29 July 2008

Bettors Need More Transparency From The Racing Industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now For The Headlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 July 2008

Note To Horse Racing Industry: The Game Is Dying Because of High Takeouts

Track Takeout Doesn't Have To Be Understood To Kill The Game

Pull The Pocket has a post up called Rake Me Out To The Poker Game analyzing Bill Finley's column post on racing in Italy. Quoting Bill Finley:
The Italians like to gamble. With recent changes liberalizing Italian gaming regulation, it is estimated that about $91 billion will be wagered in the country annually by the year 2010. The problem is, too many Italian gamblers are choosing to bet on something other than horse racing.

The takeout in Italy is exorbitant, as much as 40 percent on the trio, which is the Italian version of our trifecta. According to Barsotti, it wasn't always this way, but Italian racing regulators have decided to allow major increases in the takeout rate over the years.

Too many gamblers are going broke, which has created smaller betting pools. With smaller betting pools, it's hard to make a large bet. Anyone wanting to make a big wager on a horse will drive the horse's price down to unacceptable levels. That has caused big bettors to flee the game, which makes the pools smaller yet. It's an unending cycle.

Even if gamblers don't understand or care about takeout, they realize they get next to no bang for their buck when betting into something that has a high takeout. This leads to disillusionment, disinterest, and finally abandonment.
A 40% takeout is outrageous, but so is 20-25%, especially when races go off every 4 minutes.

HANA also did a similar piece on Finley's observations called 40% Takeouts: Live and Learn. Also read the post called "Churn"

HANA (The Horseplayers Association of North America) still is seeking members. The stronger the membership, the more pull we have. The main goal of HANA is to grow the game by increasing competition...making the ADW's and tracks compete properly for our gambling buck. Membership is free. Just click here and fill out and submit a short form (it will take you less than 1 minute).

The horse racing industry "thinks" the economy is to blame for the drastic drop in betting since the Triple Crown, especially.
But lottery sales are setting records in most states.
Maybe, the economy is partly to blame though. People may not be playing at surefire losing venues that don't offer life altering returns. I'm sure that beatable games (perceived beatable games) like sports betting and online poker are not being hurt one bit by the economy.

Only $1.2 million bet at Woodbine yesterday. The racing execs continue to fiddle while Woodbine is burning.

Racing Will Be Canceled At Sudbury Downs This Year Once They Run Out Of Purse Account Money

Del Mar on track handle is down 11%. Overall handle is down 6%. So some people may be avoiding going to the track because of high gas prices, but betting is DOWN regardless. Maybe they should sign a deal with Premier Turf Club and see what happens. Or maybe decision makers like Drew Couto are happy with the purse cuts that look imminent.

Las Vegas Professor Urges Legalizing Web Betting

Bill Downes to leave announcing at Presque Isle Downs in order to replace the late Luke Kruytbosch at Ellis Park

Hastings Apprentice puts her tack away for the rest of the year after getting 4 wins in only 11 races.
'TOUGH DECISION: Local fans cannot recall a more amazing beginning to a riding career then what Natasha Sihota, 24, accomplished the last two weekends. In that brief time, Sihota won four races, finished second three times and third once in 11 starts.

Which makes news of Sihota packing up her saddle for the balance of the Hastings season rather shocking?

Sihota's dilemma is unique. Once an apprentice jockey wins five races he or she is allowed a full year of riding with weight allowances and is granted extensions up to five months for time lost due to cold weather in Canada when racetracks are closed.

Because Sihota had not ridden her fifth winner this year, her true apprenticeship will start next year. Then she will be allowed her apprentice allowances for two full racing seasons, giving Sihota a chance to become the next rising star in Canadian horse racing.'

Today At Woodbine
In the 2nd I'm giving Meadow Princess one more chance. Last time she was pressed on a day that was not kind to speed. Today she has a bad post, but she gets a very positive jockey switch from Wilson to Sutherland. Terry Jordan has a runner also has speed, or else Meadow Princess would be a lead pipe cinch. Still with the slight drop down, she should win.
There is a lead pipe cinch in the third race. Tsalagi should eat the field.

In tomorrow's Wonder Where Stakes, a weak field means look for a price horse. I'm going with Snow Delicious to step up and win.

Perennial maiden Shpeen looks like he's in for a walk in the park in tomorrow's 7th race. Bettor beware!

23 July 2008

Betting On Thoroughbreds Down 11% Since Triple Crown

Betting on thoroughbred racing has declined sharply since the Triple Crown.
Wagering has dropped 11% on North American Thoroughbred racing since the end of the Triple Crown series -- at least by one indicator -- a disturbing trend that can likely be attributed to a variety of factors.

Bets placed on United States and Canada racing dropped $209,860,208 from a similar six-week period following the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in 2007, according to data collected by The Jockey Club Information Systems. This year’s total handle of $1,691,643,357 wagered from June 8 through July 20 is also between 5.5% and 7.4% less than any similar period from 2003-2006.

