30 April 2007

Fort Erie Set To Open On Derby Day

Fort Erie season ready to begin on Saturday. Former top Fort Erie jockey Francine Villeneuve has retired, and Neil Poznansky moved his tack back to Western Canada. With only 9 million being offered in purses, which means only around a 510,000 per race average, it will be tough for a jockey, or jock's agent to make a reasonable living.

Future "bleak" for Michigan thoroughbred industry

MTR launches RacelineBet.com Free service, which includes replays. Available in 37 states.
I'm going to try to sign in today to see if I can at least access the free replays. I doubt I will be allowed. Update: I need an American address to become a member, just as I thought. Here is a link to the site.

Bill passes allowing slots at Indiana racetracks.

Woodbine Bias Trends Early speed is still king. It makes horse racing pretty boring. One good thing though, the time it takes to load horses has seemed to lessen in the last two weeks. I wonder if they are doing things differently.

Lawyer blasts Barney Frank's bill

27 April 2007

Bill Finley Preaches To The Choir: "Reduce Track Takeouts"

Bill Finley recently wrote a great article for ESPN "Slots + Lower Takeout = Racing's Revival
The highlight lines:
"slots have done nothing to promote the sport, create new fans or level the playing field for horseplayers who are playing an unbeatable game. Fix the latter problem and horse racing could enjoy a remarkable revitalization."

"(horse racing) is a gambling enterprise that is so difficult to beat that virtually everyone who tries it loses money. The situation has only grown much worse over the years as tracks have raised takeout rates"

"what if racing were transformed into a gambling game that no longer caused customers to go broke but actually made the most savvy players wealthy? Because of slot machines, that's no longer a preposterous scenario."

"(thanks to slot machine revenue) the amount of money that trickles in from what people are betting on horses is virtually meaningless."

"Imagine a game where there was no takeout or a very small one. The same exacta that is now paying $40 would pay $50. The winner that now returns $8 would pay $10. The result would be a true game of skill in which the best handicappers would defeat the weaker handicappers and make money. And even the poorer handicappers wouldn't get buried, which is what is happening to them now.

The best analogy is poker, where the house only takes a very small cut and the rest is returned to the players. The good poker players win and the bad ones don't. The fact that poker is a game where a smart player can make money is obviously a major reason why it is so popular."

Without repeating myself, I did a post a few months ago offering the same advice to the racing industry. Read it here. I expand on Finley's thoughts and give reasons why I think the track will win out big time if they adopt my ideas.

Stem cell therapy starting to emerge as a viable option for injured thoroughbreds "So far, more than 500 horses have been treated by VetCell and clinical follow-up suggests the technique doubles the chance of an injured horse returning to full performance."

From Equidaily. Jockeys both stand up before the wire during a heated stretch duel in yesterdays third race at Keeneland:

Insightful article about Ascot Stud at Berkshire Stables of Port Colborne

Canadians lost 14.5 billion gambling last year. Lost money, at least was injected back into the economy.

Canadian Casinos most likely would be liable in many lawsuits regarding known problem gamblers

Cornwall casino proposed

NYRA gets internet license

CPMA prohibits drug Resocortol. It is an anti-inflammatory for canines, that was just approved by health Canada for use by vets.

As expected, Barney Frank introduces bill to try to get internet gambling legalized in the USA.
I can see Vegas companies running the show.

I've been brutal lately with my Woodbine Picks. But I was always told to get back on the horse. Today I like Executive Flight in the 2nd, Herb Engagement in the 4th, and longshot Salty Silver Sally in the 9th.

25 April 2007

Frank to introduce bill to lift internet gambling ban

2007 Bluegrass. Great Finish. Street Sense and Dominican may still give Curlin and No Biz Like Show Biz fits in the Derby. The slow pace in the Bluegrass may have set them both up nicely for a mile and a quarter:

Barney Frank to introduce a bill, on Thursday, to lift the internet gambling ban in the US.

