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Monday, November 10, 2014

Elle a eu d'excellents résultats.

What can you say about Yonkers Raceway and the SOA of NY's experiment of sending their races to France (and the rest of Europe) on the first day?  Results that one could only have hoped for.  While the domestic handle for the twelve races was a very modest $492,926 (some exotic wagers were eliminated for the early races), the results were anything but modest in Europe with €1.4 million ($1.75 million) wagered on the first five races.

A field of 12 at the start of the 2nd race at Yonkers Raceway on Sunday, November 9, 2014.  Photo credit: Mike Lizzi

With results like this, Yonkers is probably scouring the East Coast for more trotters so they can add more trotting races on the Sunday card.  Other racetracks must be wondering how they can join Yonkers in sending their races over to Europe for simulcasting because when you can get an extra $350,000 in handle per race, you can't help but take notice.

Of course one week does not make a complete experiment but one has to look forward to the next few Sundays to see how the handle holds up.

As for the racing, the first five races were trotting events and one has to wonder with overflow fields, how did the horses in the second tier do being they were racing on the half mile oval?  The first race was won by Rossini from post position 10 in the field of 11.  In the second race, Somebody As from post position 11 out of field of 12 was able to score a 3rd place finish.  In the third race, while not finishing in the money a horse from the 10 hole managed to land 4th.  In the final race sent over ot France, Bluebird Kidsqueen finished 2nd out of a field of ten starting form post 9.  Clearly, the extra quarter mile gave the second tier a chance to get into the race to be a factor and end up in the payoff positions/  As a result, a gambler could not just toss the second tier when handicapping the races.

The races were not your typical half mile races thanks to the overflow fields and additional distance making the races interesting with regards to driving tactics.  Handicapping races was a bit of a challenge due to the lack of past performance lines at added distance.  There were some race lines at a distance of 1 1/16 and 1 1/4, but those were far and few in between.  Having mile rates for those stretched out races may have made it easier to handicap.  

One thing for sure, it has been proven that European style races can be conducted over the half mile oval.   Of course, if it can be done on the half, it can be done elsewhere.  Some may look at the domestic handle at Yonkers and say, "Hold it one minute", but you need to remember these races were contested when people are busy wagering (yes, wagering) and watching NFL games.  All which would be needed is a little perseverance to get horsemen and horseplayers used to the added distance races.

A suggestion to Yonkers would be to have a graphic showing both the European and North American odds since pools are not yet being co-mingled as it would allow punters a chance to see how their counterparts see each race.

Here's looking forward to week 2.

Maven went under the auction block being sold for $750,000 which shocked many onlookers.  There are people far smarter than me who are experts in purchasing racehorses/broodmares but it seems to me the new owners paid a stiff price.  Here is hoping Maven earns her price back for her new owner as soon as possible.

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