There will be plenty of face-changes at local tracks in the coming month as several major venues prepare to start their 2014 spring seasons. Many of the drivers, trainers and horses you have been following at certain ovals over the winter will be trekking to new climes as their “home tracks” start up for the year.
Saratoga Raceway just opened on March 2; Pocono Downs opens on March 22; Hoosier Park and Harrah’s Philadelphia open on March 28 and Vernon Downs on April 11. And in the midst of all that, Dover Downs concludes their meet on April 5. So putting it all in perspective, there can be a lot of upside for both horsemen and bettor alike as a result of the changes.
For the Northeast tracks that have been racing since the holidays, it will thin out the equine population as trainers ship their horses to the other tracks, giving more racing opportunities to those who stay behind. It will also provide relief for all the owners that lost numerous starts due to the many recent cancellations from inclement weather and track conditions. It seems the number of starts lost due to weather is near a record this year and those who missed out are anxious to make up for money lost.
It also opens up a large slate of new racing conditions that, in some cases, offer more favorable spots for trainers to enter their horses. With most trainers shipping to multiple tracks each week, the added condition opportunities at these tracks can provide class relief for some of the horses in their stables who may have been racing higher than desired due to a limited number of races available to enter.
It also shifts around the driver colony quite a bit. Pompano will lose drivers like George Napolitano Jr., Joe Pavia Jr., Jason Dillander, Rick Plano and Ed Hensley as they head back North. Buffalo will miss Billy Dobson, Peter Wrenn, and Aaron Byron as they move back to their home tracks and Northfield may not see Ronnie Wrenn Jr. as much, either. So the tracks these drivers are both leaving from and going to will be affected by their migration.
As a bettor, you will have to get out your notebook and start paying closer attention moving forward because you will have to follow the travels of both your favorite horses and drivers.
Many people feel a driver change is one of the biggest factors to follow when analyzing a horse. With all these guys moving about it means drivers who may not be familiar with the horse they are sitting behind today can really affect the outcome of its performance and thus, the race. Conversely it can be the reason an animal steps up if it had been teamed by a lesser talented individual in weeks past.
And horses moving to a new track might find a class drop in their future and that could be a good time for you to load up, especially on a different-size track (small to large). You might follow certain horses and know them better than those at the track it’s at now and that gives you a clear advantage when it comes to betting. Plus it may draw in with horses who have just qualified after being off for a stretch (at a new meet) making for an easier field of competition.
It’s the perfect time to use the USTA website’s racing page to follow the movement of your favorite horses and drivers in the coming weeks and cash in by taking advantage of getting your facts in line before you line up at the window.
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