I don't buy the excuse that the drop is due to the economy or the price of gas. Usually, during times of economic weakness, gambling tends to increase. I'm sure lottery ticket sales and sports betting haven't declined since the Triple Crown.

The reality is, thanks to ridiculously high track takeouts, that the public has figured out that you might as well flush your money down the toilet than bet on horses. Perhaps, the bad economy is not preventing one from gambling, it is just stopping one from gambling in games perceived as no win situations, other than lotteries of course, which offer life changing jackpots for a very small investment.

The newly formed Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) got some more press in the article. One of the organizers (FYI I'm one of the original organizes as well), John Swetye was quoted:

“There is no doubt that some players have left the traditional pari-mutuel wagering platforms,” said John Swetye, a Connecticut entrepreneur who helped launch HANA, an advocacy organization for bettors. “Some left because they can't get a bet down with their ADW because it doesn't offer a particular track, or because the player can't have an account with a certain ADW because of where they live."...............“Right now, horseplayers get too little respect -- especially among some racetrack executives,” he said. “Horseplayers can not understand why the customer is given so little respect. Without horseplayers, would racetracks exist?”

I'll respectfully disagree with John's reason for the decline because most horseplayers will just bet on other tracks if they are unable to bet on certain tracks due to their geographical location, or because their ADW doesn't have that track on the roster.

But I will agree that horseplayers get absolutely no respect from horsemen and racing execs alike.

The Paulick Report printed a Guest Editorial from another HANA member, Dean from Pull The Pocket. It was his piece on how the Horsemen Groups are wrecking the chance for growth even more today.

The comment section is interesting in the editorial. I replied to a comment there:

"I’m less interested in how much someone bet than in how much they lost. The horses have to eat, and there’s no money to feed them if nobody loses.

The perspective of the horsemen is pretty simple. The industry is not growing. What makes ADW handle a growth segment is not new dollars, but dollars that used to be bet at the track. Purses have historically been about 6.5% of handle. Why should that number go down just because handle is now flowing through a different channel? It strikes me as naive to argue that the industry would suddenly start growing (in the face of increasing competition for the gambling dollar) if horsemen would just chill."
Bitplayer, I admire your honesty. I think that racing execs especially realize that the amount bet is not the way to look at things anymore, but the money lost by each individual customer is. They want to maximize the amounts lost by each customer because they feel they are competing against all other forms of entertainment.
In other words, they don't want winners. They even resent winners.

However, it is this mentality that has made it so that the ADW business has really just taken money out of the pot that used to be split by only racetracks and horsemen.

You would figure that once betting would be available to everyone anytime that customer growth would be exponential. It would have, if the takeouts were competitive with other forms of gambling.

Instead, the public has woke up and realizes that no matter how much time and effort one spends on trying to beat the game, without healthy rebates, there is absolutely no chance of winning over a 3 year period (OK, maybe one chance out of 20,000 tops).
Meanwhile, if one is sharp enough, sports betting is beatable or at least gives someone the chance to bet a lot and bet often and maybe even break even. The same is true with online Poker.

That is why WINNERS are important. They create BUZZ which creates new players.

What the racing industry needs badly is a whole slew of new players who will add to the pot that the horsemen and tracks and ADWs get to split up.

HANA's goal is to find a way to attract new horseplayers. In fact, that should be the racetracks goal too, but the standard racing exec doesn't seem to have a clue on how to achieve this goal.

Feds weigh lifting ban on sports betting in casinos in Canada

Revolving Door At Magna Entertainment Continues As Another Exec Jumps Ship

Pull The Pocket has a post up right now on Betting Exchanges and how one of HANA's founding members had his idea for one shot down 10 years ago.

Jockey Club Launches Injury Data Base
The primary objectives of the Equine Injury Database are to:
* identify the frequency, types and outcome of racing injuries using a standardized format that will generate valid statistics
* identify markers for horses at increased risk of injury
* serve as a data source for research directed at improving safety and preventing injuries

No Slots Equals The Death Of Another Racetrack: Woodlands

Woodbine Bias Report

Terry Jordan has "The Right Stuff", he is on fire. Jockeys Jimmy Mack and Jono Jones are doing good things right now. Speed was horrible last Wednesday night and even Thursday, but was great on Sunday. The track is just way too unpredictable to bet serious money, if any money at all. Not too many winners are using the rail to save ground.

Betfair wants more harness racing on its menu
'Punters placed more than £80,000 on the race with the online betting site, according to a story by Amy Mathieson in the Horse & Hound UK.

"Two thousand racegoers watched the race at Kempton Park and the race was aired live on Racing UK," the story said.

"Tony Calvin from Betfair told H&H: "Our expectations were minimal - but as it turned out more than 1,000 people placed bets on the harness race."'

