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If you are consistently beating this Oak Tree meet, I’d like to know your secret. I don’t mean one big score that has put you ahead for the meet, I mean showing a profit in at least three of the first four weeks.

Personally, I have found this meet to be inscrutable. And coming off the heels of outstanding and profitable Hollywood Spring/Summer and Del Mar meets (leading both meets among public handicappers while picking 31-32% top-choice winners and doing very well at the windows), I thought I had this synthetic track thing all figured out. Oak Tree has always been one of my favorite meets but not this time. I’m picking an embarrassingly low 20% winners in my graded handicap and haven’t made a significant hit on my Premium Play sheet since Oct. 13.

This has been the toughest meet I can remember in my 22 years of professional handicapping. Favorites are winning at a shockingly low 23.66% after 186 races. Over the weekend, there were a total of three winning favorites (from 20 races) as double-digit winners scored in 15 of those races, with prices ranging from $10.00 to $75.40. Normally this is a good thing—who wants short-priced chalk all day long? However, the difficulty has been in stringing together this steady stream of upsetters. In this era of multi-race rolling bets, it has been nearly impossible to put together enough consecutive winners to hit Pick 3′s and Pick 4′s, let alone a Pick Six.

For example, there was only one winning ticket in Saturday’s Pick 6, paying more than $500,000. And no one got close on Sunday, leading to a $142,000 carryover into Wednesday’s card. Saturday’s Pick 4′s paid $3,280 and $5,942, with only two winners in the Pick 5, paying over $57,000 each. On Sunday, Pick 4′s paid $1,670 and $1,897, with no one hitting the Pick 5. Pick 3 payoffs ending in races 5-8: $1,286, $6,183, $1,856 and $1,182. Like I said, tough to string ‘em together. Hopefully I will get things turned around in the next two weeks. But I’m not too sad about leaving this place for Monmouth on Wednesday. Breeders’ Cup can’t be any tougher than this.

Too Many Races: Why has Oak Tree piled on so many extra races at this meet? Oak Tree alternates between five- and six-week meetings every other year. Last year, despite having 26 days, Oak Tree ran only three 10-race cards on Saturday and one 10-race card on Sunday. Cal Cup day ran its traditional 11 races on the final Saturday of the meet. This year, for some reason (let me guess, greed?), Oak Tree has run 10 races on every Saturday and Sunday card. Quantity over quality, since that extra race usually is comprised of another cheap maiden claimer or $10,000 plater. And they’re just getting warmed up. On Friday, the first day of Breeders’ Cup (referred to as BC Lite by DRF’s Jay Hovdey), there will be 10 live races to go along with the three BC races from Monmouth. On Saturday, seven live races (including the opener at 9:15 a.m.) to accompany (or dilute, depending on how you look at it) the eight BC races. Then, roll right back with 10 more on Sunday. As we have often talked about in the past, thoroughbred racing is the only sport in the world that plays its championship game (Breeders’ Cup), then comes right back and plays again the next day. Wouldn’t it be great for the sport to shut down after the BC Classic, with every track in the nation closed until Wednesday?

Bad News for Horseplayers: After reporting months ago that major rule changes were upcoming in the case of dead-heats and scratches in Pick 4 and Pick 6 races, I received the following email from Mike Marten, spokesman for the CHRB:

“Scientific Games has informed the CHRB that due to technical limitations associated with the transferring of wagering data over the telecommunications system, we are prevented from implementing rule changes to allow for proportional payouts for deadheats in multiple-race wagers involving four or more races and from creating consolation pools when scratches occur in Pick Four races…a representative of Scientific Games gave a presentation to the CHRB Pari-Mutuel Operations Committee yesterday. He apologized for giving us incorrect information when we first asked Scientific Games months ago if these changes could be done. The answer at that time was yes. But upon further review, Scientific Games realized there are those technical limitations, which they overlooked on first consideration. The commissioners were very disappointed to hear this, as they wanted to make these changes for the benefit of fans. They were told Friday that it could be one or two years before the wagering protocols are updated and these changes might become possible.

Thanks for making these suggestions to us, and we’re sorry we can’t carry out the plan.”

Once again, the horseplayer takes it in the shorts. We keep coming back for more but, for me, the overracing and bad rules slowly but surely erode my passion for the sport.

To View Free Samples of Premium Plays from past two weeks, click on the links below: Premium Plays for Oct. 10Â Â Â Oct. 11Â Â Â Oct. 12Â Â Â Oct. 13Â Â Oct. 14Â Â Â Oct. 17Â Â Â Oct. 18Â Â Â Oct. 19Â Â Â Oct. 20Â Â Â Oct. 21

Comments

One Response to “Is Anybody Winning?”

  1. rwwupl on October 24th, 2007 10:48 am

    It seems as though the Racetrack Managers are acting as Power Brokers to create carryovers as a goal instead of conducting themselves as Facilitators (neutral intermediaries) for the betting public and the people who put on the show(The horsemen).Your blog was correct. The problem with Sci. Games is lack of proper hardware and they(Sci. Games) have known this all along. I was there .

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