Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Ray Cotolo's Hot Dog Stunt Elicits Strong Industry Reaction

We'll all remember Memorial Day '24 because of the Met Mile as the day Ray Cotolo dressed up like a hot dog. 

I highly doubt Andy Serling or Mark Patterson could pull off that look, but Ray, well, it's like he's worn that outfit his entire life. 

Industry reaction was swift. The Nancy Takter stable twitter feed was none too impressed. 

Reactions ran the gamut. Some were confused, some perplexed, some mad, some hopeful, some called for generational change. 

"This triggered me", wrote Inside the Pylons on X formerly known as whatever. "I gave my life to dressing up as Hoosier Buddy each and every day and was fired mercilessly. It brings back horrible memories."

"I'm just glad it knocked the story about the stewards getting their race distances from a cartoon image on the program out of the headlines", typed an unnamed NYRA exec. 

"I love hot dogs" wrote Nick Salvi. 

"Ray had to be on Lasix because he was out of his mind, which is why it needs to be banned" said the Jockey Club. 

"This was a bold statement, a reminder in the world we live in. Harness racing is existential, a part of our being. I think Plato wrote ...." typed Tinky before getting cut off because he forgot to pay for this month's blue checkmark. 

"Our sport has to be professional and this wasn't it. I am outraged" typed an unnamed harness driver, who just last night moved over to let his buddy up the rail, changing the outcome for $115,432 of bettor money that was wagered on the race. 

"I don't like this sort of thing," said trainer Bob Baffert. 

"I'm just going to retweet DeRosa's reaction," noted Nico via DM. 

"Mangled horses are rumoured to be in hot dogs" said Joe Drape in an Op/Ed in the New York Times.

"I don't know how this type of publicity grows the sport," typed Alix Earle on Instagram. 

"This is way worse for the sport than how some jocks not named me force their way out of a hole and put the horse into the hot dog cart on the tarmac", said Irad Ortiz junior. 

"This is exactly why I want to expand the Bet with the Best podcast to live video" said Chris Larmey. 

"As your commissioner I have a bold statement to make after I ask Pat Cummings what he thinks," noted Mike Repole. 

"This is why racing needs HISA" noted HISA. 

"Thank god I don't broadcast racing anymore", DM'd Michelle Beadle.

"Racing is dead" typed Ed DeRosa.

"Racing is dead" typed Nico.

Those are some notes from the heavy hitters. As for small hitters like me, thank goodness Ray Cotolo is a part of this sport. Jeff Gural dressed as a hot dog just won't cut it. 

Have a nice day everyone. 


Thursday, May 23, 2024

Can AI Kill All the Wagering Value?

I ain't no AI expert. Sometimes I can't even get the microwave to work right. But, Microsoft's presentation on AI this week was a barnburner. 

One graph caught my eye. 

That curve is kind of staggering. 

What we see today in this space is different from what we'll see in like ten minutes. 

In horse racing we've seen less and less meat on the bone due to the power of computing, some very sharp math people, and the assorted groups they've built. Now this?

There are a great many factors in horse racing particularly where we can still find value, and I'd proffer that we lean on these more and more outside the algo space. However, with this kind of learning power, those too should be modelable. 

Then what's left?

A first time starter the models were not on won the first at Gulfstream. There's some getting while the getting's good at least. Have a nice Thursday everyone. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

A Good Handicapping Habit (from an NFL Quarterback)

I was listening to the Bussing with the Boys podcast yesterday, where the guest was Prime Time Cousin Kirk, and he told what I thought was a very interesting story. 

In 2014, he was being pulled every which way with his time, and he said he never felt comfortable on game day. He felt he didn't have everything down, and with the dysfunction of the then Redskins ownership and locker room, it made it progressively worse. 

He was not playing well and his wife told him he had to schedule blocks of time when things would get done - he had to create a routine. He built (the man is an obvious geek with stuff like this) a spreadsheet and followed it. 

