The New York Racing Association is calling it “enhancing the juvenile races” by limiting the field size of two-year-old maiden races at sprint distances during the upcoming Saratoga meeting which gets underway on July 20 to eight starters. The field size for two-turn juvenile maiden races will be limited to ten starters.
Anything that reduces field size sure looks like a bad idea to me.
“The catalyst behind limiting the field sizes in the maiden races for juveniles was two-fold,” said NYRA Vice President and Director of Racing P. J. Campo. “The smaller fields are expected to produce more cleanly run events while also creating the opportunity to showcase more high-quality races during the meet and beyond. We expect this change will strengthen NYRA's juvenile stakes and allowance programs by helping horses gain the experience they need to compete successfully at higher levels.”
For the life of me I can’t recall any major issues involving two-year-old races over the past couple of years that would necessitate reducing field size.
We have a good shot now of seeing smaller fields, starting with eight but if there is a late scratch or two, we could be looking at field sizes of six or seven runners, far from attractive.
“Protecting our horses is an important mandate,” said New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President and NYRA Board Member Rick Violette Jr. “Larger fields of inexperienced young horses often result in roughly run races. This approach will offer a kinder, gentler and, perhaps, wiser introduction to racing for young horses, and could, in fact, extend their careers.
“Owners will have a better opportunity to fairly evaluate the performances of their horses in manageable fields,” Violette added. “This also will increase the chance that young horses will improve mentally and physically from their first races, rather than having to recover from them.”
The NYRA and Violette can spin it all they want, but reducing field size is going to hurt handle and I am guessing we are going to see a higher percentage of races that turn out to be unattractive from a wagering standpoint.
It’s great they think they have the best interest of the horses in mind, but does anyone in the industry ever think about the horseplayer?
No need to respond, we all know the answer to that question.
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Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 OClm $25,000N1X (12:50 ET)
7 Fizzano 3-1
4 Fastest Magician 4-1
2 Faretti 4-1
9 New Yawker 7-2
Analysis: Fizzano stalked the early pace from the inside and finished evenly for a third place finish last out going long in his first start off a seven month layoff. The winner of the race was Imagining, who came back to beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his next outing by six lengths here on June 29. The gelding won his last two starts last year before hitting the bench, passing his first two allowance conditions against state breds. He looks as if he has enough tactical speed to be able to handle the cut back to seven furlongs.
Fastest Magician came back off a three month layoff in his last start and checked in a non-threatening fifth against Alw-3 optional claimers. He drops two notches in class here and he has a win over the grass here last year in the A Gift which was at seven furlongs. He was good enough to beat Alw-2 optional claimers back in January at Gulfstream Park and fits here if he is right, but with the stakes winner showing up tagged here for $25K we will take a good look at this guy in the post parade before jumping in.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,7 / 2,4,7,9
TRI: 4,7 / 2,4,7,9 / 1,2,4,7,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 OClm $75,000N3X (4:34 ET)
7 Crimson China 4-1
3 Street Game 5-2
4 Mahubo 3-1
1 Formulaforsuccess 5-1
Analysis: Crimson China has not won since taking the Lamplighter last May, but has faced mostly tougher than these and is coming out of a really tough optional claimer at Churchill Downs last out where he was fourth. The winner Guys Reward came back to win the Opening verse and Firecracker Handicap (G2) in his next two starts. The runner up A Diehl came back to win a stake at Indian Downs, and the third place finisher Strike Impact took down the Independence Day at Mountaineer Park on Tuesday night. The colt is in good hands with the Motion barn and the 4-1 morning line looks more than fair.
Street Game is coming off a third place finish in the state bred Kingston behind the winner Compliance Officer, who went yesterday in the Poker Handicap (G3). The colt won his first three starts over the Belmont Park turf including winning the Hill Prince (G3) last June. Ramon was a bit farther back last out behind a moderate pace and hopefully he gets the colt into the mix earlier here and he has enough tactical speed to be sitting closer.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 1,3,4,7
TRI: 3,7 / 1,3,4,7 / 1,3,4,6,7
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R2: #8 In Speight Ofitall 12-1
R2: #6 Wally Did It 10-1
R3: #2 Vexor 8-1
R4: #3 Spinnaker Bay 8-1
R5: #12 Romancing the Gold 12-1
R7: #6 Quiet Power 10-1
R7: #3 Saxophone Len 8-1
R9: #3 D’Sauvage 10-1
R9: #6 My Man Marty 8-1
Good luck today!