Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stuck in a Bog

The folks upset with methodology keep popping up with regards to the New York Times piece in last Sunday's paper. Today Steve Crist wrote about it in the DRF, wondering how some tracks breakdown rates in reality (as measured by the Jockey Club) are different from the Times.

He concludes:
  •  .... an error of this magnitude regarding the premier race meet in American racing calls the accuracy of the entire analytical undertaking into question.
Maybe so.

But, let's pitch the New York Times stats and use the Jockey Club's stats instead, rounding the losses at 2.0 per 1000, okay? That number doesn't include quarterhorses, or eased, or horse's lost to getting bitten by spiders. It's "the number" everyone seems to agree with, from racing's industry organization.

With a field size of 8, for simplicity, that means that approximately one horse in every 60 races run will be put down due to a racetrack injury.

That's not Steve Crist's stats, or the New York Times. That's pretty much reality.

Let me ask you, if in the NHL a player gets crippled every 60 games, or if in the NBA one out of every 60 games someone gets maimed, and a paper wrote a story about it, would people be arguing that the number is one out of every 80 games, not 60? Would they be talking about how the ABA and junior hockey are skewing the numbers?

I doubt it. They'd be calling for the commissioners head. They'd probably be shouting from the rooftops and sounding the alarms. It'd be a crisis. Semantics about journalism and reportage would take a back seat, or it would be saved for another day.

We read about how we have to market the sport to families. How do you market a sport to families, when in an afternoon at the track there is a pretty decent chance they'll see a horse get put down? How do we ask government's for slot money when this happens to this degree?

This has nothing to do with Joe Drape or The New York Times.It has everything to do with us.

It's time to mobilize to do something, and stop arguing about the fact that 24 horses dying a week is not an accurate number, and that it's more like 15. All it does is give us an excuse to do nothing.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you don't have a good defense, declare the newspaper your enemy, go on the offense and shout "bias", "inaccurate statistics", "hidden agenda" or whatever can deflect attention from the real problem.

Racing needs to admit the industry's enemy is itself before things will change. Don't hold your breath.

dana said...

"It's time to mobilize to do something, and stop arguing about the fact that 24 horses dying a week is not an accurate number, and that it's more like 15. All it does is give us an excuse to do nothing."

Suggestions? Without one it's just more arguing.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi Dana,

There's 1543 posts on my blog, most of which deal with solutions.

The Jockey Club started doing something tonight, in the absence of whining about Joe Drape's math. It's nice to see someone step up to the plate.

PTP

dana said...

So, in your opinion, any discussion about the approach of the NYTimes or Drape is whining?

Cangamble said...

Dana, it isn't whining, it is barking up the wrong tree.

Anonymous said...

The NFL is a very violent sport and we love it. There are many, many injuries every week-including broken legs, arms, ankles, ribs, concussions, etc. although no deaths.

Maybe the horses can wear pads, and helmets. That would surely reduce the deaths.