It's Preakness Day, and the decline of racing is evident. We've all heard about the racetracks needing to turn to slot machines to stay afloat. The slot machines provide much-needed revenue, but they don't provide quality horses and quality racing. It is not just the tracks themselves that have been going dowhill in this country, but also the quality of breeding. On a day as important to Pimlico as Preakness Day, the dirth of races attracting good horses is astounding.
In the first two races of the day, we have horses that have recently been running for claiming prices as low as $16,000. Such claimers may be the best many of the secondary-level tracks in the country have to offer, but on a day featuring the running of the second leg of the Triple Crown, such horses simply don't belong. The first two races are not the worst of it, however. To fill out the cards in the 3rd and 4th races we have $5000 and $7500 claimers running. Those are hardly the sort of horses one expects to see on a day on which the races should be filled with the best horses that the top farms and trainers have to offer. The 5th Race is similar in quality to the first two. It's not until halfway through the card that the quality of the races improves.
Several years ago, on their special day, the Triple Crown tracks would showcase themselves by putting together full programs that contained the best horses in the country in all but, perhaps, the first and last races. It appears that Pimlico was unable to attract such a program this year. It's a sure sign that thoroughbred racing in dying. Like any sport, horse racing is dependent, for its survival, on fans of the sport itself, and not on fans of lotteries, keno, and slot machines. Perhaps the tracks would do better reducing their giant cut of the pot, rather than simply trying to trying to cater to suckers by installing slot machines.
Consider this -- If the casinos began to act like the racetracks, cutting 18-25% out of the poker pots, the poker rooms would probably begin gasping to survive just like the racetracks, and the presence of slot machines wouldn't increase the number of quality poker players one bit.
So far today, at the Crowne Club out top choices are winning at a 50% clip, with a small choice losing and out big play winning. Last year we had a huge day at Pimlico.
In the 7th Race at Pimlico today, we like the following horses in their order of preference:
1st #2 Bold Choix
2nd #11 Thunder Brew
3rd #7 Manhattan Fox