Eric Mitchell interviews Dr. Christopher Riggs, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s top veterinarian, about the on-track pharmacy system there. Despite differences in how horses are trained and stabled in Hong Kong vs. America, it’s an enlightening exchange, particularly re: specific questions that vets have raised in response to racetrack owner Frank Stronach’s proposed reforms.
We can’t wait for commingling to occur and not just because it will give Hong Kong’s finest taxi drivers the chance to dictate who starts favourite in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Golden Slipper. The weight of Hong Kong money will leave punters in betting shops around the world scratching their heads and redefine the term market mover. Just for perspective, the accidental HK$30 million was a lot in any language (US$3.8 million) and enough to buy a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl. But it was also less than 2.5 per cent of the total turnover at Sha Tin yesterday, which reached a solid HK$1.3 billion …
Or about $171 million in American dollars.
For a little perspective: Total handle on the 2012 Kentucky Derby was $133 million, total two-day handle on the 2012 Breeders’ Cup $144 million.
7/11/13 Addendum: Hong Kong handle rises 9%, hits a record high of $93.8 billion ($12.1 billion) in its most recent season, outhandling the US.
Trainer Freddie Head, at Meydan for Dubai World Cup day, outlined a likely campaign for the 6-year-old champion mare:
“We will try and run in the same races as last year, starting off in the Prix d’Ispahan and then the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
“One of the big plans is the Jacques Le Marois again and the Breeders’ Cup.
“If she wins the Breeders’ Cup she could go for the Hong Kong Mile as she will not run next year.”
It’s going to be quite a valedictory world tour.
Hong Kong is losing out to offshore bookies. “Engelbrecht estimates annual revenue for illegal bookmakers from Hong Kong horse races is equivalent to between one-third and 100 percent of the Jockey Club’s receipts.”
With ESPN’s exit, NBC is poised to pick up the Belmont Stakes.
Sounds as though Bill Mott should look for a new rider for To Honor and Serve: “I would be pretty surprised if Johnny would not be riding Uncle Mo.”
Bob Baffert says he’ll wait until the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes on March 12 to start Jaycito. “I don’t want to run him short.”
Andrew Beyer sees potential in new microbets, although he’s not wild about the lottery-like Gulfstream Rainbow Six. “It is, in my view, a sucker bet.” Is the new Pimlico Slider less of one, with its four-race sequence, 50-cent minimum, 18% takeout, and a “staggering” number of combinations?
“She’s not the biggest filly in the world … but she’s got the biggest heart in the world,” the Guardian quotes trainer Ed Dunlop saying of Snow Fairy after the 3-year-old filly won the Hong Kong Cup on Sunday by a neck with a startling display of late speed. The Telegraph estimates just how fast she was:
The split times for the Hong Kong Cup make astonishing reading. The time for the leading horse is taken every two furlongs of the 10 furlong race, and they highlight the amazing power of Snow Fairy’s stunning final flourish. The times for yesterday’s race were : 25.98s – 25.19s – 25.38s – 23.48s and 22.93s. Considering that she was a good eight lengths behind the leader at the two furlong marker, Snow Fairy must have covered the final two furlongs in around 21 seconds.
I get a stellar :21.8 timing her run from the replay:
Snow Fairy is a name to know for 2011. Dunlop confirmed the globetrotting filly, who won four G1s this year in four different countries, will stay in training as a 4-year-old and could start in the Dubai World Cup.