20 July 2008

Somebeachsomewhere's Defeat Was Not Big Brownish

I'm not much of a harness fan (I pretty much tolerate it), but when a horse like Somebeachsomewhere comes along and is undefeated with 10 wins in a row, mostly against top competition, well I just have to look. The only similarity to Big Brown's Belmont race was the questionable tactics used by the rider driver Paul MacDonell at the start. He turned having the 2 post into the 8 post, which of course must have been worth at least a neck. In retrospect, he should have just gone into the hole and stay there until going into the backstretch. Still, this had to be one of the most exciting harness races of all time:

Betfair and US Horsemen In Serious Discussions
Betfair, the Great Britain-based online betting exchange, continues to negotiate with officials in the United States and is inching closer to a deal by which it would compensate horsemen for use of their product.

Betfair officials, who attended the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association summer convention in Pennsylvania July 18-20, said the company doesn’t accept wagers from U.S. residents, but it takes bets on U.S. races from players in other countries, including Canada. Betfair officials have been in talks with the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group, which is attempting to increase purse revenue from pari-mutuel wagering.

Quoted in the article is Nick Coukos:

Nick Coukos, executive director of the Ontario HBPA, said he uses Betfair but doesn’t play horses through its system because no money is returned to the Canadian racing industry. That, Coukos said, is a major stumbling block for the company.

“I think something finally needs to move forward before Betfair can be (embraced) in North America,” Coukos said. “Betfair has tremendous products, and our industry is starving for an alternative wagering platform. If you can get a deal done in Canada that works, it would be a huge step toward getting into (the U.S. market).”

Kudos to Coukos for being smart enough to play on Betfair and having the stones to admit he plays there (Nick is quite the poker player, if you haven't heard already), but isn't he the same guy who has called betting at places like Betfair "ILLEGAL?" Sure looks that way.

Like I've mentioned in the past. Playing Betfair, and even playing horses on Betfair is NOT illegal for Canadians. I can invite a Mountie into my house and let him watch me deposit money to my Betfair account, withdraw money from my Betfair account, and most importantly, place bets on my Betfair account....and guess what? He can't do diddly to me.

As long as an unlicensed company does not have a server in Canada, it is perfectly legal for that company to accept bets from Canadians and perfectly legal for a Canadian to place bets there.

The only downside is that if you have a gripe with the company you are doing business, Canadian laws aren't going to protect you. But with a company as reputable as Betfair, a dispute like that is highly unlikely.

Don't forget about Betfair's summer special. Open up an account and bet at least $50 (it doesn't have to be all at once), and win or lose, Betfair will deposit another $50 in your account the day after you go over $50 in bets.

The Horseplayers Association Of North America Is Rolling Ahead

Paul Moran wrote a piece flattering us (I'm one of HANA's many volunteer administrators).

Jen Morrison linked to the HANA site.

As mentioned in my last post, HANA's website was linked by Equidaily as well.

Read Nick Kling's version of Pull The Pocket's post on low takeouts: Racing Fans Neglected By The Elected

Just to show the idiocy that HANA is up against, read It's Not A Big Deal.

Funny quote from Valupix on the Pace Advantage Forum:
"This industry takes dysfunction to levels lower than any has ever been taken.

You can quit thinking it can’t get anymore dysfunctional because there are folks in this industry who are right at his moment doing everything they can to think up new and innovative ways to lower the bar yet again."

Australia introduces more roomier and padded gate stalls: Why didn't they think of this earlier? It makes too much sense. And what makes sense, rarely gets embraced by the racing industry. The track execs just don't usually "think" that way.

Some Picks For Sunday

At Fort Erie, Denna's Summer should destroy the field in the 3rd. She is favoured in the program, but her last race was awful (it was two turns). Cutting back to 6 1/2 where she got a great speed figure two starts ago is a recipe for victory.

Will 0-41 six year old mare Redclouds At Night finally break her maiden in the fourth race? My speed figures say YES.

At Woodbine, On Maternity Leave stands out in the second race at a price. Again, you have to throw out his last race and hope the rail is OK (jockey Jerry Baird loves to save ground).

Lomaki may win the Matron in the fourth. She made a middle move and chased last time out after a 40 day layoff. She should run big today.

Nice Case is much the best on figures in the 9th race.

18 July 2008

Woodbine To Lose Tax Break If They Build A Casino

Woodbine Entertainment and its partner Cordish will get $120 million tax break....as long as they don't build a casino within the new development

HANA gets a boost; Equidaily links to the new horseplayer's group.

Churchill Downs fires up to 12 racing execs; BRIS also trims their roster by about a dozen. I wonder when Woodbine will swing the ax. They did a laughable $1.1 million in handle yesterday (Thursday). The execs are lucky Woodbine is not a publicly traded company. The shareholders would be barking at them big time, as the shares wouldn't be trading near potential value. No job at that inept organization would be safe, not even the head Vizuzu's job.

