JC / Railbird

Hello Race Fans

Friday Notes

It’s mid-February, the weekend of Sam and Bob, the weekend Derby preps get serious. Forgive the plug, but if you’re looking for analysis of Kentucky Derby and Oaks preps this spring, consider signing up for the weekly Hello Race Fans! Derby Prep Alert, which this week covers the Sam F. Davis at Tampa, the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita, and El Camino Real at Golden Gate. Subscribers last week were tipped off to Zazu’s upset potential in the Las Virgenes.

I’ve been a little preoccupied this week (to readers who are not Suffolk Downs fans, my thanks for sticking around through what’s been a series of minutiae-filled posts about a track on the ropes), and haven’t done much more than glance at the entries for the preps — enough to notice that Jaycito isn’t in the Lewis, a race in which Tapizar seems a solid favorite — and to skim Jeremy Plonk’s exhaustive Countdown to the Crown column, which mentions a few allowance races that bear watching for Derby prospects. [Jaycito will start in the San Vicente on February 20. “He’s ready to go,” said trainer Bob Baffert.]

Suffolk certainly isn’t the only racetrack struggling, and that it’s my local track isn’t all that makes the dispute with the New England horsemen over the 2011 meet purses, days, and simulcasting split so fascinating to me — it’s also that what’s happening here is of a piece with what’s happening in California, where annual handle is down and horseplayers are revolting. It’s all part of the Great American Racing Contraction, a reapportionment of power and money that isn’t going to leave a track, horseman, or horseplayer untouched.

Looking for a Price

Mike Maloney on how he plays superfectas:

I’ll structure bets with my key horses in third and fourth. There’s probably as much probability in the third and fourth spots as in the first and second. If you’re lucky enough where you get a price horse to win along with a key horse for third and fourth that is also a price — and a lot of them are — you’ve got a great chance to cash a monster ticket. Sometimes a dime super can pay into the thousands.

That’s from an interview with the noted big bettor in last fall’s Horseplayer Magazine, available as a PDF via HANA. Looking past the top two for wagering value is also an approach I enjoy, as I wrote on Hello Race Fans last year.


Congratulations to Dana and Adam on the launch of Hello Race Fans, a new kind of fan education site for racing. I’m a contributor, but even if I weren’t, I’d recommend checking out the Letter to a New Horseplayer collection (featuring several top turf writers and bloggers) or the first edition of the HRF Index.

Wednesday Notes

– Congratulations to Dana of Green but Game and her pal Swifty on the launch of the Hello Race Fans Network. Neither Railbird nor Raceday 360 is currently part of the racing ad group, but I do support their goals and wish HRF, member sites, and their charter advertisers much success.

– John Pricci reblogs without links reaction to trainer John Shirreff’s announcement of a conservative campaign for Zenyatta. (Original post and comments here.) I suspect Ed at Big Event Blog is onto something: “[M]aybe Shirreffs is just playing coy with the media.” It is early in the year …

Brooklyn Backstretch recounts our Saturday trip to Monmouth. I can’t say enough good about spending a day at the New Jersey track — the visit was my first since the 2007 Breeders’ Cup, and I left raving about what a jewel of a place it is to enjoy the races. Another visit this summer is certain.

After →