Considering the COVID-19 emergency situation that has upset the normal schedules of racing and our reporting, we have less to update than usual. Our addendum post on the racetracks closing indicated dates for their return to racing, but that is subject to change, Keep checking TwinSpires blogs for all racing to keep up with what is in play.
Pompano stayed open and we brought our Wallyworld feature to an end. This is the main feature story for this Update edition, along with news items that, unfortunately, are related to the current pandemic’s affect on the sport.
Thursday, March 12
Our challenging Wally Hennessey’s driving prowess at Pompano was not, of course, a test of his talent. There is no debate that at the Florida track Wally is the ruling driver. Our challenge had to do with the affects of his talent, which are overwhelmingly short-priced winners.
Wally is a flat-bet loss for bettors, so we used races in which he drove, cancelled his horse out, and supported others that we felt were contenders. Due to the betting public’s habit of making Wally’s horses prohibitive favorites, most other good contenders offer far higher odds than their chances; those were our targets.
Here are the stats for the nine-week Wallyworld feature series, which began on Jan. 11.
There were 48 races (not counting the few in which our contender scratched), with Wally riding. Wally won 19 of the 48 races, a 40-percent win rate. Only one he drove paid double digits. The other 47 he reined saw the public bet strongly due relation to his appearance.
Our contenders won three times for a 6-percent win rate. However, only one of three winners was a favorite, paying $2.80. Our other two winners paid $14.20 and $10.60. Due to the strong odds our contenders presented, their finishes on the board were better, for the most part, than Wally’s horses’ win prices. In 48 races, we finished in second or third 21 times.
Friday, March 13
We added two horses on Twitter, both from the Meadows afternoon program.
Owen (54-1) finished sixth in a race we figured would go to an outsider. It did just that, as a 15-1 shot won.
The second addition, Captain Sunshine, scratched.
H2W LIST RESULTS
The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas listed are included when a H2W horse finishes second with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices published are correct even when a show price exceeds a place price or any or all of the prices are the same. This week, there were 39 active horses (a 8-percent win hit rate and a 39-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).
Please note that some H2W results reflect win, place, show and exotic results occurring by press time but some horses race after the blog is posted (we list them the following weeks) It is up to you to follow horses that have not performed before this weekly review.
Lt Col JE Leonard, $27.60, $5.20, $3.60, Pompano
Velocity Lana, $13.80, $6.60, $3.40, Cal-Expo
*Buddy Hally, $2.80, $2.60, $2.10, Northfield
*Ubanji, $8.40, $4.80 (Exacta $25.60), Northfield
Cranberry Brie, $5.20, n/s (Exacta $15.00), Yonkers
Aberdeen Seelster, $3.20, $2.30, Saratoga
Duck Duck Dragon, $2.10, $2.10 (Exacta $4.00), Northfield
Special Sauce, $5.00, Hawthorne
Cousin Rickard, $4.80, Pompano
Mr Saturday Night, $3.60, Fraser
Bicorne Hanover, $3.20, Meadows
Five Card Drawn, $2.80, Cal-Expo
Sin Machqueen, $2.60, Cal-Expo
Twice An Angel, $2.20, Flamboro
Rock N Tony, $2.10, Saratoga
News & Notes
Monticello is ceasing racing and simulcasting beginning March 16 as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Officials said, “Ensuring the health and welfare of our patrons, horsemen and employees is our top priority. Our plan is to reopen March 30 but we will continue to closely monitor developments and rely on guidance from the CDC as well as state and local health officials.” During the down time, the Simulcasting Room, Racing Paddock, Race Office, and common areas will undergo a deep cleaning and sanitization process.
Before the March 13 program, officials at Cal Expo indicated the track would conduct live harness racing through March 14 but is restricting access to the facility. They said “only essential employees and licensees are allowed” and anyone entering the track must enter through a specific Gate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a preventative measure due to COVID-19, the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and Miami Valley Gaming postponed their “Big Screen Television Giveaway.” The contest was scheduled for March 13. The association said it will work with Miami Valley Gaming to reschedule the event when conditions are appropriate due to the health crisis.
Canada’s active raceways are taking steps to protect participants traveling to and from the facilities. No cancellations for upcoming cards have been announced as of this post. In Ontario, the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) is monitoring the COVID-19 atmosphere, instituting a screening process for paddock entries.
Some members of the Yonkers Raceway community are confronting COVID-19. Jason Bartlett, leading driver at Yonkers has been under self-quarantine since March 9. Joe Faraldo, amateur-driving champ and head of harness’s New York horsemen association stayed home because doctors are concerned he may have contracted COVID-19 due to contact. Joe’s test came back negative but concerns continue. A Yonkers paddock worker has been hospitalized with COVID-19.
Trainers Rene Allard and Richard Branca have been added to the 27 individuals charged with “offenses relating to the systematic and covert administration of illegal performance-enhancing drugs [PEDs] to racehorses competing across the United States and abroad.” To read the complete story of the busts, click here.
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