26 February 2008

Reducing Takeout To Maximum of 15% Will Cause Huge Increase In Betting

Really good article: Horse Sense-Improving The Racing Product I'll disagree to a point that quality is even close to be as important as track takeout, but the author's points on track takeout are undeniably true, and completely ignored by the racing industry in North America:

Quite a bit has been written about the dynamics of wagering. Historical evidence is abundant with the fact that reduced takeout, and hence higher payout, results in increased revenue.

One study of 24 racing jurisdictions done over 15 years shows conclusively that the profitability of track operations varies inversely with the takeout rate, because a lower takeout rate "stimulates a larger handle of which the track retains a fixed proportion".

That study concluded that at the average takeout rate of 15 per cent track revenues would be 60 per cent greater than if the take out were 20 per cent.

Other studies have shown that a decrease in the price of wagering tends to increase race track attendance and, therefore, "the total amount of dollars available for distribution for purses, etc"

H/T Pull The Pocket

Execs Analyze Racinos
Nick Eaves of Woodbine Entertainment said that racing created the problem it now faces.
"Racing relinquished control of its pari-mutuel product," he emphasized. "We abdicated our responsibility. Five percent of our customers make up 60 percent of our wagering. We have to regain control of our product distribution, product pricing, and to whom it's sold to make sure that the whales [major bettors] don't beach offshore."

Note to Eaves: If you don't want the whales to go offshore, you have to offer the same pricing they receive from offshore houses. But more importantly, if you want to create more whales, you need to decrease the criminal takeout rates immensely. Maybe you'll attract a few Betfair and online poker gamblers along the way...not really maybe. Definitely.

Racing economist and long-time major bettor Maury Wolff noted that the horseplayer today has "quite a few more options" than in past years. He stressed that the price of betting, or takeout, is a driving factor in determining where those wagers are placed.
"Pricing is everything," said Wolff. "You cannot consistently beat that 25 percent takeout on a Trifecta."

You got that right Maury.

New York task force weighs fate of old horses. Looking to prevent allowing retired horses from being slaughtered in Canada or Mexico.

Oregon Set To Welcome Two More ADWs

Blood doping harness driver Eric Ledford not welcomed back, but is back anyways. Bill Finley calls this a progressive attitude.

Ross Morton was the only announcer Finger Lakes knew

Older horses winning at Aqueduct

Drunken groom-to-be tries to run with horses during a race, in Australia:

The day before the wedding in Canada, guys generally go crazy by hanging with a naked women instead of naked horses.
H/T Equidaily

21 February 2008

Fort Erie: The News Is That There Was A Chance Of No Racing

Wow, politicians patting themselves on the back as if they accomplished something fantastic, when in fact, all they did was keep the public in the dark about the possibility that Fort Erie might not race this year.
Everyone was expecting news on if Fort Erie horsemen were to get extra money from OLG, instead they got the "big" news: Fort Erie will race this year because Nordic Gaming will "bite the bullet" to buy time.
What a bunch of crap.

From the Welland Tribune:

Last fall, Nordic Gaming announced plans to build a $300-million facility at the track that would include a 350-room hotel, conference centre, spa and time-share condominiums as well as improvements to the grandstand and backstretch areas.

It requires the approval of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming, which so far has not been received. Nordic has said it would not move forward without a commitment from the government to help subsidize purses at the Border Oval during the development.

No money is being offered by the Ontario government at this point, but all sides concerned said they are confident a report by the Sadinsky panel led by former Ontario Racing Commission chairman Stanley Sadinsky will offer solutions for the province's $2.1-billion horse racing industry.

Nordic is trying to get the OLG to be a partner in the deal. If they wanted to spend $300 million on improvements, nobody would stop them. In my view, they don't want to spend a dime. They hardly spend money on maintaining their own backstretch.

This $300 million smoke and mirrors project will never see the light of day. No government official will be stupid enough to make it happen. Look where Fort Erie is on a map. You have Niagara Falls 20 minutes down the QEW and you have Buffalo expanding their casino operation, with a goal of having a major casino in the very near future. Both have blackjack and poker. Nordic spokesman have stated they have no intention of doing anything but slots.

Anyone who knows Fort Erie, knows that this development is never going to happen. It just makes no sense. The population cannot support it, and as far as being an international destination......gimme a break. In 5000 years, when Niagara Falls has eroded to be major rapids where the Niagara River and Lake Erie meet (Fort Erie), well then I can see this idea might have a chance to fly. I don't think Nordic is looking that long term:)

Again, my opinion: Nordic is desperately looking to sell Fort Erie at a much higher price than what it is worth. Hence, the invention of this ridiculous venture. Nordic could not afford to not have racing this year, because no racing equals no potential buyers. Once racing stops in Fort Erie, it is over for the oval, and over for the slots (which are still slightly profitable). Fort Erie will have a chance to survive if and when Nordic is finally out of the picture. They don't give a rats ass about horse racing. It is a necessary burden to them.

