Well, a small moral victory on Saturday night at Yonkers. Out of the six legs of the Levy, I had three winners and in the last leg, a small trifecta picked straight. I didn't get rich, but at least I redeemed myself somewhat for Friday night's horrible showing in the Matchmaker series and an additional two races at the Meadowlands.
Making the Best of Reinstatement: Initially, the NYSRWB ordered the scratch of Reibercrombe from the Levy because it was under a ninety day suspension but was reinstated after the owners appealed the decision to the commission. With the Crys Dream situation probably in the back of the mind, the NYSRWB considered the horse having been placed on the stewards list for having tested positive since New York doesn't suspend horses. Since in his last race in Canada, Reibercrombe tested negative, the NYSRWB reasoned the horse had come off the stewards list. Hence, they decided to reinstate Reibercrombie who promptly rewarded his owners by winning his leg of the Levy, paying $32.00 to win. Now, that's what I call taking advantage of an opening.
Truth be told, while I think the ORC ruling should have stood, the fact is New York doesn't have a similar rule so they were free to interpret the suspension anyway they wanted to. This happens in other cases when one state suspends a driver for something another state doesn't consider an offense. Maybe one day we can have a standardized code (rules) so we don't have these types of interpretations in the future.
Racing Commissioner Redux: Somehow with the latest debate over marketing the sport, there are people calling for a commissioner. I have no problem with a commissioner per se, but I think those people calling for a great omnipotent commissioner are wrong. If there is to be a commissioner, his/her duties should be to enforce the rules of a national racing body; in effect the Executive Director of the national body, a person who follows rules set forth and doesn't create them. No one person should set policy.
Distance Racing? For those who say odd distance races would never be accepted by the public, let's take a look at the handle at the Meadowlands for the 2nd and 4th races at a mile and the 3rd race at 1 1/2 miles.
Race 2 (1 mile) 9 starters WPS - $40,826 Exacta - $51,158 Trifecta - $43,472 Pick-3 offered.
Race 3 (1 1/2 mi) 9 starters WPS - $46,480 Exacta - $50,372 Trifecta - $41,746 Superfecta offered.
Race 4 (1 mile) 6 starters WPS - $56,298 Exacta - $60,618 Trifecta - $60,202 Pick-6 offered.
Yes, the fourth race handled more money than the second or third race, but that can partially be attributed to later arrivals at the track and simulcast locations. However, if you look compare the second and third races, the Exactas and Trifectas are down (roughly $800 and $1,700 respectively), but the WPS pool was roughly $5,600 higher in the third race.
At first glance, it shows the gamblers are not staying away from these races overall. Of course, you can't say one way or the other what the long term trend may be for these odd distance races, but it does show gamblers are willing to give these races a try. It seems worth continuing the experiment (the condition sheet calls for another 1 1/2 mile tilt this coming Friday) and possibly expanding it to include more races on a card; perhaps trying varying distances. A late closing series with variable distance races may be worth pursuing.
Initially, the problem doesn't appear to be the bettors; they seem willing to give it a try. The problem appears to be the hesitance of trainers to drop horses into these odd distance races. For odd distance racing to be successful, we need to get not only the lower class horses in these events, but get better horses in the entry box. Ultimately, if longer and odd distance racing doesn't take, it will likely be because of the horsemen.