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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Response from the Judges Stand

In an earlier post, since deleted, I mentioned the judges at The Meadows did not get back to me concerning the 11th race at The Meadows on July 26, 2012. Since then, I have heard from the PHRC regarding the race in question. Apparently, there were some changes in the PHRC office at The Meadows which resulted in my query being misplaced

If you recall from the original posting, the video of the race in question showed the winning horse, On The Tab, being 4-1 when the field passed the 3/4 marker yet only paid $5.60 to win (9-5). The question raised was how could the odds change that late in the race? Could the windows have stayed open at the track or at a remote location? Was it a transmission error? Or was there some other explanation.

Upon receiving the inquiry, the judge contacted the Director of Racing who went to the mutuel department which confirmed all tote machines were closed on time for the race in question.

According to the TV Department, the odds shown under the running numbers come from a computer link to the mutuel department. When the judge questioned the head of mutuels on how the odds could change so late in the race, it was confirmed the final odds change was later than usual as final odds are typically determined by the time a race reaches the half mile pole. However, there are occasions the final wagers are recorded later due to the way the wagers are routed from hubs due to communications issues. While the odds changed later than usual, it can be worse. We all have had times when a race couldn't be declared official due to tote problems. Often the tote problem is waiting for the final transmissions of wagers from other hubs.

So, the bottom line is no bets were made once the race went off. The noticeable odds change was due to a late transmission of wagers from the various wagering hubs, the result of how wagers to be co- mingled are transmitted to the host track's pools. With smaller pools at The Meadows (when compared to some of the Eastern tracks), the late transmissions of these wagers can, and in this case, did have a noticeable impact on the final odds.

The integrity of the pools were protected. Unfortunately, due to the way wagers are co-mingled, the perception is and will remain that there is a problem with the existing wagering platform, something which will continue to be a black eye for the smaller tracks. However, until there is an incentive to improve the tote system (basically larger handles), gamblers are forced to deal with the shortcomings and no doubt is it hurting betting handle.  For when serious and recreational gamblers who are looking at the risk/reward equation constantly find out their reward is being undercut, we risk the exodus of these individuals to other games where the risk/reward ratio is fixed.    Should we expect any different response?  After all, your serious gamblers don't look at racing as a game, it is part of their income.

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