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Monday, April 12, 2010

Revisiting Coupled Entries

Here is the replay of last Friday's second leg of the Su Mac Lad which was won by Enough Talk, who by winning, ended Lucky Jim's Meadowlands streak of sixteen consecutive victories.

It certainly was a thrilling race, just as thrilling as Lucky Jim's victory in the first round of the series.  I didn't think anything about further about the race until I received an email from a person within the industry who suggested Brian Sears (on #2  Likeabatoutofhell) deliberately left a hole for Trond Smedshammer (on #9 Arch Madness) to drop in during a relatively slow first quarter instead of keeping the hole shut like he could have.  So I went back to look at the replay of the race and to tell you the truth, I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. 

What's the big deal?  Both horses are trained by the same trainer and were uncoupled for wagering purposes.  I went back to look at the race one more time, keeping in mind the two horses were stable mates, and I must admit, I could see how this person felt the stable mate got an unfair 'assist'. 

Well, if a person within the industry can feel this way, what is the horseplayer who is wagering his hard-earned money thinking?  We have all seen drivers allowing another horse to drop in; it is part of racing strategy.  Clearly if the two horses were coupled, no one would question the fact Arch Madness was allowed to drop in the hole by his stable mate; it is expected.  However, once the horses are uncoupled, does this typical move become something more nefarious, especially since people are betting on each horse separately?

More importantly, why are we even taking a chance in a situation like this?  If the two horses were coupled, there still would have been eight wagering interests.  This was not a $100,000 final, it was a race for $50,000, which for the Meadowlands is not exactly huge.  Yes, I know our gamblers want more wagering interests in a race, but there are going to be times when fields will be short.

People are not exactly knocking down our doors to wager on horses.  Are we hurting ourselves in the long run by seeking short term gains by uncoupling horses?  It is something to think about.


ITP said...

It was harness racing at it's worst.

I was in shock when watching it and thought it was absolutely despicable that it was happening in a featured event.

I thought about causing a stink and sending emails but I'm 0 for 124 on these so I'm basically giving up. Especially after being deflated once again by Hoofbeats magazine and reading their multiple spots praising Pocono Downs, Hambo Society, USTA, etc. for supporting harness racing and Breeders Crown without mentioning anything about 35% takeout killing the bettor and the sport. Just sickening.

Pacingguy said...

Standardbred Canada's Trot Magazine is much more receptive to the issue of high takeout rates. You may enjoy reading their magazine.

Pacingguy said...

ITP. Call them up and offer to pay by credit card. I did and paid a heck of a lot less. Only thing is my credit card was charged $3.50 for an exchange fee. I can't say for sure how much the subscription was but it was less than $50.