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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Little Creativity at the Big M

We all know the Meadowlands needs to be a little creative to fill races these days and it seems Peter Koch is starting to write some unique conditions (for the Meadowlands) to get complete race cards.  For example on Thursday night and Friday night, at the Meadowlands you are seeing races for:

  • Maidens - Ttraditionally, maidens needed to race in NW2 races.  It has been a long time since a maiden race has been seen at the Meadowlands.
  • A non-winners of 3 races (Fillies and Mares 4) lifetime; Amateur races are excluded - I don't recall seeing the Big M ever writing races specifically to combine sexes and provide and allowance and don't recall them ever excluding wins or money earned in amateur races.  
  • A race for non-winners of 3 races where state bred and late closer races are excluded - A class which will be very handy for allowing horses that were successful in later closers or races restricted to state breds a chance to find a potentially easy spot to race, but it isn't guaranteed to be easy.  After all, racing in races restricted to state breds tend to be easier than racing in open company. With the New Jersey breeding industry weaker these days, this will tend to be truer.
  • A race for 3 and 4yo $30,000 claimers that are NW2 races lifetime where wins for under $6,000 are excluded - Conditioned claiming races at the Big M?  I never saw a class where wins with purses less than a certain amount was excluded.
  • The free 'late closing series' where horses competing in a class on a particular night that earn the most money come back for a lucrative final the following week - Okay, this one has already been used but it attracts horses that might not have raced at the Meadowlands.  They may race for less money one week, but have the opportunity to race for more money than they could the following week if successful.
  • A non-winners of 6,500 in last five with an optional $15,000 claimers - I've seen optional claimers there before, but as part of an AE conditon.  This one isn't.

While these changes are allowing the Meadowlands to fill they race cards and get fuller fields, time will tell if these races will be as competitive as Meadowlands races have traditionally been.  Yes, while the amount are higher, these types of conditions have been traditionally used by lower tier tracks to fill races.  But this is the new reality of Meadowlands and rather than fight reality, it is better to accept reality and have bettable races.  Peter Koch has been getting lots of complaints for the way he has been writing races, but based on what I am seeing this week, Koch deserves credit for adopting to the new reality.

1 comment:

JLB said...

It is a good idea that he has started to write conditioned claimers. There are some decent horses that simply can't compete against young horses with blue-blooded pedigrees and stakes experience. And writing them for 30,000 claimers is hardly lowering the bar. Hopefully the races will continue to fill, be competitive, and attract good wagering pools.