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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Notes and Spurring Wagering in PA?

If you haven't read the final installment of Having Their Say, you really need to read it now.

Tioga Downs has an excellent racing card on Sunday afternoon.  If you have nothing else planned, you need to watch and wager on their program.  See You at Peelers, Feels Like a Fool and other grace the Tioga card. 

In a sign of support for Plainridge Racecourse reducing their takeout to 15% for all wagers, I will be giving my analysis of their entire card for this Monday.  Selections should be posted sometime on Sunday or early Monday at the latest.  Yes, I do realize with their 8% charge to ADWs, you may need to hunt around to find a way to wager on therm.  My understanding is Twin Spires is handling Plainridge as are many racetracks with simulcasting.

In the Molson Pace Eliminations last night, it was Team Burke night with Foiled Again and Atochia winning both divisions of the eliminations.  Well, Foiled Again won his elimination and Atochia was on the winning end of a judge's inquiry as Art Professor crowded Atochia in the stretch.  The final eight competing for the $300,000 Molson Pace championship are, in post position order, Legal Litigator, Anderlecht, Foiled Again, Aracache Hanover, Valentino, Art Professor, Rock Me Please, and Atochia.

The Meadowlands had Freehold announcer Larry Lederman on their "In the Sulky" segment last night and invited him to call the third race last night.  As you may be aware, Larry is suffering from an inoperable malignent brain tumor which he will begin aggressive treatment of next week.  Larry is one of the most entertaining announcers around and we hope it won't be long before he returns to the announcer's booth full time.

The PHHA, MSBOA amd Pennsylvania harness tracks have announced there will be a $250,000 bonus to any horse that wins the Hempt Memorial, Adios, and Battle of the Brandywine.  This is a nice incentive to keep a top horse that wins the Hempt interested in racing in the Adios, and if victorious there, to go onward to the Battle of the Brandywine.  After all, don't all racetracks want to have a star appear at their track?  This bonus in theory will ensure that at least one horse will make an appearance at Pocono Downs, The Meadows, and Chester Downs.  Isn't it great what slot money allows you to do?

However, despite what Sam Beegle, President of the PHHA, says, the one thing this bonus will not do is  "spur wagering–among fans".  If the horsemen and the tracks want to spur wagering among fans, what is needed is a takeout reduction.  I challenge them to lower their takeout to the minimum allowed in Pennsylvania and if that is not too low, go to the state legislature and ask for the takeout to be reduced in the state of Pennsylvania.  These days, Pennsylvania harness tracks probably have some of the best standardbred racing on a daily basis, yet the pools are so small due to the takeout.  Serious horse players will not be wagering on these races because the pools are so small.  Instead of handing out bonuses to horsemen who are making scads of slot-fueled purses, the smart thing would be to take some of the money being used to benefit horsemen in he forms of bonuses and sponsoring races and use it to seed mutuel pools so the whales will take a look at your racing program. 

But they won't, instead, picure horsemen rolling around in slot money being added to their purse account screaming 'It's mine, It's mine, It's all mine", they are quick to spend that money amongst themselves, but heaven forbid they use any of this money to build a real gambling audience to the game.  .

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