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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The New Paradigm

- The Gulfstream clubhouse will become more accessible and move steadily towards completion, and any opening day kinks hampering fans today will be addressed as the meeting goes on. But some things will not change. For one thing, there won’t be many places from which to actually watch live horse racing. Most fans will be watching on TV. "It'll be the new way to view racing," Gulfstream President and General Manager Scott Savin said amid final preparations Tuesday morning.

Forget whatever visions you might have of a traditional grandstand with rows of fold-down seats filled with cigar-chomping bettors studying the Daily Racing Form. Picture instead omnipresent JumboTrons, widescreen plasma televisions and conventional TVs. The new Gulfstream has just 900 mezzanine seats overlooking the track, costing $10, but half are reserved for horsemen, luxury suite owners and media members. Other than a few scattered seating sections elsewhere, such as the uncompleted suites and restaurants, most areas won't offer even a glimpse of the track.
"This is the new paradigm," Savin said. "I think everybody needs to grasp that." [Palm Beach Post]
Sorry, Scott, that’s a bit difficult for me to grasp. We're all used to watching simulcasts on TV, but I prefer my live racing to be live. But that's not as disconcerting as this statement by Savin:
"This is going to be a multifaceted entertainment center, and the feeling is that the time in between races may not be spent as it has been in the past, handicapping horse racing. It'll be spent shopping, dining, in a sports theater, doing a lot of other amenities that weren't available to the patrons before. And it's going to create a little bit different patron base."
A patron base at a racetrack that’s not handicapping the races is not one of horseplayers, and it’s easy to see where this is headed. One dissatisfied patron told Bloodhorse "This place is structured for a casino, not a racetrack."

Whatsmore, it’ll cost you even to enter the simulcasting rooms where you can watch on TV, with prices ranging from five to 20 dollars. Savin’s response to that? "Magna Entertainment (Corp.) invested over $150 million in this place, so $10 is well worth it." Perhaps Scott needs to brush up on his public relations. Nobody asked Magna, a company already up to its neck in debt, to tear down what was a perfectly fine racetrack. And I don’t ever remember anyone complaining about the spacious yard and ample places to bet on and view the races. Not even about the concerts. (Except the day when I was almost forced to leave when Survivor played there.)

One of the great things about Gulfstream was the way that the live racing always, as it should, took center stage – the backyard area would almost completely empty out during the running of the races, unlike Belmont or Saratoga, where many people linger, seemingly oblivious to the goings on up front. Now the racing is becoming just a sidelight – something to watch on TV if, that is, you’re not feeding slot machines, shopping or dining. A different patron base? Indeed. One that will likely not include this horseplayer, at least until I retire and move there. They want us to watch on TV? That’s fine. I can do so at Aqueduct

- Those seating and simulcast theater prices I mentioned are for “regular” race days. Going on Sunshine Millions day? Seats will cost you $20. The Donn and Hutcheson? Expect to pony up $75-$150 for the restaurants expected to be open by then. The Fountain of Youth? 50 bucks for seats, $20-$40 for the simulcast rooms, $100-$200 for the restaurants. The Florida Derby? $75 for seats, $25-50 for simulcasting, $125-$250 for the eats. Imagine if they ever get the Breeders Cup; you’ll have to mortgage your house just to get in the door.

- Trainer Anthony Dutrow, who won three races when Aqueduct reopened last week, took the 2006 opener at the Gulf. Todd Pletcher won both turf races, defeating my selection Watershed Event in the 8th race; he finished a length and a half back in second at 5.70 to 1. And no Ruben, I did not have that exacta reversed. Pletcher took the sixth with first timer Mercurius (Lemon Drop Kid). I was looking at the tote before that race, and specifically noticed that this 6-1 shot in the morning line for the all-world trainer who had won with three out of his last five starters making their debut on the lawn was 14-1. One of the surest throwouts at the track, I thought. Wrong again.

