The Perfect Pari-Mutuel Storm Partners With the Wrath Of The Public

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February 16th, 2015

We had a terrible weekend betting harness for profit and we can only point to a pair of factors contributing to our failures; one is the weather and the other is math, which comes into play regardless of the weather.

It was another in a stream of weekends producing powerful winter storms with snow and damaging winds that caused the cancellations of pari-mutuel tracks across North America. More than half of the horses we mentioned as outside contenders in our previous blog went to post.

From Feb. 12 through Feb. 15—the window for our prospects in feature races and horses-to-watch (H2W) races—the scratches due to program cancellations piled up like the snow in Boston. Over the course of those four days, Dover, Monticello, Buffalo and Yonkers cancelled.

The Yonkers closings affected both of our feature races for Saturday, Feb. 14.We will evaluate the horses we were to support if they are entered again and revisit their chances where appropriate in our Thursday, Feb. 19 blog.

The tracks holding races of our interest on Friday, Feb. 13 were victims of the other factor we mentioned—math. Never considering the superstition of the date (math over myth, of course) and knowing very well the percentages of the game, which we try to use to our advantages, we simply lost to public opinion. 

The Pick-3 choices at the Meadows resulted in one show horse, R Marie Hanover ($5.20) in leg three. The first and third legs were won by the public choices and the middle leg was taken by a second choice. For our purposes, the winning price of the Early Pick 3 was prohibitive.

Buffalo didn’t cancel until Saturday, so Friday the 13th’s Pick 4 was presented. Again, we had only a show horse (Burton Blue Chip, $2.10) that was beaten by an even-money shot. In leg two, the favorite defeated our two possible upset picks. In leg three the public choice defeated our choice, which was never in the race after a bad break at the start. The public’s second choice won leg four and the quartet of winners paid a poor prize.

At the Meadowlands that same night, we backed Just Fine in a leg of the Burning Point series and lost to our $30 winner from last week, Empress Deo (5-1).

“It’s a humbling game,” a professional horseplayer said to me once. He meant, of course, that no matter how large the win and/or the smarts it took to support a successful wager, another loss was looming boldly. Over the long run our suggested contenders strike with enough great prices to absorb losses like our own “Valentine’s Weekend Massacre,” so to speak. So we weather the storms and ready for next week’s battles, proposed in the upcoming Feb. 19 blog.

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The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas are included when a H2W horse finishing second completes the result with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete the exacta). This week, there were 28 active horses.


Innocent Victim, $3.60, $2.60, $2.40, Maywood


Just Trouble, $7.00, $5.40 (Exacta $18.60), Meadows
Joltfromtheblue, $3.80, $2.60, Buffalo
La Madawna DeRosa, $3.60, $2.60, Cal Expo
Yes Indeedee, $3.60, $2.80 (Exacta $15.20), Maywood
Nutmegs Yankee, $2.60, $2.60 ok, Meadows


Riverdancer, $3.80, Northfield
Ramblin Rick, $3.60, Buffalo

News & Notes

Despite the score of problems in the Illinois standardbred business, the 2015 stake schedules for Balmoral and Maywood have been announced. The higher class action kicks off at Balmoral on March 28 with the Taurus Bomber Stake for state-bred soph pacing colts. Maywood’s stake season gets underway on Friday, April 10 with soph pacing colts in the Sportsmaster Stake. On May 17 soph pacing fillies square off in the $45,000 Violet Stake at Balmoral. There will also be Violet and Cardinal Stakes for soph pacers and trotters on May 24 and May 30 at Balmoral.

Maywood’s first big event will be the $70,000 Filly Maywood Pace for soph fillies on June 12, followed by the $70,000 Maywood Pace for soph pacing colts will be held June 19. The first Hanover Stakes are at Balmoral; they are for soph trotters on July 4. and on July 11. At Balmoral on July 25 and July 26th pacers and trotters battle in the Mini Me, Loyal Opposition, Incredible Finale, Ann Vonian, Kadabra, Fox Valley Evita, Fox Valley Flan and Plesac stakes. A pair of $30,000 Hanovers for frosh colt and filly pacers are scheduled for Aug. 1 at Balmoral while another pair for trotters go the next day. American Nationals return on Sept. 6 with a pair of $90,000 trotting stakes for freshmen. Balmoral also plays host to one of Illinois’ Super Night will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12.. As always, the state’s top pacers and trotters battle for $1 million in purses.

Late September and early October is for the youngsters as the $80,000 Lady Lincoln Stake for frosh trotting fillies takes place on Sept. 27 and their male counterparts battle in the $80,000 Lincoln Land Stake on Oct. 4 at Balmoral. Maywood will host the $50,000 Cardinal and Violet stakes for frosh colt and filly pacers on Oct. 2. .

Nov. 7 and Nov. 13 brings the Grand Circuit to town. Balmoral will play host to the $250,000 three-year-old colt pace, $225,00 American National three-year-old colt trot, $190,000 American National Aged Pace, $180,000 aged trot, $175,000 American National three-year-old filly pace, $150,000 three-year-old filly trot, $80,000 two-year-old colt pace and the $80,000 two-year-old filly pace. Maywood’s biggest card of the season is six days later on Nov. 13 with the $180,000 Windy City Pace for three-year-old pacing colts, the $100,000 Abe Lincoln Stake for two-year-old pacing colts, the $100,00 Galt Trot for three-year-old trotting colts and the $75,000 Cinderella Stake for soph pacing fillies.

Extraordinary Extras

Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog

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