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The natives were extremely restless this week when it came to emailing yours truly. On topics ranging from late odds drops, proportional payouts for dead-heats in Pick 4′s and Pick 6′s, consolation pools in the Pick 4, Frank Stronach’s Energy Girls or commentary on the Hollywood Park track announcer, I got it all. First, a recap of the week and then we’ll get to the mailbag.

The Cushion Track continues to play very fast, with another track record falling on Saturday when ROMANCE IS DIANE wired the Bayakoa field in 1:40.90. Her connections had contemplated retirement when her form went sour earlier in the year, but she is back better than ever…on Sunday, BUSHWACKER also went gate to wire in taking the Underwood over favorites IN SUMMATION and GREG’S GOLD, who appears to have lost a step. Despite drifting out late and surviving an inquiry, BUSHWACKER got the money under Joe Talamo in a 1:08.2…Michael Baze got back in the hunt with four winners on Wednesday’s card, including a romping win with CHARM THE GIANT in the feature…although he rode two winners on Friday, Victor Espinoza is mired in a terrible slump. Through Sunday’s card, he had only four wins from 83 mounts…the Show Plunger went down the tubes again, this time when HARLENE ran out of the money in Thurday’s 2nd race, triggering big show prices for the top three. Anyone crazy enough to make this type of wager gets zero sympathy from this corner…favorites are winning at a more respectable 31.6% for the meet…through the first 20 days, I lead all public handicappers with 59 winners (34%) for $351.60 in mutuels, a flat-bet profit based on 174 races…there is a Pick Six carryover of more than $172,000 into Wednesday’s card.

To illustrate what kind of demand he is in, Garrett Gomez rode nine races (one of his mounts was scratched from Sunday’s 10-race card), nearly every one of which he had NOT ridden in their most recent starts. Gomez knocked down three winners to assume the top spot in the standings, two in front of Tyler Baze. To say that Gomez is the best rider in the country seems as obvious to me as saying Michael Jordan was the best basketball player of his era. He simply possesses that special quality that gets extra run out of his mounts.

Now to the mailbag:

Regarding proportional payouts and Pick 4 consolation pools, I received this email from Mike Marten, spokesman for the CHRB:

Here is part of the report by Commissioner Jerry Moss to the full Board on November 29 pertaining to consolations and proportional payouts. Moss chairs the Pari-Mutuel Operations Committee, which met October 19 and learned about the technical problem from Scientific Games at that time.

You were the catalyst for getting the proportional payouts discussion going, and we’re sorry we could not accommodate you and other bettors.

From Commissioner Jerry Moss: We heard from Scientific Games on the technical reasons why they cannot implement our new rules for consolation pools for scratched horses in the Pick Four and for proportional payouts when there are deadheats in the Pick Four and Pick Six. Initially, Scientific Games told us we could go ahead with these changes, but upon further review, they determined we cannot. It all has to do with the way wagers are processed. There is a fundamental difference in the way they process the daily double and the Pick Three–which do have consolation pools and proportional payouts–and the way they process wagers involving more races, such as the Pick Four and the Pick Six.
Bottom line, they say they can’t do it. So we, as a Board, cannot provide these changes for the benefit of bettors. It is very disappointing, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to get around it.

More from Marten: It cannot be done under existing totalizator protocols and technology in North America but it will be possible with the new Wagering Transaction Protocol that will be going through the trial stages this year in various racing jurisdictions. WTP also will be the solution to late odds changes. I’m sure there will be an update on WTP coming out of the Racing Symposium in Arizona this month, which will give us a better idea of how far away WTP is from being fully implemented.

From reader Roger W: I think any private concern who gave such a contract and had the contractor [Scientific Games] default so badly, would have set a deadline for completion and, if the demand was not met, would put the contract out for re-bid to see if someone else could do the job…same old stuff. Everyone seems to be served first except the horseplayer. HHHMMM!

Regarding Frank’s Energy Girls from Big Bobby L: Whatever you think about Frankie S. and his performance running the MEC tracks, you’ve got to give him credit for Frank’s Energy Girls. Staying consistent with Frankie S.’s ‘hands-on’ management style, I’m sure that Frankie S. might have provided some input concerning the selection of the Energy Girls. My personal favorite was Margaretta. I especially liked her choice of favorite food–the wiener schnitzel!!

And finally, on the topic of our favorite track announcer. You’ve heard me rant and rave enough, this from a prominent industry observer who shall remain nameless:

I swear to God if I have to listen to this announcer one day longer …
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Look at the finish for God’s sake, you absolute hack. People do bet the tris and supers and you are absolutely horrendous at calling the finish. Can’t split close ones, doesn’t know who ran third or fourth because he either didn’t look the first time or spent too long saying, “okay, I think it’s A but then B did this and then blah, blah, blah.” Just call what it was and shut up! First race today is a perfect example if you can hear the gallop out. No, the 4 was not even close to fourth, the 1 ran fourth by over a length but he said maybe the 4 because he galloped out well and didn’t look the first time. The other day with Dawn After Dawn and Swiss Diva he goes “Swiss Diva got way the best of the bob.” Acutally, no, she was basically in front but got the absolute worst of the bob, and any fool could see that live. Look up the photo on Calracing if you didn’t see it. How about the Grade I Hollywood Derby? “Maybe Mostacolli Mort for fourth.” No, actually Twilight Meteor ran fourth by, again, over a length but, hey, you’re not there for the
superfecta bettors or owners/breeders who would like to know that their horse actually did place fourth.
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“And if so and so wins the 54th so and so stakes she will make up x lengths in 4-1/2 furlongs …” When I hear that one coming my stomach just turns.
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And he can’t see them coming from out of it with a searchlight. They’re in the test barn by the time he gets on board. Couldn’t pick it out of the pack if he had a psychic working with him around the clock.Â
Absolutely dreadful!

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Good night, now.

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To View Free Samples of Premium Plays from last week, click on the links below: Nov. 28    Nov. 29   Nov. 30   Dec. 1   Dec. 2

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