Track Facts – August 30, 2019

[intense_lead]The caricature of a race tracker (Right Image) has been a representation of my alter ego for many years. A former student drew it for me some twenty-five years or so ago. I love everything about the jacketed DRF-holding, sandwich-eating, computer-checking figure you might have encountered on any bench or picnic table at Saratoga Race Course. He is, of course, Howie Pixum…and everybody, even the horses in the paddock, wants to know Howie Pixum.[/intense_lead] [intense_dropcap]I [/intense_dropcap]I has been another hectic but enjoyable year producing these blogs. I am convinced that analysis of a race, any race, must begin with the morning line favorite. Of course many handicappers start…
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TrackFacts – August 23, 2019

Trainer intent and the wrong horse: [intense_lead]I stood next to two punters poring over pps while trying to decipher a race and discussing a horse shipped into NY by a sharp trainer.[/intense_lead] [intense_blockquote border_color="#231273" author="Punter"] Da guy din’t spend da bucks ta ship for nuttin, da hoss has back numbahs, 15-1 on da line, dis smells like a putovah.[/intense_blockquote] This was a sharp trainer who regularly shipped up from Maryland. No “D.Wayne-off-the-plane” type outfit, this trainer owned a small 2-stall van and drove it himself. He knew, from years of driving between tracks, the value of a “balanced” van. He never vanned just one horse over a long…
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TrackFacts – August, 17 2019

[intense_lead]Two punters, Vinny and Carlos, were standing at the paddock eyeing the eight colts being saddled for the finale and conversing on the merits of each.[/intense_lead] While perusing the dope on the 6-horse, a sharp looking runner, alert, on his toes, somewhat dappled out, Vinny asked, “Whatta ya thinka the 6?” Carlos, quipped, “Da 6? Looks good, but dat trainer couldn’t win a fixed race!” Smart N Fancy - $100k August 17, 2019 5 (1-1) Morticia looms a legitimate short-odds favorite. Last out facing some of these rivals, she was hard held, steadied and bottled up in traffic. Frustrated, trainer Rusty Arnold reunites Morticia with winning jockey Jose…
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TrackFacts – August 9, 2019

[intense_lead]Among other wonderful essays he penned, Emerson wrote the following in “Self Reliance”: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.” Wow. Of course he was reflecting on serious aspects of life. But what is more serious than betting Thorughbreds?[/intense_lead] [intense_dropcap]L[/intense_dropcap]et me relate a story to bring his words to life. It happened to me, as I am sure it happens to all horse players. A friend comes up to you, non-winning ticket in hand, and claims aloud, “If I’da boxed it, I’da had it.” Seeking commiseration and sympathy where it is not to be found after 40-odd…
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TrackFacts – August 2, 2019

[intense_lead]Years ago on a fine Saratoga morning I was walking through the lot at Siro’s waiting for the beginning of the seminar then sponsored by DRF and hosted by the great Harvey Pack.[/intense_lead] [intense_dropcap]C[/intense_dropcap]omputer carry bag slung across my shoulder, my many colored pens for marking up past performances stood out in the pocket designed to keep them separate and easily reachable. Midway across the lot, the legendary handicapper known to his friends as “Stew Beef” stopped me. I knew who he was. I knew him to be a dirt sprint specialist. I knew him to be the principle poacher of the quinella pools because he felt the…
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TrackFacts – July 26, 2019

[intense_lead]So at 70+ years of age, Capital OTB invites me to participate in their 2019 Summer Series of Podcasts posted to the new CapitalOTB.com website. [/intense_lead] [intense_blockquote border_color="#231273" author="Tom Amello"]Podcast! What’s that? Oh, internet radio without radio. Whatta country, as Yakov Smirnoff would say. [/intense_blockquote] [intense_dropcap]T[/intense_dropcap]he first podcast included a discussion of applying the odds board to your handicapping, featuring statistics to support strategies. The next two have been conversations with professionals in Thoroughbred racing. Jim Mazur, of trainer statistic book fame, joined us to talk about the game in general and his statistical approach to pilfering the pari-mutuel pools. Our most recent edition featured my good friend…
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Charity Bet

The Capital OTB Charity Bet is a $50 daily wager made by Capital OTB handicappers. It runs all 40 days of Saratoga and can be seen in the Times Union newspaper. All the profits are donated to five specific charities benefiting the industry and horses they care for.

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TrackFacts – July 19, 2019

[intense_lead] Pre-Saratoga meet talk of the region has been about the early July opening and switch to Monday and Tuesday dark days. [/intense_lead] [intense_dropcap]W[/intense_dropcap]hen asked my opinion on the matter, I feel it was a no lose situation for NYRA: trading six Monday cards for a Thursday opening plus a weekend was a no brainer. How the economics of the region might be affected is fodder for another day. With those four days in the books, NYRA announced a significant increase in both attendance and handle by comparing the new four days of business to business on the first four Monday cards of the 2018 meet which will…
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TrackFacts – July 12 2019

The Thoroughbred racing industry put its troubles and travails aside yesterday to celebrate “another opening” of another NYRA show at historic Saratoga Race Course. And from all accounts it was everything a Saratoga opening is about. Lines formed in the wee morning hours, local TV did perfunctory live interviews of well-prepared patrons sipping coffee, resting in lawn chairs, re-connecting with other “openers”, each waiting patiently for NYRA Peace Officers to signal the sprint to the picnic tables. “We’re Baaack.” The racing was good. The few stretch battles to the wire momentarily energized the crowd only to be followed by the muted silence of non-winners lost in the shouts…
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