When Friday evening came around, he felt he had nothing to do. He felt fully confident on game day. 

He said it was the big reason he threw for 5,000 yards and his team made the playoffs the following year. He's been doing the same routine since. 

For regular people like us who remember taking an exam, I assume it's a similar feeling. Confidence breeds results. 

This story struck a nerve, because I made a point of doing similar with my handicapping this year. 

For example, on Tuesday evening I get done my 'capping work for Thursday. When I open the PP's on Thursday, I will have gotten what the odds board should look like in my mind before it opens. I will have an idea why the first time turfer is taking CAW money in pick 3's. I'll have an idea why an off claim horse is dead on the board. Or why a horse off a qualifier or set of works I loved looks like a solid single. 

Because I've done that work already, and wasn't scrambling, I am looking at holes in markets, rather than trying to work backwards to understand the board.  I've mapped out where I need to be, and where I don't in multi legs. 

This works for the other days of the week. For example, if I do my work for Thursday on Tuesday and can pass that final exam, I can have my first look at Saturday's exam on Wednesday evening. 

This game is brutally hard. Not hard like beating a Brian Flores green dog disguised blitz, but a different kind of hard. The rake is brutal, and we're competing against some serious sharps. I believe when we've done the work and are not blindsided short of time, we can perform a hell of a lot better. 

Setting blocks of time to get the work done in busy lives helps me greatly. The routine makes me confident on what I am doing is right. It gives me time to construct tickets and look for curve balls and be a better bettor. 

If you don't already have a routine, maybe it will help you, too.

Have a great day everyone.

Monday, May 6, 2024

The Kentucky Derby Never "Gets it Right" (& I'm Okay With That)

The Derby non-placing of Sierra Leone for beating up Forever Young like Mike Tyson against a high school welterweight has caused a lot of chatter on the social medias. 

For all of you who say Sierra Leone should've been pitched from second to third, that Forever Young would've won the Derby if he was outside, not inside the Chad Brown horse etc, etc, I agree wholeheartedly. 

But I'm super glad they didn't even look at it. 

We seem to live in a get-it-right-at-all-costs world in sports fandom, but I think it only takes half of it into perspective. There is a cost to get it right. 

The ending of NBA games are excruciatingly long. The NHL can have five minutes of game play, a goal, and then a review of an offside that happened five minutes ago that has nothing to do with nothing. In the NFL, when everyone is tired in a two minute drill, a delay of five minutes can result in giving everyone a rest with fans left wondering what the score even is. 

And let's not forget, that when we have to "get it right" there's always more to get right, which means more replay, more delays more stoppages, not less. 

So, let's get it right in the Derby and pitch Sierra Leone. 

Then, let's have a look at jockey Brian Hernandez's move up the wood to see if he took a spot and forced his way through. Let's look at the first turn where everyone is getting mowed down, each and every year. Let's post the thrill of the result, then wait for the stewards to dissect the Zapruder film. 

Maybe at 10:30 that evening, when we're curled up watching a true crime special on NBC's Dateline, we'll see an alert -- we now have a Derby winner.  We hit pause, and scatter to check the ADW to see what we got paid. 

If we do that in the Derby, let's for sure do it at Gulfstream in two-turn turf races where horses shove others into the 7 path as a matter of course. Let's do it at every track everywhere - not just with the infractions that occur late in the race because visibility bias is so yesterday - but occur anywhere. Nine hour cards anyone?

My Forever Young win bet and exotics are in the wind somewhere, just like a lot of bets I make each and every day. I'm totally okay with it. For 150 years the Derby has never, ever gotten it right, and I hope it continues to get it wrong for a 150 more. 

Have a great Monday everyone. 

Most Trafficked, Last 12 Months


Carryovers Provide Big Reach and an Immediate Return

Sinking marketing money directly into the horseplayer by seeding pools is effective, in both theory and practice In Ontario and elsewher...