Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

30 December 2008

Horse Of The Year

The horse of the year ran in the Ladies Classic, undefeated Zenyatta deserves the honors. Curlin started the year off in sterling form, had an aggressive campaign planned that terminated as his form steadily waned. Zanyatta was steady and strong throughout the year winning on all the Socal tracks. Her ace in the hole is that she scored on dirt at Oaklawn. To put an exclamation point on the whole body of work her win in the Ladies Classic was absolutely brilliant.

Zenyatta won all seven of the Graded Stakes races she ran in and improved as the year went on. Her year was a steady accent. She has the potential to be a legend like Personal Ensign the other main track undefeated filly champion if she comes back for more. The fact that she won on dirt puts her over the edge, the dual surface wins are something that Curlin could not match. This year was the year of the Z fillys in racing, overseas we had Zarkava and in North America we had Zenyatta. The undefeated Z filly should be awarded the honors.

Curlin started the year off with such promise. Two rousing victories in Dubai and then an aggressive campaign lined up that was supposed to end in Paris. While we commend the connections for taking a sporting risk the end result was a let down. The turf was quickly abandoned and the Bredders Cup was sort of an after thought after the trip to Japan seemed like too much. The latter part of Curlin's campaign did not have the same level of success as his fall 2007 winter 2008 campaign had. He fell far short of that and failed to take the big prize the Breeders Cup classic, a race he had every chance to win. Curlin raced on three surfaces but could only manage to win on dirt. His turf race was a gutsy placing but was far from the extraordinary wins Zenyatta racked up over different tracks and surfaces. We have to give Curlin and "E" for effort and a "E: for racing as a four year old but the HOY goes to the filly.

28 December 2008

Play Of The Day

After a freshening the play of the day has returned. After a rough patch where the horses where not running and the picks were putrid it was time to give it a rest for a while. The combination of up the track finishes and a public ROI dipping into the red faster than a 401k account was getting a bit embarrassing. Even the super troll started to feel empathy towards me. Now that we are fully rested it is time for more chances at taking this ROI back to the profit zone where it resided for so long.

Aqueduct Race 8- Alex M Robb Stakes

In the spirit of More Chances the pick today is Mor Chances. This horse was vastly improved by moving up to the Dutrow barn and I love that he has been training over the track and had a sharp work the morning that entires where taken. This guy has run well before over the inner and should be an okay price for the top barn at Aqueduct.

Win #7 Mor Chances

Play Of The Day Stats

56 8-8-9
strike rate 14%
cumulative return $94.20
$2 ROI $1.68

22 December 2008

Las Vegas Checks In On Fans and Gamblers

Thanks to Paul Moran to sparking some interesting debate during this frigid winter about this anachronistic sport. I pulled myself out of the local OTB just long enough to read the posts and jump in with a comment of my own. To settle this argument you have to go to the top of the gambling world, Las Vegas. Las Vegas was once of town of smooth independent operators who catered to gamblers and turned a rest stop in the middle of the desert to the largest gambling mecca in the world. Then Vegas took a detour from its reputation of taking care of gamblers after a corporate takeover. Now that everything has settled in Vegas horse racing can learn from Las Vegas' family marketing experiment of the 1990's. After this adventure in casual fans does Vegas 2009 cater to gamblers or casual guests?

Now Extinct MGM Grand Theme Park 1998

While horse racing is a sport, it is also gaming and has more in common with gaming since horse racing feeds at the same trough as gaming. Ball sports make their hay from broadcasting rights and ticket sales. Horse racing has much to learn from Las Vegas' casual fan adventure of the 1990's. When Vegas casino ownership transitioned from independent operators to corporate operators in the late 1980's and early 1990's the new corporate ownership was looking for growth markets. Always sapped for new ideas the new corporate ownership leaned on the highly successful corporate giant Disney as the example to model their marketing plans after. Theme parks were built, character costumes were donned and Vegas marketed heavily to the casual gaming fan, the family. Instead of going out for a weekend of blackjack families were going to Vegas to ride the roller coaster at the Stratosphere and the suits hoped that dad and mom would drop a grand on the Wheel Of Fortune slots. It did not work out that way as these casual guests were taking the place of the old gamblers who where the lifeblood of the industry. Marketing to the casual fan and the family was a complete disaster for Las Vegas and was quickly abandoned.

Corporate run casinos like MGM Grand built theme parks on their property to attract families to go to Vegas. Circus Circus constructed the adventure dome, NY NY built a roller coaster outside on the strip and the Excalibur build a midway strait out of your local carnival. Millions and millions were invested to attract a casual non-traditional gambling crowd. It was billed as the new family friendly Vegas and the experiment ended as a complete failure.

