Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Boom! Ontario Passes Owner Responsibility

I was just jotting down a couple things for a Wednesday wrap (they are added below) and then I saw this from the ORC.

Entitled "Grand Scale Measures", it is a paper on new rules and regulations for Ontario racing. There are several things of interest, like safety vests, a horse health passport, and other measures. But the biggie? Hold on to your hats.....

Owner responsibility -Automatic suspension of a horse for 90 days for testing positive for any non-therapeutic drug.

For the first time I am aware of in all of racing, the owners will be penalized for a horse testing positive for a performance enhancer. This is long overdue.

When you go to buy a video game, cell phone, or anything else, you do your due diligence. When you trust your dog with a kennel while on vacation you do your due diligence to make sure he is safe and well cared for. When you own a horse, often times your due diligence consists of "this guy has high numbers, so he must be a good trainer. Let's go with him." Those days seem to be over. This makes owners treat their horses with respect they deserve. If you employ these people, you go down in flames with them. If you jump from trainer to trainer with questionable reputations you will pay right along with him.

If this is promoted and does what it is supposed to, the first question and comment from an owner will now be: Do you have any positives? Is there anything I should be worried about with you?

All I can say to that is, it's about time.

Other notes

I notice that whenever Seth at places up a story on slots he puts it under the “Slots as Saviour” heading – he is being sarcastic, of course. Well New Jersey racing yesterday sent out a press release indicating that Freehold is cutting purses and if nothing is done to help them, the Meadowlands will follow with purse cuts of as much as 45%.

Without a purse supplement, the Meadowlands‚ nightly purse distribution would drop from the current average level of $220,000 per program down to $90,000 nightly.

I don’t blame the powers that be, in going this cap in hand route with some sabre-rattling. Hey, after all it is a tried and true method. Plus, we all know we have severe problems at our flagship track and that something has to be done with smaller, lower handle tracks taking entries from the Meadowlands. But – and this is a big but – a lot of folks seemed to see this coming as early as 2006. My question is: Why was this not addressed earlier?

A news item on Equidaily a bit ago focused on Turftrax, a neat new innovation for overseas horse racing (why can I never seem to say innovation with North American horse racing?) where you can bet horses in-running. They want to get microchips inserted in all saddle pads so bookmakers can offer bets in-running.

While traditional gambling has been losing popularity as many older punters die out, in-play betting has been gaining a growing following on websites such as Betfair.
TurfTrax hopes to capitalise on this trend thanks its fully-automated system, which will make it easy for bookies to offer changing odds as a race develops.

I can’t comment if this would work or if it is a good idea or not. I have never tried it. But as long as people are thinking about innovation and flipping this sports’ traditional methods on its ear, I am all for it. It is probably a decent idea for turf marathons, but I would submit it would be tough in harness racing – there are not enough punters, and these ideas need volume.

Flamboro Downs is promoting its “Pocket Pony” which is a wagering guide for newbies. Initial reaction is good. Anything to get people interested is a good thing. It won’t change handles much I figure, but it does help set a table for growth. Slots players seem to be almost impossible to cross-promote to and it seems tracks have a tough time finding anything that sticks. Maybe this type stuff is a step in the right direction. Grand River Raceway tried this with their simplified program this past year. Small tracks are trying to innovate it seems.

Blair Tells All, Part Two

There is some interesting chatter below on the Blair Burgess Tell All story (here is our post if you have not read it.). For those who have not seen the race I thank Greg for pointing it out to me. You can watch it here. At the quarter you can see Sears is second and Jody J is fourth. Then the fireworks begin.

Edit: Now I see another reader helps us out. Here is a link to embedded video and the story on the race that sparked so much interest. Thanks Jeff!

It is nice to revisit it with video. Watching it again I can not believe Sears put the hammer down. It even looks more odd watching it again. Wow is all I can say.

My previous post was about the fact I searched for a long while to find it, and I could not. How difficult is it to have our championship races on a Breeders Crown website to promote the Crown?

I will have a post up soon on what I think the Crown should do to grow. The magic wand will be out again. I am interested to hear what people think.


Josh Budd said...

Hey man, first time on the blog, very informative for a newbie like me.

Where di you get the PPR from? is there a site that's updated daily/weekly/monthly? Or is it something you calculate yourself?

Pull the Pocket said...

Hey Josh,

Thanks for the comment. Nice to see some newbies in racing!

