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Showing posts from March, 2010

Two Good Writers, One Good Article

Steve Crist on March 27th wrote an article critical of the results of the Dubai World Cup. It is no secret Mr. Crist dislikes synthetic surfaces (as well as most of the DRF crew, I find), and he did not disappoint in his article. However, being a Steve Crist fan, after reading the opine I was very disappointed. To me Mr. Crist is usually thoughtful, cogent and he makes a valid argument in a sharp way, and whether you disagree or agree with his point tends to be irrelevant. This time I left his page feeling like I just watched one of my favorite horses get beat. It was simply, in my opinion, not up to his standards. To me it felt rushed, sophomoric and something I would read on a thoroughbred chat board (or dare I say a blog like this, written by yours truly).

Fast forward to today, another writer whom I love to read, who like Mr. Crist usually writes with passion and razor sharp logic, is Nick Kling. Again, whether I agree or disagree I get my money's worth when reading his work. H…

It Took Awhile, But......

On this blog and many others, like the Horseplayers Association of North America's, there has long been a clarion call for the judges (or stewards) to be more responsive to the betting public. As we all know, when a call is made - with hundreds of thousands of dollars hanging in the balance - the lights go off and the horse's numbers are placed up, with nary an explanation. But that is beginning to change, as the Ontario Racing Commission becomes more proactive in explaining fouls, or non-fouls.

As part of its commitment to excellence in officiating and communication, the Ontario Racing Commission is launching two initiatives designed to communicate in a clear, concise and accessible way.

One is an online feature:

In a weekly feature titled 'From the Stand,' the ORC judges will select calls that have attracted discussion and questions (or the potential to do so) from the judges stand at Woodbine and Flamboro. The intent is to explain the reasons for the call, including re…

Morning Line Oddsmakers - Best & Worst

Courtesy my pal Ray, here are the ML stats for harness tracks across North America (thoroughbred below as well). The higher the rating, the better the morning line.



Harrah's Ups Offer to End Dog Racing

Just last month we linked a story that Harrah's in Iowa offered the government $70M to end dog racing in the state. This month, showing just how badly they want nothing to do with a losing product, they have upped the ante, to $7M a year for as long as they hold a casino license.

"The casinos want to dump dog racing because it's expensive to maintain and draws few gamblers. The report shows consumer interest in betting on dogs has dwindled drastically, and it's expensive for the casinos to subsidize greyhound racing."

But, get this, they actually offered cash for retraining trainers, grooms and others who work with the dogs. "Harrah's on Wednesday said it also would allocate $4 million to $10 million to help professionals in the dog industry prepare for new careers."

We know slot money will not last forever but people are generally stubborn who work in this business and some believe it will last for a long while. However, when someone actually offers m…

Purse Pooling Long Overdue

A story in the Guelph Mercury today shows that purse pooling - slot racetracks getting together to use slot fuelled purses for a better sport and game to bet - is gaining some momentum. Advocates of working together with this money (which will not be here forever) have felt this has held racing back in Ontario for a long time.

The poster boy for purse pooling has been Woodstock: "Woodstock’s total 2009 purse structure of just over $3 million produced a per-card average of $114,000 and yet the average bet, per card, on the races themselves was just 10 per cent of that — $10,469."

To make matters worse - as if having 114k in purses for a 10k bet is not bad enough - the high per race purse at Woodstock did very little for small stables, looking to race some horses. Super-stables would swoop in with Woodbine horses, be 1-5 and take the bulk of the slot cash. This also caused a problem for our flagship track in Canada, because good horses were not racing there, they were racing at …

Quite the Weekend

It's been a pretty wild weekend in racing.

First, just late last week, Tioga announced that they were lowering takeout. The amazing thing, Jeff Gural and the management at Tioga actually wanted to go much lower (eg to slot machine takeout levels) but the state does not let them. Someone should get that bizarre law changed. Ray Kroc would have never sold a burger if he had the state mandating his prices.

