Photo courtesy Eclipse Sportswire.
The concept of homecourt advantage is hardly limited to professional sports. Even in horse racing, having comfortable surroundings is a huge asset.
For example, take Emile.
Entered in the fourth race at Arlington Park on Saturday, July 6, Emile seemed to be taking an ambitious jump in class. In his previous start, Emile had won by a head in a $16,000 claiming race. He was claimed in that June 19 race by trainer Enebish Ganbat and debuted for his new connections in a $50,000 claimer.
It was a much tougher assignment for Emile, except for his homecourt advantage.
Emile had started at Arlington Park in five previous races. He won four of them, including his last start.
With a record like that, even in a tougher spot, a Horse for the Course like Emile was worth a serious look. Perhaps on this occasion, Emile’s affinity for Arlington’s main track would enable him to be competitive against better competition.
As it turned out, Emile was a lot more than competitive. He was dominant. Making full use of his homecourt advantage, Emile won by 6 ¾ lengths and paid $12.20 as he raised his record at Arlington to five wins in six tries – a nifty .833 batting average that even the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig would envy.
THE LESSON: Never underestimate a horse when it shows a fondness for a specific racetrack or surface. Homecourt advantage is not just a factor in the NBA Finals.