Circus Circus Adventuredome Another Casual Fan Failure

Slick operators like Steve Wynn of Mirage and Bellagio fame, who had a gambling background stretching back to New Jersey bingo games did not take the family route and profited while the corporate new jacks floundered. While MGM grand was wasting it's time and rooms on stiffs riding roller coasters Wynn was filling the rooms with the action junkies and hardcore gamblers that filled the coffers of the casino. Horse Racing should do everything in it's power to emulate Steve Wynn and how he aggressively marketed to whales and other known gamblers. MGM Grand has learned its lesson and has since closed MGM Grand adventures and replaced it with only 29 luxury bungalow suites designated to attract high rollers to stay at it's property. MGM grand learned the hard way that 29 high rollers produce more revenue that an entire theme park full of casual fans. The Beaver family is out and Tommy The Fish who loves to roll those bones in. The Casinos like Circus Circus and Stratosphere that kept their family attractions have not fared very well.

Bungalow Suites That Replaced The MGM Theme Park Las Vegas

Do any racetrack get it? NYRA should be commended as the braintrust there finally understands. NYRA offered a nice comped Breeders Cup buffet to it's best players and also a luxury VIP room to the better players at Aqueduct. The attempt to market Curlin this year as an attendance driver was a complete failure. The free buffet and VIP room are the kinds of things gamblers like, they want to feel loved before they get screwed by photo finish on the wire. The more the gamblers feel loved the more they will bet and the better the game will get which will draw in the casual fans too. The casual fans are nice to have around, but are more like browsers in a store, a store needs to value its customers over its browsers.

18 December 2008

Rebate Shop Bites The Dust

Looks like a rebate ADW outfit operating out of a dog track in New Hampshire ceased operations and pilfered the accounts of their members. Among the victims Of Hinsdale Greyhound Association is famous gambler Andy Beyer who is out of $20K. It seems like whenever a ADW crashes, on-shore or off-shore it is almost always a rebate shop. First there was Pinnacle then IRG and now Hinsdale shutting down with account member money lost. Handicappers can be beat so many ways. Not only is there the tough beat on the wire, there is the bad trip and now we have to worry about our accounts being piffered by criminal ADW operators.

17 December 2008

Turf Paradise Trip Report

Got to check out Turf Paradise on Saturday the 13th of December while visiting Arizona. Great weather as it was 68 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny, a huge improvement over frigid New York. The racing was bottom level with small purses and $3.5k claimers. The stakes race was a $7.5k mixed breed stakes which is filled with horses that could not win at the bottom level at a top level track. The track itself was clean and it was dollar day so just about anyone could afford a at the track. It was a quiet afternoon.

Turf paradise is no Saratoga or Keeneland but it is worth visiting if you are in town. There was cheap food, plenty of friendly tellers and the racing was okay. The apron was expansive and the sparse crowd meant no betting lines. The pools were small compared to the big tracks but the racing was formful. Turf Paradise is the kind of track that a gambler that likes dirt racing could excel at betting on . Too bad Turf Paradise does not have the handle to justify a purse structure to snatch top class dirt runners from Pro-Ride Santa Anita during the long winter. The track seem like it was maintained very well.

I was involved in a poker tournament on Friday with all Phoenix locals. The poker game consisted of 20-30 year olds who loved gambling on poker. Surprisingly few of the poker players had been to Turf Paradise or knew that Saturday is dollar day at the local track. There seemed like the town had potential for a successful horse track as gambling is entrenched in the local economy. There were many Indian casinos and betting on dogs seemed somewhat popular. I noticed many people betting quinellas on Turf Paradise which flags them as a dog bettor.

Things were quiet at Turf Paradise, the only connection to Aqueduct was when Glitternmeporage won the fifth race. I remember when this horse broke his maiden in New York while in the Rick Dutrow barn. Glitternmeporage was quite the character in New York as he was known as a tail swisher and dangerous horse to ride, he frequently ducked out and lugged in while running. He has blossomed at Turf Paradise and is a pure win machine.

The other interesting thing at Turf Paradise was that the Discovery Channel was filming the races and interviewing connections. Looking forward to seeing what show this footage is used on. Turf Paradise is a sleepy little track in a great weather town. If you are in Phoenix it is worth a visit. It could be a good alternate to Gulfstream for winter racing trips if you owe people in Florida money and need to find some racing and warmth.

04 December 2008

Evening Attire Honored

The Aqueduct Handicap has been re-named the Evening Attire, in honor of the 2002 Aqueduct Handicap winner who retired in 2008 at the age of 10, will be run on Saturday, January 17 on the inner dirt track. The $65,000-added race is for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a sixteenth.