos has grown to the point where some legislators are pushing for slots at the tracks.
State Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, said momentum is growing among legislators to consider allowing VLTs at the racetracks. Beck said she and Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, had a conference call with a casino industry representative last week, but it did not leave them encouraged that the stalemate would soon end, she said.And of course, this is not just a harness issue, as Monmouth re-opens in May.
"VLTs at the racetracks were not implemented because of the subsidy agreement, and the casinos in turn were to support the racing industry," Beck said. "That support has stopped. Every state around us has VLTs or similar forms of added gambling at the racetracks." [Asbury Park Press]
- Hunch bets for Friday:
Rude 2nd at Delta Downs
Booty Man 6th at Beulah (Just innuendo from that "liberal rag" of course)
Watch Me Go Byebye 1st at Bay Meadows
Nick's Blitz 7th at Charles Town
Going Wild 8th at Delta Downs