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Beyer Is Right: Pari-Mutuel "Chaos"

Props to Beyer today for adding a semblance of common sense the nationally televised Breeders' Cup Classic, involving a semi-controversial figure to some, Bob Baffert.
  • There was no DQ because stewards almost never disqualify a horse – in any race, big or small – for actions like Bayern’s.  Horses don’t run like trains on a track. In the first stride or two of almost every Thoroughbred race, there is inevitable jostling and bumping. Penalizing horses for one unavoidable bump in the first stride would create chaos in the sport.
TimeformUS's Justin Finch also adds to the discussion when he said this happens "1000's of times".

Both points are incredibly strong.

Horses are not machines, and when a gate breaks, high strung thoroughbred's - probably 1 of 15 or so races - can make right or left turns on one line. When that happens, jockeys who are well versed professionals to their finnicky mounts, immediately try to correct by pulling the opposite line. 

Yesterday in the fourth race - the Juveline Fillies - jockey Miguel Mena on the five made contact with the Mark Casse filly by taking a hard left turn out of the gate. He tried to correct by pulling on the right line and ended up doing so, but not before the filly was sandwiched and wiped out.

Garcia trying to straighten the inside break
A few hours later Martin Garcia on Bayern did exactly the same thing. His mount veered left hard, and then he, like Mena, did what he's done hundreds of times before and pulled on the right line to straighten up. But the damage was done.

By calling an inquiry on this (I personally think there would've been no inquiry if Larry did not alert people it happened in the Classic, the opposite of the Juvy fillies when nothing was said) it sends us into pari-mutuel chaos. We as horseplayers can function if contact the first few strides out of the gate happen because they are random occurrences, based on no malice. We can not if there are inquiries every third race, and fouls with no malice or control get penalized. That's the definition of unfairness.

Fouls need to be penalized in horse racing fairly, uniformly, based on intent or doing something while under control. Jockey's can not be asked to keep, as Andy Beyer notes. straight lines out of the gate like they're riding a mechanical train on surveyed steel tracks. With a thoroughbred racehorse unleashed with pent up power, with bells ringing and crowds roaring, that's asking the impossible.

The capricious needs to be looked at exactly in that context. Some issues in racing - just like in other sports' gambling or otherwise - are simply part of the game.


Comments

Fronti said…
What happened in the juv. was a love tap compared to the classic. We all expect contact out of the gate but that was much much beyond the expectation.