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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Belmont Notes

Three graded stakes at Belmont on the 4th of July, but it was the 4th race which provided the best finish of the day. Too Amenable, who I picked here, made a wide and decisive move turning for home, blindswitching Globemaster in the process. That one encountered further traffic in the stretch, and I thought I was home free. But Ramon was relentless as usual, and after he was able to swing his horse out for room at around the sixteenth pole, he closed with a rush to get up by a nose. Globemaster ($11.80) was well-bet in his first try on turf after running up the track at 16-1 on dirt; that despite an anemic Tomlinson figure of 172. He's by Forbidden Apple, a son of Pleasant Colony last reported to be standing at Bridlewood Farm in Florida. However, a peek at that farm's website fails to find him amongst the listed stallions, so I fear that he is no longer amongst us.

Better luck in the Dwyer - I thought that was a great win price on Kensei ($15.40), even though he went off at his morning line odds. It was a great price on anyone you liked other than Warrior's Reward, bet down to an absurd 4-5. Kensei is by Mr. Greeley, who stands for $75, was only his second stakes winner of the year.

Dry Martini came from nowhere to win the Suburban going away. Nice job by Prado saving ground into the stretch, and patiently waiting for a clear path home. 6-1 in the morning line, the six-year old gelded son of Slew Gin Fizz paid $23.60, not bad for a horse winning his 4th graded stakes race.

One race I noticed from Churchill - in the 6th, Cowgirl Mally, 5-1 morning line for trainer Eddie Kenneally, got punched from the start, pounded to 8-5 by post time, and won by a handy length after a bold four wide move on the turn. You gotta love this game. This is a two-year old daughter of the solid first-out sire Gone West (15%), looking particularly handsome on his Stallion Register page I must say; out of a Seattle Slew mare who's a full sister to the graded winner General Meeting. This is also the female family of the fleet Carson City.

The crowd of 7,667 wagered almost $1,378,300 into the mutuel pool. With the benefit of one extra race, that's some $20,000 more than was bet on Rachel Alexandra day the Saturday before, when the crowd was announced as being 13,352.

We split after the Dwyer....hey, it's a holiday; we had burgers to grill, and fireworks on the west side to not really be able to see. Seemed as if the NYC police did everything they could to block access to the streets with the good views. So, as it turned out, it probably wouldn't have mattered if we had stayed for the Suburban. However, the idea of earlier post times on holidays is something we tossed around after Memorial Day. 5:50 PM seems rather late for the feature race on a day in which a lot of people have holiday-related plans in the evening.


wmcorrow said...

Normally the on-track patrons average a bit under $200 per bettor. Rachel Alexandra brought out the 'something-to-do' crowd who are not serious bettors, at best they will wager a couple of bucks here and there.

Year after year I read how Thoroughbred racing needs a 'star' to improving its popularity. The star does bring out the people, but they simply are not gamblers; they disappear after the race and do not reappear until another star is born via the turf media.

When 7,667 on-track patrons exceed the handle of 13,783 it seems to me the emphasis in promoting racing should be on the gambling aspects.

Anonymous said...

Alan- did you see Ray Kerrison's column in Saturday's Post, "Slot or Rot"? A sad commentary on the current state of American racing covering topics which have been discussed on LATG for at least the past 2 years.

NYRA is pronounced bankrupt, fiscally and creatively, while Rome continues to burn and Nero continues to fiddle...he makes the case for VLT's NOW, without further delay, citing states such as W Virginia, PA, Louisiana, Indiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Delaware where VLT's are keeping racing alive.

Kerrison reviews all of the old familiar issues. I found it interesting that his # 1 current shortcoming is the fact that "modern racing has no stars. They're all in the breeding shed. No sport can prosper without stars to engage and excite the base." Exactly the point many of us have raised on LATG over the past few years. Incentives to grow and enhance the handicap division, once the objective of many owners, are a must.

His second and third points are the small fields and short-priced faves, and the confiscatory levels of take-out in racing pari-mutuels vs the 5% take-out for sports and casino betting. Tried, tested and proven economic policy says cut tax rates and economic growth will result. Tell that to the tax and tax and tax and spend and spend and spend clowns running the show in Albany. /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

The only way to develop "stars" in racing is to develop human stars, promote the jockeys as they do so successfully in Japan.

Either that or force every Classic winner to be gelded immediately after the race so they stick around ;-)

Anonymous said...

As for your comments on post time, if the goal is to actually attract patrons to the track, NYRA had things all backwards this weekend.

I had at least three people tell me they planned to go to Friday afternoon party in the park only to find NYRA did not have it this week for some absurd reason. While some had the day off Friday, other had half days. The perfect Friday for a late start, but alas, it was business as usual.

And as you note, Saturday called for an earlier start (or just eliminating one of the early maiden claimers) so the featured attraction could be run early enough for folks to return for the their bbq's and fireworks.