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Judges, Political Betting, Ex Post Facto & the Line

Maybe it's just my nature, but when someone(s) does something(s) I may disagree with, or at times find particularly egregious, I try to keep an even keel. It doesn't really matter what it is.

I abhored the NFL's pre-Ray Rice policy on domestic violence of only two games. And watching a video of a guy in an elevator did not sway me. I was not upset with the punishment, because Rice's actions called for two games in the CBA and that's what he got. I was more upset that he got some sort of counselling as a punishment from the courts. Anyway, I digress. The point is, when a law is on the books and precedent is set, I can't be upset at the decision of the person in charge. He or she is just living by the set of guidelines placed in front of them. The policy needs changing, and to me, it's a simple as that.

Similarly, watching the Breeders' Cup Classic, when Bayern came over on the field, what I saw is what everyone saw. But I was 99.9 to about eleven significant digits percent sure that he would not be taken down; simply because horses in Cali are never taken down for doing that.  Just because I was watching the elevator video of horse racing bumper cars on national TV, my opinion was not swayed.

Those who did want Bayern taken down for that infraction are in full force. And like the Ray Rice situation I understand it. But, as above, ex post facto does not work with me. Asking the Santa Anita judges to throw Bayern out is asking them to be inconsistent, the exact opposite of what I want them to be.They should not be thrown under a bus for doing exactly what they always do, whether the race is a 12 claimer or a $5 million one.

Judges have a tough job, and it's made tougher because i) There is no judges school nationwide that someone graduates from, and is updated regularly, like the NFL officials have and do, and ii) there are about 46 states with 92 different ways to judge something subjective.

Policies somehow need to be enacted in racing about judging and setting rules that are clearer and easier to enforce rationally and consistently.  How, I do not know. It's probably not a "foul is a foul is a foul" and it's probably not "the rider has to fall off for it to be interference". A hybrid of such, called consistently and fairly throughout the 50 states and Canada, would be a good start.

Last night the political betting was not very exciting, because many of the races were not offered out to play, but again, after the fact, for those of us who bet, make lines, and look for edges, just like we do in horse racing, it was an education.

Back in 2012, Nate Silver was the bomb. ESPN came calling. If you said anything remotely bad about him you got flamed. And If you were betting against his line, you were not bright. Nate hit almost all of the races. I, of course, doing a little research, looked for holes in that, and tried to bet against some low odds "horses". I have done that in the past because county by county results can show a picture that can be acted upon, and I've never made money betting by being one of the "can't lose" crowd.

Well, I had some egg on face, and more importantly, I was a lot lighter in the wallet. Those counties in Indiana that went Romney big when compared to McCain? Those districts in Florida that looked similar? Red herrings, the polls were right.

Fast forwarding two years, the analytics guys and gals today - the "sure thing" types - are the ones with eggs on their faces.  If there were markets for some of these races, you could've made a boatload of money. Polls that said 10% spreads were 10% wrong. 99% probability races were more like 50%. Last night was worse in terms of accuracy and betting lines than 2004 after the exit polls leaked.

I was speaking with @dinkinc last night on his radio show. I like Alan, he's a nice dude and you should follow him. It was a gambling show, and gamblers never talk in terms of "sure things" or "picking winners" and ex-post facto is a disease. The above is a good reason why.

Every bet or opinion has a chance it will happen, and a chance it won't happen, and there are odds associated with each potential result. If we handicap it and stake an opinion, knowing full well two things - that there's no such thing as an expert who never failed, and sometimes you're the bug, sometimes you're the windshield - I think in the long run we'll be okay.


Anonymous said…
I have read all the charts for the Classic and found the starts listed as "good" or "good for all" in twenty eight out of the thirty one runnings. Chester House and Suave both stumbled out of the gate in different races. In 2014 the start is listed as "good for all except 6 and 4" . The starts for 6 and 4 were compromised by the "winner", Bayern. Thus one horse is responsible for 50% of the bad starts listed in ALL of the Classic charts and his number stays up. Laughable