At the Gate - Wednesday
September 26, 2012
By Mike Dempsey
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I would like to take a minute to thank the NFL for taking over (at least temporarily) for being the most dysfunctional sport on the planet, which had previously been held by horse racing by a landslide.
I have often complained about the horse racing industry, which has no central office or commissioner, with each track and state making up their owns rules.
The sport cannot do even the simplest of things, like staggering post times of important stakes or having betting rules that are consistent from track to track.
Now along comes the NFL, which is heading into week #4 of the season still using replacement referees despite major problems each week.
Of course it really blew up Monday night, where a terrible call cost the Green Bay Packers a win, and more than $300 million in bets were placed in Las Vegas and countless more millions wagered offshore.
It turns out some of the replacement refs had actually worked in the Lingerie Football League, and had been fired from the league that features scantily clad women.
"Due to several on-field occurrences of incompetent officiating, we chose to part ways with a crew which apparently is now officiating in the NFL," Lingerie League commissioner Mitch Mortaza said in a statement. "We have a lot of respect for our officials but we felt the officiating was not in line with our expectations."
"We have not made public comment to date because we felt it was not our place to do so. However in light of tonight's event, we felt it was only fair that NFL fans knew the truth as to who are officiating these games," Mortaza said.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners are standing their ground, which apparently is going to lead to at least another week of these replacement refs, which to me is just mind boggling.
Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach was so angry after Monday night's game that he posted Goodell's office phone number on Twitter and encouraged disgruntled fans to give him a call.
Packer's lineman TJ Lang took to Twitter shortly after the game, dropping a couple of f-bombs in a pair of angry tweets that were retweeted over 150,000 times as of this morning.
The replacement ref debacle may get worse for the NFL Thursday night, as every writer, columnist, and blogger in the universe will be watching the game under a microscope, looking for every mistake the refs make.
I have always said that horse racing would be better off with a commissioner, but after watching Roger Goodell the past four weeks, I think our game is good for now.
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Here is today's opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Md $25,000 (12:50 ET)
2 Chat Me Up 5-1
5 She Be Bunny 2-1
8 English Notes 5-2
1 Neveranystress 8-1
Analysis: Chat Me Up drops back in for a $25K last out after taking on $65K maiden claimers in her first three starts for the Schettino barn off the claim. She was outrun early while saving ground along the inside, had to steady at the 5/15's and finished up well when clear in the stretch. Her previous run at this tag came back in May over the main track and she was a game second, beaten just a half-length. She fits here if she gets a clean trip although Ramon departs and we pick up Espinoza who has been on the chilly side the past few months.
She Be Bunny sett the early fractions and could not hold off the winner in deep stretch, settling for the runner up spot, beaten a half-length for the top spot. There is not much other early zip in here and if she is able to shake loose early she may prove tough to catch late. Her turf pedigree is on the light side but she catches a pretty weak looking group here.
WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 1,2,5,8
TRI: 2,5 / 1,2,5,8 / 1,2,5,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 Clm $20,000N2L (4:34 ET)
4 Caution Sign 3-1
8 Forever Vow 6-1
12 Court of Dreams 7-2
2 Krissy Kat 5-1
Analysis: Caution Sign was not a threat last out against starter optional claimers in her first start against winners, checking in ninth. She was a good looking maiden winner two back for a $50K tag in her first start off a 7 1/2 month layoff. She drops into a softer spot here tagged for $20K and facing non-winners of two for the Clement barn. The barn fins a great spot here for her third start off the bench.
Forever Vow tracked the early pace, came up the inside and finished up well for the runner up spot last out at this level at the Spa, beaten just a length for the top spot. The winner was Sally's Dream came back to beat state bred Alw-1 foes in her next outing on Sept. 22 here. The mare has lost seven in a row since breaking her maiden and now sports a 1 for 17 career mark, but she looks like a good fit here with her best.
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,8 / 2,4,8,12
TRI: 4,8 / 2,4,8,12 / 2,4,7,8,12
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.
R1: #1 Neveranystress 8-1
R2: #3 Huge Asset 10-1
R5: #4 Alston Gunter 8-1
R6: #9 Scienziato 8-1
R6: #4 Hermosura 12-1
Good luck today!
HORSE RACING EXPERT
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
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Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.
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