Youbet may lose license to host wagering on Kentucky Derby and other major races
Tracknet responds to Youbet

Push for Instant Racing in Ohio. Since slots are not allowed, Instant Racing could be a viable alternative to help save racing in Ohio. Unlike slots, Instant Racing is a skill based game. Instant Racing has added nice purse money to Oaklawn race since Arkansas allowed the game to be installed at racetracks. Places like Fort Erie and Windsor sure could use something like Instant Racing.

Details Of Jockey Investigation Still A Mystery

OLG Brantford workers accept contract deal

Woodbine Harness cancels on Sunday because of horse shortage
With high vet bills, it has become increasingly harder to be an owner in either the thoroughbred or harness game. I think Ontario should allow 24 hour Bute and limit legal drugs to around 5.

23 April 2007

Malakoff Disqualification Upheld

This is what a race horse is supposed to look like:

As expected, Malakoff disqualification upheld Malakoff was the best horse in the race that day, but interference is interference.

Fort Erie's town revenue from slots continues to plummet
'The Town’s share of the coins plunked into slot machines in Fort Erie for January, February and March was $394,000 – $13,000 less than the previous quarter and a near one-third drop over the same period last year when the Town received $643,115.'

Buffalo judge upholds earlier decision. The casino agreement with Buffalo and the Seneca Nations to be reconsidered

Oaklawn's handle dropped. Most probably due to the Fairground reopening

20 April 2007

Thoroughbred Owners In California May Get Fined For Positives

Owners in California could face fines and penalties for positives

Dixon voters reject racetrack; Magna may or may not come back with new proposal

OHHA issues update regarding Flamboro and Great Canadian Gaming

Seneca Nation is difficult to deal with They owe on taxes collected, so they decide to fight on another issue. If I was in the Buffalo braintrust, I would definitely do everything in my power to stop their Buffalo casino before it is too late.

Ameritab signs exclusive deal

Licenses for Indiana racinos to be auctioned off?

Court orders man to share lottery winnings with ex-wife

Last minute tentative deal keeps averts strike in Ontario casinos

ORC issues Hudon ruling

Montpellier gets his fine and suspension slashed

Woodbine selections for today:
Laptop Computer looks very good in the 3rd. He'll be the heavy chalk, maybe Orozco will do well off the claim to complete the exactor.

Maybe a Prince and Uncle Ferds ran against double biases in their last. They should be right there in the fourth race.

The fifth race superfecta will pay boxcars today.

Whisper Loudly should be real tough in the 8th, if the post doesn't hinder her.

17 April 2007

Baymount Launches FasTrack Program For Novice Gamblers In The US

Baymount's Guide For Horse Racing Newbees Makes American Debut
FasTrack has both a harness and thoroughbred format. It is a race program that helps introduce novices to gambling on horses and a great way for racetracks to help market their product, especially to the "company" dining room crowd, who are usually very intimidated the first time they go a racetrack.

Penn completes transaction for purchase of Zia Park Racetrack in New Mexico

Andrew Beyer Hates The Polytrack:
Keeneland Polytrack Has Changed The Style Of Racing There. It Now Resembles European Grass Racing. This leads to extra unpredictability. Not good for the handicapper. Woodbine still seems to favor speed, and riding styles haven't been changed that much by the new track.

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 finish at Grand River

15 April 2007

Why Does It Take So Long To Load Horses At Woodbine?

More on the guy who shot himself inside the Seneca Niagara casino. Canada mentioned as being more progressive when it comes to problem gamblers.

Canadians gamble for the fun of it more than they do for the money According to survey.

Detroit casino announces profits

Loading Horses In The Gait At Woodbine
What is with the amount of delays Woodbine patrons have to live through just to watch a race at Woodbine? I watch races from all over, and I just can't get over how long it takes for the gate to get loaded in many cases at Woodbine compared to other venues. Does the gate crew get paid for the amount of time they are on TV? They would be rich men if that was the case. Kidding aside, I wonder if it is that Woodbine runs a very high percentage of maiden races in comparison with other tracks around North America. But whatever the reason is, something should be done about it. I'm tending to think that their rules are too lax when it comes to schooling in the morning. There are too many hesitant horses in the afternoon. Also, horses who have been off for over 3 months should also be forced to pass a schooling test in the morning too. Often, horses who have had 3 months off, had some sort of injury prior to the layoff. This might make them hesitant to load whenever their next race is.

