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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tuesday Notes - June 3

- Alex Brown reports on The Rail that, "curiously," Big Brown's final quarter this morning of 24.8 was slower than his opening quarter of 23.6. But his exercise rider Michelle Nevin (no relation, I presume, to Bob), told the press: “He was a little rank today....He was looking to do something; he was trying to get away early. So I ended up having a pretty good hold on him all the way, to try to ease him down. I was very happy with him.” [Bloodhorse] So how 'bout we just load em in the gate already and get this thing underway!

The Head Chef cannot attend, as she's catering a wedding shower for our dear friends Ira and Carol's daughter Alison. And she's taking my car. So Ira is being forced to pick me up and accompany me. He's one of my Rangers seatmates, and a "fewbie" who meets me at the Meadowlands once or twice a year. Wait until I tell him that we're leaving my house by 11, and that the Belmont itself doesn't go off until 6:40! Oh man, I don't think he's going to be too pleased. And I have to keep him entertained all day!

- No dime superfectas on Belmont day....or on Friday for that matter either. A reader was told by a NYRA official that the explanation is that it would make the lines move too slow...and that since there's advance wagering for Saturday on Friday, both days are effected. I'll keep that in mind when I'm standing in line behind someone betting the dime superfectas from Churchill Downs. Yes, there's a full simulcast schedule, and even if ALL dime bets are banned, there are a lot of bets that could take up just as much if not more time. So it seems a rather odd explanation to me, especially for a wager not offered on every race.

A couple of readers mentioned the idea of windows exclusively for the Belmont or for novices. That's a concept that would start to bring us full circle back to the old days when one had to go to different windows for any different kind of bet. Exclusive windows for the dime bets, or for those wanting to bet simulcast tracks wouldn't be a terrible idea on a day like this.

- Nick Zito used to be one of my favorite guys, but now he persists in entering unqualified horses in these Triple Crown races. "I see a lot of similarities," he said, comparing Anak Nakal to 2004 upsetter Birdstone. What I see is a horse who actually makes Zito's other hopeless entry, Da' Tara, look good. At least the latter has cracked the 90 Beyer mark! "It's never bothered me what people say or what they think." I guess not. (I really hope I don't regret writing this.) John Velazquez jumps off Anak Nakal to ride Ready's Echo, and Julien Leparoux gets the mount.

- And Hoosier Park in Indiana is the latest member of the racino club - 2,000 slot machines went online on Monday morning, with the usual line around the block awaiting its opening.

By 4 p.m. Monday, more than 5,000 people had already visited the casino, said Jim Brown, Hoosier Park’s general manager for gaming.

“It exceeded my expectations,” he said. “It was a Monday, and we had customers lining up before sunrise. Over 800 folks joined us within the first hour.” [Herald Bulletin]
The Hoosier casino is a 24/7 operation, and therefore will never close its doors for all of eternity. There's a sobering thought for you.

8 Comments:

Lenny said...

Seems D Wayne rubbed off on alot of the current big names when it comes to running over-matched horses in the Triple Crown. With that said I still think Anak Nakal can clunk up for 3rd/4th and add a little value to the tri or super.

El Angelo said...

Lenny's right--at least Anak Nakal is bred to get the distance. I like the idea of the separate windows for all simulcasts as well, assuming you're going to take action on those races.

Anonymous said...

I think banning the dime super on a day like this makes sense for the reasons they cite. Imagine if you get stuck behind some dufus playing 100 different dime supers who doesn't bother part wheeling them.

As for ANAK NAKAL, I hope this one gets bet. He's not as fast as BIRDSTONE was as a 2yo. He doesn't get Prado. Plus Birdstone's big two year old win was at Belmont in the Champagne. Anak won at Churchill. Lastly, Birdy actually won a race as a 3yo. I agree he could totally clunk up for 3/4 against this bunch. And if a few horses break down, he could win.

Sam said...

So what's the deal? No machines? I don't like going to clerks at all anymore - it's so much easier to push the buttons myself.

Anonymous said...