The PPR is mine. I placed a few categories on a spreadsheet and gave each horse a number for each category. I added them up and got a score out of 100.

The USTA has a top ten list of all horses in training. This is updated I think monthly (you can find that at, but it is voted on and I never got the feeling it was taking into account the race form of a lot of these horses. So I decided to make my own. I will be updating it monthly. When the horses start racing there will be lotsa changes that's for sure.

You probably know, but being a new person maybe not, that horses can change year to year. Being a great 2YO might not translate to being a great 3YO.

Thanks again for the comment. If you are just getting into the sport you might want to join one of the chat boards listed on the blog. I read and I know many of the posters there. They always like to answer questions, especially from new folks to the game. I think it is probably similar on the other chat boards too!

Best luck!

Anonymous said...

In a couple of your posts (one about premierturfclub and jcapper) you talk a little about optimal bet size. I was wondering if you could elaborate a little more on how to figure this out. I have been having some success with my win bets lately, and I am wondering how much I might be able to ramp up the amount. For instance, how much can I bet into a 4000 win pool at dover vs a 32000 pool at meadowlands? I think you wrote that the optimal bet is roughly 1 percent of the total pool. I assume if I am betting favorites it would be higher and for longshots less. Anyway if you ever have the time to elaborate on how to figure this out I would appreciate it.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi Bumby,

I was going to fire up some other handicapping posts up. I will take a crack at optimal betting, fractional or flat and things like that. It is incredibly interesting the difference you can make with bet size.

Anyhow, for now, the 1% example was for maybe a 8-1 shot in a Dover type pool. You are right in different odds levels it makes a difference.

For Dover, betting a 30-1 shot in a $5000 win pool, for example:

$5000 in the pool, with takeout leaves about $4100. a 30-1 shot might have $132 bet on it. If you bet $50 to win, you knock your odds down to 22-1. Over time this kills you. So 1% is too high on 30-1 shots at Dover (mathematically)

Now with a 2-1 shot, it has $1366 bet on it. If you bet $50, you have lowered your payout to 19-10, which is about a $5.90 payout. That is still not great, but it is no too bad. 1% is more than fine. If you bet 2%, or $100 to win you've knocked things down to about 8-5, so now you have to ask yourself do you want $5.60 on a $6.00 horse?

With late odds drops and not knowing what in the hell is coming late this stuff is less important, so I like to make a general rule that I would not want to risk anything more than 2% on short shots, 1% on middle shots, and 0.5% on longshots.

Just my opinion on that. There are many ways to play this game!

I hope that helps.

Pull the Pocket said...

PS: Nice to see you doing well Bumby. Bet size stuff is a whole other topic. If you are win betting, in my opinion from reading stuff from people a whole lot smarter than me, I like the "win a fixed amount" strategy. It keeps things nice and flowing.... and it helps stop people from going on tilt. If you have a $2000 bankroll, betting to win $100 is not a bad thing, imo......

So if you like an even money shot, bet $100 to win, to win that hundred. If you like a 5-1 shot, you bet $20 to win $100.

This is conservative, of course, but I find it is sage advice to help stop gamblers ruin by betting too much on longshots.


Anonymous said...

I don't like the new rule making owners responsible. It is a deterrent to new owners or naive owners.
Perhaps after an owner has been licensed for over 3 years, should he have to go down with the ship, because then you could argue that he or she has knowledge on how the game works.
But if it the horse that is suspended, that is fine...that is how it reads. 90 days to get the illegal drug out of the system could be perceived well by the public.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hey CG,

I read the broad message of the rule as: Your horse can be suspended if you don't take time out to research who you give your horse to.

It adds some seriousness to something that some (thankfully very few) people do not put the proper work into. It's a nice way for an owner and trainer to get on the same page, too.

Not a bad thing at all, imo.

Josh Budd said...

"Owner responsibility -Automatic suspension of a horse for 90 days for testing positive for any non-therapeutic drug."

Was there no rules in place before this? Or did the trainer bear all the responsibility for infractions?

Anonymous said...

Hey Josh,

Yep, it was just a penalty on the trainer, altho if a positive happened in the race, the owner lost the purse money the horse won that day.

Most Trafficked, Last 12 Months


Carryovers Provide Big Reach and an Immediate Return

Sinking marketing money directly into the horseplayer by seeding pools is effective, in both theory and practice In Ontario and elsewher...