Today's picks for Woodbine:

I can't believe how bad Balachour Prince bounced yesterday. I know the rail has been hot the past two days, but that can only be a partial excuse.
Ramsammy and Silvera teamed up for 3 wins yesterday. I did select all three as first choices, but I admit the 2 furlong race was complete luck. They hook up again in the first race today with Kris's Honor. It is another 2 year old first time starter race so who knows. Kris's Honor was bought for $1,000. What gets me is starting $500,000 purchases in 2 furlong races, like what we saw yesterday with Sarcasm. You don't find too many 2 furlong race winners to do anything beyond 5 furlongs. These kind of races ruin most horses for life. In the second today, a maiden 3 year old race for a $60,000 purse, only 6 horses were attracted to it, and 5 of them are first time starters. At 8-1 in the program, firster Pepe The Barker is coming out of a great workout on a dead track. Expect long loading delays in the first and second races, despite the small fields. Summer Girlfriend could pay a good price in the Whimsical in today's sixth race.

13 April 2007

Headlines For April 13th

Corporate losses didn't prevent hefty bonuses from being paid out by Magna Entertainment

Thoroughbred horses are being shipped to Canada for slaughter. Blech! If this is true, and I think it is, it needs to be stopped yesterday.

Gambling up in PEI, but gambling revenues are down

Youbet gets approval to buy back $10 million in stock.

Patrick Husbands wins appeal

Picks for Woodbine for today and tomorrow:

In the first today I like the exactor box of Samarcos and Mystic Missile. In the fifth I like Lookofaneagle to double up off a nice maiden breaking win April Fool's day. Throughthickandthin might be a nice price in the 7th, but may need this one (no works over 4 furlongs).

Tomorrow, I like Kettle Rapids in the first, Pete's Wonder again in the third (just missed last time), and Balachour Prince looks like a cinch in the 5th (lets see how Lookofaneagle does today first). I like Twisted Wit to be right there in the Jacques Cartier. He really likes 6 furlongs on the Woodbine Poly.

11 April 2007

Early Speed Doing Well At Woodbine So Far

Early speed reigns supreme at Woodbine so far. Click for the bias observations

Exchange betting has really gotten to be sophisticated. In case you didn't know, Betfair allows bettors to bet during the race at selective tracks (In Play):

Empire Racing Pitch Promises Billions To Taxpayers of New York State

VLTs approved for all Florida Parimutuel Locations

Blog of Interest, especially to Canadian horse racing lovers (focus in on Windfields pedigree lines): Northern Dancer Herd

Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance has a new website

Another Canadian horse racing blog I discovered yesterday: Assiniboia Downs Bettor's Blog

Penn Gaming considers buying Wonderland dog track in Massachusetts; thinking the state will allow slots soon.

9 April 2007

Odds On Which Sopranos Character Will Get Whacked First

Odds on which Sopranos character will be first to get whacked in the final season?:
*Odds Grid: +850 means that a $1.00 bet would pay out $8.50 or a $100 bet would pay out $800.
+1350 means that a $1.00 bet would pay out $13.50 or a $100 bet would pay out $1350 and so on....

Which character will be the 1st to get "whacked"
James Gandolfini (Anthony "Tony" Soprano)
Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano)
Michael Imperiolo (Christopher Moltisanti)
Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi)
Aida Turturro (Janice Soprano)
Steven Van Zandt (Silvio "Sil" Dante)
Dominic Chianese (Corrado "Junior" Soprano)
Tony Sirico (Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow Mariangela Soprano)
Robert Ller (Anthony "A.J." Soprano, Jr.)
John "Johnny Sack" Sacrimoni (Vince Curatola)
Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent)
If I had a gun to my head, my pick is Corrado, because Tony will be indifferent to it, but will still have to deal with it.

