Today is the finale of the 2011 Grand Circuit Meet at The Red Mile. While some of the classic match ups did not occur, this meet has been a success when compared to previous meets. Some of the changes made this year upset the purists by racing at night and adding daytime racing on a Sunday. No one who has read this blog for any length know I am a purist at heart but even I recognized the need to shake things up. Staying pure to tradition does know one any good as you drown in red ink. Last year, I believe the expression I used was the 'racing is purely for the breeders to watch, a showcase for the yearlings being sold at night', they didn't care if other people have shown up.
As a result of the changes in the schedule made, it appears on-track handle appears to be up 40% over the 2010 meet as does off-track wagering on the meet. College students can attend the races at night; even thoroughbred players who are over at Keenland can come to famed oval at night to continue their wagering. More importantly, harness players who play through ADWs and simulcast centers could find The Red Mile signal and wager. Yes, tradition is important, but when it doesn't work, tradition needs to change.
Anyway, on the final day of racing there are some good races for the 3yo colts of both gaits. The trotters who had their day in the sun with the Kentucky Futurity race this week in the Bluegrass series and the pacers get their chance to race in the Tattersalls The only problem with these events is they are divided. The Bluegrass with sixteen starters had to be divided into two divisions as no one would expect a race with six starters in the second tier; eight horses in a race is not great, but is acceptable. However, in the Tattersalls, the fourteen horses are divided into two divisions of seven horses. Four horses in the second tier is not desirable, but is also not the worst thing in the world (unless you are an owner). However, offering Superfecta wagering on seven horse fields is absurd; in some states they would force you to cancel them. If these were minor stakes, dividing the fields make sense, but for major races, perhaps the ten highest earners racing would be more appropriate.
Anyway, debating such issues is fine for another day, so let's work with what we have been given as I provide my analysis to these four races.
1st Trot - $113,000; Bluegrass Series - 3yo Colts and Geldings (1st Div)
1 - Chapter Seven (Tetrick, 2-1) - Given a break and destroyed qualifying field. Normally a step below this field, but it is somewhat depeleted. Consider.
2 - VC Chocoholic (Pierce, 6-1) - Unmasked in Kentucky Futurity. I will pass.
3 - For You Almostfree (Jamieson, 10-1) - Normally would dismiss, but this combo pulled off a major upset last week. If looking for a bomb and getting the odds, may be worth considering.
4 - Spectator K (Sears, 20-1) - Still wondering why he is there. I suspect owner just wants to be in the race.
5 - Mythical Hall (D Miller, 8-1) - Has one minor stakes and just missed in the Old Oaken Bucket in Delaware. Not out of it in a compromised field.
6 - Broad Bahn (Brennan, 9-5) - Quit in second heat of Futurity in the stretch. Class of field, but will the two heats last week hurt?
7 - Burning Money (Palone, 20-1) - Another that shows little all year; an easy toss.
8 - Whit (Whittemore, 6-1) - Has been raced over his head all year. May have played mind games in the colt? Pass.
6th Trot - $113,000; Bluegrass Series - 3yo Colts and Geldings (2nd Div)
1 - Big Rigs (Palone, 5-2) - Finished 3rd in two heats of Futurity. Question of ability to rebound.
2 - Luckycharm Hanover (Tetrick, 7-2) - Would need to return to early season form to be a major threat.
3 - Marcus Bi (Lachance, 8-1) - Fresh horse with only seven starts this year (7-5-2-0). A step up and tries the mile oval. Worth a look at bigger odds.
4 - Live Jazz (Campbell, 9-2) - Has developed a breaking habit . Can't play until I see he's over it.
5 - Opening Night (Sears, 6-1) - Has shown ability. Was scratched out of second heat last week a strategic move? A threat here.
6 - Can Anyone Explain (Jamieson, 15-1) - Another Burgess/Jamieson teaming. This is a huge hike in class, but weaker of two divisions. Consider at high odds as a bombs away pick.
7 - Fawkes (Gingras, 4-1) - Nothing to recommend. Odds reflect a depleted field.
8 - Evil Urges (Whittemore, 12-1) - A long shot worth considering. Finished 2nd in NYSS Championship last week being parked out entire mile. Needs only a little luck.
8th Pace - $243,000 - Tattersalls Pace - 3yo Open (1st Division)
1 - Something For Doc (Tetrick, 8-1) - Appears overmatched. Pass.
2 - Fashion Delight (D Miller, 3-1) - Trying to recover from a year of illness/injury. Can he be ready with one sharp qualifier? We will see.
3 - Sir Ziggy's Z Tam (Lachance, 10-1) - Raced well on NYSS and will try to air it out this week. Not out of it but can't overly recommend.
4 - Westwardho Hanover (Palone, 6-1) - Finished 3rd to Big Bad John. At these odds must play.
5 - Alsace Hanover (Pierce, 8-5) - A valid play in this depleted field. The one to beat.
6 - Samandar (Sears, 10-1) - Hoping to pick up a check.
7 - Feel Like A Fool (Gingras, 9-2) - How many times can I pick this one and watch him falter. Not this week; will I regret it?
10th Pace - $243,000; The Tattersalls Pace - 3yo Open (2nd Div)
1 - American Arena (Pierce, 12-1) - Looking for a fast seasonal market. Not likely today.
2 - Rollwithitharry (B Miller, 6-1) - Toss Jug final but off first elimination a possible contender.
3 - Foreclosure N (Tetrick, 7-2) - Running out of excuses here. May win, but let him beat me.
4 - Up The Credit (Jamieson, 5-2) - Finished second to Big Bad John last week. The one to beat.
5 - Hugadragon (Gingras, 2-1) - Winner of his division of Bluegrass last week. ML odds too low?
6 - Wind Me Up (D Miller, 8-1) - Don't see him; pass.
7 - Lookinforadventure (Sears, 10-1) - Finished second to ML favorite. Could be a value play.