Those odds were even more surprising given the fact that Mercurius’ half brother Danaslam (Grand Slam) won two recent races on the grass at Calder, the second one just last week! Both of those wins were also at overlaid odds, going off at 13-1 and 5-1. I guess their dam Danara doesn’t get much respect; and to make matters worse, her sire Danzig was euthanized the other day. If bettors were wary because Pletcher had Chris DeCarlo up to ride, keep in mind that DeCarlo rides regularly for Pletcher - he was his main man at Monmouth this past summer.

- Overshadowed by the tragic death of Bob Umphrey was the untimely injury to jockey Jorge Chavez during the final race of the Calder meeting. He was trying to tie Manoel Cruz for the riding title, and instead got dumped onto the track, suffering a broken collarbone.

- Bobby Frankel’s Badge of Silver may have mixed feelings about winning the San Gabriel Handicap in his first turf try. Instead of a sensual year at stud in Kentucky, he earned himself a trip to Dubai, where that kind of lifestyle is probably discouraged.


Teaman said...

SONOVABITCH...I just wrote a long post about how I "chirpped" Texas at the end of the 1/2/06 spot at the end of one of my "Keenland Tales".
I thought I did everything right..but it seems to have gotten lost in cyberspace. Or maybe it's ME that's lost in cyberspace. I went into a whole solioquy about my football pks. over the weekend, devine intervention,hitting a Tri for $117 just playing #'s, and other random thoughts. I thought it was one of my better efforts..I even checked the spelling. SUCKS.. I'm pissed and don't have the patience to re-post it. Maybe I was on another dates blog, but I'm pretty positive I was here.
If I find it elsewhere I'll let you know. The short of it..I DIDN't have any $$$ on Texas for fear of putting a dent into my modest profit from Iowa St. Redskins,Alabama weekend. Some may have found my background story entertaining. Maybe not. I'm sure I'll be the "Ramblin' Man" again tho..


Alan Mann said...

The T-Man's rant is here. Be more careful next time! :-)

Great game last night; I can't believe you didn't have them! Someone (not Ruben Bailey, obviously) PLEASE tell me that the Giants are gonna lose on Sunday!! This Jets fan can't take anymore torture this season. :-( I'll be at the Big A immersing myself in other matters.

Ruben Bailey said...

C'mon Alan, don't tell me you're a DISGRUNTLED J-E-T-Z fan? I didn't know they existed. I thought all J-E-T-Z fans were simply GLUTTONS used to pain and torture....?

Alan Mann said...

Yeah, that's me. DISGRUNTLED is one way of putting it. A chip shot field goal away from the AFC Championship to 4-12 in one year; it's been a swift and cruel fall.

Teaman said...

Thanks Alan..(again)
I checked that "Tues.thoughts" from 1/3/06 spot. and didn't show. Whatever..I'm glad it hit the board. I didn't want to re-do that one. I'd love to be able to give reasons why the G-Men will Lose..but I don't see it. Carolina can't run + played weaklings. Their only quality Win was wk.2 vs. N E Pats (S.Bowl revenge factor) and a H Win vs. Minn....Pfft. The G-Men HAVE to be fired up being Home. It WILL be riotous in Giant stadium. If the Giants OL commits those stupid penalties like they've been known to do and get tossed around by J.Peppers + B.Buckner and Co. I guess Car. could pull it off. Myself..I'm playing 1 game this wknd. Wash.Redskins!! My "man' will have his "hooks" out no doubt and I expect I'll get +3 1/2 AT T.Bay. OK...OK..the Skins DID play shitty vs. Eagles but I really think that Joe Gibbs will use that effort as a wake-up call to come out of the gate firing on all cylanders. Tampa on the other hand played like shit vs. the "packed it in" Saints! Prior to that they had to go to OT to beat Atlanta and 12/17 got blanked by the World Champ N E Pats. And it wasn't even cold that day.
New O. had more total yds.,(I know that's a pretty meaningless stat) pass yds, 1st Downs, and about a 7 min. T O P adv! while gettin' sacked 4 x!! That's big! T.Bay had 10 penalties and had to punt 6 x!! I believe they had their starters in the whole game too. All this vs. The AINTS !! The Skins swept Dallas + Philly (Fierce know they're coming to play no matter how weak they may have been) Beat Chicago,Seattle, G-Men and only Lost by 2 AT Denver. YES..they did Lose at T.Bay by 1..35-36. If I remember correctly (debatable) there was controversy on T.Bay's winning TD and that it shouldn't have been allowed. Joe Gibbs is the MAN..and WILL exact his revenge. He's already got 1 championship this year (Tony Stewart/Nascar) and the Skins' are peaking at the right time. I think this one will be LOW scoring, something like 17-10 Redskins. If they set early fractions in the 1st Qtr tho..this one could get ugly. I AM going to be ON this game!!

