Friday, January 18, 2008

2010 Redux, Cheatin’, Claims and Changing Gears

Heck that sounds like a Keanu Reeves movie, or a country song. One of the two.

Anyhow, Cangamble did a “Woodbine 2010” post for what he thinks Woodbine thoroughbred racing should look like in 2010. Pop over and give it a read.

Quotes I found interesting?

Without winners, it is very hard to attract newbies to the track.

This is something we need to address. Racing fans always say “you can’t win at the races.” What a recipe for disaster. Change the culture of “can’t win” to “can win” and I think we grow. It strikes right to the heart of racing.

Now with multi-track betting, gamblers go broke earlier in the day, the churning happens a lot quicker than it used to when one could only bet on one track. Horse racing is now more comparable to blackjack or slots when it comes to amount of action one can have in an hour. If blackjack upped their house advantage even by half a percent the tables would be empty.

Again, that is well stated. Actually that is better than that. That is a brilliant point. Bang bang action screams low rake. 20 minutes between races is a different story.

In addition he makes some other points on drug use and the thought that a database of vet-work done on horses (thumbs up) is a good idea. To me this is a good idea for both the equine athletes and bettors. Have any of you ever gone to the Hong Kong Jockey Club page and checked vet reports? Well click here and now you have. Why not here? I know – I bet some shady owner might be saying “how can I race my horse with a blown knee if everyone can read the vet report?” My answer to that? Exactly.

One other neat point Cangamble makes is one I had thought of earlier and forgot about: 20 cent Pick 6 or 7’s. I know this hurts the carryovers, and big players like a buck minimum, but why not try something different?

We spoke about the claiming rule recently in our Racehorse Economics 101 post. Namely, that allowing horses to be plunged in class for slot-bumped purses off the claim hurts the form handicapper, and hurts handles. I notice a chat on paceadvantage.com today on that issue.

…….with these higher purses these trainers/owners are claiming horses and stuffing them down 1-2 levels, because the purses are still damn good at a lower level, it doesn’t matter if someone claims the horse away. And this is just another screw job to try to handicap, this once great game. It now has become a game of lottery numbers.

He is absolutely right – take form, or take pure handicapping out of the game we might as well all go play bingo. Those races are rightfully x-outs.

The odd time
I pop into the harnesslist at Yahoo. It’s a group of friends and associates who like to get together and talk harness racing. The talk this week has focused on Ledford (and Rucker) and his reinstatement; and the broad concept of cheating. There are some good quotes so check it out if you’d like. One I found quite funny. A poster talked about cheating in racing and said (I am paraphrasing) ‘cheating to win is different than stiffing a horse and cheating to lose’, which prompted a response from a poster which frankly, made me laugh out loud:

the next time i'm in the bellagio and i mark the ace of spades and get caught and arrested , i'm gonna just tell them, " what the hell are you whiners all upset about.... i was just cheating to win!!!"

Further, that same gentleman reflected what many seem to feel about racing integrity and why it is so important for us to be very vigilant.

and, of course that is the principal reason there are people in the casino and no people at the racetracks, namely in the casino, there is a reasonable expectation the game isn't fixed.

As for Mr. Ledford he had three drives Thursday at the Meadowlands. He didn’t get a check. He didn’t even make gas money. I must be tired because I can't even think of a comment for that.

I think
we might want to keep our eye on a filly who is now 2 for 2 at Woodbine. Changing Gears (Grinfromeartoear-Apopka Denise-Jennas Beach Boy) looks like she may be some stock. She’s slick gaited and seems to glide like good horses do. She broke her maiden last time with a 55.2 back half closing from China; and this week she won first over in the soup in 1:55. Believe it or not, I thought 1-2 was a more than fair price, but stayed away due to track condition. Gary Kingshott and crew might be having a few sleepless nights wondering just how good she could be. We wish them well. It’s a tough game and everyone deserves a nice horse once in awhile.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What about the untouchables?
There are some trainers on the WEG circuit that you just CAN'T claim off of.
That gives them an unfair advantage... they can race 30 claimers in for 10 and not have to worry about losing the horseflesh.
I'm not talking about just one horse that "some" trainers get along with, I'm talking about any horse.
Atleast without the claiming rule, the races were competitive...with multiple claims in every race, you can always count on some movement. The claiming rule has crippled the fun of the game. Personally, I don't think it had anything to do with the "health" of the horse. I'm a firm believer it was one of WEG's biggest steps in the process of eliminating Bert Smith from the equation.