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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Red Mile News, Picks, and Saying No to Sports Wagering

The first day of racing at The Red Mile is in the books and in the Bluegrass Series the favorites went down to defeat in all four divisions, most notably was Costa Rica who, at 1-9, went down to defeat to finish second. Perhaps it was the cold weather, a strong wind heading up the back stretch, but once again, The Red Mile shows how it can be the graveyard for favorites in the standardbred world.

Perhaps the biggest news on the first day came from action off the regular program with the announcement that Peter Wrenn was taken off his drives yesterday as news over the weekend indicated he received a 30 day driving suspension for what the judges claimed was an 'unsatisfactory drive' in a race at Indiana Downs on August 6. Wrenn appealed the decision but, under Indiana rules, a stay can not take place for five days; thus prompting a request for an injunction in the courts. Wrenn has been taken off his drives for Wednesday's card as well.

On Thursday, the Bluegrass Series turns from the girls to the boys with races for the 2yo trotting colts. In the first division (3rd race), Shaq is Back is my selection. While he has been racing exclusively in the NYSS, he has been the model of consistency, being first or second eight out of nine starts, finishing second at Vernon Downs in his last race in 1:56.3. Senor Glide is the horse to beat, winning three of his last four starts. Only knock is his last race where he was parked in a :27.2 first quarter which resulted in his faltering at the end. He may very well bounce back to his prior race but he will go off a lot less than 7-5. Caviar De Vie finished second in the Simpson, can pick up third. Jetblue Volo upset field in lower class field in last to win, may complete superfecta.

In the second division (fifth race) Il Villaggio is the pick. Granted, with a morning line of 7-5 there is no value in betting him, but this winner of the last five has been impressive of late, including his victory in the Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk. Muscle Massive completes a chalky exacta. Marquesas has shown ability to compete, when he stays flat; something which he appears to have a problem with. He's Spooky has raced well with PA breds; takes on open company.

The third division (seventh race) Wishing Stone has been racing well, real possibility he can pull off the minor upset over Holiday Road. Holiday Road, the early 2010 Hambletonian favorite, return after time off was disappointing in the Simpson; should improve but considering he will be well bet, I will pass on him. Plan B In HD has won both starts with Haughton in the bike; scheduled to drive again. Takachancewithme is good when he is flat; but there's the rub, he shows plenty of breaks.

The ninth race gives us the fourth division of the Bluegrass. Olla Podriga upset his field in the Simpson; should be tighter this week and is a tepid choice. Sailaway Dream has been racing well at Lexington; rail will make him a viable pick. Kash's Caviar is a talented horse when he stays flat; that is the question. Chimon qualified at Freehold nicely; shows many breaks but has the talent to contend if he stay flat as he shows two wins on his card thus far.

The final division is in the eleventh race which looks to be a chalk exacta. Lucky Chucky who is also a leading early candidate for next year's Hambo draws the rail after winning the Valley Victory. Only knock is first start in a little over three weeks. Temple of Doom is second best; finished second to Il Villagio in Wellwood. If Lucky Chucky is not tight, Temple of Doom wins. Break The Bank K is winner of five starts thus far. Post and tendency to break is only problem. Flashback is lightly raced but shows ability.

Well, anyone counting on sports gambling coming to a racetrack in New Jersey should think again. In a decision by the 3rd circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, the judges refused to hear a full court appeal by Delaware to permit single game wagering on NFL games. The United States passed a law banning wagering on sporting events, however it grandfathered any sports betting individual states already had. Delaware at that time had permitted wagering on NFL games, but only in a three game parlay though they later dropped it. State officials interpreted the law to allow Delaware to offer any sports betting they wanted to since they had some type of sports wagering before the federal law was adopted. On an request for an injunction, the Appeals Court went beyond the request for an injunction and ruled that Delaware could only offer the sports gambling they had before the federal law went into effect thus prohibiting Delaware from offering single game wagering on NFL games.

Being New Jersey is in the same circuit as Delaware and had no sports gambling prior to the federal ban, there is no reason to think New Jersey would have any more success than Delaware in the 3rd circuit. Of course, there is a chance the U.S. Supreme Court would rule differently, but that is a long shot.