Odds & Ends For Thursday

It Takes Time

Mohawk handles are up.

Business & marketing writer Jack Trout has long trumpeted the idea that you have to know who you are to succeed - sell yourself for what you are. Many products try to be something they are not and more often than not they fail miserably. Harness racing is rural, it is grassroots. Going back to Mohawk in the summer was poo-pooed by many because leaving metro Toronto was deemed wrong. Early on they seemed to be right, but in business you never try things for a week and say "didn't work", you test until you have data that tells you it works, or it does not.

Mohawk works. It is a better surface for good racing. And kudos to WEG for sticking to their guns.

Using our TV Time Better

We have been proponents on the blog about using our TV time to our advantage. We have too many human interest stories, too much fluff. Not enough about the betting, or attacking stereotypes that hinder our sport.

Thoroughbred trainer Tom Amoss felt similar about the coverage of the Derby on TV.

Many TV viewers watch just one race a year and "instead of hearing our governor say what a great day it is in Kentucky, they should have been hearing us say all these things that we do to protect our thoroughbreds," Amoss said.

Further to the above, Jack Trout invented the term positioning, about positioning your product in the market. Right now we are positioned as a sport that cheats, and does not care about our horses. Of course, nothing is further from the truth - I'd say 99.9% of races are run fairly and there are some bad apples, yes, but not to the extent the public believes.

Attacking our stereotypes and repositioning our product by using our TV time is vital. I know, that is the job for a commissioner. Where are you Hector Clouthier? We need you.

Paul Mac Georgian Drive

In the post below we spoke about Paul MacDonnell's drive on Wholly Louie. On Harnessdriver.com I read an interesting post.

the goals of a catch driver are (in order):
(1) bring home money for the owner
(2) bring home an intact horse for the owner

So PM did in fact maximize the purse money for breeder/owner Robert Hamather and trainer Casie Coleman.
Would you have done the same thing? I might have. I don't think I ever drove a race as part of an entry either coupled or uncoupled and I certainly never drove horses of that caliber but if I were in Paul's place, I'd probably have let Tigerama out (discreetly of course). But the fact that I or you might do the same thing doesn't make it right.

Now, this is interesting insight to me (and this is hypothetical of course, we have no idea what Paul for certain did or not do). I too doubt very much that I would not drift a bit to let my partner out. It has been going on for 100 years. It is human nature. It seems accepted.

What do we do about it, that is the question.

Show us the Video Dang it!

Cangamble has a great last blog post up. In it he mentions Mountaineer's video trouble last week. The live video stream was down for most of the card, and handle dropped 67%.

Horseplayers don't ask for much - free pp's, live video for them to bet, and a half decent price on their wagers. People think that is like asking for a 100% break on your tax return or something. It isn't, they are just asking for tools so they can give you a ton of money by playing your races!

It's like asking for an "Open" sign when they go to Walmart. They would not do much business if they were closed would they?

Why we do not offer free video - possibly on one website that we can hopefully monetize in the future - is beyond me.

Upcoming Action

The Cup is 48 hours away.

In the next couple of days I will pop up some of the fair odds lines I have received, and we will discuss the race. If anyone wants to play a game, I am game. I am going to pop up my fair odds line, start with $1000 and make a few plays based on min odds. We are going to do this with some gambling bankroll rules as an exercise, and do it for several big races - The Cup, the Pace a few others, ending with the Breeders Crown.

For example, I have Sand Shooter at 16-1. If he is over 16-1 he would be a play for me. So I would bet to win $100. The play would be $6 to win on Sand Shooter if over 16-1. I like Beach at 7-10 odds, so I would bet $60 on him if he was over 7-10. He won't but that is what I'd do. I will be picking no more than two bets for the race, and it is possible neither will be at fair odds - but that is a good gambling lesson - only bet when the odds are in your favour.

So if you are up for playing and joining me, see what kind of bets you may want to make, pop them in the comments section and let's see who can end up with a properly bet sized bankroll when all is said and done.

Further, I contacted a harness speed and pace figure maker for his thoughts on the Cup. Many people do not believe in using figures for harness. Well, maybe you will change your mind when we hear from him.


Anonymous said...

Sand Shooter was my 16-1 shot.

How about Deuce Seelster 18-1.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi A,

You can make your own line and make your own picks off that line. For example, if your line has Dali at 11-1 and you like him for a bet you could say "I'll bet $10 on Dali if he is 11-1 or over", then it is considered a bet. If not then it is no bet. In my line I may end up having fair odds on Sand shooter so he might be a play for me. Anyhow it is all based on your fair odds line.

For another example, here is a line from the Belmont from a good handicapper on Sharp Sports Betting. He is betting "units" which you can disregard, but this is the idea.


Big Brown has looked much the best of this year's crop of 3-yr-olds. I give him a 60% chance to win the race. He will almost certainly go off lower than my 3-5 fair odds.

Putting fair odds on Casino Drive is a challenge, because the horse has only run twice. He's got the same mom as the last 2 Belmont winners, so the assumption is that 1.5 miles is no problem. But a 2-race history isn't much to go on. I've got him as my 2nd fav at 9-1, but I won't bet for or against him. He also developed a stone bruise on one of his back hooves, so there's a chance he won't even run.

My line:

PP# Horse My line ML

1 Big Brown 3-5 2-5

2 Guadalcanal 250 50

3 Macho Again 13 20

4 DenisofCork 20 12

5 Casino Drive 9 7-2

6 Da'Tara 70 30

7 Tale of Ekati 11 20

8 Anak Nakal 35 30

9 Ready'sEcho 50 30

10 IcabadCrane 50 20

The horses I think will be overlays are Macho Again and Tale of Ekati. They each overcame bad trips to finish well in their last races--the Derby for Tale of Ekati and the Preakness for Macho Again. That's in contrast to Denis of Cork, who had a very easy trip in the Derby.

Picks for Belmont Stakes: (If Casino Drive starts)
Macho Again if 20-1, 0.05 units
Tale of Ekati if 18-1, 0.06 units
Anak Nakal if 50-1, 0.02 units

If Casino Drive scratches, I'll post again with lower odds thresholds.


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