Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Four-Forty goes to Arlington; The Breeder's Stakes was interesting; Successful Canadian Derby

     First off, this blog is two days overdue now, but I got pushed back first by my exhaustion, and second by the incredibly pressing issue that is different scenarios for handle at Mountaineer. 
     But you read correctly; I went to Arlington for the 32nd running of the Arlington Million. I thought Arlington was a fantastic track. It's gorgeous. The grandstand is well-kept, the paddock allows you to get very close to the horses, and the staff is very friendly. I met a lot of fantastic people, I witnessed some outstanding racing, and I was left with nothing but good things to say. If you haven't been to Arlington, I strongly recommend it. I will certainly try to go back in the future. A few of my pictures (top-notch cellphone pictures, at that) are here.
     On Sunday I returned to Woodbine for the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the $500,000 Breeder's Stakes. Woodbine did a great job advertising the big race on TV, plenty of people showed up. However, Breeder's Day fell victim to an underwhelming undercard, and handle went down $766,537, 19.5%. However, the handle on the Breeder's itself was up 11.5% from last year. In 2013, there were 10 horses in the Breeder's and a heavy favourite in the form of Up With the Birds. This year, 12 horses entered and the favourite went off at 2-1. While last year's running was certainly a higher quality field, bettors show time and time again that a competitive, large field of horses is great wagering, regardless of the quality.
     Northlands Park had their big day on Saturday, the 85th Canadian Derby. The Canadian Derby is a Grade III going 11 furlongs over the bullring. They had a very successful day. 2013 handle was $1,160,651, 2014 did $1,257,544. That's a 7.7% increase from last year, but it gets more impressive. Both years had 13 races, but the first race this year was a Quarter Horse race. The Quarter Horse race only handled $30,318. That means 12 Thoroughbred races in 2014 outhandled 13 Thoroughbred races in 2013 by $66,575. Average Thoroughbred handle per race this year was $102,268, up 12.7% from last year's $89,280. Congrats to Northlands. They're a small track that deserves the success they're having.
The Arlington grandstand from the top of the stretch

Finish of a race at Arlington

The Arlington Paddock

View from the press box

Break of the Breeder's Stakes

Horses come towards the wire in the Breeder's Stakes
Have a good day everybody.

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