HRU Feedback (2017-09-10)

RE: Hollywood

In Hollywood Heyden’s article (full story here) he mentioned Tom Artandi trained BJ Scoot, Matts Scooter (who didn’t win the Jug. I’m sure he meant Goalie Jeff won did win the Jug) and Lady Genius. Well, one out of three isn’t too bad, right?

— Bill Bigler / Pompano Beach, FL

Betting Yonkers is frustrating

It is almost impossible to bet races at Yonkers Raceway. First off, dealing with the minutes to post is one thing — it must mean Central Stand time. But that’s not my main point.

How can you bet a race without knowing what the odds are? In every race there seems to be odds on one, two or three horses at 3-1 to 5-1. But that means nothing as with every flash of the board its bounces all over. The 3-5 is now 2-1, the 5-1 is now 2-1. I would like to play the 5-1 but how can I as by the time the race goes off, at Central Standard time, the horse is 8-5?

I know the reason. THERE IS NO HANDLE. There’s $4,500 in the entire win pool. The exacta pool has more money than the entire WPS pools, and that isn’t much either. Each night the total handle is roughly between $450,000 and $550,000 regardless of the day of the week.

Now they have a beautiful live stream in HD available to all free of charge. That’s a great thing but they do not have a product worth streaming. I can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes involving betting and when bets are placed and all the other games.

Also, the way races are raced. In every race someone battles for the lead in a :27.2 quarter, then backs down the second quarter to :56.1 or slower. Hardly anyone pulls first over until the third turn. Usually that horse stalls somewhere down the backstretch forcing someone to go three wide on the final turn. Then an inside move in the passing lane. Rarely does a horse not in the top four finish in the money. BORING.

With no handle and only slots supporting the extremely large purses this is a situation that is doomed. The Meadowlands far and away offers a substantially better betting product with lesser quality horses and cheap purses, but generates over $2 million in handle nightly. How is this possible? Mr. Spock would say “It’s not logical.”

— Bill Hartenstine / Farmingdale, NY

Big supporter of Gural, but…

No one roots for the Meadowlands to succeed, get slots, and return to glory more than I. Thus, I preface my comments by saying I am a full supporter of the Big M. However, why Mr. Gural felt it necessary to comment on the story regarding drivers George Brennan and Brian Sears is beyond me (2017-09-03 Feedback).

Yes, these big name drivers left the Big M to chase the slots money in front of an empty grandstand and watchful pigeons over at Yonkers. However, for the most part, drivers have nothing to do with the success of the Meadowlands. Don’t get me wrong, no one wants to bet amateurs or C track drivers, but the success of the Meadowlands is based on the handle generated by FIELD size and competitiveness. When the fields have nine and 10 horses and the races are competitive, the races will produce a good waging results regardless of whether the drivers are Hall of Famers, newbies, or D track drivers. Oddly, last year I believe Mr. Gural pointed out that an amateur trot at the Meadowlands produced more wagering than the International Trot at Yonkers. Thus, one only has to remind him of his own comments to prove that NAMES mean nothing. The success of the Meadowlands, sans slots, will rise or fall on competitiveness and field size as well as the fact that the track is a one mile oval.

Claiming that Brennan and/or Sears should have “called” Mr. Gural before he invested in the new grandstand is preposterous as well. That statement may be the biggest pile of horse dung ever spoken. I’m sure Mr. Gural has good intentions and a great desire to aid the sport, but just be honest in saying that the $130/140 million “investment” is more about a casino. The partners involved with Mr. Gural, such the Hard Rock (I’m not 100 per cent sure if they are still on board, I admit) are not interested in the equine athletes. They’re interested in the gold mine that would come from a casino in northern NJ. I, along with a lot of my friends at track I’ve spoken with, preferred the old building. Even the some tellers and some of the security preferred the old Big M. That ridiculous expenditure of a new grandstand has all to do with preparing in case a casino is approved. The new building hasn’t done anything to increase handle or attendance.

— Christopher Fenty / Mt Kisco, NY