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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

Playing the Red Board is not as much fun these days

At Belmont Park Saturday, Chad Brown’s fillies, one on dirt and one on turf, were awesome. We advised the HRI faithful that the rolling double would not make anyone rich.

The fillies appeared unbeatable on paper and went out and proved it between the fences.

The final prices were absurd as the Algorithm Mob just loaded up. Thought $2.90 on Uni was ridiculous? Well, despite staring at a double that was odds-on, 75-Cents on the dollar, Mother Goose winning Dunbar Road came back to pay even less: $2.60.

Mrs. Ramona G. (5.70-1) completed the exacta with Uni, paying $12.60, fair given the ante post odds.

While comparing Kathleen O’Connell’s Stormy Embrace at Gulfstream Park to the Brown fillies is an apples-to-oranges cliché, she did look the part of a 3-5 shot leaving the paddock; alert, energetic, composed. She, too, proved it, reaching the finish as much the best—at 1-5.

Even the exacta with Trenchtown Cat (7.90-1) was somewhat disappointing: $11 for every $2 wagered.

Horse racing has always had late money bet-downs, it’s part of the game, but nothing ever close to this!

Huge late-odds shifts strike at the heart of the handicapping and wagering process.  The Belmont scenario happened again 25 minutes later at Gulfstream.

Diamonds Oops, a too high 20-1 on the early line, opened the wagering at 4-1. Fair enough; he was very live. The 4 year old Patrick Biancone-trainee began drifting up, the crowd siding with O’Connell’s streaking Jalen Journey.

Diamonds Oops was 8-1 as the Smile Stakes field began their load into the starting gate. Patiently handled, he reached at the wire in front—at 6-1, returning $15.20.

How do bet-takers, whoever, whatever and wherever they are, allow final minute computer batch-betting to continue for the sake of short term profits?

In too many instances, the process of handicapping and wagering, the sport’s life blood, off-time odds appear too late for rank and file bettors to react. Contextually, today’s parimutuel wagering lacks transparency.

We know professionals who made a living at this game but have forced themselves into retirement. Still others that have cut their play way down.

Racing currently has enough serious problems. Horseplayer are unhappy, never mind casual sports and racing fans and the public at large, enough of them clamoring for Thoroughbred racing’s demise.

But this situation is fixable. Somebody do something, or bettor erosion will continue.

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6 Responses

  1. John,
    As we have discussed before, you should always write down DD will pays. In most cases that will tell you how the race will be bet aqs far as win odds. OIf a horse is a $7.00 double and is 4-1,he/she will probably go off a big favorite if the next double is about $20.00.

  2. I understand that Aaron, and agree with your premise. However, it’s the DEGREE if deflation I’m talking about, not simply whether or not the odds will be lower at post time. We NEED fixed odds or permission to give licenses to well funded, bonded bookmakers who are gamblers too and have skin in the game. Horseplayers should be allowed to shop for the best price and recognize an opportunity when they see one. Taking liquidity out of the pools helps no one.

      1. Probably not in our lifetime, if ever. The industry is it’s own worst enemy; never innovates, ever, just variations on existing themes…

  3. As far as innovating what kills me is horse racing should be the ultimate TV sport. From betting. To handicapping to how we watch the races. The angles. The ultimate. Yet still marketed to live crowd. I know been a lot of threads on this and I get that most of us who are 50 plus years old got started with live racing. I can still appreciate to some degree the live product. But if ever a sport made for TV it’s racing

  4. Howard, you are 1000% correct and is the most logical way to introduce a younger audience that always has its eyes on a mobile screen.

    The late, great Cary Fotias and I were in talks with a racing industry organization–I don’t know, 15 years ago?–pitching the exact same concept you outlined above.

    They said they thought it was a good idea. The racing industry: Where good ideas go to die…

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