Not too sure what is going on at Woodbine with regards to the times of the races.
Either the 6 and a half and seven furlong races are 6 to 7 lengths faster than they
should be, or the 5 furlong races and 6 to 7 lengths slower. I've been doing my own
track variants now for close to 30 years, and there was something definitely different the past weekend.
The only time that I've seen this kind of weird behavior regarding times, is when there is a strong wind. Based on what I know, the problem is with the 5 furlong races. It is doubtful that the track between the 5 furlong marker and the 7 furlong chute is a paved super highway, while the rest of the track is playing slow.
Are the 5 furlong races actually about 5 furlongs this year? Are they starting the timer earlier this year?, because usually there is a running start before the timer actually starts, maybe the timer is starting when the gate opens. I could investigate this further by watching some replays at Cal Racing, comparing last year to this year.
Last year, when the Polytrack was installed, there were two slow days, with my 5 furlong variants being 9 and 10 fast (using my variant system). Most days, the average variant was around 16 fast for 5 furlongs.
To date, this year, the 5 furlong races have been between 5 and 9 fast, while the 6 and a half furlong races
are on par with the variants I had for last year, maybe 1 or 2 points slower on average tops.

US Department of Justice forced Neteller out of Canada? It looks like Neteller cut a deal with the DOJ.
Money laundering coupled with Americans using Canadian addresses have caught the DOJ's eyes. There doesn't seem to have been any Canadian government pressure that caused Neteller to stop doing business with Canadian on-line gamblers.

Virgin Games also leaving Canada. Citing "recent developments in the global Internet gaming environment
and following a review of the legalities of online gaming within Canada, we have determined that it is
inappropriate for us to continue accepting online wagers from Canada."
Canadian gamblers will have their accounts
frozen on April 13th, so they better get their monies out before then.

Chris Christoforou returns after 2 month absence due to personal issues

Driver Brett Miller wins 8 races on a 13 race card at Northfield on Saturday

7 April 2007

Headlines for April 7th

Prince of Wales appeal verdict due soon I saw the race many times, and Malakoff was definitely guilty of interference.

Thistledown season to begin shortly, still no slots and this means crappy purses.

Owner of claimed horse sues previous owner and his trainer, Mandella over nerve removal operation Another improvement that could be made to horse racing is that all procedures that cost more than $200 should be reported by the vet and the trainer separately (to keep them both honest), and then it should be reported on the horse's form for the public to see. It is good for the bettor, and good for the potential claiming owner.
Horse racing needs way more transparency. Anytime a professional athlete sprains a pinky, the info is available to the public.

Two NY horsemen plead guilty in international drug ring

Nova Scotia needs a racino for horse racing to survive in the province

Yesterday at Woodbine, the rail wasn't so hot, but it wasn't horrible either. The first four winners had two 5 furlong workouts.
Woodbine picks for today:
In the 2nd, Holy Wings should fly home. The "Babe" has a hot mount in the fourth, Jade's A Pleasure. Winter raced Rice Pudding could be very tough in the 5th. And in the 6th, Bold Thing has a winter raced edge as well.

5 April 2007

Man Shoots Himself at Niagara Falls Seneca Casino

Woman wins 1.6 million playing slots at Fallsview Casino

Man shoots himself on floor of Niagara Seneca Casino
UPDATE: Man shot himself in the chest at a blackjack table at 10:30 this morning. He died of his wounds. Early speculation is that it was not gambling related but the victim had personal problems.

Seneca's owe over $200 million in taxes state concludes. The problem is how to collect

Robert and Daniel Waxman being investigated by ORC over hidden ownership. Penalty will be large if found guilty.

Interim CEO named by OLG

Senior in Ottawa believes convenience store ripped him off 12.5 million dollar lottery win
Stated that the numbers were consistent with birthdays and dates. My question is, did he play those numbers previously and does the lottery system have the capabilities to trace these things.

Increased Revenue and Profit for Mountaineer Gaming

Willmot feels like a dope?

