28 April 2008

Startling Allegations: Corrupt Cop Traded Drugs For Inside Info On Fixed Races At Woodbine

CBC Sunday Morning did a story on the handling of an alleged corrupt drug squad in Toronto. Amongst the claims made was that a drug addicted corrupt cop named Rob Kelly snorted cocaine with his informants. One informant was a trainer at Woodbine.
This occurred prior to when Kelly was arrested in 2001.
The most troubling allegation:

'A confidential informant identified the officers, and accused them of supplying cocaine from a locker in exchange for insider tips about suspect horse races at a track.'

To watch the CBC report, click here. If you are only interested in the allegations to do with Woodbine and fixed races, you'll find it between the 8:40 and 9:50 mark of the video.

This brings up the following points and questions I have. Questions I doubt will be answered. Woodbine has always had its way with hushing up the media when it comes their dark side:

What was Woodbine's and the ORC's knowledge of the allegations?

What did they do about it?

Who was the trainer (informant)?

It is almost impossible to fix a horse race unless the jockeys of all the contenders know what is happening (less perhaps the one who is allowed to win).
If the "fixed" races were due to one horse having some magic drug potion, I doubt repeat business would have occurred between the addicted cop and the informant. Unless the win percentage was excellent. Possible, but not likely.

Does the ORC and Woodbine have any knowledge of the races involved?

I don't recall any jockeys being banned for a lengthy time, in a very long time in Ontario.

In 1937 there was an infamous betting scandal in Toronto. Eight jockeys had their licenses revoked. Many of them were leading jockeys in Toronto. Frankie Mann, Johnny Passero, Bobby Watson, Henry Palaez, Frank Dougherty, Colin McDonald, Frank Madeley, and Gordon Atkins. Suspicious behaviour was the reasons cited for the suspensions (something that would be tough to use these days).

The history above is from Louis E. Cauz' book, The Plate, A Royal Tradition. It was given away at Woodbine on Queen's Plate Day (if I remember correctly) in 1985.

Florida HBPA: A Case of Hypocrisy Or Ignorance

Here is a letter by the HBPA in Florida put out today outlining who isn't allowed to get Florida signals:

I just don't get how HPI, Elite, Philadelphia Park, NYC OTB, NJ Bets, RGS, etc. are not on the blacklist. There is no way they are buying Calder's signal for 14% or so, which is what the horsemen's group is looking for.

Was it an oversight, or are there a major hypocrisy going on with the Horsemen's organization?

Update on the whole ADW/horsemen mess.

27 April 2008

Keep An Eye On Deverell and Sutherland For Overlays

Peppers Pride does it again. The 5 year old mare kept her lifetime undefeated record intact yesterday upon winning another Stake race yesterday at Sunray Park. She is the queen of New Mexico state bred distaff races. She is 16 for 16.


How about Dean Deverell? I predicted that he would be near the top this year, and after a slow start, he is now starting to get more live mounts. If you are looking at jockeys for courses, Deverell ranks right up there with Chantal Sutherland. Both of them really GET the polytrack. Bettors need to consider any horse these two jocks are on, in any race.
Note: Both Tyler Pizarro and Dean Deverell lose their apprentice status today and Friday respectively.
Emma Jayne Wilson looks very average. Again, no surprise to me. Emile Ramsammy seems to have an edge over the jockey colony and I expect him to win the title.
Congrats to SIMON Husbands on his Stake win yesterday.
Today, it might be Deverell's turn to win the Stake. He has a very live mount with Salomea. Good to see the Stake race where it belongs: IN THE SEVENTH RACE
The track was lightning fast yesterday. Not good for the health of horses in the long run.

Meanwhile, Willmot and Eaves are fiddling while Woodbine is burning. Only $2 million in total handle yesterday. Mountaineer beat that by around $90,000. Hawthorne and Tampa Bay had handles around $4 million each yesterday.
It won't be long until purse cuts are announced. Of course, WEG execs will BLAME the industry trend, and stress competition from Betfair, offshore bookies, and rebate shops as the reason for the cuts.
Of course, the main reason Woodbine is going down the tubes is because gamblers for the most part have become educated. And Woodbine has their head buried in the ground regarding this fact. The result, is that they REFUSE to even attempt to compete for the many new price sensitive gamblers, that have moved away from betting tracks like Woodbine, with their beyond ridiculous high track takeouts.

Horseplayers to be well represented at the Standardbred portion of the Wagering Conference in Montreal beginning Tuesday.

' Dean Towers, a bettor, fan and horse owner, will be front and centre with David Aldred, Jamie Martin and Geoff Want.

Towers has owned harness horses with his family stable since childhood and has been part-owner of a racing stable in Ontario since 2002. He wrote his university thesis on off-track betting, and has always been interested in racing, wagering and growing the industry. Towers' views are regularly available on his harness racing blog, Pull The Pocket, and his opinions were recently published in Trot Magazine's Horseplayer's Edition. Towers is a strong advocate for change in the current pricing model in horse racing as if affects customers.

Roy Sproxton, a horseplayer, horse owner and racing fan, will be taking part in the third panel, entitled 'The Takeout Revolution?', which will take place Tuesday, April 29 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.

Sproxton has been a racing fan and bettor for more than 20 years. In 2007, he also joined the horse ownership ranks. In his twenties, Sproxton was a significant horseplayer, betting primarily on Canadian harness racing. During the Internet boom, he realized he could earn a profit betting poker, sports and through exchange wagering, and in turn his interest in horse betting decreased dramatically. A business school graduate from the University of Western Ontario, Sproxton is very passionate about the health of horse racing and hopes to see a platform change that allows him to be able once again to bet the races.

In addition to Michael Lipton, Chuck Keeling and Rande Sawchuk, Sproxton will be joined in the 'The Takeout Revolution?' panel by professional horseplayer James Erikson.

Erikson has been a professional bettor since 2003. He wagered on horse racing as a fan until about 1995. He then branched out to playing poker and gambling on horse racing and has been successfully doing so for several years. Erikson is well versed on many issues pertaining to horse wagering, including betting exchanges, offshore providers and rebaters.'

This might be the best 3 year old Canadian bred horse we've seen in a while: Undefeated Harlem Rocker rocked in the Withers yesterday at Aqueduct:

A 106 Beyer, as reported by Jen Morrison on her blog. The colt, by Macho Uno out of
Freedom Come, has very little Canadian lineage. With the exception to his great great grandfather on his dam's side, Northern Dancer, there is none. But he was foaled in Canada, so that is all that is needed, bottom line.
Of concern was his lugging in during the stretch. Is he green, or does he have some not so minor problems. Time will tell.

Kentucky Derby horses will be tested vigorously for drugs. I'm totally against drug use in horse racing, but an after the fact positive in a huge race like the Derby could really tarnish the industry.
There should always be vigorous testing, especially if it is done as a deterrent, which seems to be the case in the Derby.

Magna Entertainment is really pissed over the fact that Oregon won't even consider Instant Racing.

CTHS announces a new bonus reward program for breeders of Ontario breds.

Jockeys in Chicago set their own fees for losing mounts.

