Three Race Days on Tap for Memorial Day
It’s a loaded lineup for the start of summer. Davey B gives you the inside track.
Here’s a programming note: Memorial Day means more than parades and backyard barbecues.
California’s Santa Anita Race Course unfurls a loaded Sunday-Monday lineup to entice the gambling public. Santa Anita presents the $200,000 Summertime Oaks and Monrovia races May 26 and a bing-bang-boom package of $500,000 events—the Shoemaker, Gamely and Santa Anita Gold Cup races—on Memorial Day, May 27. The big racing for the week is on a Monday, which is often dark in the industry.
This provides an interesting three-day menu for wagering. On Saturday, May 25, Monmouth Park offers the $200,000 Monmouth Stakes and $150,000 Salvator Mile, while Santa Anita runs the $200,000 Triple Bend and Charles Whittingham races, along with the $100,000 Daytona. Woodbine has the $125,000 Marine and Greenwood Stakes events, while Churchill offers the $100,000 Winning Colors.
The beauty of simulcasting—and by extension, online wagering—is that you can create your own high-quality card from assembled tracks, handicap those events with the Racing Form and bet on the big races. This represents the best the industry has on a given day and doesn’t preclude you from also betting on 50 to 100 other races.
One weekend later, on June 1, Santa Anita has the $200,000 Santa Maria and $150,000 races and Woodbine unfurls the $150,000 Connaught.
Not all tracks can offer big field and big bucks. Some must improvise heavily. Monmouth Park, a proud New Jersey facility, needed a $20 million subsidy from the state, which will be doled out over each of the next five years. In a heavily populated state already impacted by the loss of Atlantic City Race Course and Garden State Park, Monmouth gained a substantial taxpayer-funded boost.
Monmouth illustrates the realities many tracks address in this era. The celebrated facility, known for signature events like the $1 million Haskell (July 20 this year) pre-dated the casino era. Once a kingpin on the racing circuit, Monmouth has been affected by competitors like Delaware Park and Parx Racing.
To make its purses attractive, Monmouth bundles its meet into a Friday-through-Sunday program, with added dates on Memorial Day and July 4.
WoW! Did You Win on the Preakness?
The Preakness paid a whopping $947 exacta with War of Will winning and Everfast living up to its name for second. The $1 trifecta rounded out by Owendale in third returned nearly $4,700, and the superfecta, rounded out by Warrior’s Charge, was worth more than $50,000.
The track also set record handle of nearly $100 million, good numbers for an event marred by the absence of the top two Kentucky Derby finishers, Maximum Security and Country House.
It also provided some irony. Tyler Gaffalione rode the Preakness rail and stormed home with War of Will. When Gaffalione didn’t filean objection after his horse was interfered with in the Derby, he lent more credence to the controversy over Maximum Security’s disqualification. In our view, Gaffalione is an excellent young rider, often on display during the winter Gulfstream championship meet.
Around the Horn
We told you earlier in the year about the baseball betting “misdirection” opportunities, with the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox playing well below their potential.
It was a good time to hop on those teams and sure enough, they got hot. Now keep an eye on the Minnesota Twins, who are playing a little over their heads, and the Washington Nationals, who are playing a bit below. Watch for the good lines.