Gulfstream put me in a bad mood

Gulfstream put me in a bad mood

January 30, 2018 3:04 AM
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I hate when you plan your time to get to an airport at least 90 minutes prior to your scheduled departure and then your plane is delayed.

I hate it when you go out of your way to be prepared for an early morning meeting only to be stuck waiting while your boss is late.

I hate rain delays in baseball.

And I hate it when you have a plan how and when you expect to play the races you like only to miss wagering opportunities because a track is notoriously bad about starting their races anywhere near their scheduled post time.

Gulfstream Park in Florida, owned by the Stronach Group, has a bad reputation regarding starting their races at post time, and it likely cost their sister track Santa Anita some handle last Saturday.

The focus of most horseplayers on Saturday was the Gulfstream Park card featuring the $16 million Pegasus World Invitational and a last chance to see 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner in action. 

It is reasonable to expect some delays to accommodate horseplayers trying to get their wagers down, but it is also important to remember the grandstand at Gulfstream Park is very small and there was basically no waiting at the wagering windows through the day.

Post times are important for many reasons. They give the horseplayers a deadline as to when they should have all of their wagers completed. 

It gives television broadcasts like TVG a road map as to what tracks will run their races at what time so they can set up their rotations in order for customers to view as many live races as possible.

So when Gulfstream Park continually started their races some 4-8 minutes later than the announced post times, the overlap resulted in running many of their races at the same time their sister track Santa Anita was running races during their Cal Cup card. It forced TVG to show races via split screen or on tape delay. Neither solution is best for horseplayers.

Most important, the overlap stops some horseplayers (like me) from wagering on races involved in the overlap. 

I don’t enjoy watching my wagering dollars go to work on tape delay or on a screen where I can’t view the action properly.

Many will argue “just place your bets early.” That is one solution, but in this day and age of late odds changes and computer algorithms, demanding fair odds requires horseplayers to wait as late as possible to see what the true final odds may be.

I know many serious horseplayers who feel the same way. I just don’t know if the industry cares enough about what is best to keep horseplayers happy as they do their own personal bottom lines.

In the end, both are closely related.

On a positive note, Gulfstream Park saw wagering increase year over year on Pegasus World Invitational day by 4 percent to a total all sources handle of $41.98 million.

And their Rainbow Six mandatory payout on Sunday, which began with a carryover of $3.6 million, drew $15,788,224 in new money.

I guess part of the reason is because the first race in the Rainbow Six sequence started 15 minutes later than the announced post time.

Perception rule
affects bottom line

Starting with the current Santa Anita meet, the California Horse Racing Board has adopted a rule that horses receiving Lasix will only be allowed to do so from a third party appointed by the board and not the personal veterinarians of the trainers involved.

Last Sunday, Pali High, trained by Leonard Powell, had to be scratched from the final race when it was determined the third party vets gave him Lasix.

Pali High was the only horse entered in the final race who was not scheduled to race on Lasix.

This type of mistake has many ramifications, all of them negative. They include:

Lowering of field size, which reduces possible wagering combinations, which lowers handle and negatively impacts the track.

The owner of Pali High, Gary Broad, will continue to have to pay his regular day rates and instead of getting a chance to recoup his costs by racing he must now wait for a similar race to become available. The normal timetable for a similar conditioned race to come back at Santa Anita is approximately 30 days.

The trainer of Pali High makes his living based on commissions from purses earned by his horses. Not being able to start Pali High for another 30 days hurts his bottom line.

Would it be a better idea to have someone who is used to working on a daily basis with any particular horse be in charge of administering the legal medication? 

My guess is Pali High’s regular vet would have known he does not race on Lasix.

Will the guilty party be held accountable? Will there be a fine or suspension? Will the owner and trainer be compensated for their potential loss of income?

For the record, owner Gary Broad lost as many as 15 horses in the San Luis Rey fire in December.

At some point he has to wonder if this business makes any sense at all.

Play of the Week

Santa Anita, Thursday, Race 5 – Classico (post 8): Comebacker from the hot Doug O’Neill stable runs very well fresh, draws the cozy outside post, and should get plenty of pace to set up his balanced attack at Santa Anita..