Scientific Games Signs Exclusive Deal with 123 Racing

SGR will introduce the first pay-to-play, racetrack-based 123racing handicapping contest at Emerald Downs for a limited time only, July 24th through the 26th. Participants will pay $25 to enter the 123racing handicapping contest and will compete for a share of the
123Racing pool on six consecutive Emerald Downs races.

Beginning in the first part of 2009, 123racing will be available at participating SGR customer racetracks with BetJet terminals and online through SGR’s TrackplayInternet wagering platform as a pure pari-mutuel wagering pool with a $2 bet minimum.

Betting on harness racing in Ontario continues to dwindle Five year trend is fugly: "Betting since 2002 is off 36 per cent in Canada, 33 per cent in Ontario and some 28 per cent at WEG."

Harlem Rocker may go to Saratoga and race in the Travers

Some Picks For Saturday
In tomorrow's first race at Fort Erie, Royal Preparation should have a clear lead for quite some time. The question will be whether Tags And Towels can get up in time.

In the third, Fearless Buzz is really running well, and should be 1-2-3, preferably Ist.

Crimson Sky, in the seventh race, is a Langfuhr making her second start on the grass. She had a large layoff after her first grass race, so something may have happened to her. She looks improved since her return and should be very tough in this nondescript maiden special event.

At Woodbine, Ascot Annie lays over the field in the 4th. Archers Alyancer is my longshot pick in the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes in the 8th.

16 July 2008

Educating The Internet About The Value Of Lower Track Takeouts

Someone picked up a post I made over at Pace Advantage and started a thread over at the Del Mar Forums. Here is the original unedited post:

Think of it as a pie: the big picture

Racing makes money from what people lose. Forget what the takeout is for a second.
Outside of slot revenues,total money that goes towards purses, track owners and ADWs is what people lose.

Collectively, there is only so much money current horse players will lose per year on betting horses.

A lot has to do with competition, and what gives a gambler more bang for his buck. A gambler who wants to make decisions (non slot, non lottery player) may choose online poker or betting exchanges or sports betting over horse racing simply because they know they will last longer, and with that comes the idea that they might be able to beat the game if they get lucky enough or do more research on how to play properly.
Most gamblers are not price sensitive, but as Chick states, they realize where the seem to have no chance versus where they might have a chance, and they tend to avoid games where they lose faster.

Of course, horse racing with an average takeout of 18-21% will cause players to lose faster.

And at those rates, yes, lotteries with large million dollar jackpots and 50% takeouts are more attractive to many over a 25% takeout on a triactor where the average $1 payout is $400-500.

The only chance to grow the game in light of all the competition, is to lower the takeout. I say across the board, but rebates are acceptable for now.
Lowering takeout won't cost the tracks any money that they make over the long run from collective players, but it could bring new players in, who will add to the amount lost by players, which is good for the tracks, horsemsen, and ADWs.
All that will happen is that most players will be able to last longer, whether they realize it or not as to why, they will be more inclined to bet more races, and as more time is spent by one handicapper in the family, chances are family members and friends will be forced to get involved to some degree, much like it was when horse racing was a monopoly.

The buzz created by winners or even those who come close to breaking even will create more players as well as word goes around that the game is now beatable if you do enough homework and are lucky enough.
Most of those people who perceive they are breaking even will most likely be losing just as much or perhaps a little less over a long period, their ROI though will go down enough to make it appear that they are close to winning. They will just be betting a lot more and probably making bigger bets.

And the odd person that wins, will be great for the game creating a lot more players. They are the best advertising the game could have regardless if they took away a small amount of the pie money. The pie will grow big time thanks to them, unless they are quiet about it.....like that would ever happen.

Check out the forum responses. I had to register there to put a few clueless horsemen (and possibly racing execs) in their place.

I also started a thread over at Pace Advantage last week while the Pick 7 pool at Woodbine was growing (not by much):

Woodbine Is Really Going Down The Toilet

If it wasn't for slots, the racing execs there would be lining up for jobs at McDonalds.

Here is what I wrote on Jen Morrison's Blog this morning (editor's note: it was last week):

A $40,000 carryover going into last night. Very little betting competition, and they could only add another $15,000 (before payouts and takeout)????
Woodbine only did $1.3 million in handle last night. Less than $2 million on Sunday.
Something is broken.
When a government wants to stimulate the economy what do they do? They lower interest rates in most cases.
Seems Woodbine has sucked their non growing fan base dry and they are unable to attract new bettors because it is impossible for people to win because of extraordinarily high takeouts. No winners equals no buzz.

Today they did just under 1.4 million in handle, and they added another $7,000 to the Pick 7 Pool for tomorrow(probably meaning that only around 12,000 was bet today on it).

