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Showing posts from April, 2016

PTP's Bathing Index ® Derby Handicapping Angles - This is Much Better than Dosage

Good day racing fans!

It's one week until the Derby, where drunk people, rich people, sororities at almost every University, and others get together to watch, wager, take molly, drink juleps, wear hats, have parking issues, and partake in the annual Kentucky horse racing tradition.

I have scanned the big websites, read almost all social media and was very surprised that there are not a lot of people giving their thoughts on this year's Run for the Roses. It's like no one has an opinion! So in my never ending search for traffic, I decided to pop up a handicapping post. I think this post will help both new fans and old salty handicappers land on a winner.

As most know, physicality is important for handicapping (Leadbetter, et al). A lesser known angle is watching how a horse reacts while getting soapy water thrown on him. As long time handicapper Jessica notes, it can be a key to unlocking Derby betting fortune.


Let's begin with our control group, Kentucky Derby …

The Inside Scoop Behind CDI Snagging the 2018 Breeders' Cup

As most of you know by now, the 2018 Breeders' Cup will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.

What you may not know is the inside story of how it came about. For that, we have our intrepid Cub Reporter ® who had unprecedented access to the proceedings. "Cub" has, via email, sent me most of the scuttlebutt, with the disclaimer that it's just between us. So, I'll change some words around and write about it below.

As we may expect, for CDI to consider the Breeders' Cup, several changes had to be made to revenue models, and at times, the negotiation was relentless. Further, new revenue streams had to be established, so the CDI machine could show record profits.

Some details that you will read about here and here only (until some of them are released to the public):

Takeout: "The Breeders Cup share of takeout is already set in stone, but there's no one stopping us from upping our share", says my source (who for anonymity I will simply call &q…

The Myth and Reality About Takeout

Canterbury Park announced a huge takeout decrease this morning. The Minnesota oval has been using an alternative gaming deal to primarily support purses and marketing, but this year has sunk some (potential opportunity cost) cash into the customer.
"Canterbury Park has long strived to be the most horsemen-friendly track in the country," said vice president of racing operations Eric Halstrom. "Now, we want to be the most horseplayer-friendly racetrack in America. With the growth in the quality of our racing program we, with the support of our horsemen, are taking the next step and making our races the most profitable wagering opportunity. By changing our takeout to the lowest in the United States, we're giving horseplayers worldwide great value and drawing attention to what is sure to be the finest racing season in Minnesota history." Clearly, gold stars all around to Canterbury. They have been pushing their on-track marketing and become highly successfu…

Courts Say Injecting is "Fraud", Weekend Racing Thoughts

In a case that lasted five years, and went to the highest courts in the land, an Ontario trainer was convicted of fraud for injecting a horse with a performance enhancing substance.

Although the penalty (a fine) seems inconsequential, the tenets of the case strike a chord.
Manarin said there’s a difference between cyclist Lance Armstrong using performance-enhancing drugs and Riesberry injecting them into a horse, Everyone’s Fantasy, before it ran in Race 6 on Sept. 28, 2010, at Windsor Raceway. “The horse has no choice,” said Manarin. The message sent is pretty clear.

It does show how difficult it is for racing, and the courts, to deter such practices, however.  The trainer in question was caught in the act, yet it still took a long period of time, and the courts themselves needed to be educated about the effects of such actions.

This weekend was a big one in Thoroughbred racing with the Derby field getting very close to being set.

In the Wood, the speed figures came up ok, but the…

Graded Stakes Bring in the Dollars for Several Reasons, but it's Still Basic Betting Economics

There was an enlightening late night chat (eastern time zone late night) on the twitter that I caught this morning by Crunk and professor of economics Caroline Betts.

They were talking about racing quality and handle, or maybe more apt, stakes racing and handle, versus non stakes races. About 10% of the handle in Thoroughbred racing comes from 1% of the races. Now, these include the Triple Crown races and Breeders Cup, but it's still significant.

Interestingly enough, in harness racing this does not occur in any huge way. Case in point, last week at the Meadowlands two ten type claiming trotting races were held with amateur harness drivers. The handles for these races were around $300,000 each. Over at Yonkers, where the best of the best were competing in the Levy series, handle was around $70,000 per race. One of the Levy divisions did do $88,000, and that was the leg with Wiggleitjiggle It (proving that yes, returning superstars do draw eyeballs).