Kevin Buttigieg to train for Bruno Schickedanz at Fort Erie this year. Expect lots of short fields as there are lots of empty stalls at the Fort. The season begins on Derby Day. Fort Erie purse accounts have earned just $1 million for each of the last two quarters from slot revenues.

Hastings young GM will attempt to go after the "cool" crowd. Again, if you want young bettors, there needs to be a BUZZ that at least someone can win. Aint gonna happen with ridiculously high takeouts. Sorry dude.

24 April 2008

Got Three New Handicapping Books Today...

...but first:

(Woodbine jockey) David Clark pleads guilty

A man charged in an alcohol-fuel crash that killed a Vaughan woman pleaded guilty yesterday.

David Clark, 54, also of Vaughan, pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm. He will be back in court June 27.

On May 16, 2006, Mr. Clark's Nissan Maxima was southbound on Huntington Road, south of Major MacKenzie Drive, when it struck a northbound Honda Civic. Suzanne Mizuno, 34, who was in the Honda's passenger seat, was killed.

Both drivers were taken to hospital, treated for minor injuries and released.

Clark did the right thing pleading guilty. I can't see him walking though. Most likely he will get a minimum 4 to five years in prison.

Churchill filing lawsuit against Calder horsemen over signal blocking.
But first, Churchill (the operator of Calder racetrack) cut Calder purses, to show the horsemen who is boss.

Horsemen and gamblers in Windsor complain that Windsor Raceway management and ownership are driving racing into the ground. Meanwhile, horsemen show how idiotic they are. They pick a purse reduction over a date reduction.

Suffolk wants to attract new fans. Note to Suffolk, BBQ's and 12 horse fields are wonderful, but if you sincerely want to attract new fans, drop takeouts drastically.

Youbet's CEO resigns There is only so much false optimism shareholders can take.

Michael Gill has claimed 56 horses in the last month. Heeeeee's back. Nothing up this sleeves?

About my new books

The three handicapping books I ordered through Amazon.ca a few weeks ago finally arrived on my doorstep this morning. There was a delay due to the fact that the Canadian Amazon didn't have Bet With The Best 2 Longshots in stock. Besides Bet With The Best 2, I also purchased The Power Of Early Speed, and Exotic Betting.
The grand total, GST included was $47.78. It would have cost me over $85 using the American service. I figured I could wait, which I did. I reread pieces of my extensive handicapping library in the meantime. In fact, the first time I ordered a book, I was attending York University. Horse racing books were very rare to find in the early 80's in Toronto. I couldn't wait to get Winning At The Races. And it turned out to be quite a good buy. It was the first book I know of that did a computer study of a vast amount of races. Gave me the idea for a few profitable angles as well as a way to figure out post position analysis.
I think my next read was My $50,000 Year At The Races by Andrew Beyer (I once had a $40,000 year). I lent the book out a long time ago, and it was never returned.
I've got lots more in the library though. Do they work? I have to say, yes. For me a speed handicapper, angles are needed to break ties, and eliminate favorites. A $20 book can return dividends immediately if it cause you to cash even $20 more than you would have if you didn't read the book, or even a paragraph that helped you become a bettor handicapper.
I've cashed Win 4's that paid over $27,000 a few years ago and $18,000 back over 17 years ago (used the money to make a down payment on a house). I hit one for $4 at Greenwood that paid over $5,500 for a buck. Tris that paid over $12,000. Many that paid over $5,000.
All in all though, I'm probably not up much lifetime, if at all. The last 15 years have been extra tough, with higher takeouts, Beyer figures showing up everywhere, and especially, the removal of dumb money out of the pools, thanks to Woodbine's inability to attract new players (their inability to compete properly) combined with slots taking the uneducated gambler away from the betting windows.

I'm not a swift reader, so it will take me time to get through these new books. The Power Of Early Speed looks like it will be my first read, followed by Bet With The Best 2. Exotic Betting can wait. I'm an exotic bettor, and I do need help with money management, but the other two books look way more interesting.

The Early Speed book may not be that affective on artificial surfaces, but 90% of my action, thanks to Woodbines inability to compete, is made on dirt surfaces.

I started a pretty good thread over at Pace Advantage. Great Horse Races. Check it out.

With Gerry Olguin most probably out of action for a while, I think it would be great to see Chantal Sutherland aboard Prince Atlantis in Saturday's Jacques Cartier at Woodbine. Most likely, Jerry Baird will get the mount though. I'm not very confident that my selection, Santana Springs, is a very solid selection. Prince Atlantis is the value play in the race.

Put the feature race in the 7th; Bring back some tradition

I don't know about you, but I think the feature race at Woodbine should always be the 7th, just like it was in the 60's and 70's. It was something you could count on as a fan. These days, you will find the feature somewhere in the 4th through 9th race. Totally unpredictable. See WEG, I'm trying to help;)

22 April 2008

Calder Raises Takeout Rates: What Imbeciles

It isn't too late to put your two cents in over at Pull The Pocket's blog regarding your thoughts about track takeout in Ontario. He is going to be at the Canadian Gambling Summit which runs next week in Montreal and he will present the comments to people who matter in the industry. There are over 25 comments there right now. Check them out.

Calder opens season without ADW/interstate wagering. Not that anyone will bet them anyways. In an absolute moronic move, Calder has raised their takeouts.

'The big news to specialty gamblers Monday was that Calder raised its takeout percentage on a few wagering options. The track will now take 27 percent out of Pick 3, 4 and 5 wagering (up 3 percentage points) and 21 percent from the Daily Double and Exacta bets (up 1 percentage point).'

I won't even watch a race at Calder, let alone handicap one for betting purposes, unless of course, they are offered on Betfair.

What is Churchill Downs (Calder's parent company) "thinking?"

Horseplayers Coalition formed Check out their web page at NTRA

Canadian multi-millionaire entrepreneur Calvin Ayres allegedly has left Bodog.
From his own blog:
You’ve likely heard the rumblings and rumors….and for once…..it’s true…I’m packing it in! Well who am I kidding, if you’re reading this now you know that for the past few years I’ve been pretty focused on jetting around the world to exotic places and filming crazy shit for this blog. I was really more of a brand ambassador for Bodog the past while anyway – but it was fun while it lasted.

In 2007 ownership of Bodog in North America was taken over by Alwyn Morris and Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, and starting in 2006, Bodog hired up a mostly European team to run their now solely non US facing operations so me retiring won’t have any effect operationally….the same great Bodog experience will continue exactly as it has in the past. I just won’t have cameras shoved in my face all the time and I won’t have to do all the grueling travel. My retirement also will not affect anything that you see or notice when enjoying the Bodog products and services.

To all the staff, vendors and advisors that have been part of the Bodog development I want to extend sincere thanks for not only the hard work and dedication but the lessons and good times I have experienced and can now take away with me. I wish you all continued success and if we bump into each other on a white sand beach or maybe the streets or bars of my home base of Antigua please come say hello.

I’m going to focus my time on a balanced private life and The Calvin Ayre Foundation which I am truly passionate about.

