1 October 2009

Real Time Scratches And Changes Now Available Thanks To HANA And Equibase

See What A Collective Voice For Horseplayers Can Accomplish

One of the biggest complaints from horseplayers over the last few years has been not knowing if a race is still on the turf or if the race was taken off. Track conditions, late changes and even part of the entry changes has also been a source of contention, especially to online bettors.

Thanks to a meeting in the spring between HANA and Equibase, this particular gripe is now a thing of the past.

Leaving it to racing execs who should have known about this problem for years, did nothing for the horseplayer. Simply, racing execs are out of touch with horseplayers.

Here is the release courtesy of Equibase:

Current day scratches and program changes from racetracks throughout North America are now available throughout the day in a dedicated section of equibase.com, it was announced Oct. 1 by Equibase Company president and COO Hank Zeitlin.

Equibase developed the new service in conjunction with racetracks and with feedback from the Horseplayers Association of North America. Besides having access to the latest scratches, horseplayers can now obtain other critical updates such as when a race has been moved from turf to dirt, distance changes, jockey changes, and amended wagering options on equibase.com. They can also register to receive an RSS feed for each track they are playing, enabling instant delivery of information to desktops and mobile devices.

These scratches and program changes are updated live from the racetrack via eBase®, Equibase’s proprietary Internet-based data collection system. Designated personnel at the live track can now use eBase to enter the day’s scratches and program changes until one hour before post time for the first race, at which time Equibase chartcallers assume responsibility for entering subsequent changes.

“During the Keeneland spring meet where we held our first HANA Day at the Races, Equibase and members of HANA met for a productive meeting at their office,” said HANA President Jeff Platt. “We are very pleased that as a result of that beginning and subsequent discussions, horseplayers will now have access to a centralized, accurate resource for reporting of late-breaking changes.”

“Making it easier for horseplayers to acquire pertinent information such as scratches and program changes is simply good business and the tracks are happy to participate in this new arrangement,” said Chris Scherf, executive vice president of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America.

The “Today’s Scratches & Program Changes” webpage was deployed Sept. 29 and is accessible via a link on the equibase.com homepage. The current day scratches and program changes are also available for electronic retrieval, which enables value-added resellers, tracks, and other industry organizations to provide timely changes and scratches to their respective customers.
Prior to HANA forming just over a year ago, horseplayer gripes and ideas usually fell on deaf ears. Things are changing. There is a lot happening behind the scenes. Being a board member, I'm involved in a weekly conference call, where we tackle many issues and devise strategies to tackle current issues.

We've done more than can be seen by the naked eye, and recently, some tracks have actually approached us for our ideas in an effort by them to grow their product.

Our main goal is the same as most racing exec or horsemen group. It is to grow the game and attract more betting and bettors. Except we know how to do it. Racing execs and horsemen groups have their collective heads in the sand when it comes to this issue. They just don't understand that horse racing is gambling first, without the horseplayer there is nothing. Our ideas go against "their conventional wisdom," which by the way is failing miserably of late. It isn't the 1950's anymore.

HANA still needs bigger numbers in membership to make more things like this happen. If you are not a member yet, please click here, and sign up (it is free). The more horseplayers we have as members, the more clout we have.

A couple of new threads have been started at Pace Advantage worth looking at. Hopefully, they'll be more additions to each.

Quotes and Comments That Make Sense

"Horseracing is still marketed as if it has a monopoly on legal gambling,
where the need for a cohesive voice and long term strategic planning was not
required to be successful. A racetrack would be built and people would come
and bet!

The industry has generally been run by Horsemen who have viewed wagering as a necessary evil. They have little understanding of the gambling component
and thus little understanding for their current and potential customers. In
some cases racetrack board members are prohibited from wagering.
Those who remain in the Horseplayer choir believe that horserace wagering
offers unique components that make it the most exciting, exhilarating and
challenging form of gambling. The industry will continue to decline until
racetrack operators can identify and embrace their customer, the
HORSEPLAYER, and conclude that Horseracing must be marketed as a 'GAME
ABOUT GAMBLING' and not a Sport of Kings!

Horseracing’s Day of Atonement is long overdue....."

- Eric Poteck

"Horseracing needn't look any further than the internet where online poker has taken young adults from all over the world by storm.

What, might you ask, does poker have over horseracing? Certainly not excitement (grinding poker can be quite boring). Certainly not intellectual challenge (although poker is quite close!). And certainly not the chance to make a quick score (to make a quick score (1K+), you might have play for HOURS online in a single tourney).