HD poster and long time bettor "The Whip" did not much care for the news about the Tioga takeout reduction, because he thinks if WEG shows those races, their "commission rates" will charge the old takeout rates anyway. He is not a happy camper.

Quote: "Not sure why would even publish this [Tioga news]. HPI will simply re-adjust the rake to what they normally take anyway.. so this means nothing to Canadian consumers. HPI Commission rates remained unchanged on every track....... still waiting to be able to bet Maywood and Balmoral pick 4s …

Well That's That

Zenyatta does what she usually does - win with her ears pricked. If someone can show me a thoroughbred or standardbred who wins more races with zero effort, please let me know.

On the flipside, Rachel loses. What a disappointment. If you were watching with the sound down, or you were an alien who never saw a horse race, you would swear that the mare swooping at the head of the lane with the push button speed was Rachel, not a second stringer from the Sherriffs stable.

I have read time and time again this spring smart race-watchers tell me "Rachel does not look quite the same". I thought they were being overly dramatic. Watching the race once, I was convinced she was probably going to scope sick or show a high white count Monday, but the more and more I watch that race, I think they are right. When a horse like Zardana (no disrespect intended) goes by a HOY like Rachel around the far turn like she is tied to a pole, there is clearly a problem.

Top 5 & Slots Money

The Meadowlands does a good job with their question segment each week, when they ask drivers and trainers for their opinion on something. This week Bob Heyden asked "who are your top five drivers of all time?". I, like a lot of you I am sure, wondered if one driver would leave obvious choice John Campbell off the list. Let's see if he did.

In Maryland the slots are not even spinning yet, and already politicos are asking for money to be taken away from racing and placed into something else. Horse racing = rat hole? Someone thinks so.

We really have to think about priorities," Simmons said. "If we don't think in terms of priorities, we are going to basically neglect and ignore some serious aspects of our social and economic structure because we are dumping $100 million a year into what I regard as a rat hole."

Systems, Equipment and Smart Cash?

Our Swedish visitor Janne noted below in the comments section that the $144 ticket that hit the $9M pick 7 in Sweden last week was selected as a group of tickets using a type of software available in that country. Doing a google search I can not seem to find out what it is, or what it does, but I am assuming it is a software which helps you construct tickets like Crist in his famous book Exotic Betting.

I am a huge believer in such ticket construction. Just like you should not weight a longshot in a tri bet like you would a short priced horse, I believe the same thing should be done in horizontal wagers. As well, with a limited bankroll you have to take your shot, and allowing you to weight horses based on that is super-important. The takeout for a pick 6 or 7 is high, and the sharks swimming in these pools cumbersome. We need to take a stand.

I use, for all my major pick 4 and pick 6 plays, the A,B,C type ticket constructor at the Del Mar site. For me it is a very worthwhile tool. If y…

Late Scratch Lucky

When I get a post time chalk in a multi-leg wager I am often upset. One person certainly disagrees. The V75 this week paid a record C$9.6 million (over US$9M) on a $144 ticket. Going into the last leg, the punters choice was scratched with only a few minutes to post time, giving him/her the post time chalk, which the bettor did not have.

And the chalk got the job done.

I somehow think this lucky bettor is a big fan of late scratches. That's quite the payout.

Improving Info, Takeout Simulations and .... Women's Curling

Muscle Hill, to nobody's surprise, wins the Dan Patch Award for Horse of the Year. I am having trouble believing it was not a sweep in the voting.

"To grow a company you need to be good at killing things" says a business blog. A lesson for racing, no doubt. If OTB's don't work, try something that does. If your track is filled with 4 claimers that no one wants to bet, try something new. Kill the dead weight, and spend on the ROI neutral or positive items in your business.

The Meadowlands is adding driver choice graphics to their simulcast. As most know, drivers are sometimes down on two or three horses, and they choose. Although this is a very good thing I find drivers make the wrong choices many times, so adding this to your handicapping as a potential overbet angle might be a good idea. Regardless, we have yet another data point to help us in our betting and the Meadowlands should be commended.

Autochart, is a real time charting and tracking service offered to harn…