30 April 2010


The American Lion may have gone extinct 11,000 years ago, but I can see a comeback in the making tomorrow in the Kentucky Derby.

I have a hard time believing this horse is going to go off between 30-1 and 50-1. His speed figure going into this race is as high as any of the competition. The seven post is probably as good as it gets in a 20 horse race. He is bred for the Derby. According to Brisnet distance number, American Lion's 118 is the highest in the field.

In his last race, The Illinois Derby, he did the last eighth of a mile in 13 seconds into a 30 mile per hour wind. Granted his early pace was slower, but like I stated, the final time is relatively equal to or better than the entire Derby field's best efforts. He beat his nearest rival by almost 3 lengths, drawing clear in the end. There was another gap of 11 lengths to the third place finisher. I don't expect him on the lead, and his last race sets him up perfectly to be placed in a stalking position behind the horses that will be out gunning early.

He is one of three horses in the race who are one for one (undefeated) on a dirt strip, and he looks like he is improving with every effort.

There is a major concern, but this is true of every horse in the race, and that is flood warnings have been predicted for the area tomorrow. Lions aren't fond of water, but this American Lion has the second highest Brisnet "off track" number in the race.

To round out the exactor, I like Super Saver. Good speed numbers. I think his running style is a detriment for this race though (he should be very vulnerable in the stretch unless he inherits a big lead). He will probably go the least distance of any horse in the race, as he looks to have enough speed to comfortably get to the rail (where Calvin Borel loves to ride).

Other contenders include the probably favorite Lookin At Lucky (who is also one for one on the dirt). Noble's Promise has a shot too. He has been turned away three times by Lookin At Lucky, but the three hole should allow him to have a great trip, and he looks to be ready for a peak effort, and he'll be picking them off late. And it is hard to leave Awesome Act out of the exotics. He is bred for the distance and figures to be charging late as well.

Free DRF Past Performances For Kentucky Derby

Bettor Beware: Obligatory
If you bet on Churchill Downs through HPI or a Canadian track or OTB, be prepared to get royally ripped off if you hit a pick 3, pick 4, triactor, or superfecta. The track takeout at Churchill downs for these bets is 19%, but Woodbine pays them off as if the takeout is 27%. This means, for example, that a $2000 payoff at Churchill Downs will only get you a little over $1800 in Canada. Where does the rest of the money go? Woodbine keeps it. They are your partner on these wagers whether you like it or not. And they don't even put in their share of the bet to begin with.

Woodbine must have a code name for their customers: Ben Dover.

I'm hoping Woodbine eventually does the right thing, but so far they are turning a blind eye to public complaints.

Fort Erie Opens Tomorrow
Big fields. Looks like new Racing Secretary John Whitson has been doing his job properly so far. Francine Villeneuve is back. Jockey Krista Carignan is going to be busy. She has a mount in every race on the opening day card. Agent Scott Lane must be working overtime.

It is still a shame that new management hasn't addressed Fort Erie's embarrassingly high takeout. 26.2% on exactors and doubles is no way to keep people in the stands.

Speaking of track takeout. Tioga Downs season begins tomorrow as well. Tioga Downs is a track that gets it. After a few conversations with HANA (Horseplayers Association of North America), they decided to lower their takeout as much as they could. Their new takeout rates are 15% on WPS, 17% on exactors and doubles, and 21% on all other bets. They now have the lowest track takeout of any track in North America, and the same is true of their exactor takeout.

They have been getting excellent feedback for their efforts, and I expect to see a good increase in handle. It must be stated though, that the true effects of a takeout increase or decrease doesn't rely on the public noticing it and either gravitating to the track or avoiding the track, no, it is a long term scenario, where the gamblers psychology is either positively or negatively impacted over time. The lower the takeout, the longer the player lasts, the more bang they have for their buck, the more likely they are to return quickly and more often.

In conjunction with HANA, Tioga Downs will be putting out expert picks in a contest called The Pen and Micro-Chip Challenge. Who is going to pick more winners at Tioga? Seasoned pen and paper handicappers, or computer generated picks?
A special thanks goes out to Mike (the owner of Pace Advantage) for his contribution to the contest, and TrackMaster for supplying free computer generated selections.

At Beulah Park tomorrow, there is a Pick 6 mandatory payout happening. Going in, there is over $445,000 in the pool. The beauty of it is that it is a 25 cent base bet. One can build a ticket of 2 horses a race for only $16 in total.

If you reside in the right jurisdiction, you can play the Beulah Fortune Pick 6 here (Tioga Downs is also on the menu). By post time of the third race, when the Pick 6 begins, the pool could be close to a million.

"The Kid" Gets His 15 Minutes Of Fame
14 year old handicapper from New Yawk who has a Youtube channel says his favorite track is Woodbine. I think he needs a lesson in track takeout:)




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Anonymous said...

Re: Woodbine takout.

I think the P3 and P4 payouts are the same as in the US (I compared HPI and Equibase results). Why that is, I don't know. Where there is a big difference is with Supers and Trifectas.

$1 Derby super (equibase): 101,284.60

$ Derby super via HPI: 92,156.50

That's alot of money.

Cangamble said...

Anon, you might want to check the pick 3 and 4 again. They pay a reduced price for those two as well.
They do pay the same for Pick 6's though.

Why do they do it? Because they can. Because they have no regard for the horseplayer. Because they have no concept when it comes to keeping horseplayers.