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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guarantees, NJ Dates, Short Meets

For those looking forward to the Meadowlands opening night, you  can whet your appetite on Cal Expo's Super High-Five on Friday night program.  In the 14th race, there is a guaranteed pool of $25,000 for the taking by anyone who has the top five finishers in exact order with the wager having a base price of $.10. In addition to the Super High-Five, the  11th race kicks off a $15,000gtd pool for the $.20 Pick-4 wager.  The program pages for both wagers is available through the USTA's Strategic Wagering Program.

If you are looking for a little easier play, Maywood Park has a $7,500 Pick-4 guarantee on Thursday night's card starting with the 10th race and a  $10,000gtd Pick-4 wager on Friday starting with their 11th race.  While it may be easier to take down Maywood's Pick-4, the base price of the Pick-4 is $.50.

As predicted, once the condition sheet was adjusted to be more realistic, there was no problem filling the opening night card of the Meadowlands.  The big problem came with the Final Four events where they hoped for eliminations.  The Governors Cup drew only 10 horses; 9 for the Three Diamonds; 10 for the Valley Victory; amazingly only 6 for the Goldsmith Maid.  Think about it, only 6 horses dropped in for a race worth $456,000.  Clearly the final four races need to be moved to earlier in the season before many two year olds are turned out for the year.  At a minimum, these races need to be before the Breeders Crown, perhaps as a final prep for the Breeders Crown.  I know next year they move back to Woodbine but I have to wonder if these races belong in Lexington.  

Racing dates for New Jersey have been finalized with minimal disagreement between the horsemen and track operators.  There will be 191 days of harness racing in the Garden State between Freehold Raceway and the Meadowlands, both meets split into two.

The Meadowlands begins its winter-spring-summer meet on January 2 through August 2 (Hambletonian Day) while Freehold races its winter-spring meet from January 2 through May 17.  Harness racing returns to the Garden State at Freehold for the fall-winter meet from August 28 through December 13 while the Meadowlands runs its brief fall meet between November 14 through December 27.

The thoroughbred industry races 77 days in 2014 starting off with Atlantic City's 6 day turf festival from April 24 through April 30.  Monmouth then races from May 10 through September 28 followed by a Monmouth Park at Meadowlands turf festival from September 18 through October 18.  It is possible that the Monmouth Park at Meadowlands meet may be reduced if plans for racing on the Atlantic City beach come to fruition.

The racing calendar will no doubt bring the discussion of why the Meadowlands doesn't race more often.  Well, besides the horse shortage which traditionally arises once the Pennsylvania tracks awake from their winter slumber, it is a question of purse money.  With purse largely dependent on simulcast wagering at the Meadowlands and Winners in Bayonne, do you know a significant portion of the revenue earned on thoroughbred races ends up being sent to Monmouth Park to fund their races?  Sure more dates can be added as long as the C-2 class going for $9,000 doesn't mind racing for $5,000 or less the whole year.  Then see how easy it will be to fill the races.  Like it or not, unless slots or other form of alternative gaming comes to the Meadowlands, short meets will continue to be the normal.  It has nothing to do with Jeff Gural trying to race the fewest possible days, it boils down to economic reality.

Remember the horse Share the Delight?  Share the Delight was in the Somebeachsomewhere class and raced pretty well against the best of his crop but as a 4yo, was just a step below the FFA class.  I was checking in to see what's new with him and he is standing stud in Wales but also serving mares in the United Kingdom and Scotland.  I am trying to get a more detailed update on how he is doing on the other side of the pond.  


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