Billionaire James Packer looking to expand gambling empire to Canada

Israel's racetrack construction is underway

Ledford's get wristslap

Picks for Woodbine on Friday.
If you like maiden filly races then Woodbine is the place for you on Friday. Five of 9 races are of that profile. Not my favourite races. In the 4th I like Moon King. In the 6th, the exactor box of Neon Strokes and Moonshine Miss looks appealing. In the 7th, Piece of the Pie looks best, with hot (2 for 2) jockey Richard Dos Ramos aboard. Dos Ramos will be winning at less than 10% by the end of the year.

3 April 2007

I want one of these but I don't need one

I want one of these, but I don't really need one:

Why is Woodbine so gosh darn fan unfriendly? They seem to be the only major track in North America to either not have them for free at their site or at least available at RaceReplays. What are they trying to hide? I know it seems that when Todd Kabel wants the lead, he usually gets it unchallenged magically (at least until midway through the far turn, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. They aren't hiding that are they? Anyway, there is a way to get most of Woodbines race replays for free. Go to Cal Racing and join for free. Now you can't do a track search and expect for Woodbine to show up, but if you look up horses by name, you can catch Woodbine races....at least for the time being.

Polytrack woes: Woodbine didn't get what they paid for

Harness horse shortage causes cancellation for opening night at Vernon Downs

John Campbell begins comeback

Confirmed, promising Ontario sire Elajjud died late March in a paddock accident

CPMA memo: the use of the medication levamisole may yield a positive urine test for aminorex

2 April 2007

Candy Stripes Broodmare For Sale In Ontario

I just got wind that a Candy Stripes mare is for sale. Halo's Glow isn't in foal, but apparently that isn't an issue. The asking price is $20,000 US. The price went up that to the victory of Invasor. Her 3rd dam is a full sister to Secretariat.

Click images and texts to enlarge

Anyone interested can email Wolffrunfarm@aol.com

1 April 2007

WTO Rules Against US Internet Ban: Cites Horse Racing Exclusion

WTO rules against US web casino crackdown
To avoid the penalties, the US would have to either permit Americans to gamble over foreign-based sites or eliminate exceptions for off-track betting on horses, including over the internet, as permitted under the 1978 Interstate Horseracing Act.

New York Harness Racing: Five Charged with Doping Horses Cobra venom and Epogen were allegedly injected into horses

ORC announces HIP (Horse Improvement Plan) review has commenced Ontario has always rewarded the allowance state bred horses but what is needed in Ontario to improve breeding is state bred or Canadian bred claiming races. This will increase the value of the "cheapest" horse. Almost every other jurisdiction has state bred claiming. It is a great out for those who breed or buy Ontario horses.
They should write $5,000 and $10,000 state bred claiming races at Fort Erie, and $20,000 state bred races at Woodbine. They should give it a try. Start with open and non winners of three races.

Ontario government to provide $35 million to help build Niagara Convention Centre

Invasor Wins The Biggie In Dubai In late February, Invasor's dad, Candy Stripes, died of colic at 25. He sired 10 champions.

Jambalaya double up with Grade 3 stake win

Two Indian tribes in Alberta don't want to share with each other. Each want the one casino awarded to themselves

Veteran trainer Don Campbell dies at 61 He specialized in horses that could go a mile and a half.

Everyone knows that race horses all have a universal birthday on January 1st, but very few people know that horse players too have a universal birthday, and it is April 1st. I'll be celebrating by watching races at Woodbine from home.

Yesterday was opening day at Woodbine. Keeping in mind the well publicized problems with the Polytrack, there was a large rail bias and a pretty good speed bias. Forget about coming from the clouds on the far outside....at least yesterday. I wonder if the trend will continue today. I can't see them doing anything drastic to the track until the warmer temperatures come along in the next 4 weeks.

Trainers that look like they have their horses ready are Carrol, R. Armata, Tiller, Baker, and Katryan.

Today, Bear Bullet Too should be tough in the 3rd. Redifusion in the 5th, has a tough post but looks miles the best in a hidden way (8-1 in the program). Another winter raced horse, Gold Spark, should be one two in the 6th.