Point Edward casino shows increase while Sarnia down slightly

Woodbine Bias Report: Speed doing well so far. Trainer Sam Di Pasquale is on fire winning 3 of his last 6 races. Lots of ice cold trainers though: Michael Doyle, David Cotey, John Mackenzie, and Ashlee Brnjas are very cold right now. At $70 plus a day at Woodbine, you have to wonder why some of their owners don't consider moving the horses to a Fort Erie trainer at around $50 a day. Lots of empty stalls at the Fort. OK, Ashlee is pretty safe since her dad is her client, but then again, I doubt she is getting a standard day rate.
Belated congrats to Donnie MacRae for his 2 for 2 performance on Friday. Donnie is a very competent trainer. Not sure if he is based at the Fort or Woodbine this year.
The rail hasn't been very good. Average at best at Woodbine so far this year, except for Saturday and especially Sunday. Coincidentally, Kinghaven drew the one post in the Whimsical that day;) Didn't help Prophetically much though. She was in over her head anyway.

Horsemen Pitch Their Plan To Distribute Kentucky Derby signal
Horsemen should be seen and not heard. Horsemen and racing execs have made it easy for offshore bookies and rebate shops to flourish.

19 April 2008

Legalities Regarding On Line Gambling In Canada And Much More

The Toronto Star has an interesting article regarding the Mohawk's Kahnawake gambling operation in Quebec...OK, not really Quebec because it is being challenged (and rightfully so) as being on Native Indian sovereign territory which is similar to an offshore location where gambling is legal.


The legality of the online gaming industry in Kahnawake is pretty tricky to navigate, and a political hot potato to boot. It's safe to say there's a lot of grey area here:

• The Canadian Criminal Code, like U.S. laws, prohibits wagering over telephone lines. Gambling operations in Canada also require a provincial gambling licence.
I think an exception has been made regarding horse racing for companies licenced in Canada.

• Games that involve a cost, chance to win and a prize are considered a lottery scheme under the Criminal Code. Benefiting from the operation of such events may also be against the Criminal Code.
I love the word "may." But if true, that means office NFL football and NHL hockey pools are criminal as well.

• In 1985, the federal government handed the authority to conduct lotteries or gaming events over to the provinces. The Criminal Code (Lotteries) Amendment Act was passed in exchange for the provinces agreeing to contribute $100 million to the Calgary Winter Olympic Games.

A recent World Trade Organization decision says that online gaming, when done legally from a jurisdiction such as Antigua or Kahnawake, is legal under international trade law.
The US is currently in violation of the WTO laws. They are trying to buy their way out, but in the end, they can't even enforce the ridiculous ban currently in place.

• In the U.S., Internet gambling is illegal with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. It prohibits U.S. banks from processing transactions tied to online gambling, but leaves a loophole for bets on horse racing.
And the US laws didn't help the horse racing industry one bit. No extra occurred due to the attempt at eliminating the competition.

MIT's Internet gaming traffic fell by half when the U.S. law was passed, but now the company reports it's hotter than ever due to enforcement woes.

In 2005, MIT(Mohawk Internet Technologies), which pays no taxes, made $17 million (U.S.) on revenues of $24.7 million.
Of course, the Indian operation pisses off WEG, whose idea of competing for their market share is to eliminate the competition.

From the article: 'The fact that Kahnawake doesn't collect taxes and has been allowed to operate outside federal gambling law rankles the Woodbine Entertainment Group, who argue their market share is being eroded by illegal online gambling.'

Bottom line is that Betfair is legal here as long as they don't do business on servers located in Canada.


'In 1996, most know that the pari-mutuel tax on wagering was reduced from 7.5% to 0.5% as part of the slots at racetracks program. The industry of course, took this mostly for themselves.

From the ORC directive:


Under an incentive to provide much needed impetus to the industry, the Ontario Government reduces the provincial pari-mutuel tax on wagering from 7.5% to .5% with the balance to be returned to industry to be used as agreed to in the signed Memorandum of Understanding between the government, the ORC and the newly formed Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA).

With the wagering conference coming up this month (in Quebec), I think it is time to have voices heard to right this wrong, and grow Ontario racing.'

Pull the Pocket will be at the conference. He proposes this:

'This tax going back into the industry must be repealed and a mechanism must be put in place where it is returned in an immediate 7% takeout reduction for all tracks in Ontario.

When we listen to Woodbine or other track and horseman execs they often complain that Pinnacle is "stealing" their customers because they offer a 5% rebate. Well, you guys have a 7% rebate that you can give us now that would crush the offshores you complain about.'

If you are interested in being heard (he is presenting the comments to racing execs, etc.), leave a comment on his post. Here is the link.

Read the rest of the post as well, as he gives excellent reasons as to why the reduction should happen.

It was a good betting card with 10 races of mostly filled fields. The type of a card that I would of bet over $1500 on in the days before slots (when the sucker money was still in the pools). How many bettors tapped out by the 5th race? If takeouts would be at normal levels, perhaps, these bettors would have been able to last longer before tapping out (their bankroll going into the day would have been larger in most cases). Even people who cashed early may have struggled having money to bet in the last race.

Even so, Woodbine lagged behind three tracks that are available at Premier Turf Club. Mountaineer did over $2.1 million yesterday, while Hawthorne did $2.7 million and Keeneland did $5.8 million.

The industry is hurting right now, but Woodbine has no business having the 6th highest track takeout in North America. Some blame recession fears for the drop off in horse race action, but then explain why online poker, Betfair, and rebate shops have increased business. Gamblers are becoming more and more price sensitive collectively.

As of Tuesday, there were less than 400 horses (which includes 2 year olds). Racing resumes in two weeks. Get ready for a lot of 6 horse fields. Good for the owners, bad for betting. And their exactor takeout of over 26% is just insane.
I'm pulling for the track to survive, but they realistically should have cut down to 60 days because of competition from Presque Isle Downs and falling revenues from slots making their purse structure very unattractive. Horsemen never want to cut days. They are their worst enemies. Pay me now, who cares about what happens later, is the typical horseman's viewpoint.
Horsemen really should be seen and not heard in order for the game to run properly and for growth to have a chance.


I've always said that the signal fee is too small that tracks charge, and a one third, one third, one third solution (split between horsemen, track owners, and ADW's) isn't a bad one if everyone complies with it. I just think that one third should be equal to 4-5% of what is totally bet...yeah, that means total track takeout should be universal at between 12-15%.
Meanwhile, the time couldn't be worse to pull stunts like holding back on any signals (with horse race betting declining everywhere), including especially the Kentucky Derby. If there is one day that attracts possible new blood into the game it is the first Saturday in May.
If horsemen could do it, they would raise takeouts by 10% if all that extra money went into purses. They really have no clue about churn and turning off potential bettors. Kind of like Woodbine personified.

NYRA bars a trainer

New York Racing Association officials have denied trainer Gregg Matties stalls for the Belmont spring meet and asked him to leave the grounds of their tracks after being alerted to irregular betting patterns in wagering accounts involving the Matties family.

"There were patterns of wagering activity at account wagering sites that we weren't happy about," NYRA's president, Charles Hayward, said. "We have reason to believe the accounts were in family-member names. We're not saying there was any race-fixing or anything like that going on."

Hayward said NYRA was made aware of these irregular betting patterns by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau.

