February 13, 2006

Grand ole Matt’s Scooter celebrated another milestone via his recently announced Hall Of Fame citation. A foal of 1985, the former “world’s fastest harness horse” is still hale and hearty even at the voting age of 21 and is primed and ready for another breeding season.

The great Moni Maker also achieved a very well deserved Hall of Fame nomination.

You know its possible that this year three of the top half dozen or so trotting stallions could be FULL brothers that is of course if Andover Hall emulates or surpasses brothers Conway Hall and Angus Hall.

And we could easily have a quartet of significant stallions from the great Rich N Elegant should first Red River Hanover and then Rocknroll Hanover equal or surpass existing brothers Rustler Hanover and Richess Hanover.

Yet just a few short years ago a trotter had to be either by Valley Victory or a Valley Victory son in order to win classics and attract megabids.

That has changed.

Now a classics winner could be a Muscles Yankee, Yankee Glide, both Valley Victory sons, Or it could be an S J’s Photo, S Js Caviar, one of the Garland Lobell “Hall” brothers like Conway, Angus, or Andover. Then, there’s this Super Bowl resurgence through Credit Winner (American Winner-Super Bowl) and Striking Sahbra (Supergill-Super Bowl). There’s also Malabar Man, Dream Vacation, and a whole slew of exciting new prospects like Tom Ridge, Windsongs Legacy, Broadway Hall, Cantab Hall Classic Photo Like A Prayer and Revenue. Thus what seemed so single dimensional five years ago is once again multi dimensional.

Unfortunately there was that degree of stagnation within the trotting breed given the long dominance of first Speedy Crown and then Super Bowl (with Speedy Crown mares) but that has passed..

Just as the once over-powering dominance of Meadow Skipper-and sons Most Happy Fella-Albatross has been saturated with the Adios resurgence through the Abercrombie sons Artsplace and Life Sign. The Most Happy Fella branch from Meadow Skipper is now twofold via No Nukes-Western Hanover and the Cam Fella sons.

Not sure how this proposed move to stallion book limitations is going to affect what is already occurring.

Moreover, can illustrate first hand that hypocrisy can and does rear its ugly little head in regards to these stallion “numbers” as I’ve yet to have one person ask “how many you breeding to that sucker?” when in the process requesting that belated extra breeding needed for a mare either coming off the track or unsuccessful with a suddenly troubled rival stallion. At that moment, all they care about is “Get me in! Throw the other guy out, but get my mare in”

Had this precise scenario with Malabar Man, Muscles Yankee, Windsong’s Legacy and now Rocknroll Hanover!

Old handicapping colleague and USTA columnist Bob Pandolfo likened certain aspects of poker handicapping to horse handicapping in terms of the mathematical probabilities inherent in both. It’s a good read although the essential differential between horse betting and other gambling forms is not touched on.

With poker and other card games, it’s a play action thing as the player personally controls a segment of the play. He decides when to hold, fold, raise, etc as the play is against the other players. Even slot players can feel an element of play action as they select the location of the machine along with the hand speed needed to pull the lever.

Even those betting craps know that the element of chance supercedes player intention as the shooter has no control over how those dice will actually land.

However with horse race, betting as in sports betting control ceases with the issuance of the ticket. Thereafter, drivers intention, the horse’s condition, stable intention in addition the nuances of the actual race dictate what the result will be.

With sports betting there’s the element of athlete condition, weather condition, and as in the case of the Super Bowl official mishap condition. However an essential difference with sports betting is that generally the bettor is assured that regardless of outcome, participant intentions are predictable..

That is not the case with horse betting as much too often not all participants exhibit a consistent degree of PREDICTABLE intent forcing the bettor to psychoanalyze in addition to handicapping. Consequently losing bettors are eligible to perceive and conclude as they see fit which understandably they will! Unfortunately for us, the moment they sense all is not as it should be, they’re GONE.

Bob Marks



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