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Sunday, July 14, 2013


$4,311,546, that's what was bet on the Meadowlands on last night, the first time the Meadowlands handled $4 million or more on a non-Hambletonian race card since the 2010.  Of course, it would be better if more of the money came through the windows at the Meadowlands, but you can't help but be happy for the team at the Meadowlands whose hard work is being paid off.  It's a shame there are only six more days to the current meet remaining.  

On the downside, the Meadowlands judges were force to scratch Smilin Eli due to a question as to who was really training the horse.  The horse was reported to have spent a night at an unlicensed training facility which is a violation of racing rules and more importantly, the base of operations for a trainer who is not allowed to race in New Jersey.  It may be an unfortunate coincidence, but the racing commission needs to verify who is actually training the horse.  We'll see how quick Smilin Eli gets off the judges list and if additional sanctions are forthcoming.

Being it was the first time I had been to the Meadowlands in quite a while, I got my first taste of seeing delayed post times are institutionalized late.  Nothing more annoying than seeing the time until post time is 12 minutes on the board, yet the timers around the track says 16 minutes.  If there is any good which comes out of this, it is the fact I can see how long it really was until post time.  I really do wish someone would explain to me what the difference is of having a race go off at post time and having a race go off constantly 4 minutes late.  Gamblers who are going to bet at the last minute will bet at either post time or four minutes after post time, its how you train them.

Some people are sorry to see the Meadowlands old grandstand replaced by a new grandstand.  If you were at the Meadowlands last night you will see why it is time for the old gray lady to be replaced.  On the grandstand level, you could have gone bowling and there is a good chance no one would have been hit by the bowling ball.  This despite a decent size crowd.  In a smaller facility, it would have looked like a busy happening place instead of what it looked like on th grandstand level last night; a graveyard no on wants to be seen at.

The Taylor Swift concert was scheduled for the same day as the Meadowlands Pace, likely scaring people away.  We left earlier to get to the track because of the concert as the warnings suggested but a normal 25 minute drive still took almost two hours with all the traffic backed up on surrounding highways.  A sane person would have had the good sense to turn around and go home but fortunately, my pilot (my wife) knew sane doesn't describe me so she endured the traffic and we made it into the track with three (I mean seven) minutes until the first race.

The point I am trying to make in a long circuitous way is whether a mistake or not, should there in the future be a competing concert or other high-volume event taking place at the Meadowlands scheduled to start at the same time as the races, may I suggest either starting the racing program at later at 8:00pm or earlier at 5:00 or 6:00pm?

Finally, yes, count me as a Captaintreacherous believer.  Last night's airing out of the Captain which gave him a dominating win in the Meadowlands Pace has finally won me over.  Oh, I knew he was good, very good in fact, but I was not ready to call him a monster until last night's performance. 


Of course, my joining the legions of Captaintreacherous believers may not be such a good thing as I have been called KOD (kiss of death, figuratively) on more than one occasion; television shows have been known to jump the shark once I start watching them.  Here's hoping the Captain keeps rolling on.

While we are at it, it is a shame we don't have fan clubs for horses like they do elsewhere?  When I think of Captaintreacherous, I think of an Errol Flynn-type buccaneer from the old Pirate movies.  Wouldn't it be cool if there was a pirate mascot who showed up wherever the Captain was?  Just a little something extra to add color to the evening.   


Anonymous said...

1 - We don't know how much of that increased handle can be attributed to "hard work", as opposed to a single, highly-advantaged cartel simply upping their usual nightly play. Of course, we still don't even know what they're betting on an "average" night, since those numbers have been guarded better than the Colonel's secret recipe. Strictly from a mathematical perspective, their wagering has to represent a high percentage of actual handle since the amount of purse money distributed has not been reflective of the "great numbers" we keep hearing about. Clearly a large portion of the increased handle generates a low return to management and the horsemen, strongly suggesting it's coming from the infamous cartel.