Several members of the Matties family have competed in handicapping tournaments around the country. Paul and Duke Matties, who are brothers of Gregg, finished 36th and 56th in the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping tournament in Las Vegas in January.

Matties, who had stalls at Belmont during Aqueduct's winter meet, won four races from 29 starters during the inner-track meet. He was 0 for 3 over the main track. His last runner, Debating, finished third in a $20,000 claiming race here on Wednesday and was claimed.
My sources tell me that the Matties' are huge bettors (a G-note a race). Well known to the major industry players.
Also, this barring is due to a large bet cashed by one of the trainer's family members on a horse who paid $19 (trained by Matties). The horse in question, apparently was Too Drunk To Call. He won on February 27th at Aqueduct with an 88 Beyer. His next start on a dead rail produced a 75 Beyer (he was 7-2 and finished fifth). Horses bounce, don't they? Next start (March 27th), he did something he never did before, took a lead out of the gate, went wire to wire, getting away with a 1:14:1 three quarter split in a mile and sixteenth race (the first two were a mile and seventy), and wound up romping home by more than 5 lengths while earning a lifetime best 92 Beyer.
Horses many times run their lifetime bests in wire to wire performances, as they are not under any pressure throughout the race to do anything that might impede on their breathing.
I see nothing wrong whatsoever with this victory. And the fact he paid so much is due to the fact that the public usually give way too much credit to the most recent race.

There could be more to this. I don't know. If I get more info, I will post it.

Family members and friends of horsemen make up a very large chunk of today's pools.
Where do you draw the line when it comes to what a family member can bet on. These Matties brothers (not the trainer) do a lot of research, to my understanding. If their system says play the brother's horse or even bet against it, I see nothing wrong. I also see nothing wrong with asking the trainer about the current condition of the horse. How can you even think about stopping this?

Rumour has it that Matties has been given his stalls back after threatening to sue NYRA. Good for him. He should sue regardless. Who does NYRA think they are?

16 April 2008

Free Advice For WEG's New Director of Marketing and Communications.

Woodbine Entertainment Group today announced the hiring of a brand new Marketing and Communications Director. Probably has something to do with their abysmal start to the 2008 thoroughbred season as far as total handle goes (I'm speculating).

His name is Paul Lawson. At 47, he is the same age as me (not that this matters). He has some experience in the industry from at least a harness owners standpoint. But then again, David Willmot has tons of experience in that area, and we know how ugly his reign has been (at least, when it comes to the bettors...umm, the customers). Thanks to leading edge technology, horseplayers can lose their money much faster than ever before. But it works against growth, as long as takeouts remain ridiculously high.

First, an encouraging quote from Lawson:

"It's all about the customer," said Lawson. "The better we understand them, the better we can attract new participants to the sport; elicit greater participation from occasional fans and, most importantly, satisfy our core players."

Now for the free advice to Mr. Lawson:

If WEG does not drop track takeouts to the level of Keeneland, you have just become the NEW FALL GUY. Not an enviable position. You may know how to market drugs. But people need pharmaceuticals for a better quality of life. People don't need to gamble on horses through HPI.

What brings new people (potential regulars) to the game, is the opportunity to at least break even, or even better, make money over a long period of time.

If there is no buzz from REAL WINNERS, there is no chance to hook enough fish. The REAL WINNERS, and those who at least have an honest chance to break even, are not betting very much through their HPI accounts. They are betting with Betfair and offshore rebate shops. Simple.

Woodbine's ridiculously high track takeouts makes it impossible to even think about winning through HPI.

And we are now in the information age. Anyone now can do just a little research to find that rebate shops are the only way to go if you want to have a chance to beat the horses.

I know people who beat the horses. None do it through HPI. I know people who win consistently at Betfair and online poker too. I don't know any long term winners who have done so with an HPI account.

And long term bettors, your core, are only waking up daily to this. One thing Woodbine hasn't done is COMPETE. They think they are a monopoly. They are far from it.

If you want to understand the bettor, you need to understand that most of us do some to a lot of work preparing for a day of betting. Why do the research if there is no light at the end of the tunnel possibly? Woodbine has the 6th highest track takeout in all of North America. Slots have done nothing to help the core bettor in Ontario.
In fact, it has taken away the dumb money that gave players a chance to win prior to when slots came about.

These players who do the research have now done some research on the internet. Not good for Woodbine. Not good at all.

There is no research needed for a slot player, yet the house take on slots is 2 to 2 and a half times lower than what horseplayers betting through WEG have to overcome.

Who is going to bring new players to the track? Not me. I'll refer them to go elsewhere. I used to bring them to the track, but that was before Beyer figs showed up in the form (even before the slots), taking away another edge that bettors like me had.

It has gotten progressively worse and worse for anyone with half a brain to even ride out a card of racing (betting 3 tracks) with a modest bankroll these days. Yet takeout has increased over time.

My blog isn't going to help your job either. I'm informing more and more players each and every day. I get lots of hits from Google searches.

Google "Woodbine thoroughbreds." My blog is the the second match after the Woodbine Entertainment website match.

Google "Woodbine takeout." You'll find my blog is the first match for this one. I get quite a few hits for this match.

If you don't lower the takeouts substantially, get ready to write a press release by June : Woodbine forced to drop purses because of dramatically lower handles. Willmot blames Betfair and offshore houses for the continued decline.

Exchange betting will help you big time, only if you compete equally with Betfair. Woodbine has shown me so far, that it doesn't understand the definition of the word COMPETE.

Mr. Lawson, hopefully Woodbine will allow you to do your job by giving you the ability to COMPETE for the customer (including the core customer that they are losing on a daily basis). That is your only chance at succeeding in your new job. Good luck.

For additional help in knowing todays customer. Check out the Pace Advantage Forum.

UPDATE: Keeneland announced they are down 17% in handle over the first 8 days. There are quite a few reasons for this. For example, last year, there was tremendous anticipation over the inaugural Poly meet, and Polytracks have since turned off a lot of players.
Still, they are doing over $10 million a day in total handle. 5 times as much as Woodbine did on their best days (Saturday and Sunday).
Betting on horses are facing an overall decline. The dinosaur method of ridiculous track takeouts has made it nearly impossible to attract new players. As core bettors are literally dying, they are not being replaced. And the price sensitive bettors (most of them are large bettors) wagers have left the mainland.

14 April 2008

How About This For A Truthful Woodbine Ad?

Note: The person with the tie represents a Woodbine executive not the horseplayer, though Woodbine treats the horseplayer as if the picture was of them.

Not to say that many horseplayers don't have their head up their butt. Many don't realize YET how excessive track takeouts erode their bankrolls very quickly. They do realize that going to the track or reloading their account with HPI, for example, is a negative expectation task. They realize that they are lucky to come home with any of their expendable bankroll after the WEG experience.


First, I will say that I have a good rapport with Jennifer Morrison. We are both members of The Thoroughbred Blogger's Alliance as well. Jen's blog probably gets the greatest amount of hits of any of the blogs in the alliance.

But I really don't see eye to eye with her when it comes to comment moderation. The only reason to moderate comments on blogs, to me, is to get rid of spam or to make sure personal insults or off colour remarks are kept out of the publics view. After that, I think anything that stimulates thought or change through constructive criticism is a gimme to print. Jen is in the newspaper business, surely she knows that controversy sells papers.

