I know you don't mind if I toot my own horn once in a blue moon. I mean, I haven't picked many winners of late, and I don't make much money doing this, so I get to indulge myself occasionally, right?
So, perhaps you've sometimes noticed that you read something here, and then you read it in the mainstream press later on. On Thursday morning, I postulated that NYRA only needs to capture about a third of wagers that were placed through NYC OTB to break even. Later on, Charlie Hayward was quoted putting the figure at 35%, in the first public statement I've seen attempting to quantify the situation in those terms, as I did. Also, I've been emphasizing the need for live streaming for NYRA Rewards and other in-state ADW's for days; posted an explanation as to what the problem is, and now that issue is all over the press. So, just sayin'.
Intra-state off-track wagering declined 39% on Thursday from last week; but NYRA made up some ground on track, where they drew 2704 (vs 2101 last Thursday) who wagered $536,000 (vs $475,000).
NYRA intensifies their efforts to attract the valuable on-track handle with the opening of Belmont as an OTB of their own, and an effort to renew live racing on Channel 71.
Yonkers conducted their first card since the shutdown, and attracted a total handle of $562,386; that as opposed to $802,386 last Thursday. That's a decline of nearly 30%. And Friday and Saturday night they'll be more harness competition, with the Meadowlands and Saratoga having been dark on Thursday. The harness guys, bitterly opposed to the Senate bill - no less the GOP bill - remain steadfastly upbeat.
"While the closure of New York City Off Track Betting will obviously generate short term challenges for New York’s harness racing industry, in the long term it also presents an opportunity to re-think off-track wagering in the state altogether. [Statement by Empire State Harness Horsemen's Alliance]Indeed. But handle declines such as Thursday's, and the political realities of racing and wagering in New York, could have a sobering effect before too long.
- In the second at the Big A on Friday (which, with the OTB on Park Place closed and the NYRA Rewards site blocked by my employer's internet police, I have little chance of actually betting on), Deceptive late gain is the trouble line comment for the second place finish of Kinkora (5-2) in her last. That's a new one for me. Further examination of the race provides some context; winner Silver Horseshoe was said to have appeared choppy-gaited nearing the sixteenth pole, and was vanned off after the race. Still, Kinkora finished well, in 12.73 seconds, after laying closer to the pace with blinkers added. So I think it would be deceptive to read too much into that comment. Third place finisher Honest Gold missed by a nose in each of her next two starts.
Cautionary Tale (8-1) finished far behind Kinkora that day, but showed solid improvement at 41-1 in her last, closing for third in lively splits of 12 1/5 and 12 2/5 for trainer John Hertler, who won three in a row from 11/26 through 12/5 (two others since then). That last race has come back strong; besides the aforementioned Honest Gold, the first of her two aforementioned seconds, 5th place finisher Suroof won her next (on the turf) with an 85 Beyer; and the 6th place Alla Prima won off by 20 at Suffolk. Not much speed for Cautionary Tale, but seems worth a shot for at least a piece at that price. Arena Elvira (6-5) has burned money before, comes off a layoff with a big workout gap, and ran her fastest race on a wet track, rated good. I'm stretching here perhaps in an attempt to beat chalk who holds class, speed, and tactical edges, but she can beat me at that price, I won't mind too much. I can't bet the race anyway.