Talkin' Horses..I'm all over Resplendency w/ my man Alex Solis up in the 2nd @ SA today. Nice 7 horse race The Kalookan Queen Hcp. The #7 has been working well,Baffert trs.(he has the 1 also)has some ES, faced some GR.3,2,1 competition and was the the $$,and appears to be "the horse for the course". No simulcast for me today...I'll call this into my phone acct. $10 to Win..only bet of the day. I'm struggling to find a nice EX. Alan..HEEEEELLP!!


Alan Mann said...

I'm struggling to find a nice EX. Alan..HEEEEELLP!!

LOL. Would love to help you man, but I'm trapped in my day job with no past performances!! I need a day's notice for this stuff.

Teaman said...

I can't beleive those admission prices they'll be charging @ Gulfstream!! I agree that the fancy new digs will do nothing to draw the "average Joe' into the game. There ought to be more effort to lure people into the track to crowd the fence and see the races LIVE and in person. I don't know how to get that done but slot machines and $20-$75 admissions is NOT the solution. I understand the need for the slot machine revenue,while I don't necessarily agree with it. I admit I haven't been to see a LIVE horse race in about 7 or 8 years. That's basically because there's none left near me here in R.I.,but I'm dying to go. Hangin' by the fence screaming for your pks. as they rumble by is F-in' GREAT! W or Lose.
Please don't mention Suffolk Downs. I'm talking about a REAL track. With all due respect to the jockeys,trainers,track personnel all the smaller tracks in the USA who make their living there..I refuse to go to Suffolk. The place is a flat out dump...and a traffic nightmare to get there. Maybe I'm part of the problem of not getting people to come out and view the LIVE product. But show me a little love by making your place presentable...and I'll return a little love by attending once in awhile. I did it for years @ Lincoln Greyhounds back when it WAS a 1st class operation and catered to the dog racing fans. Back in the day...BEFORE the Slot Invasion.

Anonymous said...

...i'm getting ready to head out for the day, so i'll grab those Super Bowl odds and post them late tonight...i know the Colts are the favorite @ roughly 5/7 (-140)...

...hey T-man, i also had a play on Race 2...i preferred #7 Resplendency as well, though i certainly couldn't back her @ even-money vs. that kind of field...i would've passed the race altogether, but i saw some value with #6 Nossa Cancao (12/1)...she ran very well in her two most recent sprints, specifically the one @ Santa Anita where she made the lead in 108.2...that effort came on the turnback from a bad route try, the same situation she was facing today...i couldn't back her to outrun Resplendency, but i thought she could run up behind her for second, and the exacta was paying 15/ actually DID come in 7-5, the problem being that #1 Western Hemisphere beat them both, resulting in the 1-7-5 finish...i did have a very nice workout report on Western Hemisphere, but i thought she lacked the early foot to stay within striking distance of Resplendency...guess i was wrong about that... other two plays today are in Race 7 (#1 Notre Dame, 8/1 ml) and Race 8 (#11 Key Lime Time, 6/1 ml)...