Harness Racing Update reports Lou Pena's temporary exile from Yonkers Raceway has ended. As you may remember, Pena was 'asked' on August 4 not to enter horses into the entry box at Yonkers Raceway but was told at that time he would be free to request reinstatement at a later state. Apparently, he was invited in for a meeting yesterday and was told that Yonkers would accept his entries once again, so you will see his first entry racing on Saturday night.
Rumor had it that Pena was ejected to see if there was any impact one way or the other by him not racing at Yonkers and if that rumor is correct, Pena's departure from Yonkers was had either a negligible or negative impact to the handle. The other thing to consider is his stable has cooled off considerably at the other tracks he was racing at (Pocono and Chester) and that he has not been found guilty of any use of a miracle drug and does not have a recent record of violations. With Pocono Downs closed, management at Yonkers may have felt continuing the exclusion when he would soon have no other tracks to race at would have been unfair without some hard evidence.
I think Yonkers Raceway made the right decision. Yes, any privately owned track has the right to exclude anyone they feel will have a negative impact on their business and I will argue for their right to do so. I am aware that Pena will likely be denied access to the Meadowlands once Jeff Gural has a license to operate it and that is Gural's decision and right to do so, if he feels it is best for his business.
However, the use of exclusionary power is an example of having great power and "With great power comes great responsibility (thank you Stan Lee and Spider Man)". Other than one positive this summer, Pena's record of late has been clean. As much as things have seemed to good to be true, the fact remains there has been nothing to pin on him. Maybe the drop of his UTRs convinced Yonkers to allow him back, feeling the law of averages have caught up with him. Then again, it may be a case that with the winter season starting, his horses would be needed to keep the entry box full.
To be sure, the subject of Lou Pena will be one we will be talking about in 2012. However, for now Yonkers Raceway has decided Pena is not bad for business and there is not enough smoke to keep him excluded. As to his detractors, let the first one without sin through the first stone.
Some new wagers are coming to Pompano Park starting this weekend.. Feeling to many favorites win, Pompano felt a Pick6 wager would not work there so they decided to make their wager a Mega-9 with a $5,000 guaranteed pool. The base bet is 10¢. If no one picks all nine winners, 40% of the net pool will be carried over to the following day's pool and 60% will be paid out to the winner(s) with the most wins of the day.
Pompano also joins this weekend with the USTA Strategic Wagering program with a Pick-4 with a $5,000 minimum pool and a 15% takeout rate. Both wagers should attract some interest, especially when the pools build up.
My questions to all these tracks that participate in these reduced takeout races, is if it makes sense for these guaranteed wagers, why wouldn't it work with your regular wagers?