Special Report: Pennysylvania Derby Day a Family Affair
By Zac Coffman
BENSALEM, PA., September 24, 2016--Parx was in the national spotlight Saturday as they hosted the annual Pennsylvania Derby Day card, this year featuring a three-year-old championship duel between Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness winner Exaggerator.
Walking through the crowd early in the day, however, you could have questioned whether this rivalry should have graced the billboards promoting the day’s events, or maybe it neither of them. Maybe it should have been the filly Songbird all along.
Arriving at the track two hours before first post - it was great to see the entire apron filled with excited fans, young and old, something you barely see enough of nowadays—watching the elders introduce their youngsters to the game.
Once they day got started, bettors dove into the day’s program, sharing opinions not only with other bettors that came to see the spectacle but, more importantly, getting some special selections from their kids--like sixth race third-finisher Here’s a Jetpack at 55-1!
From the opener, it was impressive to see rail positions completely filled, especially since Parx is infamous for having one of racing’s highest takeout rates, a contributing factor as to why the track struggles to fill even half the rail on a normal race day.
Some Positive News for a Change
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., September 19, 2016—The recently concluded meet at Kentucky Downs is a trend-busting phenomenon that represents a victory for racing because it’s a winner for the player.
Not that winning money there is easy; winning is never easy. But you’ve got a chance to make money because true value is available and the interest is there because, on balance, horseplayers love turf racing.
With record purses attracting full fields, Kentucky Downs closed its five-date boutique meet September 15 with total wagering up nearly 34 percent, an astounding figure. Compared to last year, which was great, it was equivalent of an added sixth day.
Betting on the closing program was $3.6 million, bringing all-sources handle to $22.5 million for 2016. Not bad for a five-day meet spread over two weeks at a track in the middle of nowhere battling significant major league competition.
I played and lost, but am looking forward to the 2017 session. I wagered three days, lost two, and nearly won enough the third day when, forgetting to take my stupid pills, nearly got even for my personal incursion into the Kentucky countryside.
Form-wise, my only beef is that results there reflect parimutuel feast or famine. On one hand, bettors get solid prohibitive choices at greater than odds-on, e.g. Kitten’s Cat comprehensive victory at 5-2.
But there are too many more examples where complete chaos rules. That’s the good news and bad news about $130,000 two- and three-year-old maiden races on grass.