Sunday, May 22, 2016

Stepien, Adams Surge in Hambletonian Society Handicapping Contest

(May 22, 2016) – Anne Stepien and Russ Adams surged from mid-pack to move into second and third place respectively in week nine of the 2016 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, The Raceway at Western Fair District, Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs.  Stepien was the top handicapper for the week, earning 101.55 (339.15 total) points while Adams was just off the pace, finishing second with 94.25 (320.85) points.  Jay Hochstetler remains the overall leader with 339.15 points, his lead shrinking slightly to 92.6 points.  This makes it nine weeks straight with Hochstetler in the lead.

Stepien managed to win three of the four races for the evening, winning the first division of the Graduate Trot with Crazshana ($17.20), the Graduate Pace with Artistic Major ($20.40), and Wiggle It Jiggleit ($3.00) in the Battle of Lake Erie; her only miss was in the second division of the Graduate Trot when Pinkman finished third.  Adams also had Crazshana and Artistic Major but his selection of Crescent Fashion finished second in the second division of the Graduate Trot while Foiled Again ran out of the money in the Battle of Lake Erie.  It was far back to Dennis O’Hara who finished third for the week with 50.08 points.

Following Saturday night’s action, the standings are as follows:

May 21, 2016 - Leg #15
Pos
Handicapper
Total Points
Prior Week
Points Earned
This Week
Overall
Total Points
Position
Last
Week
Points
Back
1st
Jay Hochstetler
420.05
11.70
431.75
1st
            -  
2nd
Anne Stepien
237.60
101.55
339.15
10th
       92.60
3rd
Russ Adams
226.60
94.25
320.85
11th
      110.90
4th
Matt Rose
302.13
17.90
320.03
3rd
      111.73
5th
Dennis O'Hara
269.28
50.08
319.35
6th
      112.40
6th
Mark Deutsch
311.75
4.20
315.95
2nd
      115.80
7th
Adam Friedland
242.03
42.10
284.13
9th
      147.63
8th
Ray Cotolo
284.08
0.00
284.08
4th
      147.68
9th
Gordon Waterstone
249.13
14.10
263.23
7th
      168.53
10th
Rusty Nash
251.43
11.70
263.13
5th
      168.63
11th
Ray Garnett
242.83
6.30
249.13
8th
      182.63
12th
Michael Carter
195.10
25.20
220.30
14th
      211.45
13th
Joe Bengston
188.10
29.40
217.50
15th
      214.25
14th
Sally Hinckley
197.08
14.10
211.18
13th
      220.58
15th
Bryan Owen
199.75
8.70
208.45
12th
      223.30


This week is a busy week for the handicapping team.  The week begins Monday, with two divisions of the Miss Versatility Trot at Mohawk Raceway.  The the Memorial Day weekend is busy with the Molson Pace on Friday, May 27 at The Raceway at Western Fair District followed by Saturday, May 28’s Art Rooney and Lismore stakes at Yonkers Raceway.   The contest weekend concludes on Sunday, May 28 with a trio of races, the Betsy Ross Mares Invitational, Dorothy Mullen Invitational, and Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
 
As a reminder, visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com, where you can find the handicappers’ selections and results, updated standings, as well as see what upcoming stakes are coming up.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Survey Says Gamblers are their own Worst Enemy

The survey concerning the sixth race at Pocono Downs on April 19 is now closed and the results are in.  Once again, let me remind you this was an unscientific poll with limited results.  Thanks to all who participated in the survey.

One thing from the survey is certain.  The race results should never had stood official as posted.  No one agreed the race had a clean start.  Sadly, the vast majority of the respondents felt gamblers won't do anything about this as they are accepting of poor decisions, chalking this up to a bad beat.

The first question was: Concerning the 6th Race at Pocono Downs, the judges should have:

  • Not let the starting gate move before it was fully extended - 15.38% 
  • Should have called for a reformation - 61.54%
  • Being a recall couldn't be called as per the starting judge the race should have been called 'no-contest' -  23.08% 
  • What was the problem, I didn't see anything wrong - 0.00%
One comment given in response to this question.  It was: Pennsylvania has recalls for interference.  This was interference.


With all agreeing the race should never have been left as it did, the respondents were asked one final question, what would happen as a result of this incident.  

Specifically, the question was: If you think the gambler was not treated well in this incident.... 
  • This is going to cost them racing fans - 15.38%
  • Nothing is going to happen because the gambler is used to abuse by poor officiating and [this] will be chalked up as this is 'part of the game' - 76.92%
  • Horseplayers are going to be done with Pocono Downs - 7.69%
  • I don't think the gambler was mistreated - 0.00%
Once again, a comment was given in response to this question.  It was: I wish stuff like this would cost harness racing "fans", but unfortunately this was a Pocono where there are no "fans", no bettors either.

While I won't be so dismissive of those who wager on Pocono Downs, one thing is clear.  Until punters vote with their dollars to tell track management and officials, "These types of bad calls are unacceptable", these bad calls will continue as is.  It appears we are our own worst enemies.