NFL Championship Sunday today. I spoke with a client on Friday and he told me he was going to the game in Green Bay - he got tickets. I thought "wow, that is pretty cool!" Literally and figuratively I realized; I just watched a pre-game show and it is zero degrees F at Lambeau. Those folks better bundle up!
I watched a healthy dose of Woodbine last night. I have not been playing seriously for a bit, but I was fairly impressed. The fields were fairly deep and for winter racing the product was pretty good. I think I am going to start playing Saturday night harness at Woodbine regularly.
For our handicapping lesson we have to look at the sixth race last night. Arid N, a downunder invader for top trainer Casie Coleman was 25 cents on the dollar and ran out. The tri and ex was a bomber. A 30-1 onto a 26-1 onto a 75-1. The ex came back around $1000 and the tri? Only $2300. This shows that longshots simply do not pay what they should. If you are figuring out fair exactor odds you can use a Harville Formula. This formula helps you figure out a "union" in logic parlance - that is, if horse X comes first what are the odds Y comes second, and what should the exactor pay?
It goes like this: Pa / (1-Pb), where pa is the probability horse a comes first and Pb is the probability horse b comes first.
So with a 30-1 shot and a 26-1 shot we can figure out what that exactor should have paid.
pa = 0.03
pb = 0.035
0.03/(1-0.035) = 0.031
Now for the chances of the winner coming in and the 26-1 coming second we have to multiply the fair odds of the winner by the above.
0.03 X 0.031 = 0.00093
1/0.00093 = 1075 to 1
So that $1000 exactor should have paid around $2150. It paid less than half what it should.
I am either not smart enough, or am too lazy to do the fair tri odds, but you can bet your bottom dollar that with a 76-1 coming third, $2300 for that tri was nowhere near fair. I think it is smart for us horseplayers to realize that there is a sweet spot in your wagering - usually somewhere in the middle. Extreme longshots simply tend to be not worth our trouble from an overall ROI perspective.
From the funny file: On a harness chat board last night I was pointed to a poster that was keeping track of how much money Ledford was making since his return to driving. The posters running tally involves his revenue and subtracting gas and tolls. The people don't seem to be too sad that he had a negative ROI week. It's kind of funny what you can find on the Internet.
Further to that and integrity in racing, we have had some decent comments from horseplayers, trainers and fans on the New York Times post immediately below. One poster shared his thoughts:
As a passionate player of some 30 years, I could never envision not playing and betting Harness Races.
Having made several trips, over the years, to Meadowlands racetrack, specifically for betting purposes, I was very excited when common pool wagering started for that track.
Last week, however, I deleted all my database records for that track, (and I had myriads of data) and have vowed to never bet that track again, all because of the Ledford and Rucker fiasco's.
When integrity sinks to the lowest possible level, I just can't continue. Clearly its quite irrelevant what I bet or don't bet, but multiply my decision by all the others that might feel this way, and that just might be relevant.
Horseplayers are a passionate lot, and a dying breed. Usually you can kick us in the head and we get up, then kick us again and we get up again. But after some time, some find we don't have the will, or the strength to get up - and handle goes into the toilet. It's sad over the years that we have seen so many go on to other pursuits, or lose interest in this game. Not only horseplayers, but long time owners have also seemed to lose interest (like another poster in that topic). If we ever get our act together to make this great game great again, I hope both owners and bettors of this persuasion come back. We need them.