And on Wednesday:
- Jockeys came to the Maryland Racing Commission to request an increase in losing mount fees (the amount paid to riders whose horses come in fourth or worse) from $40 to $100. Now that purses have started to increase, it’s only fair that jocks share in that. At the same time, one can reasonably question whether mount fees should rise three times as fast as purses (50 percent rise in purses, 150 percent rise in mount fees), and it’s also worth keeping in mind that Maryland’s horsemen pay an estimated $100+ per mount in insurance for jockeys. However it comes out, the Racing Commission did the right thing in asking its staff to dig into the issues more deeply and requesting that the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association take an official position on the matter. The Commission seemed confident that it could take action on the request at its October meeting, and that’s a more than reasonable timeframe.
- There’s bad, really bad, disastrously bad, and then there’s how my Wednesday Race o’ the Day went. I named four horses, and they managed to be fourth, fifth, sixth, and ninth. The race was won by 33-1 Prime Mistress with 19-1 Secret Life of Bea in third. The $2 triple paid over $1,700.
In today’s Race o’, we’ll turn to the eighth, which is a $7,500 claimer for fillies and mares three and up going one mile on the main track. It’s drawn a field of nine, and as is often the case in these races, the field is something of a mixed bag. Italian Nany (#5) is the 5-2 morning line fave. Coming out of the Jamie Ness barn and sporting three wins this year and three at the distance, this one surely rates a good shot here. But she’s coming off back-to-back mediocre efforts as the chalk, albeit at higher levels, and figures likely to be bet down from here. She could win, and you’d probably want to include her in horizontal bets, but I’m feeling like she’ll be an underlay here. A horse who may not be an underlay, and one I like quite a bit, is Carrietta (#4, 4-1). It’s been a tough season for this four year-old, as she’s lost all nine of her starts. But she’s been keeping much better company than this and exits a plus race — an optional claiming/starter allowance event — that has produced three next-out winners from five starters. She returns to Laurel, a track at which she owns three wins, picks up blinkers, and may be poised to move forward — back to her better efforts. One of the next-out winners from Carrietta’s last race was Sweet N Nutty (#9, 3-1), second that day, who returned to win at this level at Monmouth. The horse has run back-to-back good efforts for trainer Jorge Navarro and certainly could do so again today. Finally, let’s take a stab with a longshot: My Name Is Ralphie (#7, 20-1). She’ll need a lot to go right to compete here, but this is shaping up as a race with some speed in it. She’s a deep closer and will need a pace to run at, but with a couple of stretching-out sprinters and a couple more who like to be up front, she may get it. In her last, at Charles Town, she ran on well but very belatedly to be fourth; all five to run back from that race have finished second or third. When last seen in these parts, this one benefited from a well-timed Mario Gutierrez ride on Preakness weekend to beat a solid $5,000 field, so perhaps she’ll run well again today.