Yes, I realize I've been repetitive when it comes to my comments on track takeout, but I usually only comment when it is related to something she puts in her daily post. But again, I'm passionate about this cause, and I really want to see racing grow and especially in Ontario. And I don't just criticize, I give solutions.

That being said, the reason I'm bringing this up now is because she refused to print a couple of comments I had as replies to a couple of commenters who were addressing me. So I guess I'll have to reply here instead. Unfortunately I didn't save my exact words, but I know I didn't curse, and I didn't get personal (even though one of the commenters deserves to be insulted).

First, I will show the line that Jen printed and my reply to what she posted (that she printed). Also I replied positively to her article about Trakus

On-track handle was $186,000 - overall for the first Friday of the meeting was just $1.3 million.

My reply (that she decided to print):

At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

That is great progress regarding Trakus taking human error out of chart calling.

1.3 million in total handle stinks. Mountaineer and Hawthorne did over 2 million each yesterday. I know Woodbine won't consider lowering takeout;) but maybe they should consider a 3 o'clock post in order to try to compete. I have a feeling we are going to see purse cuts, and then the horse owners will start getting it too. Of course, Woodbine will blame Betfair and offshore rebate shops, anything but blaming themselves.

Curious, anyone else have a Top 7 or at least Top 5 Woodbine Jockey list they want to share?

I offered a possible solution to Woodbine regarding their crappy handle, and I also brought out a point that these type of handles will lead to reduced purses in the near future.....and they will. Of course, all this is very predictable, so is Woodbine's response when they do inevitably cut purses.

I also added something else that might generate different discussion (top jockeys) and I linked it to my blog because I want as many people to read my blog as humanly possible (and I don't make a dime off my blog either).

One commenter commended me for my persistence (Jen allowed that comment too) and he also asked Jen's opinion of the track takeout to which she said she'd like to see it reduced but she is "getting bored with the same old argument every day." That is fine, but like said, controversy sells newspapers, and sure I don't think the Woodbine execs like the exposure of my comments on her blog either, I am doing the industry a huge favour by being relentless. Readers can choose to ignore my comments.

OK so here is why I'm making a big deal out of this today. Here are the two comments I wasn't allowed to defend myself against. First the more benign comment that actually appears after the idiotic comment by the drooling Woodbine exec or airhead horseman:

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

A couple of points :

It would be nice if WEG reduced the takeout but right now - it is what it is . Cangamble - I think your vendetta is well documented give it a rest !!

One issue that I have not seen raised on this blog is the advantage of being a Canadian resident versus a US resident when it comes to tax time and if you have been lucky enough to make a score . In the Great White North it is cash & carry - no questions no forms . In the US - Uncle SAM demands it gets reported and deducted AT SOURCE!!
I invite you to the DRF web-site and Steven Crist's recent column re this issue .

Also these are the takeout rates for NYRA & WEG - I don't see a huge difference .


Takeout Information

Win, place, and show: 15%
Daily Double, Quinella, and Exacta: 17.5%
Trifecta, Superfecta, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Grand Slam: 25%
Pick 6: 25% (15% on non-carryover days)

Woodbine -

Win, place, and show: 16.95%
Exactors and Daily Double: 20.5%
Pick 3 and Superfecta wagering: 26.3%
Triactor wagering: 28.3%
Win 4 wagering: 25%
Pick 7: 26.3%

Let it be .

Give it a rest? How is that going to help anyone? I'm fighting for the player and I'm fighting for the industry as well, because without the player, the industry disappears.

Yes, being a Canadian has a tremendous edge over being an American when it comes to the fact that we don't have to worry about tax withholdings on large winnings or even worry about reporting gambling data on our tax forms. But that is something that WEG inherited, it isn't because WEG exists that we get that break. And that break actually helps WEG out immensely and hinders US tracks bottom line because it takes potential gambling money out of circulation in the US.
The US uses the same idiotic principles as WEG does when they take out potential gambling money when they rip their customer off by giving smaller returns on Keeneland tri's and supers. Here is an intelligent response to my post about that issue by Pull The Pocket.

Regarding comparing NYRA (which is an inept organization that recently filed for bankruptcy protection): The takeout is still around 3 points higher for most bets, and NY only ranks in the middle as far as lowest takeouts are concerned in North America. 3 points on $200,000 a year bet buys you a new car every three years, but realistically will mostly get bet back by the player, though giving him or her more incentive to try to actually make money betting horses.

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

Jen, this is YOUR site, not Cangamble's. Since you said "I do get bored with the same old argument every day", you have the power to take action, you're in charge here, this is YOUR house!

I suggest a two-week moratorium on comments about Woodbine takeout. Anybody sends a comment about it (pro or con), it gets ignored like spam and doesn't get published here.

Cangamble has monopolized your blog's comment board long enough. His "dittoheads" and his opponents know where his blog is and can go over there and post the same thing every day if they want. If I wanted to read his BS every day I can go over there.

It seems like he's just using your blog to spew his venom to a larger audience because he isn't getting enough traffic on his own blog...

I enjoy this blog. I won't waste my time with his. I'd like to be able to avoid his crap by coming here instead, and so would many others. Otherwise, might as well just merge the two blogs into one since all his content just gets spammed on us here anyway.

It is Jen's blog, and it is probably to her advantage to print all comments (except those contained bad words or personal insults). But that is my suggestion to Jen.
If you notice the posts that have generated most comments, it is the ones that I have commented on.
By calling those who share my views "dittoheads," this commenter has revealed himself/herself as a non bettor, and either a owner or Woodbine employee.
It doesn't reflect much intelligence. That is for sure.
And yes, I try to get some traffic from Jen's blog. I want to educate as many people as possible regarding WEG's tactics and the way they don't give a rat's ass about the customer. I am hoping that this will lead to a positive change for the industry and turn it into a growth one.

Note to Anon: You can avoid my "crap" by not reading it. As soon as you see my moniker just don't read what I have to say. Pretend that you are Woodbine and I am a customer.

My content doesn't get spammed on Jen's blog. Nobody has to read my comments or click my links. It is choice.

Meanwhile, Jen allows comments from people who ask where is Emma? even though she has been here since day one. I guess these are the comments this airhead anon enjoys reading. Very stimulating and thought provoking. LOL.

Sorry Jen, no hard feelings, and usually you have allowed me to defend myself, but I had to defend myself in this situation.

Woodbine handles are really bad. They barely did over $2 million a day on Saturday and Sunday (even with 11 races on Sunday). Mountaineer did over $2 million on Saturday, and they did over $1.7 million last night.

The big bettors have woke up and their betting habits are changing very quickly. Price sensitivity amongst players is growing very fast, and the big problem for dinosaur organizations like WEG is that new players aren't being found. And things will only get worse for WEG because of their overall philosophy to bleed their customer dry while they can. Woodbine Live won't save them, because WEG doesn't have a Vegas attitude (forget about free or cheap drinks). It may be a quick fix, but that is all. It is sad anyway that companies like Woodbine have to rely on other forms of gambling other than horse racing in order to grow purse accounts or keeps purses at equal levels.


