Buzzworthy: Europeans play it smart on Twister Bi

by Garnet Barnsdale

Yesterday’s International Trot featured some wagering activity that you don’t see every day. In an age where the “first change” on the board has come to mean very little as the majority of the wagering seems to occur in the final few minutes to post, the early money on Twister Bi was as big a tell as you might ever see.

While the Italian-bred son of Varenne, out of the Lemon Dra mare Lorraine Bi certainly looked like a contender, it was a bit surprising to see him open up at 1-9 on the board and it wasn’t chump change that was in the pool, either. Twister Bi — who was 4-1 on the morning line — opened up at the lowest price possible due mostly to what appeared to be one large bet in the $25,000-$28,000 range. His recent company lines included the likes of two-time Prix D’Amerique winner Bold Eagle, and top-class racehorses Propulsion and Lionel, but — on paper at least — he sure didn’t look like anything close to a 1-9 shot.

Let’s remember for a second, though, that he was facing the defending champ Resolve as well as last year’s trotting Triple Crown champ Marion Maurader, who drew the coveted rail. While neither raced well in their most recent starts and both failed to qualify for the Maple Leaf Trot final, they appeared to have legitimate excuses and figured to take a lot of action.

Throw in the fact that this was a 10-horse field and I don’t think anyone expected a horse to open up at 1-9 and never reach higher than 1-2 on the tote board, but make no mistake, this was definitely a time when the tote board was talking. Not only did Twister Bi take a bulk of the win money, there as also close to 60 per cent of the show pool bet on him. Remember there is no place pool in Europe. They can bet to win and to show overseas. That tells us that most of the heavy wagering was coming from overseas and whatever might haven’t been apparent to us here in the program was obvious overseas and Twister Bi was pounded like he couldn’t lose.

If you look at the result of the Pick 5 and the $1,500 payoff that included three favorites, a second-choice and one 6-1 shot, you will likely come to the conclusion that Twister Bi did not play like anything close to a 2-5 shot in that wager.

The rest is now history as the five-year-old stallion produced a stunning world record performance that is sure to be talked about for some time. As for the heavy wagering? One tweeter, Darin Zoccali of TVG, had it bang-on. His tweet: “European money = smart money #InternationalTrot. Indeed it was.