2 - the Smilin Eli situation is interesting because I've never heard a rule that a horse racing in NJ must be stabled at a "licensed facility". On any given night, there are plenty of horses that ship in to The Meadowlands from N.Y. farms, none of which would be considered "licensed", and certainly are not subject to the much stricter rules of New Jersey farms. If an unlicensed trainer was indeed training this horse, well that's a different story altogether. Of course, there are already a couple of flagrant "beards" in NJ that race at The Meadowlands while management turns a blind eye, so singling out this horse (for having a "beard"), seems somewhat arbitrary. I'm not suggesting that "bearding" is okay, but simply wondering why THIS horse was singled out in dramatic fashion.

Pacingguy said...

First of all, the amount of money the cartel has been playing at the Meadowlands has supposedly gone down compared to where it has been at the start of the meet. In addition, people have this idea this so-called cartel is making up a huge amount of the handle which is simply not true. Why doesn't the track publicly go into detail as to the figures? First of all as a private business they are under no obligation to do so and secondly, why would they let their competitors know how its working out?

As to why hasn't the purse account gone up, there are several factors. First of all, how much of the handle comes from exporting the signal versus wagered on track, how much the purse account in the hole at the start of the meet which needs to be made up (the track loaned the money to the purse account), and perhaps this money is being reserved for the fall meet. You also seem to fail to recall some lower classes did receive a purse hike earlier this year to match hikes made elsewhere in the region.

With regards to the Smilin Eli situation, the rule applies to horses stabled in New Jersey. It is also not unique; earlier this year the press reported that Lou Pena had to move his horses from his original base of operation in New Jersey because only licensed trainers can stable there. As for out of state farms, I am not sure of the rule but the NJRC can only control what goes on in New Jersey; perhaps the reason Gural tracks require trainers to allow a special investigator to have access to their horses at training facilities.

Why did the Smilin Eli issue come up? Probably someone reported it to the judges. Hence, I don't think it was a case of being singled out but the judges being made aware of the situation. If this happened before the draw, the whole issue may have been resolved in time.

Also, for the record, while not in New Jersey, Delaware had in the last two years a horse racing under another trainers name so it could compete in certain events limited to horses trained by Delaware trainers.

Anonymous said...

If I may ask, how do you know that cartel wagering has dropped off since earlier this meet, and how do you know that it doesn't make up a "significant" portion of the handle? I'm not doubting or discounting what you say, but I would love to know where this information comes from. I'd be far more inclined to wager more money at the Meadowlands if I KNEW that less of the handle is controlled by a group wagering with an enormous advantage, and I know that other players feel the same way. So while the track has no obligation to disclose these figures, it might be to their ADVANTAGE to actually do so, especially if this group has cut back on their play (as you have suggested). It would make the gains look far more impressive, and reassure many "larger" players that they are not wagering at an extreme disadvantage.

Blaine said...

Yo Pacingguy, what's your take on the Haughton Memorial Final? The top 6 finishers were the top 3 from their respective elims, but the top 3 finishers in the final came from the elim with the slower final time, but had a faster final quarter where Sweet Lou, Pet Rock and Bolt The Deur all came home in 25 and change.

Pacingguy said...

Blaine, you were correct and I was wrong. In this case, you were right that the horses from the slowest elimination had more in their tank than the others; it is a good handicapping rule. However, as you know when it comes to horse racing, no rule is absolute (I remember the time my father told me you never bet the outside horses at Yonkers and within 40 minutes the 8-8 daily double came in.

I hope you cashed big on the Haughton.

Pacingguy said...

While you and others may wager more if you knew this group of bettors were not betting as much as your believe, the decision to go public with this information would have to come from track ownership. They apparently have made the business decision not to go public with this information so the chips will need to land where they may. To the Meadowlands' credit, it was Jeff Gural who announced publicly before the meet a deal was cut with this group of horseplayers.

Unless you are wagering on Yonkers races where the SOA claims they have rejected deals with these high volume players you may very well be wagering into pools with 'cartel' money. It is just the Meadowlands is a high profile track where others are allowed to function in anonymity.

To be fair 'significant' or 'insignificant' are relative terms. What I may consider to be insignificant you may consider significant and vice versa.