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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Taking the Plunge, Maryland Ills, and the Company You Keep

While we all have times where we can't hit the side of a barn with our handicapping picks, most of us suffer anonymously. Those of us who choose to be brave (read that foolish) enough to post them in a blog entry; our futility is out there for all to see. You know it is not going to be a good night when you can’t pick one winner out of two four horse races (albeit it non-wagering events). At least, I had three winners at Tioga last night. What can you say? Sometimes, you have dry spells and you just need to ride them out.

Well, at least I wasn’t one of the bridge jumpers who got pummeled last night at Mohawk with the favorites failing in all three Burlington splits. Sportswriter was never a factor in his division and Rock N Roll Heaven jumping off stride and pulled up in the second split. While not the target of bridge jumpers, Mcaracas was the third favorite to fail after breaking stride late in the race. I can never understand the logic of bridge jumping. Sure, betting a lot of money on a horse that is all but certain to come in the money may get you a 5% return on your money but all it takes is one loss to wipe out your profits from multiple hits. Let’s look at last night. Assuming you typically wager $10,000 to show in bridge jumping situations. If you jumped on Sportsmaster and Rock N Roll Heaven last night, unless you won your last forty such wagers, you lost money bridge jumping.

I must confess, while Ideal Matters benefited from Rock N Roll Heaven’s breaking last night, I have more respect for him than I did before the race. Ideal Matters showed last night that he can compete with the best three year olds this season. That being said, there does not appear to be any one three year old pacing colt (I don’t see it on the trotting side either) which looks like he will dominate the division this year. This could be a good thing. While we may not have that one “star” this year, we may see less managing and more racing this year as no one may play it safe to have that lucrative breeding career.

The situation in Maryland for harness racing continues to get worse. Rosecroft Raceway remains in bankruptcy and the way things are going, one can’t help but wonder if the property will be put up for auction and developed for non-racing uses. As for our friends on the Eastern Shore, Ocean Downs has cancelled their forty day race meet this year due to ongoing construction of their racino facility. Instead, Ocean Downs will conduct four Saturdays in August for Maryland Standardbred Stakes races which will be non-wagering.

A friend of mine commented to me that you can tell a lot about a person regarding the company he keeps and is wondering why our better drivers continue to drive for questionable trainers. I would like to think it has more to do with the fear of sanctions from the racing commissions for refusing to drive, but probably boils down to “someone is going to make money driving those horses, why not me” attitude. But when you think about it, why should we blame all the drivers driving for these trainers? What about the owners that flock to the very same trainers? Owners have the ability to help police the sport as much as the drivers. You are judged by the company you keep and from looking at the handle, a lot of gamblers have formed their opinions.

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