Alan, another enjoyable top 10, thanks for the laughs! Uncle Dick's quarter crack was really good! Have you seen the Brit satirical Private Eye? I think you could have a new career waiting at Private Eye-USA edition. Check out the covers on their website www.private-eye.co.uk

Below is my message to the NYRA marketing dept in re using the Belmont Stakes to insure NY racing's # 1 position:

To Gavin Landry, Senior V.P., NYRA Sales & Market Development:

The NYRA Marketing Dept needs to make a commitment now to return the Belmont Stakes to top billing in the TC Series; and this is true in all years, not just potential Triple Crown years which obviously create their own aura of "Big Sports Event" in the media. A little background might help: Up until the mid 1930's, and Col Matt Winn's regime at Churchill Downs, and then Calumet Farm's reign in the 1940's, the Belmont Stakes was the most prestigious of all TC events. The Belmont was simply the 3 YO stakes race most coveted by horsemen, owners, and breeders.

There are a number of reasons why the Belmont Stakes was at the top of the heap but chief among them was the very high value placed on distance and staying power. In fact it could be argued that horsemen, owners, and breeders prized ability to go the distance and staying power above all other attributes of the thoroughbred, it was was what distinguished throughbreds from western quarter horses. And Belmont Stakes winners have historically produced a very high percentage of stakes winning offspring, even during the years of declining prestige over the past 50 years, a fact that seems to be lost on modern breeders in their quest for speedy "figs".

But beginning in the 1940's, with Col Matt Winn's legendary promotional skills coupled with the growth of mass media, and the glory days of Calumet Farm, a Lexington breeding colossus and Dubai sheihks of the day, the Kentucky Derby came to prominence in the minds of average sports fans all across America. And the more the Derby grew as a sporting and cultural event in the national consciousness, the more the Derby also became the ne plus ultra for horsemen and eventually eclipsed the Belmont in prestige.

But we also know what has happened in the 50 or so years since, accelerating in the 1970's and 80's, and we are still living with today: Throughbreds bred for one dimensional speed who also have become less sound of limb. Gradually we lost all of our major distance dirt stakes including the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont being shortened from 2 miles to 1 1/2, a prestigious stakes Kelso won five years in a row at 2 miles. We conceded to the emerging trends in the breeding industry responding to the need to fill the thousands of additional races carded every year, rather than insisting on "improvement of the breed".

Now we find ourselves with horses who can't seem to race more than 5 or 6 times as 3 YO's, are rushed off to the breeding shed, and then start the cycle of unsound offspring all over again. And then we need drugs, steroids, and synthetic racing surfaces to cope with it. No wonder fans are turned off when they see the shallowness, the phoniness and greed of it all. The old saw of racing as the means to "improve the breed" went out the window years ago; we're way over due to see a comeback.

Now comes NYRA, with a new lease on life, in a position to change all of that by creatively promoting the Belmont as the most valuable jewel of the Triple Crown Series, the TC race that prizes stamina and the ability to get further than 10 furlongs on dirt. Use the rich history and tradition of the race, the many legendary winners and notable losers, the fact that it is the only classic dirt stakes run at a mile and a half, on the only mile and a half track in North America, coupled with it's Belmont Park venue, and NYC backdrop, to create new desire in horsemen to covet a Belmont Stakes winner, and fans to come out to see it run every year, not just in TC opportunity years.

The Belmont Stakes has every bit the cachet of the Derby, even more so for this fan, and it is the Jewel of NY Racing. NYRA needs to vow that NY is going to be # 1 and then execute the business plan accordingly. This means taking second place to no other track or stakes race including the Derby and Breeders Cup. NYRA stakes need to compete head on with the Derby and BC and not be content to play the role of "feeder", or "semi-finals". Competiton is good for racing and for NY racing to stay # 1.Make it a five year goal to return the Belmont Stakes to it's former place at the top of the Triple Crown pyramid, it's what the racing industry needs now. /S/Green Mtn Punter

alan said...

Sam,

No, the machines will be there as usual. But I find that it's usually better to use the manned windows on days like these. The lines are usually shorter, and I think there's less chance of getting stuck behind an idiot, despite the inexperienced players on the teller lines.

Anonymous said...

Silly to ban the dime supers.

If the idea is to grow the Belmont Newbies into regular customers, this is the perfect bet with which to accomplish that goal.

I was in the yard on Memorial Day and the newbies I was hanging with loved it, once I pointed it out to them. They threw a couple of bucks in a pool and had a blast.

Set up separate lines if need be.

I was planning to dime box five non Big Brown horses in the Belmont, just in case the QC takes its toll.

Anonymous said...

The Final Quarter is a bit curious, usually want them to finish faster than they start.

Don't care how they spin it, the fact they are not patching the thing is not a good sign.

A scratch is not out of the realm of possibility.