Thursday, October 29, 2009

Less Races, More Betting?

In racing one of the biggest debates is about racedates. Horse owners or trainers (like I am sometime) want a lot of them. Please dial me up a five horse field where we all get some dough! Oh, and make the purse high too, ok?

Bettors on the other hand like short fields about as much as gastro-intestinal surgery.

Who is right, who is wrong? I guess that depends on your perspective. In the case of handle as a metric, deeper fields, less races and more contentious affairs win that battle ten out of ten times.

In thoroughbred racing, Delaware Park concluded their meet with something wacky - a rise in handles.

Delaware Park raced 27 fewer days this year but registered increases in total handle and average daily handle, track officials said Oct. 28. Track officials and horsemen agreed to cut the final seven days of the meet to conserve purse money. This year’s meet originally was scheduled to end Nov. 7.

Larger field size, a positively correlated metric to handle (add one horse a race and handle goes up by 5%), is the main reason why they say.

4 comments:

Colins Ghost said...

Lots of cheap racing at Del Park this year but decent size fields across the board. It's a no brainer -- bigger fields increases handle no matter what the class of horses.

Scott Ferguson said...

Rocket science it ain't. Race every day with small fields and nobody cares. Give bettors a breather and see better contests, and maybe even some better horses slightly more often, people will show their support with cash.

Anonymous said...

Flash poll via Paceadvantage.com:

Which would you rather play.....

High quality horses in races with short fields : 9.6%

Low quality horses in races with full fields: 90.4%

Yet the industry (see Southern California racing) clings to the welfare model of 5 or 6 horses and money for everyone. It would be ok if that is what they want to do.... just don't complain when your handle gets torched.

Peter B

Anonymous said...

Maybe the only way to motivate racing to improve their product and increase handle is to tie the slots money to the handle. Keep your handle up and you get all the slots money. If the handle drops then some of the slots money reverts to the government.
RG