Monday, April 12, 2010
Revisiting Coupled Entries
It certainly was a thrilling race, just as thrilling as Lucky Jim's victory in the first round of the series. I didn't think anything about further about the race until I received an email from a person within the industry who suggested Brian Sears (on #2 Likeabatoutofhell) deliberately left a hole for Trond Smedshammer (on #9 Arch Madness) to drop in during a relatively slow first quarter instead of keeping the hole shut like he could have. So I went back to look at the replay of the race and to tell you the truth, I didn't see anything out of the ordinary.
What's the big deal? Both horses are trained by the same trainer and were uncoupled for wagering purposes. I went back to look at the race one more time, keeping in mind the two horses were stable mates, and I must admit, I could see how this person felt the stable mate got an unfair 'assist'.
Well, if a person within the industry can feel this way, what is the horseplayer who is wagering his hard-earned money thinking? We have all seen drivers allowing another horse to drop in; it is part of racing strategy. Clearly if the two horses were coupled, no one would question the fact Arch Madness was allowed to drop in the hole by his stable mate; it is expected. However, once the horses are uncoupled, does this typical move become something more nefarious, especially since people are betting on each horse separately?
More importantly, why are we even taking a chance in a situation like this? If the two horses were coupled, there still would have been eight wagering interests. This was not a $100,000 final, it was a race for $50,000, which for the Meadowlands is not exactly huge. Yes, I know our gamblers want more wagering interests in a race, but there are going to be times when fields will be short.
People are not exactly knocking down our doors to wager on horses. Are we hurting ourselves in the long run by seeking short term gains by uncoupling horses? It is something to think about.