A year from now, it figures to be a far different competitive environment around here. Money from the slots could start flowing to NYRA by next summer according to NYRA board member Charles Wait. I would think that, at some point, NYRA could start to raise purses in anticipation of that money; and that in any event we'll surely see such enhancements by the time Saratoga rolls around (hopefully not any earlier than it did this year).
On the other hand, the fate of Monmouth's inflated purse structure, if not the meet itself, is certainly in doubt given the recent commission report and the statements by Governor Christie.
Just less than three weeks left now at the Spa, yet I continue to get emails from Tom Federlin, the flaky czar of local real estate, regarding houses going begging for renters, even for the big Travers-Rachel Whatshername weekend of Aug 28-29. That can't be a great sign for how things are going.
Meanwhile, horses continue to trickle up from Monmouth despite the lower purses in New York, in search perhaps of the shorter fields that are anathema to the bettors. Some chalk players must be wishing they stayed where they were on Wednesday. Three races featured favorites from the Jersey shore who were beaten, including Silver Timber in the featured Troy Stakes, a race which had no balls - eight geldings and a mare made up the field of nine! This favorite was out of the money at .65-to-1 for trainer Chad Brown (and he'd been beaten at 3-10 in his prior). That barn, though still hitting at 36% (12 for 33), has lost its last six races, including Payout at 1-2, and two others at less than 2-1. The percentages generally catch up in this game, and when they do in the case of a barn that has been on a tear as has Brown's, it can create parimutuel opportunities for others. Awakino Cat, 4-1 in the morning line, paid $14.60 despite being trained by Linda Rice, known for her proficiency in these turf sprints. She's 22 for 89 (25%) in such races at Saratoga over the last three years.
Those Monmouth chalk-eating weasels may have been cursing after the finale, when Glacier Bay ($26.20) shipped up to get the money for trainer Alan Goldberg. This barn is an infrequent visitor upstate, but still a solid high percentage outfit at 24% this year.
Chart comment of the day:
EL REAL MADRID bumped lightly with DANTASTIC leaving the starting gate, proceeded to exchange a series of light bumps with the same foe, as the pair fought to establish early position, got the better part of that one, crossing over to the rail just before reaching the first turn [ed note - we have more description here than we do for most horses at other tracks and he's only at the first turn!], took the inside route before being taken back out to the two path for the run down the backstretch, was reserved from there well off the front runners, began to narrow in, along with a good portion of the competition, departing the half mile pole, angled out three wide commencing to rally in earnest, closed with good energy down the center of the course to make things a bit interesting [ed note - I'll say!] in the late stages, before settling for place honors.