Laurel Park: Fall 2008 Farewell Tour?

September 06, 2008 | Gary Quill

Thoroughbred horse racing in Maryland has been on a downward spiral since the first slot machine arm was pulled 18 months ago at one of the new slots parlors in Pennsylvania. No, it started back in 1996 when the state of Delaware installed hundreds of slot machines in their three racing venues. No wait! It was actually over 13 years ago when West Virginia was the first state to give their thoroughbred horse racing industry a shot-in-the-arm by passing a Slots Bill.
It’s unfortunate that over the past 10 years politicians in Maryland have played political hardball in refusing to pass a Slots Bill of our own. One that was intended NOT to pad the pockets of then Pimlico and Laurel Park owner Joe DeFrancis, instead help hundreds of Marylanders whose livelihood depends on a healthy horse racing industry in Maryland.
In my opinion, November 4th is Judgment Day for the Maryland thoroughbred horse racing industry, for the horse breeding farms, owners, trainers, stable workers, exercise riders, track employees, etc. If the Slots Machine referendum fails to pass you can kiss good-bye live thoroughbred horse racing in this state, guaranteed! If it passes, a mere 7 percent of the slots revenue will go to horse racing purses whereas about half of the money would go to education. So why are people up-in-arms about the wording on the ballot?
For now, while we still have live horse racing to enjoy, I will do my best to heighten your interest in this Sport of Kings. During this meet, live racing will be offered at Laurel Park Wednesday thru Saturday through the end of 2008. During this meet, I will post a blog offering up my opinions, as I have done below. As an added item, I’ll feature what I call “SHOW Parlay Play of the Day”. I’ll start with a mythical $100 bankroll, using $20 of it to start the parlay. I figure the odds of me sustaining a single SHOW parlay play for the entire meet is slim. Therefore, we’ll have a reserve to tap into if/when a play loses.
A note for novices, when you bet to SHOW, it means your horse must finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Your payoff is the price posted under the SHOW column. A parlay means whatever the return is on your wager; you bet that entire amount on the next bet (i.e. “let it ride”).
If Mother Nature has her way, the feature race on Saturday will be the Hurricane Hanna Handicap to be swum at 1600 meters. The heavy favorite is Maryland-bred, Michael Phelps. Florida invader Flipper should be considered his main rival while Southern California-based Shamu is a huge longshot.
Hopefully, Saturday (Day 3) of the Laurel Park Fall Meet will be a go. Here’s who I like…
Best Bet:         Shannon H (# 3; 6th race; 3-1)

This 3 year old daughter of Hay Halo has taken a liking when the track is “off’ (muddy or sloppy), so she’s as good as any I could find on today’s card.

Longshot:        Rock N’ Bid    (# 15; 7th race; 15-1)
Race is scheduled for 5 ½ furlongs on the grass, but that won’t happen. So Rock N’ Bid, who’s entered for Main Track Only (MTO) always gives a good account of himself when the track is “off’.
SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $100

When starting a SHOW parlay, you’re looking for a good return to establish a base to build on which also means it is your riskiest selection. As a rule, we should find a large field (8 or more starters) and avoid the favorite. With this being said, let’s go!

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $20 on J J Makkem (# 6; 1st race; 7-2)

Fellow Harford County owner/trainer/breeder connection has smartly placed this filly at a level where she’s capable of scoring her maiden victory in her third career start. At the very least she should hit the board.

Please help save thoroughbred horse racing in the great state of Maryland.
On November 4th, vote FOR the Maryland Slots Machine referendum.
Who do you like today? Good luck with your selections!