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Horse Racing Graded Stakes Analysis – July 18
by: Ed Meyer
Race #3 – The G-2 Hall Of Fame – 1 1/8 on the turf – 2:18 pm EDT
BetPTC.com Selections / #7 – Decorated Invader / #5 – Gufo / #1 – Domestic Spending
#7 Decorated Invader hails from the Christophe Clement barn and is 2 for 2 ITM at Saratoga. 2nd start off the layoff looking for three in a row. Joel Rosario is the pilot for this closer and he wins 18% with late runners. His last race showed good things to come and should be a major player. #5 Gufo ships in from Delaware and is seeking his 5th straight win. He relishes the turf and should be rolling from the back under David Cohen for Clement. The barn scores at a 20% win clip making the 2nd off the shelf move. #1 Domestic Spending is a lightly raced colt from the Chad Brown barn. He had a nice mid pack stalking win at CD and should be closer to the front waiting to pounce. This is a step up in class and the barn wins 29% off a last race win.
Race #10 – The G-1 CCA Oaks – 1 1/8 – 6:16 pm EDT
BetPTC.com Selections / #1 – Tonalist’s Shape / #6 – Paris Lights / #3 – Altaf
#1 – Tonalist’s Shape comes in for Saffie Joseph and get blinkers on today where they win 26% on the equipment change. He owns a sharp work and wins 31% off a last race win. Look for this stalker to get in the game at the top of the stretch. Irad Ortiz is the pilot. #6 Paris Lights is a daughter of Curlin for Bill Mott. She looks for her 3rd straight win and Mott wins 13% with graded runners. She’s a stalker and Tyler Gaffalione is in the saddle. #3 Altaf is a closer from the Chad Brown barn. She exits off a strong win at CD and the barn wins 30% with shippers. She steps up in class getting the acid test.
The G-1 United Nations – 1 3/8 on the turf – 5:10 pm EDT
BetPTC.com Selections / #1 – Arklow / #3 – Muggsamatic / #5 – Aquaphobic
#1 Arklow hails from the Brad Cox barn and makes his 3rd off the layoff move where the barn wins 30%. He is 2 for 2 ITM at the distance and will come calling late under Mike Smith. He is eligible to improve in his 3rd off the shelf move. #3 Muggsamatic makes his 2nd off the layoff for Mike Maker. He is 5 for 7 ITM over the course and comes rolling from the back of the pack. Paco Lopez in the irons and he wins 19% with his turf runners. #5 Aquaphobic comes from the Mike Maker barn with Joe Bravo aboard. This is his 3rd off the layoff move and ran a solid 4th in the G2 Wise Dan. He’s a pressing type runner and will make a move around the far turn.
Race #12 – The G-1 Haskell – 1 1/8 – 5:46 pm EDT
BetPTC.com Selections / #2 – Authentic / #1 – Dr. Post / #7 – NY Traffic
#2 Authentic hails from the Baffert barn and has Mike Smith aboard. A real speedy colt who can put out their lights early oif left alone on the lead. Baffert has won this race eight times and looks the one to beat. Catch him if you’re gonna beat him. #1 Dr. Post is a solid closer type for Todd Pletcher and Joe Bravo in the saddle. If the pace is solid, he may be the one to play the role of the spoiler. 2nd time off the shelf and has a sharp work coming into the race. That was a very good race running 2nd to Tiz the law last out in the G-1 Belmont Stakes. #7 NY Traffic is a speedy type runner for Saffie Joseph with Paco Lopez in the driver’s seat. He can break quickly as Lopez wins 25% with early style runners. If the favorite doesn’t break well this guy may do the heavy lifting.
About a month ago I whined about so many tracks not following the lead set by Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream, and especially Oaklawn Park regarding the coronavirus. These tracks and a couple of smaller ones carried on racing without spectators. My complaint was simple. If we race without patrons very little will be different than the days when there is no racing at all. Open the doors, be diligent with all precautions regarding the coronavirus, let the patrons play online, and let’s run.
Part of my reasoning is that we already have 85%-90% of our handle from online wagering, or so I am told by several experts. There is no doubt in my mind that this percentage will only increase in the future. One thing for sure, right now, relying upon online wagering is the only option.
