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Monday, September 18, 2006

What's Next, a Glowing Horse?

- The Head Chef likes Tarkus Trakus. She felt that it helped her understand how the race is actually run. She was able to see the little Purple Chicklet representing Becrux seeming to sway back and forth through the stretch as Patrick Valenzuela looked for some racing room before he burst through to take the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.

Trakus reminds me of when the NHL was on FOX in the 90's. They implanted a chip in the pucks that produced a blue glow around it when seen on TV. Nowadays, you can bet that the glow would be red. When the puck was shot at 70 MPH or more, there would be a red streak tracking its path.

According to Wikipedia, there was a "divided response" to the so-called FoxTrax.

Newcomers enjoyed the feature, since they could follow the game more easily. In fact, a Fox Sports survey found that 7 out of 10 respondents liked the new puck.

However, there was a strong backlash among hockey purists. They argued that the video graphics were a distraction and turned hockey into a video game. Others said that it really shouldn't be hard to see a black puck on white ice. The glow puck was ranked as the No. 6 "worst idea" overall in the book "Glow Pucks & 10-Cent Beer: The 101 Worst Ideas in Sports History" by author Greg Wyshynski. (Taylor Trade 2006)

The concept was later parodied in a Molson Canadian beer advertisement where an American marketer is attempting to sell the idea to a boardroom full of Canadian executives. As he is forcibly ejected from the room, a blue comet trail follows him (i.e. "they passed").
As a racing purist, part of me reacts with as much disdain to the gimmickry with which I did to the glowing puck; and the idea of a live sport turning into a video game came to mind in both cases.

But as opposed to the hockey fiasco, Trakus definitely serves a purpose, even if I think it's just a little silly and more than a little distracting. Surely I can see how useful it would be for simulcasting. It's pretty often that I'm watching a race on a distant screen wondering just how far back in the pack my selections are. It's also useful in seeing exactly what path a horse is in down the backstretch and going into the turn.

And besides, what can be a better way to introduce horse racing to video slots players than with a video game? No need to televise the actual race at all! Post the highest-paying exotic combinations on the board, and people can just bet on numbers and watch colored chicklets.

As far as the real Becrux goes, a little red-boarding reveals a horse that showed definite improvement at age four, and continued to progress throughout the year, most recently a close second in the Grade 2 Play the King. But he's not nominated for the Breeder Cup, and owner Barry Irwin said he's not going.
"I put up [supplemental] money to run the Breeders' Cup twice, and once we got our money back and once we got an incredibly bad ride from Pat Day....This is just before he retired. Why he couldn't have retired before that, I don't know.

"I'm never supplementing another horse to the Breeders' Cup because . . . when you go out and do that, you feel like an idiot. I do, anyway." [Toronto Globe and Mail]
Ready's Gal, who won the Grade 2 Canadian for Pletcher, is by More Than Ready, currently number two on the third-year sire list. Win McCool, the winner of the Floral Park on Saturday, is by Giant's Causeway, who is number one. Win McCool was her sire's 13th stakes winner of the year.

- As I said, I took the weekend off from racing. Except that on Saturday, following my own advice regarding trainer John Hertler, I bet on Distant Tycoon, who I guess wasn't long enough at 11-1. He finished last. On Sunday, I went to the see the Jets lose, and didn't pay attention to the races at all. And I figured that all the races were off the grass anyway. Later, I learned that Hertler's Retribution opened up a huge lead and won the Ashley T. Cole by four, at 25-1! I hope somebody out there had him! This horse has some rich turf breeding; he's by Rob N Gin, a graded grass winner, and second in the Atto, and his second dam is a half to the Irish champ Committed, the dam of Hap, and of the dam of English Channel.

In response to David Rex's inquiry, I can tell you via Formulator that Hertler's ROI for the last 30 days, which doesn't include the 40-1 winner he had at Saratoga on July 30, is $13.27, with three longshot winners in 15 starters - and remember he had that 11-1 shot DQ'd! Over the last 90 days here (NY only), his ROI is $7.38 with nine winners fron 51 starters, and a median payoff of $39.40.

1 Comment:

Greg said...

No interested in the $1 million dollar carryover on the pick six at fairplex ???