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Monday, April 14, 2014

Turf Racing

Where do some of France's trotters who can't compete at the top levels go?  Some hit the grass, but not in retirement.  There is a circuit of grass tracks which continue to race in France and they have developed a circuit in order to preserve racing on the grass in the country.

Many of you remember the race at the Meadowlands a few years back where the starting car was bouncing up and down as it was clear the track was not fit for harness racing.  However, in the following video, see how a properly laid out turf track can be used successfully for racing.

I am not suggesting we start racing over grass with any regularity; just to show it can be done.  However, what is interesting to note is how minimalist this track is; nothing fancy and a low cost facility.  Could tracks like this (even with a regular track) be the key to racing's growth?  After all with many fans betting off-track, this may be the way many tracks will survive.

Wagering is down 5.32% on a per race level thus far this year nationwide on harness races.  However, one track which seems to be doing better is Saratoga Raceway where the average handle thus far this year is $325,000, not significant when compared to the metropolitan tracks, but when you consider for the past few years, average handle was $200,000 you have to wonder what has happened?  The answer is Saratoga Bets, Saratoga's own ADW system.  Like ofther ADW systems, Saratoga Bets takes wagers on other harness and thoroughbred tracks but naturally encourages wagering on the local product.  Saratoga Bets is operated by a third party on behalf of the raceway.  Any track which doesn't have their own wagering system should be looking to do so lest they allow handle flow away from their handle.

Foiled Again has been tearing up the track at Yonkers in the Levy, but he has yet to be challenged by the real competition he will face during the main point of the season.  It may be controversial, but if I had to pick older geldings, I would pick Rambling Willie as the top aged pacer.  That being said I would be happy to own Foiled Again.

Where about 10 days away from HANA's latest harness racing handicapping challenge.  Some new additions to the handicapper roster has been made and the format has changed.  Handicappers will be able to bet $150 to $250 a day on Grand Circuit races.  By being able to select which races to play, their selections should have more meaning to the casual handicapper.  Visit the contest website and see whose handicapping and the rules.

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