Woodbine execs have been whining and bitching about Betfair and foreign rebaters for years. Sort of how mom and pop stores complain about Wal Mart. In the end, we live in a capitalistic free society, and price sensitivity usually wins out and gets the bulk of consumers monies.

There is NO REASON why Woodbine can't take a Wal Mart attitude themselves. They are large enough, but unfortunately, they aren't smart enough. You see, Wal Mart knows what their customers want, and they do their darnedest to attract as many customers as possible. Being competitive isn't in WEG's current mandate.

Some News:

Britain is thinking about a Breeders Cup type of day in September or October. Giving their customers what they want. This is going to be the new trend in horse racing.....hopefully.

Hong Kong to start a unique wager that I think would be very interesting to see on this side of the pond. Bettors will be allowed to wager on which jockey will do best on daily cards of racing. That could easily be made a parimutuel type wager at any track.

11 April 2008

Cangamble's Top Seven Jockeys For Woodbine 2008

My list of top jockeys at Woodbine this year (how I predict the standings will end up, barring injuries).
1. Emile Ramsammy
2. Patrick Husbands
3. Chantal Sutherland
4. Eurico Rosa Da Silva
5. Emma Jayne Wilson
6. Dean Deverell
7. Tyler Pizarro

Please note: I am not a paid advertiser for Betfair or any other company. In fact, I don't get compensated for this blog in any way shape or form.

Betfair has today's Woodbine card on its roster, which also includes Gulfstream, Keeneland, Santa Anita and Aqueduct among others.

Today Daniel David has a couple of very live mounts on Touch of Jazz in the 7th and Quinner's Circle in the 9th. If Danny D. stayed healthy and only raced at Woodbine, he would easily make the top 7 list.

For anyone curious of how Betfair works, here is a tutorial type video (don't be confused by the pounds being used as currency, one can use Canadian or American dollars just the same):

Premier Turf Club just added Finger Lakes, Delaware and Prairie Meadows to its ever growing line up. Premier understands the bettor, unlike WEG, who understands how to milk the bettor dry.

Buffalo Casino Gaining Patrons Not good news for Fort Erie.

Lone Star wants agreements with ADW's where an equal split occurs between the ADW, the track and the horsemen. Update: Forgot to mention that Lone Star has introduced a new Pick 5 with a low 12% track takeout. Their overall takeout is still on the high side. And good luck getting full payoffs through HPI if you are lucky enough to hit the new bet.

Fatalities on the race course: 'The revised figures released by The Jockey Club April 10 show 2.02 fatalities per 1,000 starts on dirt and 1.47 on synthetic surfaces.'

Stuck In Traffic and Not Bourbon meet on Saturday at Woodbine
. If you are a bettor, Saturday's first half of races suck. Brace Yaselfsheila has a good shot in the 7th and in the 9th, I like Severi.

8 April 2008

Gambling Is A Huge Source of Jobs and Income For Canadians

Gambling a big deal for economy with 267,000 jobs, $15.3B revenue: industry
I predict it will become even bigger once Canada wakes up and allows more players into the industry like exchange betting, etc. Companies that are benefiting from Canadian gamblers already will hopefully have a choice to come here, creating more Canadian jobs, or Canadian companies can branch out and compete properly for the Canadian gambler's disposable dough.

Ontario leads the pack with 102,236 jobs created and sustained by the industry, followed by Quebec ( 51,636), Alberta (43,342) and British Columbia (32,246). The numbers include direct employment in gambling operations, employment in gambling-related government and charity organizations, and employment in professions that service and support the gambling sector.

Across the country, more than 135,000 Canadians are directly employed in the gaming industry, the country's largest entertainment industry, the study says.

Lawmakers told US Internet Ban Almost Impossible to Enforce
GOOD! It is a stupid ban. And it hasn't helped horse race operators one bit either.

Horse racing has remained stagnant in growth but ADW's have been picking up the slack from those who have stopped going to the track:
Oregon Hub Wagering Up 17%

Mountaineer CEO Will Quit At End of Year It looks like the strike has been settled. Meanwhile, Mountaineer is losing money. But they expect a big turnaround this year.

Storm Cat needs Viagra

Curtains down for Moscow Ballet at 26

ORC wants feedback regarding having Hitching Fees in Standardbred Racing
That means they want to know if they should pay down to last place like they do in thoroughbred racing here.

I say, of course they should. The operators of race tracks in Ontario for the most part are in the ENTERTAINMENT business. They aren't into gambling growth or the track takeouts wouldn't be a joke.
All actors and actresses should therefore be paid when they run.

6 April 2008


Gotta love the internet. Now whenever anyone does a Google Search for "Woodbine track takeout," my site gets the first matches. I'm glad I can help educate those in search of knowledge, and hopefully this blog and voices like mine will help change the industry into a growth one.

Lets do a quick comparison between Woodbine and Keeneland regarding how the bettor is treated.

Woodbine Takeout Information

Win, place, and show: 16.95%
Exactors and Daily Double: 20.5%
Pick 3 and Superfecta wagering: 26.3%
Triactor wagering: 28.3%
Win 4 wagering: 25%
Pick 7: 26.3%

Keeneland Takeout Information

Win, place, and show: 16%
Pick 3, 4 and 6: 17%
All other wagers: 19%
Now how does Woodbine JUSTIFY having such high takeouts in comparison with Keeneland.
Keeneland doesn't even have slots. And Keeneland pays out 3.5% to the state on every bet, which is less than what Woodbine pays in taxes (most of the added tax that is levied on Woodbine wagers goes to horsemen. The Ontario government getting 0.5% and the Fed government getting 0.8%).

You'd figure that because Keeneland doesn't have slots, their takeout would be higher, but the reality is that they have to rely on betting monies for profit and purses. The lower the takeout within reason, the higher the bottom line for the track and purses. Keeneland gets it. Woodbine doesn't give a rats ass when it comes to taking this approach.

Pull the Pocket is reviewing the Keeneland experience first hand. He finds it AMAZING Read it here).

Woodbine considers their customer base SUCKERS. It is evident right from the way they have one of the highest track takeouts in North America to the way their account wagering doesn't allow one to see wager records (only confirmed bets that are made on the day that you are looking at the records can be found). They don't want you to see how much of a SUCKER you really are.

They just want to bleed the customer dry. It is very apparent. In fact, I heard they just raised the prices of food at the track. They are doing everything in their power to make sure the bettor on track or at home goes broke as quickly as possible.

Their business model is broken. And now they are desperately going the wrong way. They do NOTHING that leads to repeat business. And repeat business is mandatory in today's gambling environment.

What other business out there raises prices when they are starting to show signs of failure?


Lets just look at the results from Race 1 at Keeneland yesterday and compare what the payoffs were at Keeneland and other American racetracks versus what Woodbine paid out to their "loyal and valued" customers through HPI:

Keeneland Payoffs
Exactor 5-9 paid $188.20 $2 Triactor 5-9-1 paid $1040.20 $2 Superfecta 5-9-1-6 paid $18,016.20 Two more things: #9 paid $14.60 to place and #1 paid $4.40 to show.

