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Oct 29, 2004

Half the Race is Out of Your Control (Part 9)

By: Joe Takach




Though I believe that most morning clockers are very honest individuals, I can personally assure you that all morning clockers are anything but honest.


Here’s a case in point from my own personal history.


About 20 years ago there was a serious challenge to the Daily Racing Form by a publication known as the “Figs Form”. 


It was an excellent product and far superior to the Daily Racing Form.  In fact, to this very day, I would still consider it be light years ahead of the Racing Form in just about every category imaginable while without their arrogance.


So why was it unsuccessful?  Simply put, it was much too complicated for “Joe Six-Pack” to understand and to use properly.


One of the members of the management team asked me to do them a favor and to “clock” for them in the mornings at Garden State Park until they could hire a full time clocker.  I agreed and worked for them for 2 weeks to help them get their publication off the ground.


I’ll make a long story very short. 


At the time, both clockers for the Daily Racing Form were both driving very nice and very expensive automobiles---automobiles that they couldn’t possibly support on the weekly “chump change” that was paid to them by the Racing Form.


I might also mention that these 2 clockers were never seen at a mutual window during any afternoons of racing.


So how did they drive those fancy cars while working for the starvation wages paid to them by the Racing Form?   


Though I can’t prove anything other than they missed many very fast workouts (and I do mean many), there isn’t an iota of doubt in my mind that they were taking money under the table to purposely miss those workouts by certain cheating trainers who didn’t want to tip their hands before they themselves “got down” at the mutual windows and cashed whopping tickets in exactas and trifectas. 


And if these clockers didn’t purposely miss those blistering fast “58 bullet” breezing works, those same fast works somehow became “1:01 handily”!  This was decidedly done to draw attention away from the superiority of those same morning drills! 


And as if this low down cheating weren’t enough, these same Daily Racing Form clockers habitually offered “bullet” workouts to broken down claiming cripples when I had those same no-legged pigs working 2, 3 and 4 seconds slower! 


While disparities of 1/5th , 2/5ths, or even 3/5ths of a second could be possible among different clockers, 2, 3, and 4 full seconds was, and still is, totally out of the question.   


The reason these slow pigs were given false fast times was to set them up as “claim bait” to other trainers in the hopes that they would be claimed away.  I can’t begin to tell you how many unsuspecting trainers unknowingly took these no-legged mules. 


Need I mention that those same no-legged mules never again ran a morning workout remotely close to the “bullets” they ran before they were claimed away?


When I brought this negative information to the attention of Daily Racing Form I was, of course, labeled as a know-nothing inexperienced troublemaker and one who didn’t have a remote clue concerning what I was talking about even though I had been clocking in the mornings for over 15 years for my own wagering purposes.


I guess my 15 years using a stopwatch turned into amnesia whenever I clocked the very same horses as did those 2 Daily Racing Form crooked clockers! 


Reiterating the word “some”, the only reason why I never pay much attention to the actual speed of any workout for any individual horse is because of the possibility of both incorrect or missed morning drills by some clockers. 


What is more important to me is the fact that a specific horse is “working” regularly and with no major gaps in between those uniformly spaced morning drills.  For example, if a returning layoff horse or a European import is working every 6 or 7 days and suddenly shows a “gap” of 14, 15 or more days, that is reason for great concern.


Did the clockers honestly not see the missing workout, or did something actually happen to the horse that caused the obvious “gap”?


Fortunately for me and others with the same information, we have the ultimate “failsafe”. 


We merely peruse the paddock and closely scrutinize every horse along with their pre-race warm-ups to see if anything is amiss such as walking wide, sporting a newly enlarged ankle, shortstepping or a “walk” to the starting gate signaling a “stiff”!




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