Friday, August 26, 2011

A look at the Travers

As I leave shortly for my Long Island trek to attend a wedding on Saturday and battle Hurricane Irene, here are my quick thoughts on the Travers Stakes.

From my NYRA Rewards Mobile betting platform on my smartphone I will play around with some Trifecta's and Win bets centering on 4 horses: the favorite Stay Thirsty, Bowman's Causeway, Shackleford and Moonshine Mullins. I think these four horses more than the others will like the track surface and run on it the best.

I keep coming back to Bowman's Causeway to upset the cart and win the whole thing. He has been stabled at Saratoga since the spring under trainer Chad Brown. Brown is great at placing his horses where they have a chance to win. A son of Giant's Causeway, he is coming off three consecutive races in Canada, the last being a close second in the Prince of Wales. He has had a nice 6 week rest and I think he is more than ready. Good luck and for my friends on the East Coast be safe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Travers Streak is Broken

There comes a time when all streaks are broken, and this is my year.
I have been lucky enough to be at Saratoga Race Course for the Travers Stakes every year since 2004. This year I will be in Long Island, attending my cousin's wedding.

Luckily the wedding couple are racing fans, and they have already arranged for the wedding Bar TV to be on NBC at 5 pm so the guests can watch the King's Bishop and the Travers. And of course thanks to NYRA's neat mobile wagering platform I will be able to bet straight from my Blackberry. But alas it will never be the same as being there live.

Looking back I was able to see some pretty good Travers races and horses since 2003. Here is a look back at some of the memories:

My favorite memories from the past 7 Travers Stakes:

2004: I will never forget the dark sky as the horses turned for home. Seconds after Birdstone crossed the finish line the winner the rain came down like nobody's business

2006: Never a doubt as Bernardini swept the Jim Dandy/Travers Double. One of the best looking horses you will ever see.

2007: Street Sense in a squeaker over Grasshopper

2008: Colonel John nips Mambo in Seattle by a nose (or was it 1/2 a nose) at the wire

2010: I hit my first ever Travers Trifecta taking home $970 on Afleet Express/Fly Down/1st Dude

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Questions at the Track

I don't know why you would need the costly McKinsey Report to figure out how to draw more folks to the racetrack and to betting on the races. Just take a novice fan to the track and listen to them. This past Sunday I took a married couple in their 40's to Saratoga Race Course with me and my better half.

They like casino and slot gambling and take frequent trips to Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, and Atlantic City. They were last at a racetrack at a New England Fair 20 years ago. Here were some of their questions they threw out at me during the day.

Upon reaching the gates and stopping to pay the $5 Clubhouse Admission:

Q: How come you have to pay $5 a person to get into the track when you already have your pre-paid Clubhouse seats.? We don't pay to get into a Casino?

My Comment: Good Question, I always thought it made no sense to charge for the privilege of just walking into the track. Charge for the grandstand & clubhouse seats and let everyone else in for free. Don't ding the customer.

Q: What's a Quinella bet again?

My Comment: I pointed them to the Program and gave them a basic primer on the various bets they could make. I think we forget that most people want their gambling to be easy and they find the slots and poker easier to learn and easy to figure out. The tracks need more visible education guidelines with companion online guides, games, etc.

Q: Why are there 11 horses in the race but the infield center video board is showing only the odds for Horses 1-9.

My Comment:
This one had me confused as I knew there were 11 horses in the race but only 9 were on the board until I realized that NYRA was playing video ads on the right side of the screen which eliminated the odds on Horses 10-11 in this particular race. The ads eventually stopped and Horses 10-11 showed up, but how is a novice better supposed to understand the game if they want to bet Horse #10 and the odds are nowhere to be found on the main video board ?

These were all good questions and the cost to hear them was nothing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Saratoga Mid Meet Thoughts

Summer is flying by and so is the Saratoga Meet as we approach the 4th weekend of the meet.

Some thoughts thus far….

I have stayed away from most of the Todd Pletcher / Johnny Velazquez horses due too the short odds. However on. On Saturday, a Pletcher/ Johnny Velazquez 3 year old, Katz My Song, went off at 7-1 odds. I ignored it and the horse wins paying $16.60.

The Grand Slam bet has been paying pretty well this meet. On Sunday it paid $1,359 and on Monday, it paid $396. Even on Saturday with 3 of the 4 races in the Slam won by the favorites (Higher Court, Turbulent Descent and Tizway) with one long shot (Trix in the City) the bet still paid a decent $29.60. The payoffs are pretty nice if you look at it as a $2 bet for picking 3 show horses and one horse to win.

After 3 weeks of walking out of the track and over to Siro’s with a near empty wallet, I finally hit my first big bet of the meet with an Exacta win on Trappe Shot-Sean Avery in Sunday’s Vanderbilt Stakes. For once I placed the same bet as the one I hit over at The Knight Sky Racing Blog. On to week 4.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Wet Whitney?

Looks like it will be a muggy Saturday at the Spa with dew points around 70 with mostly cloudy skies. In other words a typical muggy August Day.

I guess its time to look at who can run in the mud. Best of bunch would be Duke of Mischief with 3 wins out of 4 starts on off tracks.

Maybe Todd Pletcher's due with Mission Impazible. After all he went 0-fer on Friday and his 2 year old filly Heather's Feather finished 4th as the post time 1-1 favorite in the 2nd race.

Let's try a Trifecta Box of Duke of Mischief, Mission Impazible, Tizway and Morning Line.