What WEG paid their "loyal and valued" customer
Exactor 5-9 paid the same as Keeneland. $2 Triactor paid $963.80 (92.6% of what it paid at Keeneland). $2 Superfecta paid $16,681.70 (again 92.6% of what it really paid at Keeneland). Those who bet the 9 to place or the 1 to show received a dime less for their troubles as well.

The same rip off by WEG towards its customers occurred throughout the card and will continue throughout the Keeneland meet.


Opening Day at Woodbine had a pathetic handle from all sources of just over $2.3 million. Heck, Mountaineer had an all source handle of $1.8 million. I'm laughing as I'm typing this.
Meanwhile, Keeneland had an all source handle of over $10 million yesterday. The public is waking up and becoming more and more price sensitive among other things.
The INTERNET is killing Woodbine and their stone age attitude towards the bettor and competition.

I do realize that at this time of year, Keeneland does have the best horses and runners in North America during this short meet, but to have 4 times the handle of Woodbine on opening day tells me that Woodbine is pathetic in the way they do things.

Yesterday I made one selection for Woodbine and it hit (the exactor in the first race paid over $48 in just a five horse race). Today I like the exactor box of Ghostly Concerto and Cheers Mate in the fourth.

4 April 2008

Nick Eaves Whines: How Dare Gamblers Look For The Best Offers

I just finished reading Jen's Blog post for today. She has a blurb up with Nick Eaves Chief Operating Officer at Woodbine Entertainment) discussing internet gambling. I'll copy Mr. Eaves quotes and then follow them with facts.

"The bottom line is, that it is illegal for residents of Canada to bet over the internet in unlicensed jurisdictions..." We have a government that is not enforcing those laws but at least now have come out and said that they sense the issue is larger then they thought. Perhaps they will do something about it."
No Mr. Eaves it is evident you don't know the law or you are lying. It is illegal for an unlicensed company to accept bets from Canadians, ONLY IF that company accepts the bets on a server located in Canada. For more, read this post.

What bothers me is that WEG thinks they are a monopoly and deserve to be one. They have one of the highest track takeout structures in North America, so they aren't doing anyone any favors when it comes to keeping Canadians action in Canada. It is called audacity coupled with an unreal arrogance to think WEG has any business telling me or any Canadian where to bet.

I hope the government does come in and allow companies like Betfair to become licensed in Canada and open the door to other competition so that the BETTOR, the CUSTOMER, finally can be treated like we live in a democratic, capitalistic society.

"These off-shore sites try to know who the big players are because that is the easy business for them to go after," said Eaves. "They have no cost structure. And when you can pirate a product and sell it for a price which is so much lower than a racetrack - no purse account, no 600 plus acre facility to pay for - the economics are totally different."
Woodbine sells their signal to other tracks for 4-5% (I'm guessing). That is really all their product is worth. What I find amazing is the betting model. They can sell to tracks for a 16% reduction in takeout that they are willing to give THEIR OWN CUSTOMERS.
Overhead is also includes the money WEG pays their execs for following a failed business model, that is outdated by at least 30 years. They don't bring in new customers because there is no BUZZ from winners because they have the out and out nerve to rip customers off with unbelievably high track takeouts.

They also "think" that if offshore betting housed were deemed illegal tomorrow, big bettors who they "think" they lost, will do business with them. NO CHANCE. Big bettors bet big because they have a good chance of winning. And they get enough in rebates to churn enough to be BIG BETTORS. It is a myth to think they lost something they could never have.

"When we work as closely as we do with big players, we have to do everything we can to support these customers," said Eaves. "Every day somebody else out there in a jurisdiction that is not taxed and regulated is coming after that level of business."
Are you saying that you give big players unadvertised rebates? Is that legal? And why not support ALL CUSTOMERS in the same way you "support" big players?

Again, as far as what is legal and what is illegal. I'm pretty sure that it is illegal to have collusive agreements, which Woodbine has with Youbet and Xpressbet to name a few.

Maybe the Canadian Competition Bureau will finally do something about it and help Canadians. It would be nice if Woodbine actually decided to COMPETE for our business instead of expect it.

Making Canadians bet through Woodbine is like forcing them to shop at Beckers for all their groceries and while not allowing No Frills to open up in Canada.

I can say more, but I'll end off this mini rant with the fact that Woodbine has its thoroughbred season opener tomorrow. I still haven't decided if I will put in a couple of hundred just to play Supers and Win 4's.
I know Woodbine horses very well, and it pains me not to be able to bet full throttle with them. But I'm not out to make sure that Woodbine execs are well dressed either. They don't care what I'm wearing.

The first exactor looks very good. Sarcasm boxed with Haveubeentoldtoday.

2 April 2008

How Widespread Is Buzzer Use In Horse Racing?

Now that Shane Sellers has admitted to using buzzers, one has to wonder how widespread the practice is. Lots of allegations have been made in the past. One famous allegation occurred after the 1995 Kentucky Derby. Here is a handshake? exchange? between Gary Stevens and Pat Day. Stevens was on Thunder Gulch, the winner of the Derby, while Pat Day was on Timber Country. Both horses were trained by D. Wayne Lucas (check it out in slow motion):

It is pretty easy to notice that Day had an open hand when he and Stevens touch. Afterwards, Days hand was tightly closed. What wound up in Day's fist?

a) Crack rocks
b) Air
c) Steven's phone number
d) An electronic device

Of course, recently there were allegations against Jose Santos after he rode Funny Cide to victory in the Derby thanks to this picture:

Santos was eventually cleared of the allegations, but you have to admit that either he had something in his palm or he holds the whip like he has severe arthritis in his fingers.

Bill Finley makes a great case for banning lasix from horse racing:

'...On any day at any track, virtually every horse racing runs on Lasix. On the same day as the Dubai World Cup, 107 horses raced at Gulfstream and 105 of them ran on Lasix. That includes all 12 starters in the Florida Derby. That these 105 horses all have bleeding problems is laughable...

'Thirteen years after New York legalized Lasix, we should be seeing the fruits of the medication. With the help of this drug, horses should be running more than ever and lasting longer than ever and 12-horse fields should be the norm.

It turns out that exactly the opposite has happened. In 1970, before Lasix had permeated racing's landscape, the average number of starts per runner per year was 10.22. It's now down to an alarmingly low 6.31. During that same period, the average field size has fallen from 8.62 to 8.17.

It can't be a coincidence that the introduction of Lasix came at precisely the time a trend began whereby horses make fewer and fewer starts each year.

So, it appears that Lasix doesn't solve bleeding or keep horses in training longer. Then what does it do? According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, it masks other drugs. That's why it is on its list of banned drugs, which means athletes competing in the Olympics are not permitted to use it.'

Good discussion about Finley's article can be found on Pace Advantage.