A $50,000 carryover at Santa Anita would generate probably an additional $100,000 or $150k added to the pool (I'm guessing).

Fort Erie did over $1 million in handle for Monday and Tuesday and there is an allowance race at Woodbine on Saturday that is almost equal to what Fort Erie purses pay out in a day.

Interesting feedback from a couple of former Woodbine regulars on that thread:

Times have changed
WO is my home turf. I have spent more time there
than with my wife of 29 years. I am and always will
consider myself a horseplayer, but
I have pulled back the time/money i devote to
horseracing by 75% and WO is almost off my radar.
Yes the facility is excellent and i am occasionally overcome
by nostalgia and make the trip out to the track.
The racing surface was the final straw for me and
any attention i do pay is to the Turf racing.
Poker has become the focus of my dollars/time.
I can play from anywhere, anytime. I can risk the
same dollars and get into great tournaments with
LARGE payouts. I play tournaments exclusively.
Yes is enjoy poker, but i love racing. I am greatly
disappointed in the industry, they have made it
impossible for a junky like me to continue with
my passion.
I have 2 sons in there 20's, neither
of which goes to the track. They both play poker
online. We share that interest and enjoy discussing
and playing. I used to look forward to passing my
handicapping knowledge on to them, explaining
breeding and spending a day running from the paddock to the post parade.
I made a decision years ago not to involve them in
a dieing game. It pains me greatly, but i am not
in control of the direction this industry is going.
I am a mature adult and i realise that everything
changes and nothing is forever.
I hoped that racing was.As the opening of
Saratoga draws closer i wonder if this will be yet
another year of decline in this once CLASSIC meet.
I have thought about taking the boys before this
experience disappears completely, but i just can't
muster the enthusiasm. How sad!
Michael Gotkin
Life long horseplayer

Ponyplayerdotca also chimed in:

And they are building it....
Money wrote:

"That is exactly what the Racinos want you to do. Forget the horse racing, play poker and pull on those slots. The race tracks & local governments don't make enough money on racing. They would love for the public to lose all interest, so that they can tear down the tracks and build hotels, shopping malls, casinos and high priced condos."


And that's exactly what the Willmot bluebloods are doing here at Woodbine. They're constructing a mini-community called "WOODBINE LIVE!". They're erecting a shopping mall complete with restaurants, spas, performing centres, probably another slots casino, condos, etc. (Similar to Mountaineer and other tracks that have gone that way.)

Once that is built, that will become their prime money maker operation. The track's focus will be even more greatly diminished in the eyes of them, and the public.

Like others, I stopped watching/caring about Woodbine when they put the fake track in. For an outfit so steeped in tradition and memories, they threw that all away when they changed the track.

And given how much maintenance costs to maintain synthetic tracks (after originally promising that maintenence costs would be next to nothing), it seems to me it would have been just as easy to have left the dirt there in the first place.

Never have I encountered an organization so far out of touch from their core audience as I have with those running WEG.

The new HANA (Horseplayers Association of North America) website has a repost called Opinion: Low Takeouts Are Our Friend It is well worth reading.

Horse In Ellis Park Race Wonders Where Is Mary Poppins?

Woodbine Bias Report Inside posts and speed did better at Woodbine last week than it has most of the year in sprint races. Trainer Terry Jordan is hot. Analisa Delmas continues to struggle. Is Josie Carroll really 4 for 84 at Woodbine this year? Well at least we know she doesn't use EPO/DPO or snail venom:)


Ellis Park To Memorialize Luke Kruytbosch before the first race today


Jockey agent and former jockey, Paul "The Squirrel" Souter, has picked up the task of booking mounts for Chris Griffith and Kris Robinson at Fort Erie. Dave O'Connor, their former agent, left on a bang as Robinson recorded four wins at the Fort on Monday.
So far, O'Connor officially only has the book for Constant Montpellier (a correction from my last post).
Apprentice jockey, Melanie Pinto, has moved her tack to Fort Erie and has top agent Scott Lane booking mounts for her.
Equispace, a blogger from New York state writes about his Prince Of Wales day experience at the Fort.

Beverly Smith of the Globe and Mail writes "Horse Racing Changes Could Have Devastating Consequences"

Woodbine chief vizuzu David Willmot on the Sadinsky Report:
"The whole basis of the funding and the financing is so fundamentally flawed, you're not going to have much of a racing and breeding industry if you don't have any racetracks. … There almost seemed to be a presumption that there will just continue to be racetracks."

If anyone knows flawed business plans, it is Willmot.

Ontario Professor Wants Internet Gambling In Canada Regulated

Quarantine at Charles Town Pending Test Results

For lots of interesting stories check out the Paulick Report

14 July 2008

A Day At The Races

I still prefer playing from home, but I just needed to go to the track yesterday.