Nope, none of the above! What horseracing lacks is at the heart of fundamental economics: THE LACK OF A PERCEPTION THAT IT IS PROFITABLE!

Why do the young kids play poker? Because they perceive that if they work hard enough at it, they will eventually become +EV long term. NO SUCH NOTION exists with horse racing.

Consider that you can find online training sites for poker ad nauseum. Just do a quick Google (or in deference to your contributor, a Yahoo! search) for "online poker training" and you will find some outstanding training sites for relatively little money that can have you near-profitable in a couple of months of hard study. NOTHING like this exists for horseracing; instead all you get is people peddling lousy tips, speed figures, and for the most part, useless or superfluous information.

In addition, you can go to NUMEROUS sites online that list DOZENS of winning "poker pros" whose results are documented and posted. I challenge you to find and list FIVE "horseracing" pros that are profitable and whose names are public. Oh, these five may exist, but no one knows of them, and more importantly, because no one knows of them, they cannot help the sport attract what it needs: interest from young people that think or believe they can beat the game in the long run.

The solution to racing's woes is obvious: make people believe that they can win money long term by betting horses. NOTHING MORE and NOTHING LESS. If this was done, the issues of admission, the cost of a DRF, the odds changing after the bell, the drugs, the "super-trainers", field size, and all other "issues" would magically disappear. Easier said than done,isn't it?

And with that, sir, I proclaim the eventual slow death of racing as the cancer of takeout metastasizes and brings it to its Hospice in the caverns of Belmont, Hollywood Park, and Churchill Downs.

Good luck at the windows and thank you for your time."

-Quarter Pole (comment on a HANA piece)

"I can tell you the first time I played off shore and received a rebate, it was like night and day. All of a sudden, my small bankroll seemed to last longer.

No other business treats it’s customers with such contempt, than that of horseracing. It is really actually quite sickening. Horsemen and people within the industry need to give their collective heads a shake, and understand who puts food on their tables...... So, keep takeout stagnant, or better yet even increase them, it will be your own demise. I’m a gambler, I’ll bet on other things. What are you going to do, train gophers? Own show hogs?"


"Mr. Pope’s opinions epitomize thoroughbred racing’s perspective: When times get tough the boys at the top sit around figuring out ways of charging the customer more money for less product.

In an age when the main concern should be finding ways to cost-effectively GIVE the customer more for his money they are simply concerned with finding more ways to TAKE. The picture that comes to mind is jackals and hyenas looking down on an ever-dwindling herd of wildebeast. What happens when the heard is gone, boys?"

-David Schwartz

And there are quotes from those who are clueless. Here is the first entry:

"Cangamble, people like you should probably stick to the little league that is Canadian racing. Clearly you just don’t know what you’re talking about nor do you have any clue what would work in big league racing.

So why not head on back to the home of the Queen’s Plate (or the Canadian-bred, non-winners-of-2, if you can’t tell the difference) and let real people discuss the complexities that actually matter and relate to horse racing on a major circuit.

Most of the “words you’ve posted” either do not make sense or are not applicable whatsoever to horse racing of a significant nature.

With lesser-thans such as yourself continuing to spout your idiocy, the game of horse racing (even in little league status, such as that which you follow) simply cannot and will not “grow” (as you imply you would like) because the numbskulls quite clearly will not get out of their own way.

That makes you a walking, talking, oxymoron, who is no more significant than the next internet troll (another definition into which you clearly fit, based on your brainless expressions at this and every other racing blog you can get your browser on).

Finally, this is in no way “my problem”, for you are the only one here who constantly crows about the take-out. Obviously nobody who is active in horse racing pools really cares about take-out, as at its core, mutuel take-out on American horse racing has been quite steady since the 1970’s.

Furthermore, anyone cognizant of the WPS take-out of roughly 16% being too high in the 1970’s, now has many, many more multi-race options on which the effective take-out is much, much lower.

Why can’t you get it through your head that the take-out is much less significant today than it was in the 1970’s?

Cangamble, why don’t you make it your next mission to try to find a thoroughbred track in Quebec? Maybe that is one significant difference between life in your minor-league world today vs. what you knew in the 1970’s.

And stay out of the major leagues, Cangamble, for obviously the big show is no place for neophytes."


Well at least I know it wasn't from David Willmot, only because I doubt Willmot would knock Canadian racing in public like that, even hiding behind a pseudonym:)

Speaking of Woodbine. They are now guaranteeing a $50,000 pool in their first Pick 4, which starts in the fourth race on Saturdays and Sundays until the end of the meet. I checked and found that they had $50,000 plus pools in each of at least the last six weekend cards anyway, so this is pretty much guaranteeing that it will be dark outside at midnight.

