NYRA is guaranteeing the Wood Memorial pick 4 pool this year to be $500K; NYRA does this to let the players know that they expect $500K in the pick 4 pool. It looks like they drew up this number long before they drew the card. Pool guarantees are a marketing technique that usually helps inform the public of a larger than normal multi-race pool is expected and draws more money to that pool. However this time it looks like NYRA is going to have to pay to make good on this promise. How does NYRA expect this sequence to attract $500K in action? Over the four races there are only 23 betting interests! This may be some sort of record for short fields in a New York pick 4 sequence. Can this be a foreshadowing of what to expect at the Belmont backwater meet once Monmouth opens?
This pick 4 sequence is no compromise for quality, the sequence is lacking in quality competition as well. Three of the four races will have an odds-on favorite and if they all win this pick 4 could pay $20. The Bay Shore could easily be a N1X allowance and features a Contessa entry of uber-hyped Eightyfiveinafifty and Casteneda that will likely be 1-2 on the board. Then we have the Excelsior; a race named after the New York State motto which means "ever upward". With the complete moral bankruptcy of the New York state leadership the name of this race and the state motto has become a bad joke. Maybe a change to corruptus in extremis would be something that would suit the state/race better and provide an alibi for this and all future cards run at NYRA.
The Wood is another six horse field. Maybe four of them have a square shot -I will try to beat Zayat's horse here- of winning this but for $750K you would think that more than six colts would line up in the gate. Munnings just absolutely lays over the Carter; a race with only five betting interests; Pletcher trains two in here.
With the lack of entries, a dearth of quality, a void of competition, little interest on the part of the public, all enhanced by the moral bankruptcy of local officials- it looks certain that NYRA will have to pony-up to make good on this $500K guarantee. If things are this bad at Aqueduct how are things going to look when Monmouth is running $75K maiden and allowance races?