Friday, May 25, 2012

Technical Difficulties

I heard my phone buzz just as I was about to enter the parking lot at Monmouth Park on Saturday for the Preakness Day handicapping contest.

Preakness contest recap
Expecting to find the details of where to meet inside the track, instead "contest's cancelled," read the text around 1:30 p.m. from Mr. Flanagan of Red Rock or Bust.  Huh?

Turns out, players who made the trek to MP and plunked down their $200 entry fee were beset by technical glitches that wreaked havoc with their betting cards, which apparently would not work at the betting terminals (for readers "outside the know", contest players each get a credit card-like betting card used to track their contest wagers and bankroll).  With no solution at hand, MP officials had no choice but to postpone the contest and issued refunds.  There is no word yet of a makeup date (though, with my luck, it will conflict with a family obligation).

Considering I reside 15 minutes from the track, the cancellation was not a huge deal, though a night of preparation for the 30-plus race card (Monmouth, Belmont and Pimlico races) went out the window.  The glitch was far more inconvenient to folks who drove an hour-plus, like NJ Horseplayer reader John M. from, yes, Furlong, PA.  Contest players take National Handicapping Championship (2 seats were up for grabs) qualifying seriously, so burning Tour players' time is, in essence, a wasted opportunity.

Clearly some situations are beyond peoples' control, but I hope that the Monmouth Park's contest organizers: a) announce, sooner rather than later, a reschedule date so that NHC Tour players (especially those from afar) can set schedules, b) ensure well in advance that the wagering cards work next time, and c) extend additional food or other sorts of credits to at least those who had registered this past Saturday, if not to all contest players who sign up for the next contest or two.  There's no better opportunity than next Sunday, June 3, for the Monmouth-Woodbine Handicapping Challenge.

In the meantime, here's a reminder to enter picks by tomorrow for Survival at the Shore, which shows over 5,000 active players vying for a season-long $2,500 top prize.  Although hugely disappointed that an NHC seat is no longer at stake, I'll be participating and using this free contest to stay fresh with my handicapping, and hope to last longer than my usual June swoon.

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