It will be interesting to read Sadinsky's report. I wonder if he'll address the fact that the reason the wonderful game of horse racing doesn't attract new players is because gamblers have no chance of winning in light of the ridiculously high track takeouts and the fact that organizations like WEG have lost hundreds of millions in potential betting to low takeout games like online poker, Betfair, and rebate shops, which are not going away.

Back to Fort Erie again. Purses are expected to remain the same, which means new owners will not be getting in the game, and horsemen will struggle just to pay their bills one more year.

14 February 2008

Woodbine's Stake Schedule Announced

Woodbine releases 2008 Stake Schedule. 6 of the races will be part of the Breeder's Cup Challenge Series: "Win and You're In"

Magna Entertainment receives delisting warning from NASDAQ. It doesn't mean the company is going under, it just means that they will get far less exposure if NASDAQ drops them, making further financing more difficult. 'The notification does not affect Magna’s listing on the Toronto stock exchange.'

Youbet Shutdowns offshore rebate shop IRG (International Racing Group)
'IRG was also not allowed to offer the 2007 Breeders’ Cup World Championship races due to an ongoing investigation dealing with IRG customers being investigated by federal authorities in Nevada....Prior to Youbet purchasing IRG, the troubled company was one of four off-track betting sites named in a federal indictment of 17 individuals allegedly connected to a gambling ring involved in illegal wagering and race fixing. IRG was not charged in the investigation.'

Kentucky coming closer to allowing casinos on racetrack properties

Jockey Club Fact Book Online Lots of info available here.

NYRA reaches 25 year franchise agreement

Check out Longshot Horses: It is a blog that gives daily selections in maiden races from various thoroughbred tracks.

7 February 2008

Headlines For February 7th, 2008

Bold Executive, at 24, still the top sire in Ontario

Steve Asmussen gets 30 stalls at Woodbine. He couldn't get them last year because it was just too soon after a drug violation. His horses should keep the drug testers busy.
Aside from the drug issue, his horses will probably enhance the quality of the fields at Woodbine. The quality of the Woodbine horses at the high conditioned claiming and allowance is pretty pathetic considering the money they run for, Asmussen horses may force horses to run for what they are worth.

Woodbine had 300 applicants looking for 4000 stalls. There are only 2170 stalls at Woodbine. Most likely Fort Erie will take in a few of those who were denied stalls. It is still a mystery as to what the purses will like at the Fort this year, and opening day is less than 3 months away.

Penn profits fall; they partially blame bad weather.

Waterloo, Ontario is Canada's equivalence to Silicon Valley. It is also is the home to some huge online poker winners too.
Such a shame that young gamblers have discovered online poker instead of horse racing. Oh wait, online poker doesn't have the idiotic takeouts that horse racing has. Players have a good chance to win, and even win in the long run.
18 year olds get it, too bad the racing execs in the world don't.

Stronach remains bullish on Magna Entertainment despite their mammoth losses. He expects to personally further invest millions into the company.

6 Ontario harness tracks and the OLG get together to create 2008 Slots Cup Series

4 February 2008

Who Says Weight Matters On A Race Horse?

The above was a Super Bowl ad from last night's great game. I do think weight matters though in real life handicapping. Not under a mile, but definitely over a mile. I usually throw out the high weight in races at a mile seventy and up, especially if the horse is carrying 121 or greater and is the lone high weight.
Back to last night's game, I have to say that New England blew it by being too conservative. You have weapons like Moss and Stallworth, yet Brady wound up throwing to Welker for short passes all night, until it was too late. Announcer Troy Aikmen was questioning why Welker was wide open on many catches, well D'uh, now we know.
Great job by the Giants defense, but I still contend that New England made it very easy on them to figure out what play was going to be run. And whatever happened to the "in the grasp" rule? Eli and the Giants got a huge break on that huge pass to David Tyre. The non call won the game for them. Don't get me wrong, I'm sort of glad New England lost. Too pompous a team for my liking.

PDF of ORC's new directives

Baymount options excess land in Belleville to international developer

Michael Silvera, who used to train thoroughbreds on the the Ontario circuit, reflects back at the good ole days.

Emma Jayne Wilson rides in Hong Kong. It was a wintry day, minus the snow.

Jockey Russell Baze gets number 10,000.