Meadowlands Pace Day seems to be as good day as any to remind people of three basic rules I had to learn the hard way.
It was Hambletonian Day, August 7, 1999 and The Panderosa was racing in a division of the Oliver Wendell Holmes. The newspapers were hailing The Panderosa as the super horse and that was all you heard about. Now don’t get me wrong, The Panderosa was a very good horse but not unbeatable. Yes, he won the Meadowlands Pace in a blistering 1:49.3 (well, back then it was blistering), but I felt the hype was overblown being he was 3-1-0 out of five starts through the Meadowlands Pace.
Anyway, there was something about The Panderosa not having raced in three weeks which made me feel something may have been wrong with him (which later turned to out to be true as he went 5-1-0 for thirteen races that year), but the papers kept promoting him as the greatest thing since white bread. The seventh race came up and The Panderosa was 1-5. More importantly, the bridge jumpers were dumping on The Panderosa to show; they bought the hype. Being I felt he was beatable I decided to take a chance and bet every other horse to show and watch the race.
The race was off! Sure enough, I was right; The Panderosa broke after the quarter and immediately fell back to last. As soon as he jumped, I started the Happy Dance, which I continued to do the rest of the race; certain I was going to make a killing; I had visions of $100 show prices. Yes, I have since matured and learned that The Happy Dance is not cool and people who do this are really obnoxious; more so if you are holding a ticket on the horse that lost. I would never do the dance again.
So The Panderosa finished a distanced last and I was continuing to make a fool of myself. That was until the race became official and the prices went up. Here I had visions of huge show prices and when the prices went up, the largest show price was about $30. Boy, did I feel like an idiot. Betting $2 to show on every other horse in the race would net someone following this strategy no more than $60 profit that day.
For the return I got, I certainly felt foolish having done the Happy Dance. I felt even more foolish when it turned out that I hurt my back doing the dance; for the next two or three weeks I was taking pain medicine as a result of that stupid Happy Dance; certainly not worth it for the return I had gotten.
So as we come to the Meadowlands Pace, I wish everyone good luck with their picks. Just remember the three rules I learned that fateful night:
1. Doing the Happy Dance is not cool but if one must do the Dance:
2. Thou shalt not do the Happy Dance until the race is official.
3. Thou shalt only do the Happy Dance if it is really worth it.
Later today or early tomorrow I will be giving my thoughts on the Ben Franklin Pace and the Sunday afternoon card at Tioga Downs.