Thoroughbred stakes are intere…

Why Does North American Racing Rest on the Hit and Hope of Exotics?

"Bet a little to win a lot", is a phrase you'll often hear here in North America when it comes to wagering on the horse races. It's a good sell, because anyone who has taken a four horse tri box and landed three longshots knows that it's true. But this concept is not one which crosses borders, in old-school racing jurisdictions.

In the US, only about 20% of total wagering is in the win pool. In Australia about 50% of all wagering is in the win pool. In the UK it is not dissimilar.

Yep, these folks bet more than half of every dollar in those pools.

In those countries, wagering a little to win a little is the goal for a lot of big players, with the obvious hope that at the end of the year you have more money than you started with.

Why is win money so well bet in those jurisdictions? I have a few theories.
It's a more mature gambling market. Win takeouts are low, and choosing a winner (and betting a sizeable chunk of bankroll, like 4%), pays dividends over tim…

Investing in the Customer Experience - the Streams of Both Rae's Creek and Online Video

Good morning racing fans!

As is customary this time of year I was catching up on some reading, getting ready for this weekend's Masters golf tournament. In Golf Magazine, a story by David Owen looked at its history, and what makes it golf's most storied and revered events.

Back in 1934 you could not give tickets away to the tourney and it certainly was not considered a "major". In fact, in 1939, only 46 players even accepted invites (down from 72 years earlier). The course was out of the way, and it was just a regular tournament. At that point, the club President decided, according to Owen, that to thrive, "the club had to obsessively focus on the spectators."

They were visionary.

They went from a 36 hole finale on Saturday, like all other tournaments, to 18 on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. It was the first tournament to use grandstands, the first to rope off fairways so everyone could see approach shots. They were the first to link scoreboards by investing in…

Pari-Mutuel Studies, Nyquist & Expectations

Good day everyone.

Nyquist's Florida Derby win (we chatted about the race in yesterday's post) continues to cause a case of the 'yabuts', which has plagued this horse since last fall, and, in fact, has plagued many horses in this sport. Nyquist keeps doing exactly what he's supposed to do, but it's never enough.

Last fall, he staggered home in his first effort at any distance, which forwarded the narrative that his breeding told the tale that he was suspect for 8.5 furlongs or more. At the Breeders' Cup Juvenile he was the quintessential dead on the board horse, and if you liked him, you were like some sort of freak that doesn't know breeding. After he won the Juvy, he cleared the 8.5 furlong bar fine, but the Beyer wasn't high enough and of course "Songbird would have dusted him."

This season, he has seemed to be a horse, again, who everyone is waiting for to lose. They're looking for someone else. For a time, that someone else was Mo…

Florida Derby

Good Sunday morning racing fans and bettors.

Yesterday's Florida Derby saw the much anticipated match-up between Nyquist and Mohaymen materialize into a match-up between Nyquist and, well, nobody. The horse that 'can't get nine furlongs' keeps getting it just fine it seems, stopping the timer in 1:49.11 on a sticky track for a 116 TimeformUS figure.

The winner looked to be running out in the lane, and the pace was slowing at a pretty stout rate throughout the mile, with the third quarter covered in :25 and a last eighth in a respectable (especially for a horse who 'can't get nine furlongs'), 12.3. For energy distribution types, the splits were good for a front-runner to run a decent number.

While Nyquist did what he was expected to do, the big horse of KM's did not. The horse that has always looked like a seasoned, smart, sports car threw a clunker. Whether he i) didn't like that surface, ii) didn't come to race, or iii) was sore is anyone's …

Philadelphia Park to Uncle Frank? Handle is Sure to Zoom

John Pricci broke some news yesterday - Philly Park is supposedly under consideration to be purchased by Frank Stronach.

This purchase, if it goes through, would likely inject some energy into the mid-Atlantic region of tracks, and create a circuit, which should increase field size and improve racing quality. In addition, Parx under the Stronach umbrella would likely complete revamp the betting menu, moving takeout to reasonable levels.

That should, in my view, massively increase handle. We have some history to go by.

When Gulfstream took over the Calder meet, handle soared (for the apples to apples 40 day meet) from $58 million to $142 million. This was achieved through consolidation of the circuit, changes to the betting menu and using the GP brand to re-brand Calder. It is also pertinent to note, this was done with Calder not even having a grandstand.

Philadelphia Park (OK, Parx, I can't help myself), has some serious revenues. About $500 million dollars are earned through th…