Monthly Archives: July 2012

Betting on racing in Nevada? Nah, we don’t need that.

The alarming news broke Monday that betting on horse racing at Nevada sports books is in jeopardy because of a contract dsipute. Here’s a link to the article published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The news was met with a ho-hum reaction on the Internet. The date the contract expires is July 31. That’s today.

Hello? Is anyone home?

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No “winning wiener” for Baffert; superstitious bettors leery

Bob Baffert hasn’t held back when disclosing his secret to domination of the Haskell Invitational.

Baffert credits his five victories in the monumental Monmouth Park matchup to a cuisine ritual: eating a Max’s hot dog before the race. Mind you, only one.

Max’s Famous Hot Dogs is a landmark eatery in Long Branch that’s been intertwined with horse racing from the start. Businessman Milford Maybaum, who bought the restaurant and became known as “Mr. Max,”  was heavily involved in racing. He owned several race horses and often traveled to various tracks. There was even a horse named after his wife – known as “Mrs. Max” – tabbed Hot Dog Queen, who ran, of course, at Monmouth.


This year, Baffert will miss his excursion to Max’s, and he won’t be in attendance to watch Paynter, the Haskell favorite. The trainer is staying in California to oversee his runners at Del Mar. With his recent health issues, it might be for the best he doesn’t chow down.

According to an Associated Press story this week, Baffert told assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes to take over hot dog duties – and to get there before rival trainer Dale Romans, who has Dullahan in the race.

Superstitious bettors, however, are leery of Paynter in light of this development. Will it really be the same if Barnes eats the hot dog? Does this signal an end to Baffert’s reign?

Wager wisely with the “winning wiener” angle.

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Will Bodemania give way to Paynter Pandemonium?


They crowded Bodemeister with cameras and followed the colt’s every move as he challenged I’ll Have Another along the Triple Crown trail. A true Bob Baffert throwback, he’d race to the lead and try his best to hold on, always getting caught in the final strides.

Bodemeister has been a star since he turned heads with his dominating Arkansas Derby romp. There’s some competition brewing in the Baffert training camp, however, with another front-running quarterback . . .colt, that is. . . in Paynter.

Paynter showed his mettle with a gutsy second behind rail-riding Union Rags in the Belmont. While considered the bench player during the early phase of the Triple Crown, he proved he belongs in the Grade 1 big leagues and is now considered one of the top prospects in his division.


Now the question remains: Who is the starting passer in Baffert’s 3-year-old rotation?

Lest we not forget that Baffert thought from the start that Paynter, overall, was the better runner.

The pressure has increased on Bodemeister since a fever knocked him off his training schedule and kept him out of the Haskell. He’ll return soon, but look who took his place in the Haskell lineup: Paynter.

It could be the final determination will be settled in a head-to-head battle on the track.

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Pletcher 1 for 22 at the Spa. Who do I single now?

pletcherIt’s a dry spell in more ways than one during this hot summer at Saratoga.

A shrinking water supply has forced the city’s public officials to call for voluntary water restrictions.

Even more alarming: Trainer Todd Pletcher is 1 for 22 after the first four days of racing at the Spa.

Take appropriate precautions – it could be one for the ages. The Pletcher slump, that is. The conditioner who usually dominates, providing horseplayers with steadfast singles for Pick 4’s and dreamers with dazzling debuting darlings, is cold as a Shake Shack shake.

Reports of dazed and disillusioned chalk players flooding Saratoga streets are premature; at this time, self-imposed betting restrictions are simply voluntary.

Meanwhile, Skip Scirocco, Saratoga’s City Public Works Commissioner, has requested residents in odd-numbered houses water their lawns only on odd-numbered days, and those in even-numbered houses on even-numbered days.

Doesn’t everything in Saratoga sound like some form of a handicapping system?

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If Jay Bilas can be Big East commish, can Kenny Mayne be horse racing’s czar?

Mayne with Baffert

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino set social media into a frenzy with his post suggesting television commentator Jay Bilas would make the perfect Big East commissioner. No, really, that’s what he said.

Pitino’s words, from his web site: “He has charisma, knows T.V., has a legal background, outstanding presence, and a creative thinker. He would be a grand slam.”

This forward thinking elicits an idea for the troubled world of horse racing. Instead of turning to the industry insiders for needed leadership, why not look to one of our media stars? ESPN’s Kenny Mayne fits the bill.

He has all the qualities Pitino mentioned – well, we’re not sure about any legal background – and could turn an objective eye to the important issues facing racing today. If anything, the quarterly reports would be fun to read.

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Zito claims Jackson Bend “mad” after loss because “he doesn’t want to run outside.”

Apparently Jackson Bend is “miffed” about his loss as the 4-5 favorite in Friday’s James Marvin at Saratoga. That’s what his trainer said Saturday.

“He was mad yesterday,” Nick Zito is quoted as saying in a press release.

Jackson Bend broke from the farthest post – the No. 7 – and had a new jockey, Rosie Napravnik. The horse was wide for most of the trek and wound up fourth.

It seems the 5-year-old son of Hear no Evil isn’t one for the grandstand view – he’s a rail hugger.

“He just doesn’t want to run outside,” Zito said. “He loves to run on the fence, he loves to split horses, but that’s the way it went.”

Zito said Napravnik tried to maneuver to the inside, but couldn’t get there for the optimal trip.

“We’ll try to regroup and hopefully come back in the Forego.”

Jackson Bend is crossing his hooves for an inside post.

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