Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Two Sides of the Coin on Fair Odds

Sea the Stars this weekend at the Arc, resulted in a massive loss for bookmakers, who made the horse about an even money chalk. He was in a 19 horse field, he was the best horse. They figured that a 50% chance was warranted. I don't know one person who bet this horse and everyone I spoke to said that he was overbet. But, bingo for the crowd, he won. No doubt after that performance we would hear a lot of "that was an easy play at even money; he was the best horse. It was obvious he would win."

Secondly, US President Barack Obama laid his cards on the line and went to push Chicago's olympic bid in Copenhagen. The mystique of this President, not unlike the mystique of Sea the Stars in the Arc, resulted in a massive amount of cash going on Chicago to win the 2016 Olympic bid. "Could the Obama factor really be America's Trump Card? We'll find out shortly, but the betting action is squarely on Chicago." The 3-5 price on Chicago was a sure thing, right? Well I guess it was, until they came fourth out of four cities. No person was heard saying "this was easy money, how could people bet against Chicago", after that outcome.

For people who went with the "sure thing" they are one for two, and they broke even. But for bettors who based their logic on fair odds, not sure things or mystique, they faded both on-paper overbet events. They also went one for two. I think the latter rather than the former were on the right side of both bets, although the outcome was the same for both parties.

If you run the numbers on short-priced chalk, in a big racing event, in a perfect information public market (tote board, or bookmaker), as a rule the fade side will be better for us than the long side. We see this time and time again, and even as horse racing pools become less and less filled with dumb money, it is still the case 9 times out of 10. Sea the Stars if he heads to Santa Anita will be overbet. I will be fading the horse, no doubt in my mind. And whether I win or lose on that bet is irrelevant to me.

6 comments:

James said...

If I understand "faded" to mean bet against, then you are absolutely spot on. I can absolutely guarantee if this horse comes to BC, he'll be 1-9 on the board and he will be out of the money at the end of the race. Every year the Europeans send some sort of "unbeatable" horse from across the pond for this exact race and the lemmings race to the windows only to watch the horse run up the track. Basically, the Arc is the ultimate race of the Euro racing calendar. The one race that every Euro trainer wants to win and prepares their best horses for. The BC Turf Classic is an inferior, consolation prize race where they send a horse who has seen his best training days and try to steal a purse from us unrefined Americans. Every year, its the lightly raced Euro who had good, but not great races all year long that wins this race. I for one, am praying they ship poor Sea of Stars over. It will be a massive pay day as the lemmings race off the cliff with their ragozin sheets. Remember, Turf racing at Santa Anita in the Fall is a different contest, than France or Ireland in Sept, Oct. Good luck to the lemmings.

Alpha Link said...

This has such huge overtones of "Well Said won't get to the Jug, never mind win it if he shows up" that I'm barely able to refrain from signing the mortgage papers right now to score that cinch dime!

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alpha Link said...

It's a "tongue in cheek" disagreement. Well Said was written off after his Simcoe struggle-type win at 1/9, but did go to the Jug and absolutely gutted the rest of 'em, establishing once and for all his dominance of this crop. I don't follow the TBs at all, but this talk of Sea of Stars melting down is getting my trigger finger very itchy! The dismissal of his chances by the "cognisanti" might start the ball rolling and make him a tremendous overlay! I'm just a lemming with an option of two cliffs though...

James said...

LOL! I had a British expat, co-worker explain the nuance in your comment.Very Funny.

Upfront, I love Euro turf horses. I believe they are in a class level far beyond anything American turf plodders have to offer. And I do think Sea the Stars is a compelling and perhaps great horse.

Aside from the Arc horse being over the top, heres the issue. The weather in California in late Oct/early Nov. The last couple Santa Anita BCs I have been to, the temperatures have been in the mid 90's F and the turf course has been extremely hard. Neither a good combination for European shippers used to running on Soft or Heavy turf in UK, France etc. The heat is a particular problem. Its oppressive in the grandstand, much less being on the track. So, thats why the lightly raced Euros have a distinct advantage particularly at Santa Anita. STS has run a lot of tough races this year and the combo of his campaign, the trip and the weather are going to be really tough on him. With that said...its going to be a post time decision as to whether I put him my exotics or not. Experience (Hurricane Run, Soldier of Fortune, Dylan Thomas and how could I forget Bago) tells me these horses are dont just eat hay they also eat dollars. BTW, I think the last Arc winner who was undefeated, came to Santa Anita and lost its only race. Im not saying it can't be done, its just that history and stats are really against him.

Alpha Link said...

Ok... Once I get his damned name right I'll proceed from that solid foundation! Best of luck whichever way you go!
Best regards, AL