RSS Feed for this Blog

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This Glass Is Mostly Full

- With all the drama going on in Washington, on Wall Street, the campaign trail, and everywhere in between, I must admit that I'm not devoting my full attention to racing these days. So, sorry if the blog has been suck-y of late. Personally, I need a break from the track every now and then, and it often comes this time of the year. And by the way, I was not invited back to do the Breeders' Cup blog. While disappointing in some ways, it also comes as a bit of a relief. When considering the prospect, it seemed a bit too much like work in this particular year. I see they're using Nick Luck, who filed a few posts last year, and Jeremy Plonk, who seemed like a nice guy when I met him at the BC last year. He knows his stuff as well as anyone around and I think he's an excellent writer, though he takes it all a bit too seriously for my personal taste. I doubt you'll see anything quite like this over there this year, if you don't mind me being so immodest. But best of luck to those guys, hope they have fun.

We had family and friends over for holiday dinner tonight. The Head Chef's friend Eileen came bearing gifts. Only she could find stuff like this at thrift shops. This glass is the type of relic - I put it at around 1978-79 or so - that can snap me out of my funk, reminding me as it does of how much of a constant racing has been for so many years of my life.

The small type that cannot be made out in the photo are reproductions of entries for a day's races at Belmont. The horses are listed in the same exact style and typeface that we still see today in the Graded Handicap section of the Daily Racing Form. Could be from today's edition if I didn't look closer to see that the first race post was 1:30, and that the jockeys included (in the exact order of my personal preference) Angel Cordero Jr., Eddie Maple, Steve Cauthen, Jeffrey Fell, Jean Cruguet, Ruben Hernandez, Jacinto Vasquez, George Martens, and Angel Santiago. And also the late Mike Venezia, killed in an on-track accident at Belmont in 1988, and Jean-Luc Samyn, still at it today. The purses were lower (but not that much lower....more on that below), and even a few of the horses ring a bell - Caspar Milquetoast, Con Neddy, Chicago Pro, Windhover, and Home by Dawn. You know I must have cashed a few bets amongst these.

No matter how many things have changed over these last almost 30 years, the essence of the game, as represented here by the venerable Form, remains the same. I suspect that the sport will forge on no matter what transpires in the next few days / weeks / months. And there are actually worse ways to invest your money these days than Pick Threes at 26%.

- Regarding the purses, we have here on the glass a 20K claimer on the turf for $12,000; a six furlong allowance for $15,000, a state-bred maiden race, also for $15,000. Today, comparable races would be worth around 3-4 times more. Y'know, that doesn't seem nearly as inflated over 30 years as, say, salaries in pro sports, or purses for professional golf and tennis. Probably barely enough to keep up with the increases in expenses, if that. If baseball salaries had increased only 3-4x in the last 30 years, I'd guess that you'd see at least some top athletes retiring early for the riches of the broadcast booth. Maybe racing's problem keeping horses on the track is as $imple as that.

- King Mobay (8-1) goes in the 6th at Belmont on Wednesday. I'm looking back at my posts, and realize that I never wrote about Kasey K having claimed this one, for 20K out of his last race at Saratoga on Aug 30; must have slipped by when I was up there for the final weekend. Widest both turns is the comment line from that race, and the reason he faded to a distant 7th. Or at least we hope that's the reason. I think he's better suited to two turns, and that we could have some fun with him at the Big A, or down at Philly Park, where he's won a couple of times this year. He does like the slop though, and there is some rain in the forecast.

- UPDATE: DiscreetCat checks in this week with a Belmont pick with a West Coast angle. Interesting stuff.....though just take a look to see if the race is still on grass. Some pretty wacky storms passed through my neck of the woods last night.


Anonymous said...

Belmont - Race 8

#3 Elusive Bluff (10/1 ml)

Tall, leggy colt debuted at a mile and was in tight quarters for most of the way but never intimidated, clearly full of run and then moving to the lead when asked after finally getting an opening. Drew off to a stylish win thereafter despite changing back to his wrong lead, so I'm guessing he can be even more effective in start #2 with the race under his belt. What really catches my eye however is that this horse was purchased privately after the race by a Southern California outfit, and note that jockey Michael Baze has flown all the way to New York for the ride. Pretty good indication this horse is well-regarded today. Also note that Baze has produced a huge flat-bet profit for this trainer (from 89 mounts) while winning at a good-but-not-great 19%. That means they've been popping with some longshots. I think this one is live at a price.

El Angelo said...

The inflation question is a real one, but I ran an inflation calculator, and $15k in 1979 translates to about $43k now. From that respect, purses have kept pace with inflation. Now, whether or not they've kept pace with expenses is another story. I have no idea what trainers charged in 1979, but with trainers routinely going over $100 a day in NY, it's still a tough nut to beat.

As for matching other sports' increase in salaries, etc., this is where racing gets killed for not bringing in real television dollars. I'll guess that ESPN will pay more for Monday Night Football this year than all the money that networks have paid racing for the last 20 years combined.

Anonymous said...

Purse have essentially treaded water, while expenses have definately increased in comparison.

In 1985 I thought $200 was a high vet bill, now I would do a happy dance if I got a $400 bill.

Anonymous said...

In terms of the lackluster marketing of the sport I don't suppose anyone from the NTRA has made an attempt to get Peppers Pride's anticipated 17th start for Oct 4th on their website.

TVG last time was going to air her attempt live before it was rained out.

Considering the AP and NY Times has picked up the news of the rescheduled attempt you'd think someone "in the front office" would want to capitalize on the feat. As it is an allowance race it won't be available on the BloodHorse site. So short of a bootleg made of the Zia signal I don't think history will be readily available to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Casinos: Foxwoods, MGM Grand laying off 700

Gloomy economy blamed for job cuts

Norwich Bulletin
Posted Oct 01, 2008 @ 03:00 AM

Mashantucket, Conn. — In the second major blow to the region’s economy in a week, the Mashantucket Pequots announced Tuesday they are cutting the work force at Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand by approximately 700 people over the next few weeks.