Just consider the following two excerpts I read the other day. First from America’s Best Racing: “Records shattered-On April 18, Oaklawn’s handle was $19 million, breaking the record set last year on Rebel Stakes day. Arkansas Derby day more than doubled that record, with $41,007,201 wagered.”
From The Blood Horse: “Fonner Park, while conducting spectator-less racing since that date in a state that does not permit ADW wagering, —all handle is coming from out-of-state—wagering has averaged $2.43 million. Those figures do not include the phenomenal $7.26 million bet Tuesday, April 5 when the track’s popular Dinsdale Pick 5 Jackpot wager featured a mandatory payout pool of $4.2 million. In short, wagering is about 10 times the previous norm.”
The bottom line is that most places missed the boat, and, generally speaking, it was because of terrible government decisions. I could only imagine how well Woodbine could have done with their normal mid-April opening since reasonably nearby markets New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago were closed (especially New York).
Oaklawn is not necessarily one of the real big boys but they are far from one of the little guys. I salute them for stepping up to the plate, and I imagine they feel good about it when reviewing their handle figures.
I’m happy for a little track like Fonner Park. The Nebraska bullring stepped up and provided a product to the overall market and knocked it out of the park with handle.
As I have said before, we missed a generation or so when the thoroughbred industry shied away from television. COVID-19 provided the industry an opportunity to go into every home and office (and cell phone) in North America and expand its share of the sports and entertainment market. I can hear it now, “There’s nothing to do since the concert has been canceled.” “Oh yeah? I’m staying home so I can play the Pick Four at Woodbine.”
How could the tracks that have raced without spectators make it work so well when others ran into the corner with fear?
I just looked over my list of tracks that say they will open within thirty days. I’m glad to hear it. I hope they do open and others follow suit.
The time is now. We really missed a chance to get ahead and make up for lost ground in the last couple of months.
Now, as many areas begin to open up we have to try and survive, again. ~ Art Parker
By ART PARKER for BetPTC.com, “Racing’s Best Kept Secret”
Oaklawn saved the day and the weekend.
The Kentucky Derby, originally scheduled for the first Saturday in May, has been moved to September because of the corona virus. The original day for the Derby was May 2.
As usual it was going to be a big weekend for me. Just a little more important than other Derby weekends. I will be 65 years old on May 1. Horseplayers always have excuses to play the races but at this time of year I always had the best excuse available since my birthday came about the same time as the Derby. And since I have my Medicare card I was going to have a big time Derby weekend 2020.
The normal Derby weekend would begin by a reminder I would give my wife. She was forbidden to ask me to do anything – cut the grass, take out the garbage – you name it. I always tell her it is her job to take care of the food for the weekend. Most importantly she must appeal to my southern taste and heritage by making my favorite thing – peanut butter pie. My wife makes the best one in the world. She has learned that the weekend always starts on Thursday night, the eve of the Kentucky Oaks, which has been postponed also. Plus, I tell my office not to call me and simply leave me alone until the Monday after the Derby.
You can only imagine the disappointment I felt when this Derby was postponed and since it was my 65th birthday – but that doesn’t mean I have surrendered to the circumstances.
Just a couple of days ago my wife began to tell me she thought we should do this and that (she also mentioned yard work – ugh!) since I would not be occupied with “The Derby.” At that moment I knew I had to summon all of my mental powers and think of a way out of the impending doom. And then I remembered.
“No, no, no,” I responded to her. “They are running the Derby the weekend of my birthday.”
She looked at me funny and asked, “When did this happen?” I quickly came back with, “Just a few weeks ago. And they will run the big handicap race that weekend also,” I exclaimed with excitement.
“Hmm. Okay,” she said.
Whew…I dodged the bullet. Of course she doesn’t know I’m talking about the Arkansas Derby and all the other races Oaklawn will have. It was a great idea by Oaklawn to pounce on that date when Churchill Downs delayed the Kentucky Derby. They saved a lot of us from being in a state of deep depression. They saved my 65th birthday plans. I will get to have my big weekend thanks to Oaklawn Park.
Just don’t tell Mrs. Parker the truth. If you do, I will be in serious trouble. I won’t get to play the races that weekend – and I’ll not get my peanut butter pie.
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