Note to Woodbine and Fort Erie: How about a 15% Pick 3 every race? Give it a shot.

I can pretty much guarantee that Woodbine would have done better than the $1.3 million in handle they did today (Thursday) if they decided to do something that was really horseplayer friendly.

Speaking of horseplayer friendly. HORSEPLAYERSBET.COM just added Oak Tree at Santa Anita to the betting menu.
About Horseplayersbet.com: Horseplayersbet offers one of the most competitive Player Rewards Programs available for horse racing product. At Horseplayersbet, even the smallest bettors have the potential to become the biggest.

Fort Erie announcer Peter Kyte just took the Western Fair job in London, Ontario.
He didn't announce at the Fort on Tuesday because he had a baby due. Not sure if this means he won't be the Fort Erie announcer next year IF the track does defy the odds and remain open.


bullring said...

Jesus H.

Real pieces of work some of these idiots. Is that who we are up against?

Anonymous said...

A friend up here from Miami asks me to let him know if the #11(MTO) gets into the 9th at Calder. At 10:30 I look at Equibase and they show only the #9 being scratched. I almost called him and told him the #11 got in. If I had he would have made the the trip to the track for naught. Later I looked at Twinspires and they had all the scratches. So keep in mind that when Equibase posts their scratches it may only be a partial listing and that I don't need.

The_Knight_Sky said...

That's great.

Now can we get Philadelphia Park to show odds on
1 and 1a on the monitor, please?

Anonymous said...

Dennis (Ohio, USA) says:
06 Oct 2009 at 05:32 am | #
Alex Waldrop, NTRA CEO, asked after the summit:

How would you answer these fundamental questions? Are we selling the right product to the right people? Why have most track experiments with lower takeout failed to generate new handle? Do you pay attention to takeout when you play? Let me hear from you.
My comments fit there and here:

Dennis (10/01/2009 9:04 PM)
Gambling of any kind involves price; that is odds. And; equally; integrity. Horse racing has severe problems in both areas. They refuse to admit it. They refuse to accept the path that must be taken to correct it. So, decade after decade, they have meetings and discussions that always lead to the same results.

Nothing is done. More events involving bobble head dolls, 50 cent hotdogs and $1 beer. The class of gambler attracted by this offering bets very little and does not return very often. They play, they do not think or invest. Your thinking pros and semi-pros always consider price.

The direct affect of take/breakage on pools is always smaller odds. Small odds means one of two things to your real player. Wagering only when you are provided with the rare case of value. Or wagering with an entity that provides a percentage of return that offsets playing lower odds due to take/breakage. Neither of which increases churn. Your $2 bettor could care less.

Consider that, with less take/NO BREAKAGE, odds increase which in turn increases perceived value opportunities which increases wagers. More opportunity equals more churn. I also believe this provides tracks/ADWs a chance to compete with the offshore’s rebates.

Experiments, and that is all they were, in this area have been isolated, short lived and hidden. If you are going to do this, make the numbers real, make everyone do it, and advertise the hell out if it well before starting it. I played seriously for more than 30 years and quit after the pic-6 scandal when only lip service was paid to correcting the ancient system that is racing’s wagering system.

My opinion, racing has to die before it will make any real attempts to adapt. They must choose survival or extinction. $2 bettors will not replace serious players. And your serious players are dieing or wagering somewhere else that allows them to survive as well. A poorly publicized trial at some cheap bottom claimer track for two weeks with only WPS wagers reduced 1 or 2 points will NOT prove anything but what the tracks want to believe now, that less take/no breakage will not increase churn. They have a death wish and it is coming true for them.

I would return to racing if I saw cheating trully punished rather than overlooked/encouraged, a modern flow established for wagering info that instantly updates all outlets as each wager is placed (think wall street) and my own areas, WPS reduced to 10% with no breakage. That is my opinion.

For now, I continue to play poker and a few handicapping contests where I figure to have an edge. I see no value in racing as it is today, for anyone, tracks included…

railbirdbrad said...

Well Said Anon

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what kind of person Josie Carroll is by letting Silver Jag go to the auction in Kitchner. I think that is sad for that old horse who just run in the Queens Plate last year

Anonymous said...

Saw a horse yesterday with all kinds of Northern Dancer in his pedigree and thought of Northern Dancer Herd and searched and your blog came up. When I clicked on NDH his site is gone. Is all that stuff he posted gone forever? That would be a shame.