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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, July 6, 2021– Tomorrow is the Indiana Derby and Indiana Oaks. That’s right; a Wednesday, and why not?

Why should Indiana Grand or, e.g. last week, when Prairie Meadows held their cornerstone events held on a Friday, go up against the Belmonts, the Churchills, and the Santa Anitas of the racing world?

They answer they shouldn’t if they don’t have to, and they’ve begun to figure that out. To own the market even for one day, alll smaller tracks need to carve out a niche for themselves, their fans, and their horsemen.

Last week, in addition to the multi-leg wagers that all tracks are addicted to because deep down they don’t believe their equine product is good enough, they put their best hooves forward, but also feel they need gambling gimmicks to sell it.

Tracks believe they must horseplayers on winning the horse lottery, telling them that life changing scores are there for the taking via handicapping analysis and not just dumb luck. But because horses are no longer part of everyday American life, gambling must be all that’s left.

So, just as Prairie Meadows made a special day, as did Canterbury Park recently, Indiana Grand cobbled together a 20-Cent Straight Fire 6 with four overnight stakes worth $85,000, attracting fields on nine, 11, eight, 13, 11 and seven. Yes, an interesting betting opportunity on its face.

But because they are not going up against the Belmont Derby Invitational and Oaks, first leg of NYRA’s international turf series–next stop Saratoga, or even Delaware Park’s storied events such as the graded Delaware Handicap and Robert Dick Memorial, they will enjoy their place in the sun.

But with a chance of scattered shows and thunderstorms, according to the weather handicappers…

Meanwhile, Indiana’s Grade 3 Oaks and Derby are interesting events, with fewer familiar cases or not but all which their connections could somehow join the division’s elite by seasons end and, of course, make for good betting races, race sequences notwithstanding.

It makes sense that this trend will continue. One never knows how certain races will tip the popularity scale on the day, but some do. Timing is everything, and it follows that by building it, while fans are looking for special entertainment from their favorite sport, they will come and bet it.

And if those races feature untenably short priced favorites, they made you look, and a winning short-priced favorite can turn into a free square on the road to potential riches.

We will take a look at the Indiana Oaks and Derby and post it early Wednesday and punters will have plenty of time as not only has Indiana chosen a lower profile racing debut to help establish their brand, but EDT posts of 7:43 pm and 8:25 pm might capture some weekend warriors just getting home from work.

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