Try or Qualify?

As hard-core gamblers who play racing and other sports we are almost immune to changes in performance due to effort. No team wants to lose the second half of a double-header, no team wants to lose the home half of a home and home, and often this is reflected in the odds. In racing this is tantamount to a trainer whose first of a layoff numbers are 2%, and second off a layoff is 15%. The horse will be 15-1 in his first tilt and maybe chalk in his second return race.

That's fine for a lot of bettors, but what happens when a horse, who should win easily, is a no-try? In the grandstand that is called a stiffaroni, and it happens. Is this good for racing? Because you and I and many others can 'guess' a horse's connections willingness to go all out we might not think much of it, but what does it say to the general public?

On a chat board recently a harness bettor spoke of the race last Saturday at the Meadowlands. In this race, Ideal Matters was 2-5. Slam dunk right? No, not really; he was off three weeks. Since the horse is not a speed horse anyway, and he had the six hole, one could easily expect the horse to drop back, and take what the race gives him. And that is what he did. After a crawling half he could not make up the ground needed - he was never in the race - and he failed to hit the board.

From the bettor who was not happy with this performance: "He said it's a NJSS race going for real money. If he needed a race, they should have found a qualifier. You can't drive a 2/5 like it's a qualifier as 90% of the people who are betting money have you on their ticket and expect us not to feel like we got robbed while watching that effort."

Forgetting this race for a moment, and realizing that this happens more than this one instance what do you think? If a horse is off a month and does not try, is it fair? If a driver drives a 2-5 shot like he is a 10-1 shot, should there be penalties? Should that trainer have qualified the horse if he wanted a tightener, or is this an instance we should be able to know as bettors?

Do you have any opinion on the matter?


Cangamble said...

Trainers in both games will always have more information than the general public. It is impossible for them not to.
Where do you draw the line though? Tough question.

Anonymous said...

In the grand scheme of things, is a division of the NJSS really that big of a deal to the connections of Ideal matters?
Of course they used that race as a tightener, and they can afford to finish 4th.
Was it all out? Of course not. However, as you pointed out, sharp bettors will already have factored that in going into that race, not to mention sharp bettors who were on board with the Glenview horse last week at WEG knew that Ideal was in for a fight anyway.
This happens every night at every track, as seasoned cappers, it's almost expected. Of course some are more severe than others, but until they start giving out any type of penalties, this will continue.
The problem is, the casual fan, who may be new to the game, or not as much in tune with it as we are might not like this, might look at the book and wonder how a horse like Ideal Matters could lose, let alone finish off the board.

best regards and good luck in the molson


That Blog Guy said...

It is not a question of stiffing a horse. Anyone who has been following this game for a while, should realize a horse that has been off three weeks is not sharp. You don't expect a horse like this to race brave the first time back, but basically sit back and hope for a trip.

As for a qualifier, being used to get a horse back into top form? Qualifiers are not races; they are not competitive. They are used to show a horse can meet the qualifying standard and act well. Unless you are in a race where everyone is trying, it is not the same.

A driver who has a 2-5 shot that has raced within two weeks better be trying from the word go. A driver of a horse that has been off for a while is not obligated to gut a horse at 2-5, but to put themselves in a position to get a trip.

That being said, sometimes the wagering public is wrong.

Our problem is we are not educating the casual player correctly. Your racetrack with a handicapping show during the races needs to let people know the horse may not be driven aggressively due to the time off. If there are handicapping comments in the program, make sure it is mentioned for a particular horse. And let people know that just because you are not driving aggressively doesn't mean you are not trying; some horses need a trip.

Education is the word.

Anonymous said...

Education is right.... horsepeople (drivers/trainers) need to be educated that bettors are betting tons of cash in pools so they have to try if favored. Bettors have to be educated that every race is a not a conspiracy if something happens like this.


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