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There’s reason why the biggest bettors flock to HKJC; Nearly $19 MILLION was bet PER RACE in Hong Kong

By Warren Eves

“Any wonder why the world’s biggest horse bettors have flocked to Hong Kong?”

That statement that came our way from Jay Richards, former turf editor of the Las Vegas Review Journal. Richards knows the Hong Kong Jockey Club circuit about as well as anyone. He’s done video tape review of each and every race for the past 26 years.

“Hong Kong handled $15.28 BILLION(equivalent in U.S. dollars) over its 88 racing dates during the 2016-17 season which ended Sunday,” reports Richards, “an average of $173.6 million per racing date(U.S. dollars). A total of 807 races were run, making the per-race handle nearly $19 million(U.S. dollars).”

Year after year Richards has praised the way the sport’s biggest horse racing gambling venue is policed by the HKJC and it’s stewards. I can’t tell you how many times Jay has commented on how their charts reveal that certain factions were grilled on why they had done something during the course of a race.

A few more amazing season ending stats were: Foreign jurisdictions jumped 87 percent, from $447 million during the 2015-16 season to $845 million this season.

Wouldn’t it be a huge shot in the arm if all our horse racing venues in the U.S.A. operated in similar no-nonsense fashion? Cheating, or having a semblance of same, is treated with an iron fist by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

It wasn’t long ago jockey Y.T. Cheng was suspended three months for failing to ride his mount with what the HCJC reps felt was the proper amount of effort. I can remember many years ago when Corey Nakatani and Kent Desormeaux were popping up before the finish wire in California. If they did that sort of thing in Hong Kong, the sting would have been a whole lot more severe.

How soft are we on the cheaters in these United States compared to how things are done under the HKJC operation? Far too soft in the opinion of many.

On Dec., 4, 2008, Ray Thomas wrote about jockey Chris Munce in the Daily Telegraph.

We quote from that story: “Chris Munce couldn’t sleep. He spent that first night staring into darkness. The shock was only just setting in. He had been sentenced to 30 months in a Hong Kong prison earlier that day. His tips for bets had put him in a horrible situation. If there was hell on earth, Munce had found it. No one had seen it coming. Every piece of legal advice he had received said he would not have a case to answer on criminal grounds. Said that his first emotions were of anger, disappointment and sheer disbelief. “I couldn’t understand what I was doing in prison,” he admitted. The prison population was made up almost entirely of Chinese.

The bottom line? Cheaters are dealt with harshly by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Notes scribbled across my official programAlan Buchdahl did a solid job of calling at Golden Gate. He will filling in for Frank Mirahmadi. The only criticism I ever had of Buchdahl is that he kinda sings making announcements, instead of just talking naturally……………..Thinking out loud. I wish racetracks still utilized the flagman like they used to. I think they’re still using one at Fairmont Park, but that’s about it. When the flagman raises it this lets the novice or casual racegoer know when the field has been loaded………..You are going to see an exodus of outfits strike out for other venues in the coming months from SoCal. I don’t know the details but noted Eoin Harty started a Calumet runner at Presque Isle Downs on Thursday, June 22nd. You simply cannot make it on two day a week racing. It cannot be done………….Australian Brett Davis, the main track announcer in Hong Kong, came with a great line recently. He said a horse was losing more ground that the early settlers. Originality is very tough to find these days but you can’t place Davis in that circle of callers……………..Watched the debut of a Animal Kingdom colt July 2 at Laurel and he wound up a non threatening fourth. So we will continue to monitor him. Graham Motion, by the way, has not been winning at his usual clip at Laurel. At last look he was 0 for 9 starters, but that’s sure to change……………..One of the more interesting pre-race commentaries to be found on race day is at Mountaineer. Mark Patterson and Nancy McMichael offer much more than the obvious chatter we see far too much of at most venues. Patterson is obviously a player and he does his homework. Some of his angles on a race get the thought process going, and it’s not like most venues who feed viewers a huge over helping of the obvious.

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About The Author

Warren Eves
Warren Eves is a senior turf writer from the state of California who calls Pearl River, Louisiana his home. The one time editor of the Pasadena Independent Star News moved on to handle publicity for racetracks coast to coast. Eves gained his first exposure to the racetrack through a school buddy the late Art Lerille, Jr., who eventually became a trainer in California. Warren worked as farm manager for crack two-year-old trainer Ray Priddy, before holding on track jobs at the racetrack. He worked for Hall of Fame trainer M.E. "Buster" Millerick, Allen Drumheller, Jr., and Dick Moon. Eves has a well rounded background in all breeds. He developed Quarter Horse Report in 1979 with Ed Burgart, track announcer, at Los Alamitos Race Course. It was an innovative publication which revolutionized the industry with actual descriptions of the workouts. While handling publicity at Saratoga Raceway in upstate New York Eves was named employee of the year in 1970. He also handled publicity for Sunland Park, Centennial Park, Ascot Park, Thistledown, and two harness meetings in California. Eves then went into the 900-line business with his best plays and has compiled his own Kentucky Derby ratings for many years. In 1997 he began going back and forth to Las Vegas teaming up with Ralph Siraco to create the long runining radio show Raceday Las Vegas. Eves has produced and directed many horse racing shows on both radio and television. In 2010 he got a call from Mark Geiger. That's when he began writing Eves, with a reputation of a trip handicapper, is known for his video tape scrutiny. He currently monitors horse racing in for a major horseplayer. While writing for Ridder Publication at the Pasadena Star News his investigative reporting was highly regarded by his peers. Often on the cutting edge, Eves has been given the green light to write about what issues he sees fit to cover. Have a question. His book "Hold All Tickets" is soon to be made available for those who come to this site. It's a factual account of actual events and happenings that took place in the 70s, 80s and 90s. If Warren doesn't know the answer to a question you may have, he'll tell you up front. Eves won't drop it there, however, he'll find someone who knows the answer and get back to you.


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