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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 Mohaymen; until Saturday, when he beat him, too.

Now, once again, the Beyer is not huge, and Mohaymen didn't fire. Both are true, but sheesh, can we give the colt a little respect?

There's a chance that this group - which has seen no huge figs run yet (here's your handy primer on that, with all major fig makers)  - is not going to see a huge fig run. Nyquist might be the best you're looking at; at 9 furlongs or 10 furlongs (especially, if the 'class' of Uncle Mo carries him).

Sure he might be more The Factor or Goldencents and not suited for a smashing last quarter mile in the Derby, but maybe he's still good enough. If he does win, I hope he gets credit for being a very good horse, instead of looking for excuses why he won. But if history is any indication, I doubt he will.


An interesting study is being completed which looked at over 30,000 NYRA races this century. There are some hard and fast numbers on which field size is best to maximize handle by pool, a look at takeout rates, and other metrics.

It fascinates (shocks) me to no end why more of these real studies are not embraced and funded by the sport of horse racing. Horse racing is a bog of inefficiency, with disparate tracks, ADW's, off track betting, rebates, takeout systems that can not be held as control variables etc. Unlike a Wynn casino who can drop slot takeout from 7% to 6% to see what happens to revenue, racing needs to look at numbers in a very detailed way.

NYRA should be commended for offering up their data so a study like this could be completed. Let's hope it's the first step in a new movement in the sport to model more, to allow it to make sounder decisions.

Enjoy your Monday everyone.

Comments

CJS8888 said…
This is an ok study. It's all cross-sectional and ignores multi-race wagers though. Things like pick 3s and bettor churn are not examined, and these omitted variables may explain some of their findings, especially in relation to time of day. Also, competition from other tracks is not included and may explain the monthly findings. Basically, it's a good, if incomplete, descriptive study with little explanation or theory behind it.