29 July 2008

Bettors Need More Transparency From The Racing Industry

Renee Kierans deals with an interesting yet obvious question on her latest post on the Woodbine blog site, "Is First Time Gelding Information That Important?"
I wondered about this question over 25 years ago. And it still hasn't been dealt with.

To me, it is a gimme. Outfits geld horses for two main reasons: so that the horse might just run faster and/or so that the horse might keep his mind on his business (which makes the horse easier to train, and therefore the horse may run faster in races).

I'm assuming that gelding horses does achieve the goals above in at least many instances, or it wouldn't be a common practice. That being said, it has to be pertinent information that needs to be published. Why publish gelding information at all if it wasn't important?

New gelding information should be reported to Equibase within a couple of days of the operation. Equibase could put the info and date under the last running line or on top of the last running line.

Gelding information isn't the only thing that shouldn't be hid from horseplayers either. I know there is a practice that is pretty widespread (or used to be) that had to do with the throat on horses who had breathing problems. From what I understand (and I'm far from being a vet), some sort of hole is made in the throat.
Anyway, this is something else that should be reported to the betting public and also potential new owners who are looking to claim horses.

And why stop there? I think any vet procedure that costs over $200-$250 should be reported. We know when a baseball player has any type of procedure. Why should horse racing get off so light, especially when every horse is one bad step away from becoming worthless as a runner.

Wind Speed During Races
Why is wind speed not recorded and placed in the Form? How hard would that be? The chart caller just needs to check on one more thing before he or she submit the chart.
It wouldn't even take up much room. A backstretch wind of 20 mph could be reduced to b20, while a homestretch wind of 20 mph can be reduced to h20.

Wind speed once it gets over 15 mph is significant when dealing with pace breakdowns and final times. It should have been implemented into the Racing Form a half a century ago.

Update: Greg Blanchard likes the wind idea too. Check out his column at the WEG Blog Site.

I also want to add why wind speed is important. When horses face a strong wind in their face in the homestretch, it makes it tougher to close ground. The opposite is true when the wind is behind the horse in the homestretch, the advantage then shifts to closers.

Now For The Headlines

Ontario Racing Commission To Examine Whip Use (Both Thoroughbred and Harness Whip Use Will Be Looked At)

I've always wondered about whacking a horse in the stretch when the horse is obviously destined to run 6th or worse. And why exactly does whipping a horse makes them move faster? Is it the pain, or the threat of more pain, or is it just the sound? How much does the whip actually hurt a horse?

OLG cuts Fort Erie Township A Quarterly Check of Almost $350,000
It looks like slots may have found the bottom (hopefully) at Fort Erie race track. More downside would be ugly. We'll see what happens with the on again off again Buffalo casino. If it does get built, Fort Erie might see new bottoms.

Purses up, handle down in PA. With 30% takeouts on triactors, PA has no room to bitch about it. People may not get track takeout, but they do understand something, especially when they perceive they have no chance of going home with any money in their pockets, and it is based on first hand experience.

The betting public can blame everything under the sun...but it is extraordinarily high takeout that is killing them and the game, whether they understand it or not. The public gets disillusioned from losing so much in such a quick period of time, and then get disinterested in going. A gambler will always find another way to gamble though, and horse racing is dying thanks to that.

Pull The Pocket links to a good article by Darryl Kaplan. Kaplan equates the racing industry to the makers of fuel guzzling cars and trucks and asks why can't the racing industry shift to become something more customer friendly by comparing Betfair to companies than make fuel efficient cars.

He goes on to try to make a point about how the track owners have shun the Sadinsky Report while using the same analogy. Well, the Sadinsky Report doesn't really come into play here. The tracks don't want their slot profits cut (and I support the tracks here), and to my knowledge, they haven't shunned the idea of setting up betting exchanges either. I'm just very confident that race tracks would screw up an exchange by charge non competitive prices.

The Paulick Report got its hands on a "confidential report." It looks like the NTRA is getting proactive in order to avoid government involvement:

'Among the possible reforms discussed in the document are minimum national standards for medication, drug testing and penalties; benchmark safety standards of racing surfaces and/or a mandatory switch to synthetic tracks; a ban or limitation on racing fillies against colts; eliminating timed workouts at 2-year-old sales and distance restrictions for 2-year-old races; a funding mechanism for permanently disabled jockeys; wagering protocols and mandatory public disclosure of wagering abnormalities; uniform scratch rules and "other player-friendly advances"; integrity clauses and potential revocation of Eclipse Awards for individuals involved in infractions; and a national placement program for retired racehorses.'


Anonymous said...

I always thought if a horse has been off for more than 4 months, a trainer should have to disclose what that problem was. Should be easy to find in the form.

First time gelded is a no brainer.

Any and all surgeries should have to be disclosed.

Anonymous said...

First time gelded, yes, should be clear. Also would love to see disclosure of myectomies and mares in foal.