Taking It on The Chin

Nobody, and I mean nobody likes taking it on the chin. If you bet the late sequence at Belmont on Thursday anchored by the Easy Goer Stakes you took it on the chin. The old and very poor rule of giving the bettor the favorite in place of a scratch stinks. 

In fairness, if you went after any multi-race bets in that sequence, you are probably playing compulsively, and right into the hands of poor racetrack managers. It was a bad sequence, to begin with, and it was made horrendous by scratches in the Easy Goer. 

The Easy Goer became a match race and a match race with a 1-2 heavy favorite. The worst part of that was he was not going to be the speed in the two-horse field. Any student of the game knows historically the speed almost always has an advantage in a match race. 

Originally carded with just six horses, the race lost Casino Grande, Informative, Prodigious Bay, and Toy, who were all scratched. Toy was a late scratch. Obviously, this changed the entire complexion of the race and gave an advantage to Celtic Striker under the hot Manny Franco over Sonneman, who had zero early speed under Jose Ortiz. The race was essentially over when they both sprung out of the gate. 

If you had Sonneman or were stuck with Sonneman because of the scratches, you were hosed. They’re off, the race is over, you lose, just like old Abbot and Costello skit. 

The game is tough enough on its own. It doesn’t need any help from poor rules designed to hose the players and keep money in racetracks pockets. This is not three card monte. 

If you want to be in this scenario, I suggest buying a lottery ticket. Handicappers play into scenarios which involve pace setups. When you change that you remove any calculations, their wager was based on making it a lottery ticket. The lottery pays more if you, by chance, win it. 

Given the option when this occurs, I would choose to live to fight another day. I do not play compulsively. I play when I think I have an edge and to win. I’d take a refund. I don’t want all when a surface switch occurs. I don’t want any favorite I wanted to bet against. If you can’t give me a late adjustment or an alternative selection, give me back my money! Why should you keep it and give part to luckier lottery winners? 

The scratching into the favorite rule shows a complete disregard for the customer, the bettor. Sure, we all know the rules going in, but that doesn’t mean some of them don’t stink and need revision. 

The “all” rule when a surface change occurs after a sequence begins also stinks. Give me back my money. I bet a turf race that is now a dirt race. Again, I didn’t come to play three card monte. 

We know racetracks do not like to spend money on technology and software. Adding alternatives or adjustments to existing wagers would take an investment by them to make things better for the bettor. That isn’t likely to happen. A refund, however, or at least the option for one is a lot simpler. 

If you don’t take care of your customer, someone else will. We talk about bringing in new blood, yet we step all over the core customers we already have. 

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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