Thoughts About the Weekend/The Super Flu

Everyone has had a little taste of the nasty. You know, the yuk that has your body aching, and your only desire is to stay in bed. Well, that may take place today as I am getting ready for the big weekend. The races are starting to heat up, and I hear there is a little football game on Sunday. I can see myself sitting in front of the tube on Saturday charting races, and get my place on the couch ready for the big super match-up. But the world of racing is still spinning,  and here are a couple of observations to chew on for the weekend.

Roman Chapa is an embarrassment to the hard working folks who represent the sport in a positive light. After further review, there should be a “one and done” rule in place. If you carry a buzzer, machine, electrical device, or a Chinese massage unit while in the saddle. You’re done, and you can pick up your tack on your way out to meet the police. You have defrauded the betting public, cheated others, and given racing another black-eye. One and done, Mr. Chapa. I wish you the best in the legal process, and you can bet PETA is going to bust your butt. This is your third time to the plate, and I hope they toss the book at your noggin.

I read the interview with John Gosden, and I love him more than ever before. I’m one of the players who gets up early to glance over PP’s looking for a Gosden runner across the pond. The Thoroughbred Racing Commentary did the piece very well, and it started me thinking about my favorite Euro-trainer. Here are a couple of pieces of the interview that perked my interest:

“So the development of championship races in the autumn is positive. It also makes the sport properly international. It’s getting a little difficult to call the Breeders’ Cup the world championships because horses don’t really come from all over the world. Some come from Europe, the odd one from Japan, and that’s about it. Conversely, the development of racing in Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan, which is increasingly opening up, is a highly international thing. I welcome that.

“As for the scene in Europe, at the moment we have Irish Champions Weekend, French champions weekend, which is the Arc meeting, and British Champions weekend, which closes the sequence in the third week of October. In my opinion, timing-wise, that is beginning to hurt the Breeders’ Cup.”

“Well, they have just built two tracks in China, so we’ll probably be including them before too long. We have to be aware that in the Far East, gambling is part of their nature. Consequently you get massive crowds and a lot of interest. Secondly, there is massive wealth in that part of the world that wants to get involved with buying and breeding racehorses. A lot of farms are popping up all over the place. They were racing horses in China 6,000 years ago. It’s a major sport in Australia; the population is not huge but racing is in the news all the time, not just in Melbourne Cup week. In Japan, the Agriculture and Fisheries Department is responsible for racing. It is under the government’s wing and it is very big, as is racing in Hong Kong.”

The “Big Game” is on the clock, and the crazy countdown has begun. Here is an off the wall idea that maybe Governor Chris Christie may support because it may makes sense. Why not open betting on games? Last year was the first time over $100 million was wagered on the Super Bowl. Four states (Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon) can take some form of wagering action on sporting events. According to the Dallas Morning News, this represents about 1.5% of the total monies that will be wagered. There will be another $8.2 billion wagered illegally. Now, sit back and think about it. – If the wagering is monitored, controlled, and taxed, the idea starts moving the needle. If you are looking for a simple answer to who could accept the wagers. How about the state lottery corporations, race tracks, OTB’s, and casinos? Before you think it may not be worth the trouble, did you read the $8.2 billion dollar figure. Now take it out of the back rooms talking to shady characters and expose it to the light of regulation. States get a cut of the pie in the form of taxes, and gambling facilities get a slice that be the difference of shuttering the doors or building for the future. Think about it. The facilities already handle betting monies and why look for new handlers? I would love to see the betting windows wide open and raking in the money. I can see players having a loyalty card where we track wagers, players, the influx of wagers, and keep underage players on the sideline. The bookies will hate me, but let’s get it from behind the curtain. They’ll still get action from players betting on the cuff who don’t have the money to hit the “Betting Emporiums.”

According to, there are 46 states who offer forms of gambling. This excludes Hawaii, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont. Come on, think about it. How much money is left on the table? Let’s move it out of the backroom and put it on Main Street, America. I can’t think of why we won’t expand this form of accepting a wager. It’s going on, so why not regulate the process?  Picture yourself going to the stadium an hour early to get a beer and make a wager on a lottery terminal. I’ll be willing to bet the worst team in the league will be a sellout on game day, or at least the windows will be packed. This has nothing to do with overall expansion of gambling, but more about regulating something that is going on all around us.

Well, back to bed. My dose of Nyquil is making me drowsy, and sleep is calling my name. But not to worry, this cowboy will be up and ready for two days of action that is sure to keep me on the edge of my couch. I wonder what the “E-Z Win Sports Selections” would look like. I’m sure if the day arrives, they’ll be locked and loaded bringing you the best information to make informed wagers instead of you picking your favorite mascot. – Good luck this weekend with the ponies, and enjoy the game. Tampa Bay Downs and Santa Anita should have some great racing on tap. Oh, and it wouldn’t be right to leave you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out who to “toss out” as your team without knowing my rooting interest. Take a look at the betting line in Vegas. It began at Seattle -1, and drifts to New England -1. All week the line was hanging around NE -2, but the late money is arriving. I’m doing something I hardly ever do, and hopefully I’ll be happy. If you wait too long , it may be a pick at this rate. But, I’m taking Seattle plus whatever, and hopefully we’ll see a repeat. Enjoy the weekend from your friends at Winning Ponies!