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Showing posts from July, 2016

Horse Racing as an Olympic Sport - Pie in the Sky but Compelling

Over the years we have heard several arguments for horse racing to be an Olympic sport, and despite the numerous potholes, some of them really do make sense. Horse racing is global, there are racetracks in almost every major Olympic country, and if equestrian is a sport, why not racing?

Most believe the biggest stumbling block is the sport itself. It's too fractured, doesn't have uniform rules, and would a horse, owner and trainer race for a medal instead of say $12 million in the super-Pegasus Cup?

If golf's reasoning for becoming an Olympic sport means something, perhaps it's something the sport might want to look a little further at.

From the Olympic issue of Golf Magazine:

"Becoming an Olympic sport can and does lead to increase governmental funding and the creation or expansion of programs to attract new players.."

The article goes on to look at the Olympics influence on tennis. In 1988, when Olympic tennis was passed, the sport was on the decline. In &…

Time Counts on the Track, Too

"Time only matters in jail" is a familiar statement, often heard in the sport of horse racing.

In many ways this statement is a statement of fact. The fastest horse does not always win; the teletimer can flatter some horses based on trip, pace, and energy distribution and track bias. The condition of the track - the reason for the success of speed figures that include variant - is another huge factor.

But, as with some horse racing laws, I think this one is overused, and far too simple.

Time matters on the track, because the horse stopping the teletimer the fastest, wins the race.

Whether you look at average speed figures, last out Timeform, Beyer or Bris figures, or the raw times on a harness page, there is a strong correlation between them, and horses winning. That's a statement of fact.

If you don't use time, I frankly don't know what in the heck you're using to handicap. 

This past weekend in the Gerrity Pace, Wiggle it Jiggle It got the job done, while …

3 Reasons Why Takeout Decreases are for the Small Fry

Evangeline Downs dropped their pick 4 juice for last night from 25% to 12%. That's a pretty significant drop. Like most drops in takeout in one pool, at a smaller track, it's usually pretty good for the regular players, and it gives the track something to crow about.

In the grand scheme it's not earth shattering, but for the small player they should really be paying attention to it.

Drops like this are for them, and here's 3 reasons why.

1) It Levels the Playing Field - Evangeline Downs is a pretty good track for rebates. Rebates are searched for, and in many cases given, to big players to encourage them to bet more, and keep them playing racing, rather than another game. Although there are ADW's which give breaks to smaller players, they are often at a disadvantage.

At a 25% takeout, Joe Blow, playing at say or Xpressbet will pay 25% takeout. Meanwhile, at another ADW, Wanda Whale will bet pick 4's at about a 12% takeout - 25% plus a 13% rebat…

Can You Play an "All Stakes" Harness Pick 4?

All stakes pick 4's seem to work fairly well in Thoroughbred racing (even when a track force-feeds them with short fields), but in harness it's not the same apple, tree, or orchard.

This past weekend, on Meadowlands Pace night, the all stakes pick 4 paid a whopping $10.80. This is on the heels of some others, at Pocono and Mohawk, that were very similar.

Harness racing stakes races are simply very formful. They are restricted, whereby one horse, or two horses, stand out; they are not deep, where in pick 4 betting breadth means everything; there are no shippers who have not met before, no horse with turf breeding stretching out from a blowout dirt sprint to an 8.5 furlong turf try; there's no sneaky speed that's not apparent because you have sneaky speed pace figures.

That's why we see such crazy-high win percentages for favorites in stakes races.

As you all know as bettors, playing 15% or 20% takeout pick 4's (especially now at lower minimums) are tough at th…

Meadowlands Saturday - Top Notch Race Card, Mandatory Payout High 5; Links

Saturday evening at the Meadowlands one of the best cards of the entire season will be contested -- The Meadowlands Pace.

The Pace has the two best horses so far in the sophomore division - Control the Moment and Racing Hill - in the best posts. Control the Moment finally gets that good post in a stakes final, so he should be heard from, but with his visually impressive last sixteenth into a slowing pace last week, he will likely be hugely overbet.

As as aside, a part of me would not be too sad to see him get roughed up, because of the driver change. Post 9's in stakes finals are brutal to navigate (just ask Dave Miller with all-world Always B Miki in his Pace Final), and driver Randy Waples did what he could from the far outside in those races. I despise driver changes when the previous driver had little to work with.

Regardless, back to the race, if you're price shopping you'll likely have to look beyond the top two. Lyons Snyder, to me, is the most obvious at a price.

When Did Harness Racing Get So Entitled?

I don't know when it happened, or where it happened, or how it happened. But it happened.

Harness racing is a rural sport, steeped in tradition. It has always been about a basic tenet - my horse beating your horse.

It's about war horses like Dan Patch and Rambling Willie and Cam Fella taking on all comers, any time, at any venue, in any weather, from any post. It's about the Little Brown Jug, fair racing, heats; it's about the little guy shipping his $8,000 yearling to tackle the big barns in the big stakes, because he paid into them, knowing that in harness racing the little guy has a shot.

That seems to have all changed.

Now the Little Brown Jug is a race to skip, because someone in that big city barn, with a barn full of blue blooded yearlings, might (gasp!) draw a bad post.

It's now a game where four-horse, power entries want to win eliminations for $25,000 and choose the best posts so they can cakewalk to a stakes race victory.

It's a game where if Joe Blo…

Tone Deaf Greyhound Racing Pays the Price

Yesterday the New South Wales Premier, in response to a report on the live baiting scandal in Greyhound racing, banned the sport in his province. Hundreds of people will be out of jobs, and dogs will be looking for homes.

There are those in the sport of horse racing who believe that PETA or other groups are inconsequential, because you will never get them to agree with you (when your sport involves animals). I think they're half right. The problems lies, as above, with politicians and the general public, who do matter.

Greyhound racing turned a blind eye to an anachronistic, tone-deaf practice in that sport. The sport has paid for it.

Harness, and to a lesser extent Thoroughbred racing, suffers, in my view, from a similar disease. I read about, for example, "kicking" harness horses that insiders say is not really "kicking"; that it's better than "giving them stifle shots, y'know" (that really misses the point doesn't it?), and it's not…