Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Betting Take On Camelot's Loss

Horse racing remains the best (in my opinion, of course) fundamental betting game on earth. When a horse loses, or wins, we can have dozens of opinions why, or why not.

This morning when Camelot lost his Triple Crown bid the early reaction was based on the ride itself. Most seemed to believe being tucked away in slower fractions, getting out with about a quarter to run, caused the loss.

That may be so.

Having not watched very much UK racing at all, and of course not seeing any fractions on my screen (a whole other lament of mine with UK racing), I defer to others on this opinion. I like to watch the money.

I decided to watch the race at Betfair, just like I usually do, because in-running betting is not only fascinating, it is an incredibly accurate predictor about what's happening during a race.  When people have a monetary stake, rather than a qualitative one, it means quite  a bit.

Despite the chatter about fractions and being "in a bad spot", the punters vehemently disagreed. Camelot, who opened at 1.50 (about 1-2), drifted downwards after the break and traded between 1.4 and 1.5. Punters continued to be not concerned at all, right to the head of the lane. They thought he was in a fine spot and simply needed a seam.

He traded down to 1.25 when he got out with about 3/8's to go.

The winner at that point opened up, and then, finally he drifted upwards. He ended up trading over $US6M.

The bettors themselves seemed to be saying that he had a fair shot, but the other horse was better.

Still unsure I telephoned a professional betfair player for his take. He confirmed the prevalent bettor opinion, believing that he was near enough to the winner, and he is a much better horse than the winner, to warrant a 1.3 or so long play at that stage.

Then he said he had been short the horse anyway, today. He noted that the horse looked poor at the end of the Irish Derby in his opinion, and nothing like he did in his previous win. He thought if Camelot was as good as he was three months or so ago, he'd have easily won the race.

Another punter told me similar before the race, via email. Noting: "I'm bearish on Camelot...I'm usually bearish against heavy chalks, but this one has been off for some time and is asked to go close to 2 miles against a field of decent horses with good recency."

So, the general opinion of "bad ride, no fractions" could very well be accurate. However, there is a cogent school of thought in betting and handicapping land that we were looking at a horse that was ripe for the taking, and the loss was just that; a loss.

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