Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flat Fees For Drivers & Winner Take All

There is a new rule being bandied about that drivers must go a second quarter within three seconds of the first quarter. As most know, on 7/8's mile tracks (it does not only happen at Woodbine) there is a huge first sprint, sometimes resulting in a 25 and change quarter, then an immediate back down of the pace. Fans and racetracks have been complaining for some time about single file racing on 7/8's. So much so that Woodbine recently went to 7/8's mile racing to combat this. In addition, lack of movement has been a bone of contention with fans who think that many drivers are not giving 100% effort. In an interesting suggestion Scott, a horse owner and kind and gentle poster at Harnessdriver.com, came up with an interesting suggestion to shake up the driving colony.

"Pay each driver a flat fee, no percentage. The percentage (5% of the entire purse) goes to the winning driver. The rest get their appearance fee. The thought being: Drivers would try quite hard to win the race. Second is not good enough."

Workable? Doable? Worth testing for a few months? What do you folks think?

Note: Rick Dutrow responded to Andrew Beyer's column today. It is worth a read. Here are the horses running lines.

8 comments:

Wind Gatherer said...

What about the Ragozin numbers? If nobody likes the Beyers what do the rags say?

I guess we'll get our answer if 'Phil" is soon retired to stud or flops in his subsequent races.

Pull the Pocket said...

Rags number confirmed Beyer's number according to someone on Pace.

Ryan said...

Terrible idea IMO.

Do you tell Holyfield he has to throw the same number of punches in each round? Or force Crosby to shoot exactly 5 shots each period?

Drivers do what they feel gives them the best chance to win. If they can steal a 31 second 2nd quarter, then thats a great drive! There is already incentive to finish 1st instead of 2nd... If your employer said they would pay you DOUBLE for doing a better job, would you try harder or just do a 2nd rate job?

There are other ways to get some flow going at woodbine... but these suggestions make no sense in my opinion.

Cangamble said...

About Dutrow, I agree his defense about questioning Beyer numbers was pretty lame, because there aren't just Beyer numbers as pointed out. Comparatively the horse ran much slower based on all the races he ran versus other times in the days he ran them, until Dutrow took over.
Dutrow should have just focused on the improvements he made and left it at that. Dutrow showed complete ignorance when it comes to speed figures and how they are made. Beyer might be off a couple of lengths either way, but the figures aren't out 15-20 lengths, that is for sure.

As for paying a driver a flat fee? I'm against it completely. I want drivers or jockeys to try for second or third or fourth once they know they can't win the race.

Fining a driver for not going fast enough isn't a bad idea if you want to speed things up. It might even put a new strategy out there, where horses are taken back because the lead driver has all the liability.

Anonymous said...

From Sunny Jim in New Jersey

The 3-second idea is not a good one, and anybody who really knows the game would agree. It would penalize a legitimate driving strategy. It also implies that most front-runners on the backstretch win because they have been able to control the pace, which as you all know is hardly the case.

Cheers.

Scott Ferguson said...

I think setting speed guidelines is ridiculous. Who wants to lead when you are told you have to keep it quick to set the race up for those behind you?

It's up there with the sprint lane for the most ridiculous rules introduced by people who don't bet. I want to do the form and anticipate the tactics of drivers, because it gives me an edge over those who just look at the names, see a horse with a picket fence (111) and lump on regardless.

Just curious - why Jimmy Barnes in the photo??

Pull the Pocket said...

Scott,

My "obscure reference photos" are goofy. Since the article was about only winning drivers getting all of the purse, there is no second prize for anyone else. That is the title of a Jimmy Barnes album I think (at least I hope, or my face is red :))

PTP

Scott Ferguson said...

No Second Prize, correct.