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Plenty of Buzz

Good day racing fans.

Paulick - as he often does - has an energetic story with a battery of comments that's creating some buzz (see what I did there?).  Jockey Roman Chapa, twice banned for buzzers, is under investigation again. This set off a usual firestorm from those who want the business to tackle its issues a little more forcibly. It also highlighted (made people remember) a lot about the PETA tape last year, which has kind of been swept away this past week. Chapa was mentioned on that tape, and the Asmussen stable knew about his history, yet has no problem (it seems) happily using him on their horses.

I think the public's reaction to this is expected because horse racing seems to rarely deal with issues where they show they actually believe that cleaning things up is a priority. Overages and the like are stuck in legalese, there is a grey area. But with buzzers, there is little grey area. Either you have one and are caught, or you don't have one and aren't. "The vet came late and told me the cut off was 72 hours" is a fine and well-used excuse for poor stable management. What's a jockey caught with a buzzer say, "I found this device in the parking lot and was returning it to a friend who uses it to make sounds that make his kids laugh at Chuck E Cheese during birthday parties." "I don't know what it is, but some jocks carry a rabbits foot for luck, I carry this." "The batteries just fell in there."

The culture of racing seems to lead everyone to believe that people who break the rules like this, end up getting more mounts. And I don't think they're wrong. People skirt the rules so blatantly, I think, because the penalty (suspension) is more palatable than not having horses in the barn, or not having mounts.

Conversely, it will be interesting to see how the NFL deals with "Inflate Gate", where it appears the Patriots Coach Bill Belichick (this is shocking I know), deflated footballs for the AFC Championship game yesterday. The NFL takes these things seriously, so one would expect (if confirmed) we could see one of the highest fines in NFL history, along with the loss of draft picks.

One sport's message says "the spirit of the game is beyond reproach". Another's says "if you ain't cheatin' you ain't trying." Because the latter deals with defenseless horses, I think it stinks.

Yesterday's NFL games were quite interesting. The Seahawks, after playing 90% of the game in miserable fashion, ended up winning. With about 3 minutes left in the game they traded at 400-1 to win the Super Bowl. Four minutes of game time later they were 4-5. As a bettor, the game teaches us a lot about probability, and is a lesson that it's not about picking winners, it's about making good mathematical bets. While the Hawks had about a 3% chance to win late, 400-1 at that time to win a game in a week was a bargain.

I was on the other side, with around 5 minutes to go I expected about a 9% chance, yet I was getting longer in-running to fade them. I kept hammering because (from my numbers in low scoring games) I felt I had a good edge. When literally eight or ten separate events - a DB going down instead of running after an INT, conservative play calling, missed coverages, dropping an easy onside kick recovery, a 2 point conversion hail mary, and the loss of a coin toss to name a few - needing to happen, I was comfortable. Easy come easy go.

I had a little fun digging through some stats last night. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson ended up having one of the worst games you will ever from a winning playoff QB. How bad was it? Third worst according to @fbchase.

Scouring through some other dismal playoff games, you wonder just how needed a QB is when a team wins some games.

David Woodley went 9 for 21 for 87 yards and two interceptions. The Dolphins beat the Jets 14-0.

Joe Flacco has had a few, but one stands out that made me lol. Against New England in 2009, he went 4 for 10 for 34 yards with one interception (you'd think he got hurt. No, he played the whole game, even chipping in 6 yards on the ground on five carries). Baltimore won 33-14.They rushed for over 200 yards.

Have a nice Monday everyone.

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