A few pictures from Prince of Wales day at Fort Erie. Thanks go out to Jeff "Hollywood" Packer for sending me the pictures:

Harlem Rocker in the paddock before the POW:

I don't see too many empty seats as the crowd anticipates the big race:

A very happy Eibar Coa doesn't seem to realize which hand has the trophy and which hand has the bottle of water so he displays both of them proudly on his way to the jocks room:

This dude looks like he can gamble:

Fort Erie has the feel of a racetrack. Especially on Prince of Wales day where the crowds are large (at least in today's standards). I always felt that since Woodbine got slots, that the feel there got a lot colder (like a state of the art business atmosphere). The same isn't true of Fort Erie.

The people seemed to be enjoying themselves from what I saw. And being a small town, friendly familiar faces are everywhere.

I watched the race from the clubhouse side (note: there used to be clubhouse admission way back when, now there is no admission or parking fees at Fort Erie. The way it should be at all tracks.) on the ground level. Most of the race I watched the big screen. I'm not that big on watching races live anyway. I'm so accustomed of watching races on TV or the computer.

Still, I wish they would open the upper grandstand again. Screw the idiotic idea of a theme park and hotel and condominiums. The upper grandstand reopening should be Fort Erie's number one renovation.

I couldn't hear the call live very well, but afterwards watched a replay from home. Announcer Peter Kyte loves to anticipate the race (and he usually does a great job of it). Unfortunately, his ESP didn't work well when, at the top of the stretch he said, "the favourites are beaten." He got it half right at least.

I have to add I'm glad I bet on the computer before I went to the track. The lineups many times were beyond brutal. Here you have a day when many new people come to the track for the first time, or perhaps the 2nd or 3rd time, and these people had to endure abnormally long waits just to have the right to lose their money.

Lots of chalk came in. I noticed it was going to be a chalky card and bet very low on it (just $280). I picked 7 first choice winners, including 6 straight from race 4 through 9. I don't remember ever doing that in my life. I don't bet flat though, so I wound up hitting piddly Pick 3's and a Win 4. In the Win 4, I invested $18, I could have gotten away with investing $1 and cashing the way it turned out.

My big hit for the day came in the Prince of Wales. Besides a $16 Pick 3 bet (2X2X4), which I cashed ($27) after the tenth race, my only other bet in the race was
a $4 box of Harlem Rocker and East End Tap, and another $4 straight exactor with Harlem Rocker on top. With the scratch of my original selection Took The Time, I decided to throw Not Bourbon out so that the race could become worth betting for me.

I did bet $6 on track. In the last race super.

All in all, I made around $95. Pretty ugly considering 7 first choice winner. The triactor wagers I made in most races were my downfall. I didn't cash any of them.

Before I left for the track, I thought I heard on the Score that there was going to be an important announcement made regarding the future of Fort Erie racetrack with respect to the government of Ontario. The only news that I heard on the proposed project is that there is a miniature model of the project sitting in the dining room.
I wonder how much of the $2 million feasibility budget the model cost:)

I did hear some news/rumour. Agent David O'Connor left Fort Erie yesterday morning to book mounts at Woodbine for jockeys Constant Montpellier and Dean Deverell. No word on who is going to take over Kris Robinson's and Christopher Griffith's book.

Bob Summer's article on the Prince Of Wales, including a short video.

I'll be mentioning more about this in later posts, but HANA (Horseplayers Association of North America) has a web site up and running.
It was started by a bunch of horseplayers who met at the Pace Advantage Forums and even though the membership is small right now: "HANA members represent tens of millions in yearly racing handle."

Read HANA's Mission statement. And by all means if you are a horseplayer (not so much a fan, but a horseplayer), you should join us. It doesn't cost anything.

Instructions on becoming a member is located at the top of the right sidebar of the website.

11 July 2008

Prince Of Wales Analysis And A Jockey Betting Scandal In Manitoba

After my pick got trounced in the Queen's Plate, and the fact that I dissed Not Bourbon not just in the Plate, but also the Plate Trial, I am going to have to make selections here with my tail tucked between my legs. I also want to give fair warning that there might be a few Cangamble sightings at Fort Erie on Sunday.

1. Deputiformer: Made a nice middle move in the Plate. Trainer Mike DePaulo is having a very good year so far. This one is a consistent type speed figure wise, but I don't think he is good enough to win on Sunday.

2. Pronger: If you want the rush of backing the horse who will be on the lead going into the backstretch, Pronger is for you. But when the real running starts, he'll back away faster than my cat when he "accidentally" scratches my foot.

3. Took The Time: This is my longshot special. He raced in the Plate off a 5 week layoff while having the 14 hole, and a very weird wide trip. His second last race was against older horses and he ran very well while getting a half decent speed figure.

4. Harlem Rocker: Probably the best horse in the race. I think he might just come up short here because of a 6 week layoff, and I didn't like the way he was running up and down in the Plate Trial. I don't buy the Polytrack excuse....just yet.

