Wednesday, March 20, 2013

No Change! And Other Notes

Hello horse racing fans!

Let's say at Pull the Pocket Downs I had a bet customers really liked. They bet into it in droves. It upped the handle in the races it was offered and it was one of the better bets around. It also gave a spark of goodwill because takeout was raised a couple of years beforehand. I would not want to touch it, would I?

Rumor had it the horsemen group in California wanted to up the rake on their pick 5, and/or not give the track a fair share of it, whereby the bet might be pulled off the menu. Apparently that either was not true, or they came to their senses because the pick 5 rake will remain at 14%.  

There was an interesting article by Godin today about communities, or his coined phrase "tribes". He says we do not but in front of a line, or grab seconds at a church dinner, because we're part of it. Meanwhile, a lot of people won't report an undercharge from a bank because well, they're a bank.
  •  When we steal or disrupt or game the system of a community we care about, we hurt everyone we say we're connected to, and thus hurt ourselves.
Racing, like most things, have tribes, but at times those tribes either infight where we don't like them, they mess around with each other, or (if you're a customer) you feel no one is looking out for you. We should be a "tribe". We like to think of ourselves as one, but we're not.

This is why I believe, customers balk when a track says:

"Bet at the windows while at the track please because our horsemen get more money"

They say "your horsemen group just raised takeout on me, why should I care?"

Or maybe when a commission says you should not use that vet or move to a "grey area of ethics", a horsemen might say:

"You gave that trainer a month off who was beating my brains in by milkshaking his horses every start. Why shouldn't I join him? I can't beat him."

It's nice to think of we in horse racing as a "tribe". But I don't think that's reality. It's sad, because this is a great sport filled with great people for the most part.

Speaking of "tribes", yesterday we saw a press release from the head of a New York horsemen group, talking about (and not in a nice way) a New Jersey racetrack's business.  Today, the Meadowlands and the New Jersey Horsemen Group head said, kind of politely I guess, get out of our business. 
  •  .... the S.B.O.A.N.J. and it's leader, Tom Luchento had this to say: "The Meadowlands Racetrack and the SBOANJ have an outstanding relationship. We support each other in everything we do. The Meadowlands Racetrack is an industry leader in moving this sport in the right direction and utilizing new ideas to make The Meadowlands successful. The idea that the management at the Meadowlands and Jeff Gural would ever do something that would harm the horsemen of New Jersey is utterly ridiculous and offensive to both The Meadowlands and the horsemen of New Jersey.”
I guess it was good they responded, because Faraldo did talk about payoffs at the Swamp, but they probably didn't have to. From what I read on twitter and elsewhere, Faraldo's press release wasn't going over very well with the masses.

Other parts of the world do things a little different than we do. In Britain, the gambling part of the sport has had a long and storied history. For example, bookmakers run the win markets, and bettors can usually get some nice odds on likely winners, with takeouts as low as 5% or 6%. Of course, betfair and other exchanges offer punters myriad advantages. It's a true supply and demand betting market, and has been for centuries. This is probably a good reason why Britain bets $18 billion or so a year on racing and why if a horsemen group ever went to a bookie convention and asked to raise the juice "to make more money", they'd probably pelt them with fish and chips.

With other items like scheduling post times, sponsorships, targeted race meets and the like they're pretty good too.

Today, (hat tip to @keenegal) we see they do things differently in the commissioners office as well. They grant private farms, individuals and others who are trying to do something positive for racing money. This allows the private sector to hopefully move the sport forward.

We're seeing politics at its finest (worst?) in Ontario of late. It looks like there will be a private members bill with the Conservative's and Socialist's joining forces put on the docket before April 1st. The hope is that somehow the government will put the modernization plan on hold. I think it's a crock of you know what. We have two minority parties trolling for votes. If anyone out there thinks either of the other parties would be doing much different with a ballooning deficit, I've got a horse to sell them, cheap, who's gonna win the Travers. Honest.

I advance bet a couple of races today, and I think I've made better bets. One horse looked so lame she could barely catch the field. The other, who I bet at 20-1 handicapping an early lead and a good chance in a cheap field, did exactly that. Unfortunately he blew the turn and ended up in the east end parking lot.

Happy March Madness! My pick to win it all is Houston, because I like Hakeem and Clyde. Quite the team!!! I don't really follow college basketball - I have enough trouble following racing and working. However, since I saw a preview on the Wall Street Journal, I am going to cheer for Saint Louis. Go Saint Louis! (I'd say their full name, but I have no idea what it is.)

Enjoy your Thursday everyone!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Racing Commissioners would do well to get out of the "going after people" business. I haven't been impressed by what they have accomplished recently.

Sal Carcia said...

I am relatively new to Twitter and this blog. I am really encouraged about the stuff you talk about at Meadowlands. With respect to tribes, in thoroughbreds the horsepeople tribe have a lot of say with how the game is run. The issue is they really don't have much understanding of what it takes to make the player tribe happy. The horsepeople look at the players as a group that will continue to play no matter how you treat them. I am afraid there is now enough evidence that this is wrong.

Sal Carcia said...

Another issue I see that you have talked about on this blog is about takeout. I have another persective about this issue. For the small- to mid-size players, who might never qualify for a rebate, it might also be important to make the bets more affordable. Make the bets affordable enough so that these types of players have a chance to compete and demonstrate their skills against the big players. The 50c pick5 might also have its appeal because it's 50c. The Rainbow p6 is popular for the same priciple.

Anonymous said...

NY has a 15K pk6 carryover and still no pk5.


How bad is management at NYracing?

Anonymous said...

Penn gaming at it again...


“I find what you presented inadequate,” racing commission Chairman Robert Schmitz told Penn National officials on Tuesday. “I don’t think it moves racing forward in this state.”

Penn National Gaming said that they’ll come back to the commission on Wednesday with more information and plans. But a company official says the developers think the current plans have enough seats to meet demand.

“The fact of the matter is, over the last 10 to 15 years, attendance has consistently dropped,” said Bob Tenenbaum, a Penn National spokesman.

‘’We are trying to draw a distinction here between capacity and practicality and realism,” he said. “We could build 10,000 seats, but who’s going to fill them?”

Racing commissioner Mark Munroe of Mahoning County, which includes Austintown, said the area is excited about the new racino. But he agreed with other commission members who think there needs to be more emphasis on live-racing.

“There’s disbelief that somebody would spend $250 million between license fees and relocation fees to build a racetrack and only a couple hundred people can actually sit down and watch a live race,” he said.


http://www.ohio.com/news/commission-asks-for-more-seating-at-racinos-1.382333