Integrity, Western Fair, Short Fields and a Little Football

Hello everyone.

In HRU today, a second look at the phenomenon of "not trying in a race" with a well-bet horse was examined, via some reader comments. (pdf page 4)

The NFL supplies perfect information to bettors so they can handicap and decision-make, based on a spread. In harness racing this does not occur. A “no try” or “try” effort does not occur with such perfect information. It simply occurs based on the connections view of the race, or a driver’s decision making before, or right behind the gate. Did you know for sure Market Share was going to the back on a speed favoring track at 2-5? For sure? Of course you didn’t. But you did know the Chiefs were sitting their best players. Industry insiders like to say “well, its buyer beware and that’s why they call it gambling.” That’s nonsense. You’re not running an industry where customers have to guess if a magician is pulling a rabbit out of a hat, or if a little spinning ball will land on six, it’s a betting skill game with statistics, and impact values and past performances."

It kind of amazes me how - in a 2 billion a year betting game - things like this are kind of glossed over. If you do this in the stock market, or any other gambling game, it's taken very seriously.

Western Fair did $539,000 in handle last evening with about $70,000 in purses. Simplistically, at 20% takeout, that's $110,000 in revenue. If we add a $30,000 charge for putting on the show, the betting in a  way, paid for the night's costs. In previous slots fed years, $100,000 in purses were paid for at a place like Woodstock Raceway, with $7,000 in handle. It's a new world.

A quick note: A special kudos to Western Fair. They've worked the betting angle hard since Blanchard got there and I think it's paying off. With Grand River lowering rakes and having a good meet, a few harness tracks in Canada are really trying hard.

Woodbine took a brief break and I am not sure that's a bad thing for bettors. On Monday they have carded each race with ten horses and also eligibles. That's a deep card.

Other than rebated handle, overall handle has been getting killed the last ten years. One reason why? Short fields. O_Crunk showed that in 2013, one of every four races had fewer than seven runners.  In 1991, only 12% were. Short fields make the high takeout even more punishing. This business rarely understands that. In the UK, 15 horse fields with 6-1 chalk, with takeout rates of 5% or less on those short shots allows for a beatable betting game. Five horse fields with 16% rakes are impossible - not almost impossible, but impossible - to win at in the long term.

Anyone taking a punt on Super Bowl champ? If you are, you might want to read this: It's an article that shows what a team make-up looks like which succeeds in winning the Super Bowl. In this day and age where the media focuses on individual player narratives, most inside who play the game talk of a team concept.

It's striking, because it feels like picking a Super Bowl champ is not unlike picking a Derby winner. Is he fast? Sure. Does he have talent? Sure. But does he have the pedigree, the soundness, the connections, the tractability, the demeanor, the luck and everything else it takes to win at a mile and a quarter in May?

 The conclusions in the article are pretty neat - no team with a suspect pass D has won a Super Bowl in 23 years. In addition (beware yet again Manning fans), the number one offensive team tends to suck in winning the big game, with only one over the last thirty years (the Rams). If you do believe defense and balance win the big game, you are a Seahawks fan.

I think we might see the Seahawks and the Colts, because they seem to have the best balance. I will bet accordingly. However, I would like to see Denver win, because Manning probably deserves two Super Bowl rings. It might get the NFL Network media ninnies off his back for at least a year, when they move the bar again to ask him to win three championships instead of two.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Ron said...

I agree with nfl network about Peyton.His playoff numbers are avg at best. 8 games with less than 60% completions. 9-11 record even though he was no.1 seed 6 or 7 times, Int rate up Td rate down, and his qb rating about 10 pts. lower than reg. season. He had similar problems winning the big one at Tenn.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he will end his career like Elway did with super Bowls

Anonymous said...

In addition to hard work by Greg and crew at Western Fair, the handle also sending the message that without dilution of product we can do better!


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