A Trip Around the Betfair Markets & Black Monday

As the weather gets cooler, there are some interesting betting events on the horizon. You usually have a pretty good idea what's happening by watching punters on the exchange.

First up is Frankel. The market is extremely tight with a 1% takeout:

We've been hearing this is a stern test, and if the ground comes up very soft we may be in for a shocker, but at times it sounds like hyperbole. After all, he's Frankel. However, at 1.25 odds, the people who are putting their money where their mouth is tend to agree. Cirrus Des Aigles is taking some serious money. Good old Bullet Train is about 700-1. That horse needs to run in a race he can win, or maybe he needs a cuddle. He must be down on himself.

This market should be in the tens of millions one would think. There should be some movement with the weather and other factors, and everyone wants a punt.

The Breeders Cup markets are barely a blip. They will be more active, for sure, but right now we're in no-mans land.

For the Distaff the trading is formful, with Royal Delta at about 3-1, My Miss Aurelia 6-1, Awesome Feather 7-1 and Questing 7-1. If someone gets Questing at 10-1 I think that's a good bet. We'll see when this market tightens up.

The Classic is very similar - a loose market with only a smattering of trading.

Game on Dude is the favorite. Dullahan, Ron the Greek, Mucho Macho Man and Flat Out are all vying for second choice. There seems to be little buzz on the Classic side this season.

When it comes to other markets, politics are a fascinating study. Like when building a personal odds line, we as horseplayers sometimes think we're sharper than the wisdom of the crowd, but what a crowd does to a line is take every available bit of information and incorporate it into the price. For example, "I don't like this horse because of the negative jock change, I don't like him because he was lame last time" - that's why the horse is 9-2 instead of 7-2.

In political betting this exists of course, but there is a boatload of noise that doesn't seem to be seen in horse racing, or some other markets. This year there has been a real lag in the markets.

A week ago it looked like Mitt Romney was rolling ahead in Florida. President Obama was the chalk until just this week, then the betting moved solidly into Romney's column. He is now a strong favorite in that state, but it took awhile.

Ditto Virginia. Just the past day Romney has moved into the lead at Betfair, despite headline and poll after headline and poll showing this state leaning "R".

There is an edge in political betting, unlike any market I've seen.  For some reason the sharps are just not super-sharp when it comes to US politics.

Changing World

It's Black Monday today (well the Anniversary of it anyway, when the stock market plunged in 1987).

I remember the day well. I was in a calculus class at the University of Toronto and some rich kid that I sat with came in and told me the market was crashing. I had a really good union job throughout high school (I had been working summers since grade 8) and had a nest egg for my school fees. A portion of that was put into the stock market to use for second and third year tuitions.

When I heard the news I got pretty frightened. Several thousand dollars was at stake. I headed out of class and got my broker via a pay phone in the hall. He told me I was getting killed like everyone was. I stood pat, then went home and looked for any buying opportunities via the business paper the next day.

Now, 20 some odd years later, people are buying and selling Breeders Cup horses, and Presidential markets online, on that same type of exchange. And it certainly doesn't take a pay phone or a newspaper to do it.

Times have changed. Certainly for the better.

Have a great day everyone.


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