Go Phishing

We're a few days into the newly minted higher takeout Keeneland meet, and we're seeing some data that may suggest handle has suffered due to the increase in pricing.

Three days does not make a trend, and looking at Wednesday's card - which is much better than last year's first Wednesday card - handle could rebound that day. Or not.

Regardless, it's early, either way.

One thing that strikes me, however, during this (and other, see Canterbury Park's takeout changes), is the level of misinformation when it comes to reporting horse racing results. It's been like this for a long time. It's not just in horse racing of course, but it's always been there.

We have to remember - when the information is being fed by people in power who make a policy - it's probably best to look elsewhere.

Heeding that advice, let's look at some numbers from someone who is not making policy, but who analyzes it:

This quick analysis in 140 characters (he should have 280, which proves twitter's 140/280 choice algo kinda sucks) tells you more than you'll ever get from most elsewhere.

It standardizes the data in one small but statistically significant way (a potential betting pivot from Keeneland to others) and it compares a datapoint (per entry handle) that's more relevant than any topline number.

You might not like a story it can tell, but it tells a story.

The thing that's always worried me in this sport, is that this data is being forwarded not by a Department of Wagering for the Horse Racing Commissioner ®, but by a guy on social media with a strange avatar who likes to go to Phish concerts. 

It's good in a way - it shows the power of good information, and social media has created an outlet for it to be shared. But it's bad in another way - the data the industry needs to pay attention to, and make pass/fail policy decisions on, is from a guy on social media with a strange avatar who likes to go to Phish concerts. 

If you're following the Keeneland story, may I respectfully suggest: Go Phishing. You might not like what the data says, and it may completely fly into the face of your horse racing worldview, but smart information and the resulting analysis will make you smarter.

Have a nice Monday everyone. To my friends north of the 49th, may you and your family enjoy your Thanksgiving.


Anonymous said...

It is the end of the first quarter, and the score is
Friday was an even tussle with handle flat at Keeneland. Saturday the horseplayers scored an easy touchdown with handle dropping $2,000,000 and Sunday the horseplayers scored a second touchdown with the help of mother nature causing a $3,000,000 drop in handle. No good team would be jumping up and down thinking the game was over. There are still three quarters ( weeks ) left and the opposition is likely going to change the first quarter game plan.
They just might start calling the biggest players and computer groups and let them play the final three weeks with an even bigger rate reduction. Of course this will put the regular players at an almost unbeatable disadvantage. That is the least of their concerns. Their concern is creating new artificial handle that will make it look like the boycott has been ineffective. This method of selling your handle for less is employed by other track operators who artificially inflate their handle which decreases revenue. This also creates a terribly unfair playing field for the average player. Fortunately for them ( and unfortunately for the players and the sport ) the people that make these decisions answer to an executive board who knows less about racing than a $2 show bettor. And none of these people are ever accountable for their actions. Until now.
They will try to get a hold of the publications and spin the boycott story in a different direction, especially if the Wednesday card does better which is a real possibility. With the exception of Ray Paulick (whom every horseplayer and honest person in the industry owes a great deal of gratitude for honestly reporting the news without an industry filter) , you might start seeing a sanitized reported version of this week’s business in Kentucky.
If you think TVG went out of their way to cover Keeneland last week, my guess is they will ignore other tracks even more after the opening week debacle. There is nothing to get upset over here. The other team is not going to accept defeat after one quarter. Let’s not do the dumbest thing we could do….. sit on a lead. The horseplayers should stop celebrating last week and focus on how to duplicate that $5,000,000 drop in handle again this week. You want to make a difference ? Play other tracks just like you did last week. If you are in a brick and mortar facility, talk to other horseplayers and let them know that a lot is riding on the next three weeks. If we organize this boycott correctly by supporting the rest of the industry, everyone wins except Keeneland, and they will have to treat horseplayers more fairly in the future if they want us to return. The whole racetrack world is watching to see if we can truly make a difference and change things for the BETTOR.
Join us by not betting one track…. Keeneland…. For one month…… October 2017….. That’s it.

Steve_S said...

Whenever I see analysis from o_crunk I always wonder: how would one get their hands on those data? Not questioning any bona fides, but maybe someone wants to regress handle against takeout, field size, temperature, rainfall, Frank Stronach's lunch menu, etc...


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