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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bridge to Nowhere

- I got a note from reader Mr. Ed, who was at the Big A on Wednesday to celebrate the end of the tax season. As you may know, there were two highly publicized Pick Six carryovers on the day, one at Aqueduct and the other at Keeneland. The reader plunged into both, but at the end of the long day, he was alive only for some consolation payoffs at Keeneland. Nonetheless, he naturally had an interest in the 9th and final race there, as did anyone else with a wagering interest.

Mr. Ed writes that there were announcements throughout the day that there would be no "bridge simulcasting." That's a somewhat outdated term used to describe the late afternoon out-of-town races that span the time between the end of the NYRA card and that evening's harness races. I don't really know why the term would ever be used on track, where the archaic state law still prohibits simulcasting at NYRA tracks after 7:30 PM. There, it's just a bridge to nowhere. In any event, "bridge simulcasts" generally refer to the west coast tracks or those running twilight cards specifically to fill the gap, and never to the final races of a track like Keeneland finishing up its card.

Anyway, the Aqueduct card had concluded just around ten minutes prior, and there's Mr. Ed waiting for the Keeneland race. They're loading into the gate...they're off, and.....the TV's suddenly cut off from the race and switch to a shot of the infield flag! "You should have seen the masses (well maybe not masses) running full speed to the little kiosk where you can control the channels, as one sole customer actually knew how to find TVG and switched it on just in time for the final 1/8th." Indeed, we definitely should have seen that scene!!

Unfortunately, the story doesn't have a happier ending, as the reader lost out on the conso payoff. He also adds that the Pick Six payoffs were never posted by Keeneland (and Crist notes on his blog that they were unavailable on the NYRA website as well). All in all, not a great way for either track to handle a wager which, as the reader notes, was prominently promoted in the front page headline of the Racing Form. In the case of Keeneland, it was likely an unfortunate glitch. But at Aqueduct, it sounds like it was extreme and utter carelessness, and an utter disregard for the on track bettors. They were obviously trying to close the track, but it surely wouldn't have killed anyone to leave the TV's on for another minute and 28 seconds! I mean, c'mon! Mr. Ed wrote that he'll "think long and hard about going back," and this guy has been going there as long as I have! And that's a pretty long time.

"What a way to run an industry," he concludes. Indeed.

- After his disappointing Florida Derby try, Nistle's Crunch successfully returned to the allowance ranks, on the grass, in Keeneland's 6th. He got heavily bet; 4-1 third choice in the morning line, he was the 8-5 chalk. Great ride by Albarado, who saved ground all the way until finding a convenient seam after turning for home. The chart comment says he drew clear under mild handling, but I think that's overstating the amount of effort expended by the jockey. He had a little trouble keeping the horse straight as he drifted in a couple of lanes, but it seemed otherwise an extremely easy win. Nistle's Crunch is by the Storm Cat sire Van Nistelrooy, out of a mare by Island Whirl, who I had in the 1982 Woodward at Belmont; Angel Cordero Jr. riding for Lukas. I think he was something like 6-1, although I could be mixing that up with a number of other races after all that time.

Alwajeeha won the G3 Appalachian for McLaughlin and Shadwell, and I'm pretty sure I had her when she ran second in her last. She took off like a rocket when prompted by Johnny V while four wide on the turn, and just edged ahead in an exciting three horse finish.

- Lemme ask you really don't like hockey?? Well, I know at least a few of you do. But man, team sports just doesn't get any better than these tight Stanley Cup playoff contests. The Rangers played their best game of the series, but still needed a dramatic late goal to overcome a game Devils squad, their magnificent, if occasionally obnoxious, goaltender, and two referees seemingly bent on seeing the series tied up (think I'm being a homer? Ask Teresa, another objective observer), to take a 3 games to 1 lead in their opening round series. Wow, what a game, and what an gleeful explosion by the tense crowd when Marc Staal blasted the puck by Brodeur for the winner with just 3:17 remaining in regulation time. He's already the 4th rookie to score in the playoffs this year for the Blueshirts, a sign of a promising future no matter what happens this spring. Game 5 is tomorrow night, and Let's Go Rangers!!

- As you may have noticed, the site is presently under construction; thanks for bearing with it. Any comments or suggestions are definitely welcome.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining bridge simulcasting. I figured they meant after-Aqueduct races, but was still puzzled by the expression ...

El Angelo said...

I used to love hockey, but between over-expansion, increasing tickets by exponents, the Islanders stinking forever, and the strike/lockout, it's off my radar. It's also not hurting that the season & playoffs take a combined 10 months. Why do they play the Stanley Cup finals in June, when it's gorgeous out and the last thing I want to think about is ice?

/end tangent

Valerie Grash said...

I LOVE hockey! Especially when my PENGUINS kicked the Senators' collective ass :)

Harl said...

as a supporter of NISTLE'S CRUNCH in the florida derby, i was happy to single that runner in my pick 4 tickets at KEE and then managed to get home a backup runner in the last leg for a winner. actually covered my florida derby losses and boosted the dwindling bankroll a little bit.

Unknown said...

New site feels very cluttered. I liked your previous site--clean, easy on the eye, good colors. New one feels like it takes a few steps back. Blue hyperlink is too washed out to read clearly, needs to be darker or more vivid.

Contentwise, brilliant as always. Keep up the good work!

Patrick J Patten said...

No complaints, I consider my work here done, though I need to give you the option to change the color on the block quotes, no idea where that is in the HTML, but I'm still looking.

Anonymous said...

Alan, I am a Isles fan and a Devils season ticket holder. The Rock will be crawling with Rangers fans Friday night. Yikes!

You should send your friends on-track experience to Hayward at NYRA and report back on his response.

The NYRA on-track experience needs a lot of improvement. It would not take much to accomodate the handful of hardcore fans who make it out to the Big A for a midweek card. I'm sure Heyward has plenty of excuses why NYRA can not or will not do so.

Alan Mann said...

>>Alan, I am a Isles fan and a Devils season ticket holder.

Yikes! is right!! :-)

One big surprise about the games at the Garden was how few Devs fans there were. There's usually a decent contingent on hand. But there seemed to be no more fans for the visitors then we see for the non-local teams in the conference.

Harl - I would have been most disappointed if you did not have Nistle's Crunch yesterday! Nice going with the P4.

Anonymous said...


I really enjoy your blog; especially the industry news that effects racing in NY and elsewhere....However, Im disappointed you would link to a Israel hating racist like Juan Cole.

People can disagree about policy...however the Juan Cole's views about Jews and Israel are pure fiction and born of hatred.

Im hoping its an oversight...

Alan Mann said...

Dan Tanna - You're actually the second person to recently object to that blog. The fact is that I haven't updated that list in ages, and need to revisit it to better reflect my current reading habits...which is really down to only a handful, and not generally that one. I will take a closer look.