Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Fascinating Look at Integrity Downunder

A jockey and owner in Australia have each been suspended a year for not trying to win a race, and profiting from it.

The jock is appealing, while the owner pled guilty to betting against his horse and giving misleading statements. He is pleading not guilty to conspiring with the jock to lose the race.

The owner's story (as a stand-alone story, without the accompanying video evidence of the ride) is believable. He noted that he had bet $5,500 to win on his maiden at a bookie, but when he arrived on course the track was a bog. He wanted to relieve himself of some risk - he tells investigators - so he laid some of it back on betfair.

Betfair, as they do in all instances like this, worked with the commission. That bet was outed. There is nothing in the story that corroborates his story that he was heavily long his horse.

The reaction seems to be mixed, which is what we often see in racing. On one side, the Racing B*tch noted:
Lately we have seen evidence of race tampering in Australia, and at times in Britain. In North America we rarely see it. Is it because it does not happen here?

Likley not. In other countries where punting is taken seriously, these things tend to be uncovered, because they want to uncover them and they have the means to uncover them. In North America we see some in knee-jerk fashion blame a place like betfair for causing the problem, when all it does is bring the problem to everyone's attention.

This is  not unlike, for example, a track who has no blood testing. They won't have any positive tests, but it doesn't make them better off than a place that can call a tree frog positive because they do test.  If you're honest, where do you want to race your horses and bet?

I continually marvel at Hong Kong and Australia. In those countries punters are treated with a ton of respect, just like stock market investors are here in North America. Their hard-earned betting dollars mean something.

Notes: I followed the Night School executive chat yesterday. There seemed to be a ton of backslapping about what racing has done good of late. I don't belittle it. There are some areas we have done well - like the use of social media and twitter helped along by the America's Best Racing initiative. However, we have done very poorly on many fundamental issues and those were nary mentioned. It seems like everyone wanted to appease every faction. It probably was not the venue to talk turkey about any group, but I find that happens behind closed doors as well. We in racing look at the path of least resistance when we deal with our problems, in my opinion. These problems are too large to do that. To fix racing's problems there will be winners and losers, because changing the status quo makes that assured. We seem to want to change, while not offending anyone. That makes real change impossible.

Alan over a LATG looks at New York's delays on getting anything done. I have to chuckle because Ontario takes that to the nth degree. We're still sitting here with yearling sales going off without the foggiest bit of knowledge what next year will look like.

Detour Hanover, the highest price harness yearling in history, debuted yesterday. He held on to win by a head in a slow time. 

Have a nice Wednesday everyone.

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