A Dark Day For Racing
The Needle & the Damage Done
Definition of a Handy Workout
Definition of a Breezing Workout
Rolling with the Wiseguys
Mucho Trabajo, Poco Dinero
The Day the Music Died Biography
I'm leaning on the paddock fence. The paddock judge yells, "Put your riders up!" The jockeys get ready to mount and move towards the horses on the paddock walking ring.
Then, a patron on the rail beside me directs a loud verbal spasm towards a jockey about his ride in the previous race. That patron feels he has a legitimate beef: that jock didn't take his "quick footed" horse to the front from the one post on a speed-favoring racetrack. That jock mounts. He stands in the irons, leaning forward as if to test whether his saddle's girth is secure. The jock then wiggles his ass when he passes the irate patron in the paddock carousel.
This irate patron's foul mood violates the main tenet of playing the ponies, don’t force your method of handicapping (in his case a speed track bias) on the jockeys, the trainers or the horses. Bring to fore first that your selection is a "Go." If it's not a "Go" and you bet and your selection loses. Mea Culpa.
You must develop a handicapping operating system that, when fed all your observations and data, processes and screens those imputs, then spits out a horse for which the rail will open up turning for home: a "Go" horse. Your handicapping operating system, consistently, will eliminate a horse that will be pinched back and blocked from the quarter pole to the finish line when the rail path never opens. It will eliminate a speed horse that will be given a European ride, reined back repeatedly from the start on a speed favoring track. In short, the main thrust of my preferred system is finding spot selections that are a "Go."
The operating system I employ is called the Turn System. This system is based on the theory that the mutuel pool has become a vital part of the house take. This skimming of the mutuel pool is needed to allure and hold modern owners who demand a cash return on their investment from betting. Owners of the past received a large tax break (since eliminated) against their corporation's profits, and that proved a most satisfying allurement for them.
Recently, while leaning on the paddock rail, a patron next to me said, in a low, confident tone to the jockey on the favorite, that he would run out of the exacta as the jockey passed in the paddock merry-go-round. The jockey looked back.
This patron keeps a ledger on the top fifty owners. The owner of this jockey's mount had accumulated an acutely large debit (wins) in his account. That owner had reeled off six wins from seven starters last week, capped by taking both the Saturday and Sunday feature race that weekend. That placed this highly debited owner (wins) on top of the fifty owners in purse money won and in win percentage from starters.
A new week of racing is beginning. The first thing a Turn System player scans the DRF for is any horse owned by that owner who has the highest debited (wins) account at his local track. His ledger numbers signal that it was this owner’s turn to lose (credit). A Turn System player will now bet against any favorite that owner starts, regardless of what the pp’s or workouts of a horse entered by that heavily debited (wins) owner would otherwise indicate. The highly debited (wins) owner must start earning some credits (losses) toward balancing his account. A turn player starts that week’s handicapping knowing which owner is not going to win. A daring Turn System player will take it a step further and gamble that the highly debited owner's favorites will run out of the exacta.
An owner's account is credited with the highest number of points when he dumps with a favorite in a stake race (higher still if his stakes horse runs out of the exacta) or debited with the highest amount of points when he wins a stake race. One just spirals down the classification and purse ladders (stakes-allowance-claiming) in determining the size of the credit (a loss) or debit (a win) posted to an owner’s ledger. The higher the purse, the higher the debit (win) or credit (lose). An owner’s favorite losing carries the highest possible credit.
One day, I was sitting in the sun, clocking from the grandstand seats. During the second morning track renovation, I was entering the previous race day’s owner's ledger's numeric fluctuations. Another clocker observed me from the press box and yelled down from on the roof, "Those multi-owner partnerships are a bitch to figure in correctly."
When an owner's turn is due (for accumulating a high number of credits, losses), this due owner’s steed will bust a gate full of horses from the outside post going a route. In a calm manner, his jock will swing him to the rail, facing a quick turn going a route, and make the lead. The rail was available for him because the speed horses to his inside were curtsied with the reins by their jockeys. He will carry the easy lone "F" to the wire.
Another view from any week's video race replays of any track will be an owner who has a large amount of credited points (losses). That highly credited owner’s horse will launch a move from off the pace with the hole on the rail opening for him and he will carry that advantage home.
This Turn System benefits owners. The owners invest in the business of racing, and get fat from the mutuel pool by betting on the premeditated outcomes of their horses. The Turn System is the pillar of the business of horse racing.
Premeditation permits the trainers to dirty some of the information available to handicappers (like workouts) on scheduled winners. This misdirection in handicappers’ information turns the handicappers away from the scheduled turn system winner, and instead toward another owners’ steed that is being dumped, but showing all his bullet workouts. The purpose of misdirection in the handicapper's information, permits the owner of the scheduled winner to dip further into the mutuel pool without drawing undue attention; thus when it is that same owner’s turn to dump, he will gladly repay the favor.
The one problem the Turn System creates for the racing Mafia is that the amount of the mutuel pool returned to the public is far less than just the official take-out. This doesn’t grow your fan base.
Again, back to the video of a race: the finish line frame will be one clear winner, or at best, a two horse breakaway battle to the wire. The remaining horses trailing in the field will be saved for the day it is their turn.
The feeling that the thrill is gone hangs over an old, battered and thinning crowd. It's all on tape.