Apparently the return to real dirt at Santa Anita is a smashing success—no race breakdowns, and two track records set, including one by the War Front juvenile The Factor (whose mother happens to be a half-sister to the precocious 1999 BC Juvenile runner-up Chief Seattle). The other record-setting performance was by Twirling Candy in the G1 Malibu Stakes, besting a two-decades-old record held by the great Spectacular Bid. With apologies to the son of Candy Ride, I saw Spectacular Bid race, and he’s no Bid.
However, as many have rightly noted (but none perhaps as well as Jessica Chapel), the economic news is not so great, as total handle was down 21.5% on Sunday. Whether due to the East Coast blizzard, an effective horseplayers’ boycott, or some other explanation, it’s evident that people just weren’t laying out money on Horse Betting. Count me among them, although it has nothing to do with protesting higher takeout rates or waiting to see how the track played, and my internet service functioned normally as we avoided the storm this time. Instead, call it apathy.
Frankly, I just don’t care about California racing anymore. Call it East Coast bias if you will, but I just feel more confident wagering my dollars on form that makes sense. Over the past several years, results from California tracks have been mind-boggling inconsistent and downright frustrating to interpret, and I’ve given up trying. So, now with dirt back, I’m suppose to relearn all the angles again? Fuggeddabodit! I have neither the inclination nor the time to invest—and there are (as I have bemoaned previously) too damn many races already. Instead, I’ll sit back and enjoy playing plenty of nice full cards at Tampa Bay this winter, along with Fair Grounds and, yes, even the much-maligned Aqueduct inner track. To satisfy my turf fetish, Australia never fails to attract my wagering dollar either, so good luck, California! If you think I'll be pissing my money away on your racing you're dreamin.
Perhaps Screeching Weasel said it best: