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Horse Betting - The Blotter

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The truth has to be told. Just about every month the California Horse Racing Board issues its rulings and, although this is on the public record, the public doesn’t always find out about what’s going on.

To try to get an edge in this game, it’s always nice to know who is playing by the rules and who is bending them.

I first learned that this game was not completely on the up and up when I was 16 and working at a hamburger stand, you remember the kind that was serviced by car hops? That was me.

My boss, who taught me a lot about racing, was a friend with one of the customers who happened to be nicknamed Carryback. Instead of tips, Carryback gave out horses that he heard were set to roll.

The life changer was called Raven Dale. The first time he won he paid $27. In his next start he paid $39.80. Back to the well for the third straight time and he paid $43.

And a racing fan was born.

Not saying here that the trainers and horses that follow were all set up, but these are the rulings the stewards have set down.

Oscar Garcia was fined three grand and put on probation for a year because his trainee Super Harmony tested positive for cetirizine and hydroxyzine. Harmony was super when 2nd at a fat 28-1 on January 28. The horse eventually was placed last, but not before the cash was paid out.

John Sadler was suspended for 15 days and fined $7,500 for a violation involving Cat and a Half, who ran second 11/11 last year at 9-5. The runner also tested positive for cetirizine and hydroxyzine.

Place horse Crosscut was put up and Cat has since won and run 2nd at 12-1 in a stakes.

Harmony went on to win again at 4-1 in late April at Golden Gate and has not been seen since.

Rapid Silver is another that had his win taken away. The runner finished first March 22 at even money, but was disqualified for exceeding the level of total carbon dioxide. Trained by Jorge Alcala, the conditioner was also fined, but only three grand, and that sure didn’t help the bettors who backed Famous Flash, second in the race in question. Flash was 36-1 that day and for those bettors that smoked out that longshot, they have to be crying in the beer to find out he was whipped by a hopped horse.

Alcala got a credit as a handler-wrangler in the Seabiscuit movie and he is having his best year in 2007. He started winning as a trainer in 2005 when he won with four of 18 starters. He only had two more wins the next year with 46 more starters, but is 12 for 62 this year with 46% of his 2007 starters in the money.

Quite a meteoric rise in production.

Go back in history and you’ll find Bumper Crop, trained by Francisco Martin. It took the CHRB a long time, but they finally suspended that trainer 180 days and fined him ten grand because Bumper tested positive for hydromorphine, a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic.

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You have to also wonder if this guy was juiced two races later. He won by 16 lengths that day in a cheap maiden $8K fray and most recently, when still trained by Martin, he was third beaten a neck at 18-1 May 18 at Los Alamitos.

Granted, you have to succeed in this game or you will not be around. Owners will find trainers that win. But Sadler is one of the best trainers around. Doug O’Neill, trainer of Lava Man and always near the top of the standings, has had his violations, but he continues to also get slapped on the wrist with things like $3,000 fines.

And it doesn’t stop there. Curlin’s trainer, Steve Asmussen, Rags to Riches trainer, Todd Pletcher, and prominent New York horseman Richard Dutrow Jr. all have had their fair share of violations.

For the bettor, you have to read those things into the past performances of racers in order to get a full picture.

It’s just one more thing for the bettor to scrutinize, and only those that go the extra yard, will succeed in this game.

Horse racing with BetUS Racebook. We've got up to date lines and odds on 85+ racetracks. Join BetUS today to get in on the action.


Posted on 7/10/2007 4:06:46 PM
Horse Betting - THE BLOTTER
By Brian Mulligan
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