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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stakes Recap

The 3 year old turn rotation of the top pacer continues with Roll With Joe winning the Meadowlands Pace driven by Ron Pierce and trained by Ed Hart.  It was an exciting race as there was an early challenge by Custard the Dragon who took the lead in the second quarter Big Jim came  flying late in the stretch, but he was a half length too short at the wire.  The final time of the Meadowlands Pace was 1:48.2.

This leaves the three year old division muddled as it seems a different horse shows up each week.  This division may go down to Breeders Crown unless someone takes control.  Pesonally, I am happy for Ed Hart who once had a reputation of being a good rainer of fillies; it is nce to see him get the credit of being a trainer of a Meadowlands Pace winner.

Unless something dramatic happens, the Horse of the Year was also in action as See You At Peelers won the Tarport Hap.  But it was not easy and quite honestly, her 20th straight victory may have been her luckiest victory thanks to misfortune to her opposition with Krispy Apple blowing the final turn, almost bolting and with Idyllic jumping in the deep stretch briefly before regaining her stride.  The final time of the Tarport Hap was 1:51.

See You at Peelers streak is good for harness racing as she has actually gotten some national attention and I hope her streak continues.  I certainly help she continues winning way as she is a great filly and s horse like her is good for harness racing.  However, if her connections continue to race at the Meadowlands for the rest of the meet it will be as tough as last night as the competition will be deep.

Last night's Back at the Track promotion was a $250,000 guaranteed Pick 4 at the Meadowlands.  According to the Meadowlands chart, the handle for the Pick 4 was $202,074.00 meaning the USTA nd the Meadoowlands had to make up the difference.  I must admit, I was not surpised the Pick 4 didn't meet the guarantee on its own, as $250,000 was an ambitious number.

North of the Border there was some excitement as well as San Pail lost on his home turf in a prep race for the Maple Leaf Trot.  The 1-5 shot went down to none of than Lucky Jim who has been having a less than steller season in a 1:52.2 mile

Now before any gets to excited, this was a $50,000 prep and all ten horses advance to next week's $730,000 final.  After the race post positions were drawn and neither San Pail or Lucky Jim drew the best of posts as San Pail drew post nine and Luck Jim drew post ten.  If San Pail regains his dominance on the WEG circuit next week he has his work cut out for him.

Another upset at Mohawk occured when Canadian Champion Dreamfair Eternal went down to defeat in the Roses Are Read elimination finishing third in a 1:49.1 finishing two and a quarter lengths behind the winner Laughandbehappy who completed the circuit in a track equaling 1:49.1.   Next week, Dreamfair Eternal draws post nine so clearly the racing gods were not kind to the big horses for next week at Mohawk.

More on Coupled Entries
Yesterday, I wrote a blog entry talking about the problem of uncoupled stablemates.  One reader made a quite correct observation that for experienced horseplayers, they factor in the fact uncoupled stablemates will help each other in the race.  For them, it is more important to have a maximum number of betting interests to make the race interesting.

There lies the problem.  If we were to give up on attracting new players, then keep on doing what we are doing and uncouple entries.  However, if you haven't given up attracting new players, then there is a problem; odds are they will assume each horse will race for their own interests only, not getting help from another betting interest.  To them, what experienced gamblers accept as the norm may perceived as chicanery and turn these newcomers off, causing harness racing to lose a potential customer it can ill afford to lose.  The question is how to do we best serve both groups of customers?  Racetracks, as honest brokers, need to be fair to all their customers so you can't let one group of customers assume each uncoupled entry races for themselves while the track 'winks' to the experienced horseplayers.

A quandry indeed.  Perhaps the answer lies in limiting the number of entries by a common interest to two; perhaps the answer lies with the judges who need to take a special look at entrymates to make sure no abnormal favors take place on the track; maybe a different answer is needed.  One thing for sure, the current situation nees to be looked at if racing seriously is trying to attract new players.


Scott Jeffreys said...

Dear Pacingguy : You might not like this response about uncoupled entries, but the fact remains that new players actually will likely never notice the difference. Most casual players will not scan the the trainers/owners listing looking for duplicates and most programs will call our the dual entry as "bona fide separate wagering interests".

Perception of chicanery does not make it so. You should not have to bend the uncoupled entry rule to avoid a perception problem that most casual fans will never notice from the outset.

Generating extra handle, through larger fields, is a significantly more important topic. Such larger fields will also typically generate larger win prices which is worth more to the casual patron.

Sincerely, Scott

Pacingguy said...

Scott, I have no problem with your response. I welcome differing opinions.

Absolutely, perception of a problem does not make it so. However, if people perceive chicanery, to them there is chicanery despite what the reality is. The wording in the program is different depending on the state's requirements.

I do believe the casual fan will notice it. Maybe not the first visit, but eventually they will and the question is what happens then with the newbies?

I do agree we need larger handles and wagering interests. Is there a way to accomdate both?