Saturday in the Parks
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 23, 2016—Where is everybody, I wondered as I arrived at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning? Then I remembered: Laurel Park.
Apparently, so were plenty of other folks. Over 21,000, in fact, and many of them brought money, not only to the revitalized building but the simulcasts, too, more than $4.4 million, 18% more than last year.
Tell you what, though. Twitter trolls surely aren’t cutting the NYRA any slack these days and some of the criticism is unfair.
Were they down from last year? Yes, and by a lot, 32%, the difference between $14.2 million and $9.6. But maybe many bettors—at least 32 percent—did what I did.
I walked into Silks, GP’s simulcast theater, armed with PPs from Belmont, Keeneland and Laurel. But when I saw Jason Blewitt all bundled up on the top floor in Elmont with the words sealed sloppy and off-turf, I put the Belmont PPs back in my shoulder bag.\
Won’t need these anymore: “Dark day, don’t play.” Oh, there was plenty of wet track form to go around: Quezon ($2.50), Weekend Hideaway (2nd at 2-5), Bar of Gold ($3.70)—by 18 lengths!—and Governor Malibu (2nd at 6-5 to Royal Posse).
But who needed that? Two things I said to myself following Governor Malibu’s Empire Classic placing: He’s just not that great and, when win-machine Royal Posse opened an insurmountable mid-stretch lead, why isn’t Rudy Rodriguez sitting on the sidelines next to Ramon Preciado?
Friends in high places, I guess.
A Maryland Million, a New York Showcase and Fillies in the Bluegrass
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 21, 2016—Finally, Fall appears to be catching up with South Florida and Saturday morning lows are expected to be in the high 60s but with sunny skies.
Wish that were the case in New York and Maryland where the predictions are for varying degrees of moisture.
And that’s too bad, what with the best Maryland-breds on display on Laurel’s Maryland Million program and Empire-breds on New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park.
Unlike some of the elites I know, I happen to love these state-bred race cards where the littler guys and gals get to race for a good payday that has the added benefit of reserving green space and jobs wherever Thoroughbreds thrive.
It would have been better had New York ad Maryland talked to each other and avoided parimutuel conflict as neither will be a successful if they hadn’t shared Saturday’s simulcast stage.
It appears that in New York, officials looked at last year’s NY Showcase card and kept it around the same weekend. Not that far back in the day, the Showcase program was always one week before Breeders’ Cup.
But since the 2015 Breeders’ Cup fell on the last weekend in October of 2015, and not its customary first weekend in November, the status quo was maintained resulting in Saturday’s simulcast stalemate.
That’s bad enough, but with sunshine in store for Keeneland’s penultimate Saturday, much of the emphasis will go there. So many races, so little intellectual bandwidth.