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Monday, June 10, 2013

Myth Busting and Stupidity Personified

Have to wonder what those people who are vehemently against horses racing from the second tier are saying this morning now that Camille (Artiscape) and Pet Rock (Roll With Joe) both one from the dreaded ten hole at Tioga Downs in major stakes events.  They likely will say it is a fluke; I'll say see what happens when you try to win from the second tier instead of automatically conceding the victory before the start?

The New York Post was certainly within their right to get rid of in-house racing coverage, but they did it the day before the Belmont Stakes?  What a bunch of pin-heads; common sense would indicate if you were going to do it; you would at least wait until the day after the big race.  Yes, the shedding of their racing staff has a lot to do with being able to window shop the Post better for potential buyers, but anytime a major player in the sport decides to drop coverage, it is another slap across the face.  The industry needs to come up with a way to provide racing coverage online for the wagering public.  Not articles written for those in the industry which pass as news stories, we need stories written from the bettor's perspective.  Available for free as well; not behind some paywall.

Florida's Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has decided not to appeal the Administrative Law Judge's ruling which determined licensing barrel racing was illegal.  However, the saga of their stupid decision continues a little longer as the 'horsemen's association' which sanctioned the meet has filed an appeal.

I read that trainers and owners in California are fighting, regarding where their horses will be stabling now that Hollywood Park has announced this upcoming fall meet will be the finale before the wrecking ball comes in.  Hearing things like this is comforting, if only to prove thoroughbred horsemen are just as likely to avoid dealing with things until the relative last minute as standardbred horsemen.  After all, it is no secret that Hollywood Park was going to be closing, only an economic crisis allowed it to last this long.  Where was the planning the last few years for this eventuality?  I guess they were too busy raising takeout rates to pay attention to this eventuality.  Given their choices, I wonder if the famous freeways out in the Golden State will have 'horse only' lanes?

Since there is harness racing in Massachusetts (Plainridge Racecourse for those who are unaware), we need to discuss the total contempt the State of Taxachusetts has for gamblers.  Granted, the state minimum payoff of $2.20 has been reduced to $2.10, no doubt helping  the tracks when those dreaded bridge jumpers show up. has little impact on the average gambler but the state has decided to impose a 5% tax to be taken right away on any wager which pays $600 or more.  Not the federal rules of having to report on a W2-G when you win $600 or more with odds of 300-1 or greater, just when you win $600 or more regardless of the base wager amount.  So for the few hundred which may show up to Suffolk Downs or Plainridge to wager, make sure your exotic wagers are made on separate $2 tickets and make sure your win tickets are in tickets no greater than $10 denominations.  For those who wager using an ADW, things may be more dicey if the regulation requires you to voluntarily tell the cashier if you have any other tickets which would make you hit the $600 threshold; as you can't lie to a computer. 

If there is a silver lining to this stupidity, this impacts all gamblers, be they horse, lottery, or raffle players.  Even casino players in those to be built casinos will be subject to this takeout charge.  Can some of those companies who applied for one of the gaming licenses get a refund on the licensing fee?

And lastly, for those of you who enjoyed the deer trying their hand at racing at the Meadows, they apparently have switched over to thoroughbreds.  Here is a video of a deer undergoing an official workout at Keenland Racecourse.  One rumor has it the move to thoroughbred racing happened for failing to meet the qualifying standards at Bluegrass Downs over at Paducah.

Why we are at it, thanks to Standardbredgal who tweeted this video of a coyote running with the horses at Mohawk this past weekend.  Just look to the outside as they navigate the first turn.


Anonymous said... about oversimplification! I NEVER heard ANYBODY say that a horse "can't" win from the second tier; only that in many instances, it potentially makes things unfair to ALL the horses in the race. I've seen races where PP draw is determined by finish in eliminations, and somehow the worst finishers end up being "penalized" by becoming a trailer; of course, in many instances THAT post is BETTER than the higher finishers who are stuck drawing for the outside! Your oversimplification of the issue sounds far more like an underserved "see, I told you so" than any legitimate attempt to discuss a complex issue that effects the owners, trainers, drivers, AND players!

Pacingguy said...

I will plead guilty regarding the oversimplification charge. However, I have heard many people complain it is virtually impossible to win from the second tier and how you should have your nose on the gait when a race begins. In fact, when the Meadowlands was having twelve horse fields this year, certain drivers basically said it was impossible to win.

Make no mistake, the second tier means you need to race slightly more distance and could be an impediment but I suspect the biggest problem we have are drivers looking at the second tier as an excuse to race assuming they can't win. Maybe when the purse is bigger the driver is more willing to get involved in the race than if it was a regular overnight event.

Anonymous said...

Horses have been winning from the second tier at many tracks, for a long time; the overwhelming majority of people who follow racing even casually know that, so I have no clue who is telling you that "it's virtually im possible to win from the second tier". Please let those people know that they can bet at my window anytime they'd like! Also, how does a second tier start mean that you'll "need to race slightly more distance"? Horses that start behind the 1 horse will almost certainly travel LESS distance than the majority of horses of horses from the outer slots! It just doesn't seem to me that you have a real understanding of WHY people are opposed to having trailers. I'm not even offering an opinion as to whether trailers are "good" for the game, but simply pointing out that the manner in which you've presented the "proof" is way oversimplified...and the "many people" you claim to be quoting can't possibly be folks with any significant background in racing. Oh - and the drivers that dislike the 12 horse fields do so because of the incredible uncertainty of the race, and the inability to consistently map out a driving strategy with so much TRAFFIC on the racetrack. And without question, drawing Post 12 (from the second tier) will SEVERELY compromise a contender's chances, forcing him to rely a lot more on "luck" than he would normally have to.

Pacingguy said...

I understand the safety arguments of having two tiers, something which those racing outside of North America seem to be able to deal with without any carnage.

Yes, it is true that having the nine hole on a half mile track is an advantage over the outside horses, provided the inside horses leave. But then, when you are the only horse in the second tier you can start from anywhere so hopefully you can find a position where a horse will leave.

One of the biggest arguments horsemen make is the safety issue, a questionable argument IMO when you are dealing with quality drivers. Then there are traffic issues which certainly can be an issue but it is self-defeating when drivers already figure they have lost the race.

The simplification I gave was to make the article shorter; I am trying not to write novels in my posts as you tend to lose people's interest.

Allow me to quote from a DRF column:

"In the 9 races with expanded fields raced so far at this meet, the horses from posts 11 and 12 have finished in-the-money twice in 18 opportunities. And some of them have been either favorites or lower odds."

“When you start from the second tier you just don’t have a fair shot,” said Tetrick. “From post 11 you have to do whatever the 1 does because you have the 12 right to your outside. The 12 is a little bit better because at least you have no one to your outside and can start behind the 2, 3 or 4.”

Tetrick also brought up a safety issue of horses jockeying for position into the first turn and the number of horses which are losing their air because they have to race parked the entire mile or are trapped with no place to race after getting fired up early to secure position

I for one love the idea of a second tier as it provides more wagering opportunities. I will say to have more than two starters in the second tier at a mile distance may be a problem; I would suggest races need to be longer if you are going to put more than two horses in the second tier.

Using the second tier makes for better betting races. Look at the NA Cup eliminations where I recall there were 21 horses entered. Instead of three races with seven starters you could have had two races with one race having ten horses and one with eleven horses.

At this point, we need to agree to disagree.