5. East End Tap: Elvis is in the building. He is getting better each race. Made a move in the Plate only to flatten out a bit. Worth throwing in your exotic tickets.

6. Pewter: May press Pronger into the first turn. Off since the Plate Trial, it looks like he would need Divine Intervention in order to finish in the top three.

7. Not Bourbon: What a bum:) OK, I've been wrong twice in a row. I just have to think that he has peaked, though this looks like an easier race than the Plate despite Harlem Rocker's presence. Horses aren't machines (especially when they are trained so hard), and he was on his wrong lead when he hit the wire in the Plate. The show doesn't have to go on.

8. Sebastian's Song: Bad post in the Plate, he still ran disappointingly. Is the home team horse. He could hit the exotics tickets if he overcomes the outside post and runs back to his race in the Plate Trial.

Selections: 3-4-7-5 Don't tell me they didn't make this race a Superfecta?

Free Past Performance For Curlin's Turf Debut H/T Equidaily I really don't like Curlin for this distance on the lawn just be looking at his breeding. I'm going with Mission Approved onto Red Rocks.

H/T to Pull The Pocket for finding out that Woodbine has launched a new blog.
Columnists include Chris Conner, Chris Hickey, Ellisa Blowe, Greg Blanchard, Jeff Bratt, Ken Middleton, Mike Hamilton, and Renee Kierans.
I wonder what there comment policy will be after I post (or try to post) a few:)
So far Renee Kierans posted a very controversial piece "In Defense Of Jeremy Rose." Jeff Bratt also goes against the grain by questioning the policy of automatically giving the bettor the race time favourite when scratches occur in Pick 3's and Win 4's. He also questions the stewards process and the fact they seem to look at Inquiries before they decide to put up the Inquiry sign.
I just have a feeling that the columnists will not be very controversial from here on in. The powers that be do not like controversy.
Speaking of controversy, I'll bring something up here. Eight columnists and eight "white people." For a city as culturally diverse as Toronto, what are the odds? But then again, look at the Board of Directors for Woodbine Entertainment. The KKK would be proud:)

Too Early For Fort Erie To Break Out The Henkel Trocken (they'll never be back to the champagne days, this is as good as it gets):
It seems that the Buffalo Casino has hit a major speed bump. On Tuesday "Federal Judge William Skretny has ruled the nine acres of land owned by the Senecas in downtown Buffalo is indeed sovereign land but he also struck down the federal government's ruling that allows full scale gaming on the land." The recently purchased land intended for the full scale casino isn't deemed to be sovereign land according to the judge.
I just don't get how Indians can buy land and then call it sovereign land. Even the land the temporary casino is on right now shouldn't be considered sovereign land, but the judge disagrees me about that.

Churchill Downs Handle Reportedly Off 11.5%
Meanwhile every form of gambling other than horse racing is going up up up. The broken model of high takeouts needs to change, or expect the trend to continue.

Youbet restates 2007 loss. They found they lost another million. Peanuts when you lose around $28 million.

H/T to Jen Morrison for reporting on the alleged race fixing at Assiniboia Downs: Downs Riders Under Investigation For Illegal Wagers An exercise rider allegedly ran bets for jockeys at Assiniboia Downs.
As Jen points out:
It's legal for a jockey in Canada to bet, but only on three conditions: 1)The bet must be on the jockey's own horse; 2)The bet must be to win; and 3) Only the owner or trainer of the horse can lay the bet for the jockey.

Simple Logic: Maybe Paul Wiecek needs to use some. Manitoba columnist says race fixing in Canada is just too impossible to happen, "here in Canada, where you cannot bet to lose, the only way you can be positive that your horse is going to win -- and remember, dead certainty is the key to any fix -- is if you have the complete cooperation of every rider in the race."
In many races, there are two or three horses that stand out. And that is all. Theoretically you don't need that many jockeys in on the fix, and lets not forget the fact that the jockey colony on most circuits are a very tight group.

But the biggest contrary evidence to what Wiecek thinks is the fact that race fixing has been proved to have happened quite a few times in horse racing's history.

It is unknown if there was race fixing that went on at Assiniboia or how widespread it was, but to call it improbable is just foolish, especially with low purse structures, sometimes winning a bet could reward one with a much bigger pay check than winning a race does for a jockey.

Alleged race fixing examples:
7 jockeys were ruled off Tampa Bay Downs because of a suspect race at Great Lakes Downs. I'm not sure how that investigation is going or if it is done yet.

But how about what happened at Penn only 8 years ago:

JULY 10, 2001 HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP)___ Four jockeys have been sentenced for fixing horse races at Penn National Race Course, with one receiving a six-month prison term. The jockeys - Ramon Pena, Lazaro Vives, Luis Morales and Andres Reyes - pledged on Monday to one count each of fixing or attempting to fix a sporting event.

