Canterbury Executives: Caballeros With Cojones
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., April 24, 2016--For once I won’t have to sound like a broken record; one that’s right twice a day (just checking to see if you're paying attention).
Indeed, for once, a racetrack brain trust is prescient and gutsy enough that its executives are willing to think outside the trifecta box and shake up the industry.
My sense of frustration with the modern game runs so high that when I read the news that Canterbury Downs was lowering parimutuel takeout to 15% in the straight pools and 18% in all multiples, I got a little emotional.
Then, at 72, which is the new 72, I reach for Kleenex every time a new Publix opens in my South Florida neighborhood.
If you think I’m being flippant or sarcastic here, slam the gavel down and convict me: Guilty as charged: 30 days. Step down; next case please.
I’ve been writing about the significance of takeout rates as the lifeblood of the game since the 1970s, when multiple bets were in their infancy and the New York Racing Association boldly experimented by lowering takeout on wagers from 17% to 14%.
Predictably, handle and attendance increased significantly--by 10-12%--but revenue didn’t rise at the same pace. The experiment wasn’t long enough, lasting little more than a year. NYRA was supposed to launch another but it never happened; likely didn’t fly in Albany.
Government thinking back then was so bass ackwards and regressive that the newly created Off-Track Betting Corporation had the gall to attach a 5% surcharge on winnings--which for a time was raised to 6%. In philosophical terms, very little has changed.
Best Betting Races Not Always in Bettor’s Best Interest
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., April 19, 2016—Even if “N.C.I.S.” were not the longest running drama on TV, I’ve seen it enough to know Gibbs Rule #39: “There is no such thing as coincidence.”
And, so, with a modicum of skepticism, I ask the following question: How did Ricardo Santana Jr. know enough to drop back to lonesome last, 14-3/4 lengths behind the leader according to the Equibase result chart?
Actually, it margin might have been more since the trackman there believed that Suddenbreakingnews was only a length back at the stretch call when it seemed to the eye to be more like, what three lengths?
But there is another issue that fascinates more. In his most improved recent starts, Creator has come from far off the pace but never as far back as 15 lengths at the first call as indicated in the Arkansas Derby official chart.
But then he never raced behind that fast an early pace in his entire two-turn career. There are two things about this:
Generally, pace moderates as the distances increase but not this time. In the 1-1/16 miles of the Rebel, the half-mile split was 46 4/5; in the 1-1/8 miles Arkansas Derby, Gettysburg went in early fractions in 46 1/5 after an opening gambit of 22 4/5--too fast for the distance this side of California.
And that’s where things got interesting.