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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Morning Notes (Left Coast Version)

This is a cool place to watch the races at Del Mar - they let you stand right in the pathway which leads from the paddock to the track....can even dip your toe into the Polytrack if you'd like. Can't actually see most of the race live from there; but it's right on the finish line, and besides, there's that giant screen, and I mean giant in this case, wow. Also, just to the left on the infield tote are side by side Trakus representations; one, the standard chiclet format, and the other an animated recreation of the race itself.

I know that racing entities such as NYRA have cited the cost of Trakus as the main reason that they don't have it....but I have to think that it would create some value for them. You often see newbies at the track watching in the stands or on the apron, and they're like "where is he?" "Is that him?" "Go 7, go 7" (when the 7 is 15 lengths behind). They probably just shrug afterwards and go 'oh, that was nice.' I would think that they'd have a much fuller experience being able to see exactly how the race unfolds, and perhaps they'd be encouraged to play some more or come back? In any case, it's just unfortunate as well as surprising that Trakus has still yet to spread beyond the three tracks which rolled it out in the first place.

TVG is here of course....but, really, wouldn't you think they could have spent a little more money and gotten themselves a decent banner for their 10th anniversary? Peb was actually there on Saturday for a ceremony celebrating the unveiling of his new mural. They could have gotten him to do something like having Todd Schrupp and Ken Rudulph popping out of an anniversary cake or something.

The ceremony featured some of the trainers and jockeys, both current and retired, that are featured in the mural...and I look at these old riders that are still around and just have to marvel that they rode in all of those races and managed to stay in one piece. They probably deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame just for that.

I was quite surprised to see ESPN out in full force for the Eddie Read....guess the network had absolutely nothing else to do. Global Hunter ($30.20) showed that it's not just on the Poly that you get surprising results (though a post-race view at the past performances shows that he wasn't all that incongruous, as is often the case with the benefit of hindsight)....and also, for me, showed how you can be so right about so many things in this game and still come away with nothing to show for it. I was all in against favored Monterrey Jazz, and had runner-up Awesome Gem squarely on top, and in triples with the third and 4th finishers. Could have been a trip-making score right there on the first day....but, no. And, in the 9th, I had the winner Position A ($10) in the correct position A, but got split in the exotics by Bestdressed, from the red-hot John Sadler barn; two more winners on the day for him and 5-2-3 in 14 starts at the young meet thus far.

However, I did score a straight win bet on Victor's Cry ($16.40) in the 5th, so I ain't complaining.

First-time juvenile Tiny Woods ($5.20) was the proverbial fastest horse in the world; the 5-1 third choice in the morning line, he was sent to the post at 8-5 for Baffert. And this son of the trainer's Roman Ruler, out of an Aggressive Chief half to Toccet, showed both speed and grit, blazing out to the lead in an opening quarter of 21.91, and hanging on grimly while tiring down the lane. Just like a dirt race. That's the 8th winner for the rookie sire, currently number 2 on the first-year sire earnings list.

And now it's off to the beach, so see ya later, have a fantastic day.


SantaBarbarian said...

What the heck happened with the bolting of Mike Smith's horse in the Eddie?

Dang...I thought he was headed toward Chula Vista.

inthebeginningtherewasace said...

Wooohoooo! Lisa Lewis in the 6th at 22-1. Singled in P3's and on the nose makes for a great meet. I thought that getting to attend my first opening day was pretty special, even though I was right in the line of fire when Mi Rey suffered that catastrophe, but this just takes the cake!

Thanks for the diligent value hunting, and hope you had this one too. We all certainly owe you a beer if you are up at Saratoga next weekend!

Anonymous said...

Alan - Curious how you felt about sight lines at Del Mar. I was there Thursday for the first time. Business trip ended up with a long wait for redeye that night so southward I went.

For an overall sprawling grounds - including the racino, rodeo area, livestock hall, etc., I found the racing facility for the fans curiously compact.

I agree - I loved the direct access in the tunnel. But on the apron itself I felt like it was hard to get a good view of the race on the backstretch.

That is true at Saratoga as well but at least at Saratoga you can see them over there even if not real well. I felt like races starting on the backstretch were a rumor unless you were watching the video board. As one who still likes to watch the animals themselves and not the televised images it was kind of disappointing.

Harl said...

Welcome to Del Mar! I relocated to San Diego from the midwest last summer, leaving behind Keeneland, and this is my first full Del Mar meet. I was there for opening day and, for that day at least, it may be the only track in America where the average age is under 50.

Attended the Saturday card and will make several more trips up the coast over the next month and a half. It's easily the most beautiful track in the country (note: I have never been to Saratoga).