Dubai Carnival races competitive & interesting but graphics package needs improvement
BY DICK POWELL
The Dubai World Cup Carnival is underway with the fourth edition being run Thursday. So far the races have been competitive and intriguing with many runners that will go on to the Dubai World Cup card on March 26.
But when you tune in to watch the races, you are in for a shock. I used to be involved in the simulcasting of Dubai racing into North America. Amwest Entertainment has had the contract to simulcast them for the past few years but at the last second, the award went to Racing UK.
Racing UK has taken over all the television production of the Dubai Races and they do a good job, for the most part. I don’t like how they show a head-on camera angle when the horses are going down the backstretch. With big fields, it gets confusing.
Their analysts not only go over the races before the race but then go back and watch and analyze them after the races are run. The two presenters are very knowledgeable and it pays to pay attention to what they are saying.
So, what’s the problem? There is no graphics package. No odds, no late changes, no carryover information on superfectas; no payoffs at all. Just a clean feed and the odds that they make reference to are not what you are betting.
Yes, if you are watching on an ADW simulcast feed, you probably have the odds displayed near the screen. But I gave them a couple of weeks to get it right, after all, they got the contract at the last minute. Now, here we were in week three and still no graphic display. Usually, you would contract with a satellite company that would download the simulcast signal, put a graphics package on it, and upload the finished product to the North American audience. Not anymore.
I no longer have access to betting data but I can’t imagine it being successful. The Carnival is tough enough with its morning post times for the most part and not having the information that all of us are used to is not a wise decision on Racing UK’s part.
CALIFORNIA CHROME (Lucky Pulpit) has shipped to Dubai already and it was announced Wednesday that he will appear in a handicap race at Meydan on February 25, a 1 ¼-mile race on the dirt. Assistant trainer Alan Sherman said they wanted to avoid the Maktoum Challenge (G1) on Super Saturday the following weekend so this will give him 4 weeks and two days to recover.
Nominated for the Dubai World Cup (G1), the world’s richest race, are FROSTED (Tapit), winner of the TwinSpires Wood Memorial (G1) last year; DORTMUND (Big Brown), winner of the Santa Anita Derby (G1); and MUBTAAHIJ (Dubawi), winner of last year’s UAE Derby (G2).
Sherman is following the trail that Steve Asmussen blazed with CURLIN (Smart Strike), who went over early, got a prep race, and then romped in the 2008 World Cup. Hopefully there will be a graphics package on the simulcast feed by March 26.
On Sunday, owner/trainer Carlo Vaccarezza shocked Gulfstream Park with wins in the last two races. In race 10, Vaccarezza captured a 7 ½-furlong turf event with LITTLE BALTAR (Line of David) at odds of 38-to-1. In the next race, Vaccarezza came back with LITTLE BIG GIRL (Discreet Cat) to win at the same distance at odds of 36-to-1.
The $79.60 and $75.20 Vaccarezza-trainers winners resulted in a late double that paid a whopping $2,562. Nobody hit the Pick 5 and the consolation for four winners paid $7,355.30 for a 50-cent bet.
There are two Pick 5s at Gulfstream each day. The first one covers the first five races and if nobody picks all five winners, the entire pool gets paid off for the most winners. The second one, covering the last five races, has a carryover provision if nobody picks all five winners.
So, the carryover in the late Pick 5 at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday was $88,263. I thought it might be enough to completely wipe out the takeout on the new money added on Wednesday and when $562,478 poured in, it put a substantial dent in it.
The five-race sequence began in race 7 and the results were pretty formful. The mutuel payoffs were $13, $10.60, $4.60, $10.80 and $5.60. The $2 parlay for the five winners – two favorites and three single-digit winners – was $2,396.07 or $599.02 for a .50 cent wager.
The actual payoff on Wednesday was a healthy $2,202.60 for a .50 cent wager and if you had it, you also probably had a bunch of $21.10 consolation payoffs for four winners. The result, with the carryover money from Sunday, led to a 373% increase over what the parlay paid. Throw in the consolation payoffs and it was probably four times the parlay.
A modest investment and some sharp handicapping could have led to a juicy $2,202 payday. All you have to do is be patient and wait for when the next substantial carryover comes around and have the discipline not to play when there is none.