Happy New Year everyone! We were down at my mom's house in Florida, where the wireless wasn't working and the cable from the modem didn't quite reach out to the pool patio. So, sorry for the lack of posting. It was in the mid-70's down there, and what a relief from the snow still effecting services up here in the city.
No news lately on NYC OTB (other than Greg Rayburn continuing to collect his paycheck), and with each passing day, the world without it seems more the norm than an anomaly. NYRA forges on with the live streaming of its races, and an expansion of the capacity their own OTB facility in the Belmont Cafe.
“We have had very positive customer response since opening the Belmont Café on December 12,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “With the typically strong racing expected from Santa Anita and Gulfstream this winter, we’re pleased to offer an expansion and a number of improvements to our new simulcast area.”Those tracks, along with the other attractive winter meets such as Fair Grounds and Oaklawn, are a real potential area of growth for NYRA. As little as NYRA got from NYC OTB on their own races, on simulcast tracks they got even less - 1.96% vs 2.69% according to figures I have from 2009. Remember, NYRA retains about the same percentage of on-track wagers - including through NYRA Rewards - made on simulcast tracks as on their own races. If they only need to retain 35% of NYC OTB's NYRA handle to break even, then they would only have to keep 25% on the simulcasts. If and when they start to stream those top winter meetings, that could be a huge attraction for people like myself who don't get HRTV and want to keep our betting dollars in-state. This handle on out-of-state tracks is not included in the betting figures you see at the bottom of the charts, the ones you've seen used for comparisons. It could be a bit of a hidden bonus for NYRA, and another reason to look forward to the future rather than try to resurrect the broken past. As I imagine we still may hear about early in this new year.
I did a double take when I saw the crowd figure of over 16,000 at the Big A on Saturday, before I remembered that it was the annual calendar giveaway. There had to be some kind of spinning going on, right? Would be interested in hearing from someone who was there.
Yonkers has been closed for a winter break and will reopen later this month.
Crossbow ($2.50) took the second at Aqueduct on Sunday, graduating in his second start and earning a Beyer of 86. Darley homebred is by Bernardini out of the multiple graded stakes winner Forest Heiress, a half-sister herself to the speedy Wildcat Heir, the sire of Breathoffreshheir, who took the Ruthless the race after (in a slightly slower time).
Monzon won the Count Fleet in classy come-from-behind style, earning a 90 Beyer in his two-turn dirt debut and immediately jumped to the top of the LATG Derby list. In fact, he's the only one on it. Son of Thunder Gulch may be headed to Tampa Bay next.