As hard-core gamblers who play racing and other sports we are almost immune to changes in performance due to effort. No team wants to lose the second half of a double-header, no team wants to lose the home half of a home and home, and often this is reflected in the odds. In racing this is tantamount to a trainer whose first of a layoff numbers are 2%, and second off a layoff is 15%. The horse will be 15-1 in his first tilt and maybe chalk in his second return race.
That's fine for a lot of bettors, but what happens when a horse, who should win easily, is a no-try? In the grandstand that is called a stiffaroni, and it happens. Is this good for racing? Because you and I and many others can 'guess' a horse's connections willingness to go all out we might not think much of it, but what does it say to the general public?
On a chat board recently a harness bettor spoke of the race last Saturday at the Meadowlands. In this race, Ideal Matters was 2-5. Slam dunk right? No, not really; he was off three weeks. Since the horse is not a speed horse anyway, and he had the six hole, one could easily expect the horse to drop back, and take what the race gives him. And that is what he did. After a crawling half he could not make up the ground needed - he was never in the race - and he failed to hit the board.
From the bettor who was not happy with this performance: "He said it's a NJSS race going for real money. If he needed a race, they should have found a qualifier. You can't drive a 2/5 like it's a qualifier as 90% of the people who are betting money have you on their ticket and expect us not to feel like we got robbed while watching that effort."
Forgetting this race for a moment, and realizing that this happens more than this one instance what do you think? If a horse is off a month and does not try, is it fair? If a driver drives a 2-5 shot like he is a 10-1 shot, should there be penalties? Should that trainer have qualified the horse if he wanted a tightener, or is this an instance we should be able to know as bettors?
Do you have any opinion on the matter?