Left At The Gate has figured out that Frank Stronach is buying Magna Entertainment for himself at a bargain price. Here is Magna's Reorganization Proposal to Shareholders. H/T Equidaily

Nick Eaves quoted on Jen's Blog about the idiotic rule to ban the horse, hence punish the owner, when a clear positive occurs:

"It's fundamentally fair, it closes the circle where there is clear violation, there should be a shared responsibility," said Eaves. "It's about the bettor being more confident in the product."
Sorry Mr. Eaves, but the bettor understands that owners of horses generally have nothing to do with what happens in the backstretch. And since when does WEG give a rats ass about the bettor anyway.
This rule is a deterrent to owners. It is like blaming a parent who chooses a child's doctor for a doctor's malpractice on the child. How can an owner or a parent prevent this kind of thing from happening? It is ludicrous to blame them or make them suffer unnecessarily.
If there are suspicious trainers out there, make a list of them for the public to see, so owners can avoid them, just like any doctor who has had malpractice suits in the past should have them available to the public.
My solution is give the trainer a larger ban and fine, and if you really want to take the incentive away from the trainer to even attempt to cheat, also make it that the horse who tested positive must be moved to another barn (so they don't end up in the same barn with the banned trainer's assistant). Trainers don't like losing owners.

A few people say that I hate Woodbine. Pull the Pocket mentions it in his newest post, for example.
Let me make this clear. I don't hate anyone. I am just very frustrated with their business model, and in fact, the industries business model. Woodbine just happens to be close to a monopoly in Canada, where I live. And they happen to be one of the worst culprits when it comes screwing the bettor.
I'd love to be making all my bets through HPI and WEG. But I have to look out for myself. I'm not into giving them charity. Heck, they aren't into giving me charity.
It is frustrating that I live in Canada, a supposed capitalist and free society but have to bet in other jurisdictions because they are the ones who are offering me a MUCH BIGGER bang for my buck.
I can honestly say that so far this year, I haven't bet a dime on my WEG account, though I did bet 20 bucks at a teletheatre when I was in Toronto on business early in January.
I have churned over $100,000 this year though in other jurisdictions. I'd much rather have done it through WEG, because I'm all for supporting the local purse structures, etc. But I'm not about to give them charity donations at my expense. And the reality is that if I was betting without rebates, I would have only churned less than a quarter of that figure because rebates kept me in the game.
On my blog I don't just complain, I offer valid solutions that I feel are guaranteed to really grow the game I love, but racing execs have their own agendas that completely conflict with growth and client satisfaction.
Again, WEG is one of the largest offenders out there. And I've backed this up over and over again, as there was a lot of truth in my April Fool's Day post yesterday.

1 April 2008


(Special to Cangamble)

Davey Willnut, head honcho at the Woodbine Interdicting Group announced today, that he is going to aggressively drop takeout rates for the 2008 Woodbine thoroughbred meet, when it starts at an unadvertised date sometimes this month.

"It finally hit me that we are not attracting new players," Willnut said, "our illegal collusive tactics just aren't working, we are not the only game in town anymore. Our feeble attempts to eliminate the competition has stopped working, we must compete now in order to grow."

"We've decided that we don't want to depend on mooch degenerate gamblers who just don't care about how ridiculously high are takeouts are," Willnut continued, "they only have limited bankrolls in most cases, and all we have done with our technological advancements is make it easier for these clowns to lose their gambling money in a much faster time."

"We've decided that win, place, and show bets will have a 12% takeout, while all other bets will be at 15%," said Willnut, "I'm sure we will not only get the gambling money from our regular client base, just at a slightly slower rate, but we will also attract many bettors who have left us for Betfair, for example. We will also probably attract many online poker bettors, now that we have made the game possibly beatable. We may even create a buzz amongst bettors who are actually making money or coming very close at least. They may start bringing their friends."

"I was ashamed and disgusted with myself when I read on the Cangamble blog, that Woodbine has the 7th highest track takeout out of 58 racetracks." Willnut when on, "I now consider myself a visionary. I will save horse racing with this initiative. My dad used to call me and my brother dumb and dumber. I'm going to rectify the dumb part of his statement, or was I the dumber...it doesn't matter now, because now I am smart."

When asked if he was able to get these low takeouts passed easily he said, "It wasn't easy. I received a lot resistance from Mick Kookass, the Director of the Horsemen And Elephants Association. He pleaded with me not to risk his cushy job with this move, because the reality is that if this fails, and the horsemen end up with less money in their purse account, Mick will most likely have to play poker professionally to make a living, and between you and me, he has lost his edge. Whenever he has a good hand, he pulls on a nose hair. All the pro players have him figured out."

"I realize dropping takeouts is a risk, but we ask our cherished loyal customers to take a risk every day when they bet on our product," said Willnut, "For instance, the other tracks out there may not play ball. They may make our product less appealing by ramping up the takeout on our product to much higher levels for their customers, like we do in many instances, or they might not show our signal anymore, like we did when Laurel reduced takeouts last year for 12 days. Many racetrack executives, I have to admit, don't give a rats ass about the betting public, and especially their own customers. They are such unscrupulous, arrogant, idiotic basturds."

Is Davey Willnut worried? "I'm pretty confident our bottom line will increase dramatically from here, but just in case, I'm not going to buy anymore new expensive suits until I know for sure."

So much for April Fool's Day. Now some real news:

Shane Sellers Admits To Have Used Buzzers In Autobiography

According to Paul Moran's blog:
Sellers recounts his early experience while riding at Evangeline Downs, in his native Louisiana.

“So what did I do? I adjusted my riding style and went against my morals to do what every other rider did there.

“Simply put, I shocked those horses into running – literally.

“In the world of horse racing, there are certain tools and tactics that a jockey should never use. The top tool on that list is the buzzer, or the machine. This machine is about the size of a standard lighter and it uses two little AA batteries that are stuck together with black tape. The machine has two prongs at the end. When the prong presses into a horse’s hide it causes a shock, like one of those gag hand-shaking buzzers. Only stronger. If you press that machine into a horse’s neck right where you are holding the reins, it shocks the hell out of the horse and makes it run like crazy.

“I was never one to resort to electronics –especially not illegal ones – to make a horse run. But at Evangeline, that was what I was expected to do; that is what I had to do. All of the riders there used a machine in those days, so if I tried to stray from the norm, I wouldn’t get any mounts.”

Thanks to the fact that more and more horseplayers get to see endless videos from numerous sources, I have to wonder if riders are just a bit more paranoid today than they were 10 or 20 years when it comes to using a buzzer at a B track.

Trainer Doug O'Neill Gets Another Positive For Allegedly Milkshaking

Youbet loses money in 4th quarter and now faces delisting on Nasdaq

Magna International proposes to sell off Magna interest. Reorganization is in the works, including a proposed reverse stock split in order to keep the company trading on Nasdaq.

Betfair gets important win in Western Australia. It is now officially legal there.
And you know what, if Betfair wanted to push it, they could set up legally Canada too. We aren't a third world country, like the USA:)

New Horse Racing Blog: Cake or Death You'd never guess it was a blog about horse racing and handicapping unless I told you.

Emma Jayne Wilson's whining about not having her jock's agent with her in Hong Kong may change things there in the future. 0 for 86? I could have done that with or without an agent, and I weigh 205 pounds and have never been on a thoroughbred in my life:) Seriously, I think she is a bit overrated. Look for Patrick Husbands, Emile Ramsammy, Chantal Sutherland, Eurico Rosa Da Silva, and Dean Deverell to have higher win percentages than her this year.