Despite the persistent whine of the naysayers, Caymanas Park was divested by way of Lease to Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) as of March 8. Already, since that date
- Two race meetings have been run with the races being run on time for the most part;
- SVREL has committed to increase purses by $100 million
- Entrance fees have been reduced
Not a bad start especially as the many doubters felt nobody would want the track and certainly nobody would be able to turn it around. In that regard (turning it around) my bet is firmly on SVREL to win.
There are some fundamentals that SVREL need to address immediately. They include
- A fairer and more growth encouraging distribution of purses. Currently, owners pay 100% of all bills for the keep and care of all horses but net only 70% of purses earned. This is the world’s lowest return on investment to owners. Bonuses should be agreed between owners and trainers (to include jockeys and grooms) and should be limited to a maximum of 10% (trainers); 7.5% of winning rides only, except in Grade 1 races (jockeys) and 2.5% to grooms leaving an owner to net 80% of purses earned.
- Purses should be paid by SVREL to the owner(s) of the horse only. This would eliminate reams of paperwork and administrative confusion as CTL had a routine of paying bonuses directly to trainers, jockeys and grooms deducted directly from the owner’s purse. This makes neither business nor legal sense as the Jockeys etc have no agreement with the Promoter and any “bonus” should be paid by the Owner as per his goodwill or any agreement with the licensed personnel. Trainers must charge a realistic daily rate; jockeys should charge per ride to be paid up front; and grooms must be paid a realistic salary.
- The pernicious 30%+ takeout from the win/place Tote should stop. It’s the highest in the world and is a disincentive to betting. There are many ways corporate efficiencies can be improved, including a switch from OTBs to an OTB/internet betting mix with fewer OTBs. The eventual goal must be to reduce that takeout to 15% or less. Government should contribute to this by reducing its Pool Betting Duty to international levels.
There’s a lot more but this would be a great start.
- Clocked In
This is where we review horses that excelled on the clock and predict their probable future based on REAL times.
To help with some of the abbreviations: TV is “Track Variant” (how to calculate the effect of track conditions, including wind, on the official times posted); all TVs are in fifths of a second; a “minus” means the track was fast; a “plus” means it was slow (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second); variants beside an individual horse’s name records the difference between its official time and the grade average (standard).
Last Saturday’s racing surface was lightning fast.
March 25, 2017 [TV -1.25 per furlong (Rd); +4 (str)]
LOOSE CANNON (-11) (R1; 3yonw2; 1100m; TV -7) improved again; quickly won early speed duel; burned off early challengers by top of lane; won eased down (hands and heels) in 1:05.4. This appears a brilliant time but after applying the TV his corrected time is 1:07.1 which is 1/5th of a second slower than the average for nw3. However, he won with plenty in hand so is expected to improve again.
The second, Lightning Lily (-8); keeping on well final furlong, has produced a corrected time of 1:07.4 which is 1/5th second faster than the grade average. This is only her 3rd career start so she should have no difficulty winning one of these especially if stepped up to 6f+
PROFILE (-11) (R8; 4yomsw; 1200m; TV -7.5) made all (was The Terrible Tout’s NAP OF THE DAY available to all Twitter followers and shares) and never in danger clocking 1:14.3 which converts to a real time of 1:16.0+. This is not good enough to win a nw2 (average 1: 15.1). He’s taken a while to release the maiden tag so has an exposed look about him and, unless he produces unusual improvement, he’s unlikely to win again until entered at $180,000 claiming’
However, Newton’s First Law/Leekout (-9) separated by SH in 2nd/3rd respectively clocked 1:15.0 (converts to 1:16.2+) which should be good enough to win a 4yo maiden (standard 1:16,4). In Leekout’s case, an extra furlong wouldn’t go unappreciated.
- Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)
April and May offer some exciting OBOs beginning with the Lincoln, the English flat season’s first big Handicap (April 1, Doncaster, 1 mile straight) and the US Masters Golf tournament sharing April’s second weekend with the Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree in Liverpool. Then the first weekend in May is pure flat racing heaven as England showcases its 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas over Newmarket’s Rowley Mile while, across the pond in Louisville, the Kentucky Derby (that’s Derby NOT “Darby”) will be run for the roses at Churchill Downs.
The Lincoln is always a puzzle and usually draw dependent so it’s no fun that this year, it’s run on April Fools’ Day. It’s best to keep those with recent runs (fit), who relish the trip and likely easy underfoot conditions on the right side. In that context, the two to concentrate on are KEYSTROKE and Yuften 2nd/3rd respectively in the Listed Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton on March 11. The latter (2nd in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat as a 3yo) seems the classier of the two (receives 2lbs) but the former may handle soft ground best.
As Golf’s first Major Tournament of a new year, the US Masters is always exciting. Augusta is a wide, long, tough to walk course with tricky undulating greens that tests putting skills above all others but the big hitters have also been able to do well because of the wide fairways. This year, nobody is more fit and focused on winning the Masters than wunderkind RORY McILROY, undoubtedly the world’s most talented golfer who only needs this one for a career grand slam of Majors. Nobody drives it longer or straighter than Rory and now that his focus seems right, he’ll prove very hard to beat. Others with chances include Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson; likely upsetters are “puttsters” Brandt Snedeker and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
The Grand National should go to VIEUX LION ROUGE who is perfectly suited to the course (had a clear round on National debut last year when starting at 100/1). He has improved steadily since and won the Grand National Trial at Haydock on last. He’s laid out for this.
The English Classics are too far away to have dogmatic views but, even at this early stage Aidan O’Brien looks like dominating. But his favourites offer no value for such a long term bet so try a flutter on CARRAVAGGIO (currently 7 /1; 4 for 4 as a 2yo including Group 1 Phoenix Stakes by 4l from Courage Under Fire; yet to try beyond 6f) in the 2,000 Guineas (May 6) and PROMISE TO BE TRUE (20/1; ¾l 2nd to Wuheida in Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac; green and hampered late) who promises (sorry) to be better for a return to spring ground. Both are trained by Aidan O’Brien.
Finally, the road to the Kentucky Derby has been littered with highly fancied dropouts due to injury and setbacks galore. Current favourite and deservedly so is Sam Davis winner McCraken but, at 14/1, TAPWRIT a fast finishing 2nd in that race and subsequent impressive winner of the Tampa Bay Derby must be the value. They should meet in the Florida Derby on April 1 so take the early price before that event.