February 9, 2001

Comic Relief
Now, research and statistics are great, but if you didn't liven things up every once in a while, it'd be like sitting through some interminable survey course in mathematics with some abstracted professor who never played the humor card or found fascination in anything except numbers and symbols and perhaps the small itch emanating from his belly button.

In that case, the learning experience would be represented by a single variable - z, an uninterrupted string of them - and class-cutting would be the norm.

Therefore, we are pleased to present a couple of funny bits, though they touch on some timely and serious topics. Here is the first.

An Open Letter to the President of the United States

Hey, Dubya! How about a take-cut for us horseplayers? No, I'm not trying to match you mangling-for-mangling of the language. I know you thought I said tax cut.

Yeah, I know that we're not a big constituency that swept you into power or anything, but if your huge proposed tax cut indicates your approach to economics, you'll understand.

You say that money in the consumer's pocket will stimulate the economy, rejuvenate it into a spending mood. What do you think would happen if you did the same for us bettors? Handle would go through the roof!

Most guys out there (the gals are smarter and more cautious) consider their bankroll to be "100 percent of pocket," as some old dude in the desert once said. Well, what if the amount in his everyone's pocket swelled from a unilateral reduction in track takeout rates? It would almost instantly go back into the handle! You don't need Alan Greenspan to tell you that more dollars would be in circulation. And you don't need to wait six years, either! This could happen tomorrow!

You get more money in circulation, the purses go up, the industry revives, and everyone is happy because the breeders are churning out foals like crazy and the field sizes are large and that in turn creates more handle. Dubya, money makes the mare go! It would be like the Texas Rangers, only with horses. One of your predecessors said it best: "A rising tide lifts all boats."

You reduce the takeout, you'll see a killer tsunami, except in a good way! Things start to change, and without those slot machines the zealots are crusading against! Do it now.

And then there are the potentials for public relations. You know, you got this track over there in Maryland. What's that? You didn't understand. Oh, I'm sorry, I should have said Murrlund. Anyway, it's a track called Laurel and they've got some of the most ridiculously high takeout rates in all of Amurrca. You go over there and instead of the average (NOT the upper-class) guy giving back 25 cents for each dollar he wagers, let him keep some of it so that he gives back only, say, 12 cents or 10 cents. You see, that surplus 13 or 15 cents is like found money. He'll put it right back in the system.

So a guy who wagers $100 puts an extra $10 or $15 back in the till, and you multiply that by all the customers at Laurel - I meant custmurs, I did, and, no, there aren't too many of them right now - and look at the numbers. The custmurs will be coming back after going to those blasted slot machines! It's all good. It is all good. No fuzzy math, man.

What do you say, Dubya? Notice I didn't make any jokes about "Walker: Texas Ranger." How about it?

Thanks for listening. I remain,

Yr. humble servant,

Adam Smith

Pre-Empted Practical Pointers
Practical Pointers will be back next week with advice on first-time routers, and why horses don't hang on.

Comic Relief II
From the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska, here are your...

Top 10 Changes Racing Will Undergo When Vince McMahon Supplants Tim Smith as Head of the NTRA and It Becomes the WWXNTRA

10. Kentucky Derby renamed "Lady Godiva Invitational."

9. Brian Bosworth screams "This is awesome! This is awesome!" during tight stretch drive of Breeders' Cup Classic.

8. "A rider change on No. 7, Tiznow, make the jockey Goldberg. Goldberg to ride No. 7, Tiznow."

7. After placing their wagers, bettors allowed to fraternize with mutuel tellers of the opposite sex.

6. Despite move from NBC to "sixth network" UPN, Triple Crown ratings skyrocket.

5. Objections to be settled in "Smackdown" pitting jockeys, trainers and stewards in iron cage and available for $49.95 on pay-per-view or free with upgrade to Turf Club admission.

4. Attendance at "the Rock" soars to 18,000 nightly.

3. Rider on horse with comfortable lead at the eighth pole encouraged to stand up in irons, mug for cameras and shout "Know your role!" to rest of field.

2. Trackside seating ripped out, replaced by aluminum folding chairs to be hurled at losing horses.

1. Three words: Go, jabroni, go.

Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra!

Don't forget that the February edition of the Big-Prize Handicapping Contest is upon us, and it's not too late to cash in on the action. Also, for a technical appreciation of a few of the improvements in the 2001 par times, enter the Cynthia Publishing Company Web site's Handicapping Store and click on the product description for the 2001 PARS PLUS book.

Hope you had a laugh or two, perhaps at our expense. Until we (turn)buckle down again next time, take care.

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