Neat Ideas, Rolling Doubles and Some Transparency

Hello racing fans. A good Thursday to you all.

Last evening the Meadowlands issued a press release speaking of "Cobalt". I am unsure this is really about cobalt (it may be about loading B12 to get the red blood cell count up so horses do not get tired as quickly), but a couple of tests showed sky-high readings recently. This prompted Gural to boot those trainers from his tracks.

Interestingly enough this is apparently nothing new (if you read the chat boards or talk to some backstretch types), but this drug was not on the list of drugs tested for. I am guessing, but it seems that with Gural sending these samples to Hong Kong, the labs test for more than the drugs that are simply on the list.

Why is this bad? It appears it turns horses blood into sludge, like EPO does, with prolonged usage.

Anything for an edge, I guess.

There is a new petition going around with a horseplayer asking for Rolling Doubles back in California. What happened was this: Cali racing has been having a tough time, especially since the takeout hike a couple of years ago. To offer some incentive on price, they decided to lower the daily double takeout. Instead of keeping the rolling doubles, however, they only offered a few of them a day. The petition is asking for rolling doubles at the reduced rake.

The rolling double rake, even at 18%, is not exactly a huge bargoon (So Cal has short fields for the most part), but it is better than it was.

If you play So Cal (since that rake hike I do not, so I have not signed) you can have your voice heard there. Some horseplayer heavy hitters like Andy A, John Pricci, Steve Davidowitz and my buddy Dinkin have all signed. They need more signatures.

Want to read a neat idea? VFTRG talks about having a field drawn, allowing drivers to make their choice of what horse they want to drive, and then doing the post draw. Right now, especially on half mile tracks, this is an issue. It's a neat idea. One that will probably not happen, but a neat idea nonetheless.

Kudos to TimeformUS. They have written an article on their numbers.  I know what you might be expecting - "our numbers are the best, we're profitable with no handicapping and come sign up with us and make millions" - because we see that so often in horse racing, or sports betting, or even with stock picking services. That didn't happen. The article showed what their numbers are: They are very good in predictive terms and return on investment terms, but they are no black box.
  • While we are largely pleased with the results of this study, they are a reminder (as if we needed one) that there is no totally satisfactory substitute for handicapping horse races in the most thorough manner possible. Much as we love our Spotlight Speed Figures, and much as we are pleased with their performance in much of this study, we always find it important to remember that what they are, more than anything else, is a convenient way to get INTO races. They are a quick and easy way to spot races that have potential for the handicapper. But getting into the handicapping of a race is not to be confused with being done handicapping a race.
Hear hear. This game is hard, especially with its punishing takeout. There is no need to sugarcoat it, or dupe potential customers. Timeform figures are good, they are predictive, and they are an excellent starting point.  It's nice to see the openness and transparency. Well done boys and girls.

Have a great day everyone.


Anonymous said...

Like you, I haven't bet cal. Since the big takeout increase so can't sign.

Fred Mertz said...

I don't play California racing either, since the takeout hike. So I won't sign that. I also don't play any Stronach owned tracks since my main ADW doesn't carry them anymore. And so far this year, I am doing better sticking to tracks that give OK rebates anyway.


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