The momentum of increased wagering for the 2016 Northlands thoroughbred meet seems to have stalled for the time being anyway. Total wagering on the live product for the first sixteen (16) days of$4,105,442 ($256,590/day) is virtually unchanged from the $4,101,781 ($256,361/day) recorded in 2015.
In addition to less than ideal weather and track conditions recently, small fields and 7 race cards are having a negative effect on business. So far this year we have carded 121 races compared to 127 for the similar period last year. Five and four horse fields have resulted in less straight and exotic bets available on the wagering platform. The HBPA President, Trainer Directors and Northlands management met on Saturday to discuss the lack on entries during the past while and what corrective action needs to be made to ensure that customers wager on the product we offer. We will report on the necessary course of action as quickly as possible.
Around the Horn
To our knowledge for the first time ever in Canada a “Euro Turf” race was offered on June 10 at Woodbine which means that the 8 horses ran the 5 furlongs on the EP Taylor turf course clockwise rather than the customary counter clockwise. Northlands racegoers may remember the Multiple Stakes Winner Omar who competed here in 2015 and recorded a couple of Allowance wins. A winner in his only start this year at Woodbine for trainer Robertino Diodoro, he tried his luck at the new format and ended up second as the beaten favorite. Included in the field was another first time winner for Diodoro at Woodbine - Leo’s Lookin who was claimed off the winning effort. To have both horses that have been conditioned by an Alberta based trainer for most of his career, compete in such a race seems like quite an achievement. Feeling that customers love to wager on turf races, Woodbine will be offering 40 races for the Euro Turf series during their 2016 race meet.
For those who wagered on the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Northlands – a dreary, overcast and rainy day - the omen would have been to bet the Greys. The top three finishers; Creator, Destin, and Lani of course were all greys rewarding those brave enough to go with the hunch, a whopping $2,751 Triactor for a $2 investment. We do feel somewhat sorry for Destin who made all the running and got nipped in the last jump. As we have previously stated, unconfirmed reports indicate that a major southern Alberta player in the thoroughbred industry purchased a minority interest in the horse prior to this year’s Ky Derby. Speculation is that the plan was for Destin to stand at stud in Alberta upon completion of his racing career. If he keeps running races like the Belmont, he won’t be leaving the US any time soon.
One can only imagine the relief felt by the ownership group of the $95,000 2015 Alberta Yearling Sales topper – Norm’s Big Bucks. Jumping out of the 8 hole in the 3 ½ furlong third race dash on Saturday, he stalked the pace of Swaying and easily put her away in the stretch. Word was out in all local racing circles that Swaying was unbeatable being faster in the mornings than her stablemate Streakin Discreet who broke her maiden by 12 lengths in a similar race the previous week. I guess this is why the actually run races on the track rather than on paper.
Curtis Landry advises that there is still room for interested parties to participate in the newly formed Alberta Thoroughbred Racing Club. We believe the current requirement is to have all the necessary paperwork and the $250 fee submitted by June 30.