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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Briefs

Yonkers Raceway had a guaranteed Pick-5 on Monday night where the total wagered was $20,140.  Cynical minds want to know how long did Yonkers delay the race to cross the $20K line?  But less anyone thinks Yonkers is the only one to hold off a race until a guarantee is hit, this practice goes on elsewhere.

I understand tracks and horsemen don't want to make up any shortfalls but may it would be better to get the race to go off closer to post time and let it be known the track had to throw free money into the pool once in a while instead of trying to squeeze every last dollar out of the pockets of gamblers to avoid having to contribute to the pool?  People like winning 'free' money and the good will of not having to wait too long to get a race off is a positive as well.

Jay Bergman of the DRF has kicked off a mini-fire storm when he suggested Yonkers make some changes now to be ready for when their races get sent to France for wagering.  One radical idea was to start two horses in the second tier to get more wagering interests.  Needless to say, that idea has hit some as a lead ballon.  I think for the most part Bergman is correct.  Of course, ten horses on a half would require adding some distance to the races, something others will complain about.  Well, if  you are looking to get the French to wager on our product, you better do more of what is done in France, no the world, than hold fast to what we have been doing in North America.  Contrary to what we like to think, we are the exception, not the rule when it comes to racing in the world.

The one idea I don't like from Bergman's column is the idea to scrap two or three races where it is apparent a 1-9 or other short priced horse would win the race.  I understand no one wants to bet on a 1-9 shot, but others have entered in good faith so why should they be punished by missing a week because of where they drew in.  Want to avoid the problem?  Go to classified racing where the racing secretary can make sure that potential 1-9 shot is classified properly and goes off at higher odds.

Attention owners of 2yo pacers.  The Meadowlands Pace in 2015 is becoming a stakes event instead of an early closing event so there is a nomination fee which needs to be paid by March 15 for any two year old wishing to race in the stakes as a 3yo.

Let's change the focus of racing for a moment over to the greyhounds.  This is what we call dedicated race calling.  A track announcer at a New Zealand track doesn't miss a beat during a large 6.3 earthquake despite what is literally thrown at him.  The other thing I noticed towards the finish of the race are the gamblers who are standing around for the race finish.  That is what you call dedicated fans.

Continuing the expanded coverage of Bridgegate, only because the Governor is responsible for the current status of racing in the Garden State, it appears that Christie's appointee to the Chairmanship of the Port Authority of NY/NJ voted to rehabilitate a PATH station near a development his law firm was representing the developer.  How shocking?  NOT.  Why do you think political parties want to win elections?  To get their hands on political patronage jobs where they can get their friends so they can influence policy to suit them.  Another Christie appointee at the PA NY/NJ allegedly secured rights to build another development in the area four months before the vote.

This is hardly a New Jersey phenomenon.  If this was Wall Street, it would be akin to insider trading, knowing what was going to happen before the public did and act upon it.  But this is politics and while there are ethic rules in place to allegedly avoid conflict of interests, those rules are often skirted and if cited afterwards, seldom result in more than a slap of hand.

In politics, there is a fine line between business as usual and illegality and it often depends who is in control at the time of the state house and the legislature and to Christie's chagrin, the Democrats control the legislature. Expect to hear more dirt for a while but remember those who will be making the decisions on this investigation are far from lily white.  I am sure many of those who voted to impeach former Illinois Governor Rod Blogojevich were saying to themselves, 'That could just as easily been me getting nailed".

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