Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Notes & The Big Game

I had my first full day of wagering yesterday in a long while. It's been busy of late and it was nice to sit around and watch some racing, from 1PM to about 11PM or so.

I was struck by the decent racing at the Meadowlands. I have not watched it closely, although I have watched several races. This meet looks much better than last meet. I also watched Northlands last night and took a poke on the pick 6. It was very hittable (although I did not hit it).

There is an excellent interview with John Doyle the NHC champion via Steve Byk's show. He is a super spokesman for horseplayers and the interview (about half way through the first link) is worth a listen.

Sometimes morning lines are odd, and we had one of the oddest today in Tampa Bay's sixth. A horse off the claim by Jamie Ness, with good lines and figures, was 20-1 ML. He paid under $5 and won easily. The sample size is microscopic but I would figure the ROI on that move, with a horse getting beaten 17 lengths in its last, would be lower than a snake's belly. I faded it, and am eating macaroni and cheese tonight for it.

Is exchange wagering over before it starts in Jersey? Bill Finley's interview of stakeholders seems to make me think so. 10% takeout and no back pool support for liquidity? In my opinion, if that's what happens it's 15/85 toast before it opens.

I thought there were a lot of polarizing individuals in racing, but none moreso than Fred Pope, perhaps. He was back writing a far-out idea recently on the Paulick Report. In effect his idea is about paying for "talent" in racing via the purse pool. Unfortunately the argument breaks down at its first pillar, because wagering volume is not correlated to talent level. The commenters really let him have it on that article. I have no idea why we have such trouble with this. If money for purses comes from betting, and betting goes up and down based on takeout and field size, work on takeout and field size. It is not some sort of Chinese finger puzzle.

Sometimes we do get some interesting comments on these pieces though. For example, one poster copied and pasted a quote from David Willmot of WEG on this issue, way back in 2001:

"But if you sit down with the gamblers, it is pretty simple what they want. They want field size, they want pool size, and they want low takeout. Frankly, they don’t care if a horse is by Mr. Prospector or Santa Claus. The truth of the matter is, racing is a gambling business 99.8 percent of the time and a sport the other point-two percent. Granted, it’s a sport for a lot of those people who supply the product, but for the industry to work, we have to take care of the customer. I think for decades we have not."

I think most agree with that. However, everyone is wondering where the low takeout is at Woodbine since 2001. [edit, I see CG has a full post about this]

Along those lines there is a comment by a harness horsemen group up here on field size and racedates.

"The feeling of horsemen in general is that there isn't a great understanding of why we need less racing opportunities," said Hardy [President of the OHHA]

I think the answer to that is fairly straightforward. We probably need less supply because we don't have any demand. If we don't build demand, in few years there will be no need for supply.

How can you make a lot of money? Get lucky. Scott analyzes a soccer match where the top club, cruising to victory, traded at 1.01 at betfair, for millions. The problem? The other team came back. One of the largest and most lucrative plays ever for 1.01 grabbers.

There is a heated discussion on a suspended horseman up here who has several conduct violations. You have to be a member of harnessdriver.com to read it.

Social media, good or bad? On the same chat-website there is a video uploaded of a driver whipping a horse agin' the rules. In slo-mo. Years ago there would be nothing said, other than maybe a few grumbles in the grandstand, or a new fan would think it was animal abuse and never come back, not telling anyone. Now, it is posted on chat boards and youtube for everyone to see. There is no update on whether this poster (on a site the ORC reads regularly I hear) caused a fine or not. In fact, seeing it is the weekend, I don't even know if the judges caught it, as it would not be posted til Monday on SC.

Last up. I have been waiting all week for the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. I must say I am looking forward to it more than the Lingerie Bowl. Thanks to Conan, I get both. Enjoy the game everyone!

1 comment:

Pacingguy said...

In Fairness to New Jersey (and not California), they are charting into unexplored waters for the United States. They need to make sure they don't run afoul of federal anti-gambling laws. Big gamblers will not be able to place all their action on Betfair right away. As for the 10% rake; not the best but sure beats playing the tracks; it also speculation as to the rake. I plan on giving it a shot.

Horses are being paid for the brand name already. How many times has a stakes race had the purse increased in an effort to induce a certain horse to show up and compete? How many times is a runner given a break in the weights to compete?

Must confess I am a real football fan, not what passes for Football in the NFL. I'll spend my evening watching the puppy bowl.