Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Thoughts, observations, & notes.

  • Churchill Downs starts it's meet on Saturday night, and it features the Grade III Derby Trial Stakes. 11 races carded, average field size 8.1. That's pretty good, but I have to question something. The first 3 races have a combined total of 17 horses entered. That drags the average field size down. Let's say the first 3 races are scrapped. Average field size would now be 9. With all 11 races, the card ends at 11:10 PM Eastern. If the first 3 races were removed, the card would end about an hour earlier. On-track fans may not be able to stay until 11, but 10 seems more reasonable. Those first 3 races seem very pointless to me. Kentucky is supposed to be home of full fields, why would they card 5 & 6 horse fields when they don't have to?
  • Canada's favorite sprinter, Essence Hit Man, is making his 6 year old debut on Saturday at Woodbine in the $150,000 Jacques Cartier Stakes. After the passing of owner/trainer Audre Cappuccitti last fall, I was curious to know who would takeover training her stable. The Hit Man's new trainer is Sylvain Pion. I'd like to tell you who that is and give you some info on him, but I have no clue who he is. You can check out his career stats here. Go Hit Man Go!
  • The Ontario Racing Commission released the 2013 Ontario Racing Program Criteria this week. It divides racing for all 3 breeds into Premier, Signature, and Grassroots levels, and shows what the purse structure will look like. Basically, everything but Woodbine Thoroughbreds will be taking a purse cut this year. No great surprises there. 
  • Racing returns to Belmont on Friday. I'm not a big follower of New York racing, but, unlike Aqueduct, I enjoy watching the races from Belmont. I won't miss being stuck watching the Big A at all. 
  • With the Sunland meet finished, I've been watching the races from SunRay Park just to keep up with what's going on in New Mexico while I wait for Ruidoso to start. What an odd track. It was built as a racino, it gets no handle, and it's the exception to the rule that B-tracks will get better handles on a Monday or Tuesday than on the weekend. On Tuesday, they handled $112,950. On Sunday, they handled $130,885. There also seems to be a $50 or more winner almost every day. Weird little place.
  • Remington has a great card of racing on Saturday night. There are 2 Grade I races for Paints, the $42,000 PSBA American Paint Derby and the $89,000 PSBA American Paint Classic Futurity. Whether you're a Quarter Horse fan or not, it's a terrific wagering card, with an average field size of 9.9.
  • Has anyone been following Thistledown? They've got big fields and much better quality racing now that they've got slots. Oh, wait. No one outside of Ohio can watch or wager on Thistle because the Ohio HBPA have blocked the signal from going out of state because they don't have a revenue deal. They're still getting 9% of the slots money, which has already done wonders, but they've decided to shoot themselves in the foot but blocking all the wagering money. I understand that the horsemen want and deserve a fair deal when it comes to slots funding, but punishing the bettors who have been supporting your product for years, the people who were your only source of purse money before, doesn't seem like a good idea at all to me. 
Have a good week everybody, and good luck.

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