Buzzworthy: Miso Fast’s scratch highlights disconnect between gamblers and horsepeople

by Garnet Barnsdale

Social media was buzzing Sunday night after big favorite Miso Fast scratched out of a race at Pompano Park after both the Pick 6 and Pick 5 sequence of races had started. Miso Fast’s connections did not want to race in inclement weather conditions.

The age-old disconnect between gamblers and horsepeople was on full display. Gamblers argued that they were getting a raw deal getting stuck with a favorite that they maybe didn’t like or want to replace Miso Fast on their tickets. This four-year-old Roll With Joe horse surely would be no higher than 1-5 on the board following an impressive 1:50.3 winning debut for previous connections the previous week.

Horsepeople argued that the new owners — Winchester Baye Acres Llc of Lancaster, OH – who had paid a hefty sum of $250,000 for this new member of their stable at the Meadowlands Mixed Sale in January, had done nothing wrong scratching their expensive acquisition after some torrential rain had made the track very sloppy.

Tweeter @InsideThePylons had this to say: “This isn’t an animal welfare issue… this is an actuarial issue… if it was a $4K claimer who was 2-/5 racing for $15K then I guarantee you with 100% certainty that the same connection would NEVER scratch….So please stop with the animal welfare nonsense.”

Jay Hochstetler and other horsepeople on the thread seemed to defend the owners in this case based on their tweets. “Lots of chronically lame horses get scratched when the track is awful. It literally happens all winter long” Hochstetler tweeted. “Only difference here is the weather got way worse mid card. If that rain had hit in race 1, it’d be a non-issue. They waited for the weather result and reacted.”

The issue came to a head when a few minutes before race 7, it started pouring rain and didn’t stop for 20 minutes. Miso Fast was in to go for race 8, which was the final leg of a Pick 6 that had a $20K pool and the third leg of the Pick 4 which had attracted $37K in wagering. Bettors got stuck with Dees Rocketman, who as the 3-2 favorite looked capable, but he was no standout like Miso Fast was on paper and certainly not a horse that most bettors would single, as many surely did with Miso Fast who was withdrawn from the race by his owners after this storm.

In cases like this it appears there will never come a time when horsepeople and bettors agree, but this is clearly a case where bettors got a raw deal – especially anyone who put big money into a multi-race ticket singling Miso Fast.

Is there an answer? Yes. There should be a rule common to all tracks which allows bettors top to alter their ticket and make a replacement choice if a horse scratches when a multi-race sequence has started. It’s 2018. The technical part of this exercise can’t be that hard to figure out and put in place. The question is, does anyone care about bettors enough to make it happen?