Tuesday, 09 August 2016 14:35

Opportunity Lost?

Written by Norm Castiglione
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For the last while, this corner has been constantly advising our readers of the High 5 pool carryover at Northlands which reached $157,581 going into Saturday’s seventh race. Well guess what - the entire pool was taken down by one ticket! Unconfirmed reports indicate that there was a single 20 cent ticket that hit the numbers 7/8/6/5/1. We further understand that 8 couples each wagered $24 by boxing the five numbers, thus $192 took down $162,189. It appears the couples are sharing the Jackpot so for a $24 investment they each get $20,273. Horse racing is fun!

Now we are most pleased for these players, however, in our view there was a missed opportunity here. Let’s quote from last week’s post:

“It should be noted that there was a mandatory payout of the High 5 Pool at Assiniboia Downs on Derby Day. An additional $435,000 was bet in addition to the $260,000 carryover for a total of $695,760. We would think that if the Northlands jackpot is not hit soon, it should be shut down until Canadian Derby Day with a mandatory Payout. We would think that an additional $500-600 thousand would be added to normal wagering that day.”

If wagering was suspended on this Exotic wager until Canadian Derby Day on August 20 with a mandatory payout, we speculate that the pool would have reached a minimum $750,000. Which would have wiped out a significant portion of the decrease in handle experienced so far this meet. Assuming everything else is as it has been in the past, it surely would have been a record Derby Day handle. Oh well in this business there is always tomorrow.

Not much to report on this weekend’s local racing action. Owner Ted Graling a significant player locally and in the US had both his two year olds – Xtreme Lyra and Xtreme Spell win on Friday and Saturday. Both got the 5 ½ furlong races in 1.06 and change which is excellent time for babies. Xtreme Spell even though racing for a Maiden $20,000 tag was a visually impressive 10 length winner besting the filly All About Laughs who picked up the pieces for a $19.60 exacta. Those who witnessed the August 1 Sales Stakes should recall that Xtreme Spell with the one hole veered to the left soon the start of the 6 ½ furlong race and lost his rider. No pressure on Norm’s Big Bucks and no jockey on his back resulted in his return to the races after only a 4 day layoff.

During our visit of the backstretch on Saturday we did note that the two Canadian Derby hopefuls under the care of trainer Robertino Diodoro were resting comfortably in their stalls after the ship from Assiniboia Downs. Highly regarded Diodoro Assistant Rob Atras reports all went well with the ship and the charges commenced training over the Northlands oval Monday morning. Atras is personally going for his third Derby win and hopes that Inside Straight and/or Solve follow in the footsteps of Broadway Empire and Edison.

The industry awaits word of which of the six (6) Parties will put forth a Request for Proposal (RFP) to build a new Racing Facility/Racing Entertainment Centre in the Edmonton area. Deadline to submit is today August 8.

For the first thirty-nine (39) days of the meet, wagering on the live product totaled $10,208,289 compared to $11,384,190 for the same period last year which represents a $1,175,901 (10.3%) decrease. There is limited visibility as when this downward trend might reverse itself.

Purses paid for the first thirty-seven days of the meet ending August 1 totaled $4,228,098. Overnite purses amounted to: $2,794,073; Participation Fees; $58,800; Stakes; $946,000 and Alberta bred Owners bonus; $429,225. We continue to be well within budget.

This and That

Frosted proved he is the best older horse in the east with a convincing 2 length victory in the $1,250,000 G1 Whitney raced at Saratoga on Saturday. For those thinking that he’s tuning up for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and a meeting with California Chrome, it may not happen. He did get the 1 1/8 distance in a very quick 1.47.3 (that’s closer to 11/16 time at Northlands) but has proven unsuccessful going the 1 ¼ mi Classic distance. He has yet to win at the distance.

Speaking of California Chrome, doesn’t not look like he is any worse for wear coming out of his last race as he drilled 4 furlongs in a quick 47.3 on Saturday at his Los Alamitos home base. Not to be outdone Dortmund breezed 5 furlongs in 59.1 on Sunday at Del Mar. According to Beholder’s trainer Dick Mandella there is a 50/50 that the mare will start in the Pacific Classic.

Blue bloods don’t always win first time out. Frankel, one of the best international racehorses of recent times now standing at stud overseas was represented by his first runner in the US. Brooklyn Bobby (obviously named after trainer Bobby Frankel) who is out a ½ sister to Zenyatta, debuted in the first race at Saratoga on August 6. He could do no better than 6th beaten 11 lengths.

Interesting move by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association on Monmouth Park stabled trainers who planned to run at Suffolk Downs and return to Monmouth. A notice was placed on the Overnites that there would be a $1,000 fee per horse charged to return to the Monmouth stable area. No fines or fees if you shipped to different tracks. This Policy leads one to ask – whatever happened to free enterprise?

We needed help with this week’s posting as interesting insights seem to be harder to come by. A definite fun read when posted can be found at IndianCharlie.com. Author Ed Musselman had an interesting stat in his latest edition – Saratoga started racing in 1863 and the first Ky. Derby was run in 1875. During that period only one horse broke its maiden at Saratoga and went on to win the Ky. Derby - the filly Winning Colors.

The CTHS of Alberta has posted on line the Catalogue for its Yearling & Mixed Sale to be held at Northlands on September 18. There are 105 Yearlings catalogued. Wonder who will be shelving out “big bucks” this year?

Read 1122 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 August 2016 14:39