It seems no matter how hard we try not to, racing always manages to shoot itself in the foot, and the most loyal of fans and bettors get hurt in the process. I’m of the opinion and have been writing about it for years now, that a lot of this can be solved by having a central governing body, a commissioner, and uniformity in rules applied and enforced fairly. Those calls for the most part have fallen on deaf ears or lame excuses. A popular one is “well we race in multi states so that won’t work.” Interesting it works in other sports that are multi state, even multi country.
When you look around at the arguments surrounding Lasix, and at the same time see major drugs like epogen or EPO barely get a mention and fly well under the average fan’s radar, you just have to shake your head and realize it all comes down to money, much like the NFL and most other sports and businesses. We are still behind in our concussion protocols despite the best efforts of The Jockeys’ Guild, and we can’t even stagger the post times of major races at different tracks. TVG doesn’t quite get that the split screen option they love stops you from seeing both races, let alone letting you see one. Major issues, minor issues, we have them all, and just can’t seem to address any of them properly with uniformity, or for the benefit of the game, including the bettors.
Today we’ll talk about two recent issues, both easy fixes with even the smallest amount of common sense, but both “muffed” again by track management. Blame who you will but a fish stinks from the head.
We all know Monmouth is a far cry from what it once was. We can’t blame the neighborhood like people like to do with Hialeah and Pimlico. Monmouth is on the Jersey Shore in resort country. People like to go there yet the track fights for survival. Some of that is governmental for sure, but some is bad business. Remember that fish. You would think Monmouth would do whatever they could within reason not to alienate any of their remaining fans and bettors. Apparently they see it differently and I hate to say, that type of vision leads to exactly where Monmouth finds itself today. Take care of your customer or someone else will. Every time.
Back in late May, a longtime Monmouth patron went to enjoy a day at his home track. Who it is is of minor importance. What is important is they are a long time Monmouth patron in good standing. The patron contacted us in desperation and forwarded us the attached letter which we print in part. We left out the last paragraph with the patron’s name and his demand for $750 in compensation. While we did not independently investigate the incident, we have no reason to not believe it is an accurate account of what transpired. If it isn’t, Monmouth Park is invited to respond accordingly.
Now again this is only one side of the story. Monmouth’s position is unknown. What is known is this is not an isolated incident at any racetrack. I have seen it happen at Belmont and Oaklawn Park personally. Both facilities put stops on the voucher and informed the party who in those cases wrongfully had it, if they didn’t return it they would be barred from the premises. Both times the voucher was returned. You’d think Monmouth Park, especially in their current state would place a tad more value on a long standing customer. Providing a safe place to play I’d say is paramount to any rise in attendance.
Monmouth certainly could have used one of those catch all rules, but then again neither did Santa Anita with the first time gelding incident. According to the patron Monmouth offered him a free admission pass and a T-Shirt or something. Ouch.
In June at Santa Anita, the stewards dropped the ball, and failed to use one of those catch all rules that are in place, or so we are led to believe for just these types of circumstances. Fly to Mars trained by Peter Miller was in the last race on a Saturday back in June. One bettor was alive to the whole Pick 6 pool with him. That pool was bringing a $898,568.00 payout. Fly to Mars was a first time gelding, but it was not announced prior to the Pick 6 wagering. Did the bettor alive to him know? That we may never know. It was announced about 20 minutes to post and the horse was allowed to run, and run he did, winning the race and over 800k for the bettor who had him.
Now, as bettors we all know there are some people who put a lot of weight on first time geldings, “the ultimate equipment change.” There are also some bettors who always use first time geldings. Peter Miller claimed it was an oversight the stewards were not notified and it very well may have been. He faces a possible $1000 fine.
The bottom line is the horse should not have been allowed to race. While the bettor alive would have been upset, he was only one, and he could not claim inclusion because he knew he was a first time gelding. The stewards said they could find no rule from the CHRB allowing them to scratch the horse, but what about all those best interests of racing catch all rules? Did none of them apply?
NYRA or the New York Racing Association, a late Pick 5 finally. Hopefully they will open the bet up to all ADW’s and simulcast tracks which would increase the handle significantly, but hey if you have to wager with NYRA Bets to do it, you could have bigger problems.
Unfortunately NYRA again, the new logo is a thumbs down.