Pena, who prosecutors said was more involved in the scheme to fix races at the track, received a six-month prison sentence.

The other three were sentenced to one year probation and issued fines from $800 to 1,500. Horse owners George Berryhill of Lebanon and Neil McElwee of Harrisburg and another jockey are awaiting sentencing.

Authorities said the owners funneled bribes to jockeys to hold back favored horses in 15 races last year so that longshots would win.

9 July 2008

The Internet Is Giving The Horse Racing Fan A Real Voice

The internet is giving the racing fan a voice. And the voice is now being forced upon the racing industry aggressively. The racing industry has done it's darnedest to avoided what the player really thinks for over 100 years. Times, they are a-changing.

Besides bloggers like me trying to make a difference (yes, I want the game to grow in a big way), a couple of fan organizations have sprung out from nowhere. The Self-Appointed Fan Committee will be taking ideas and vents from fans of thoroughbred racing and then on a monthly basis they'll compile all of the submissions and send them to NTRA, the Jockey Club, the Breeders' Cup and other racing organizations.'

The Committee idea was put together by bloggers Jessica Chapel (Railbird Blog) and Dana Byerly (Green But Game).

Fellow vigilante blogger Pull The Pocket has a post up regarding the new committee, as well as a piece about the negative things that a NYRA racing exec allegedly said to Paul Moran. Many of the members of the Pace Advantage Forum want blood. They want Paul Moran to reveal his source.

Speaking about The Pace Advantage Forum (the best forum for horse racing on the internet) is providing for a meeting of H.A.N.A. (Horseplayers Association Of North America) tonight at 10 EST in their internet War Room. The mission of H.A.N.A., like The Self-Appointed Fan Committee, is to have the bettor's voice heard by the industry. The focus though is more on betting than the vast scope the Committee will be dealing with. Things like track takeout, rebates, and issues about ADW's will be the number one focus of H.A.N.A.

Baymount Financing Completed: Construction To Begin Very Soon On New Belleville Racino.
'The new QER (Quinte Exhibition and Raceway) is the eighteenth Ontario racetrack to receive a slot machine allocation under OLG's Slots-at-Racetracks program. The new facility will be constructed on BRDC's Belleville property which is located on Bell Boulevard near the Wallbridge-Loyalist Road and Highway 401 interchange. The planned 75 acre development will feature the new Racino and includes 25 acres for the future location of the new Quinte Exhibition.'

While Fort Erie is gearing up for the $500,000 Prince Of Wales Stakes on Sunday, Woodbine seems to be gearing down. They didn't even do $2 million in handle on Sunday, even with 10 races. Their client's bankrolls are drying up, while they are unable to attract new customers because of their outrageously high track takeout.

Even people who don't really notice or openly care about track takeout (which is most players) still get the fact that their bankroll erodes much much faster on average, betting at the track or betting through HPI, than it does playing slots, online poker, blackjack, and/or sports betting.

The 10 race cards do help. But the racing is pretty competitive and exciting as well. Many races have blanket finishes.

I'm starting to get impressed with Catherine O'Brien at both Woodbine and Fort Erie. She seems to have good patience, and can also take a horse wire to wire. She schooled fellow apprentice Matt Moore on Friday when her mount Honourable Mention beat Southeast Coast in the fifth race.

Handicapping 101

I don't like favourites, but some favourites are better than others. In today's first race at Woodbine tonight, Sand Cove should not lose. He'll be the favourite unless he is noticeably limping and sweating in paddock.

In eleven lifetime starts Sand Cove has never made an early lead. Tonight, he would need to have his head ripped off early not to make the lead. He won't be able to help it. Nothing in the field is capable of even being within 2 lengths of him early. The other four horses come from the middle of the pack or from the back.
His jockey, Richard Dos Ramos, is best when he is on a lone speed horse.

His last two speed figures are better than the lifetime bests of anything in this field by at least a length and a half.

The trainer, Roger Attfield, has had a great year so far, though his focus this week will probably be on Not Bourbon. I'm sure he has looked in on Sand Cove at least a couple of times in the last couple of weeks.

The only negative I can see is that horses do bounce, and are not machines. Many times when a horse does well going two turns the first time in his life after sprinting multiple times, they tend to run a little or a lot worse next time.
The thing is that this horse has always had reasonably good late pace numbers, so perhaps, he has always been a router hidden in sprint races.

One good thing is that he is not program favourite. Mamma's Knight who ran 7th in the Queen's Plate gets the honour. A switch to leading jockey McAleney will ensure that he gets more action than he deserves in this race, but I'll be surprised if Sand Cove doesn't go off as the 6-5 (or less) favourite here.

For the exactor, I think Agnico is likely to be sitting second or third at worse, and as long as he doesn't exert himself by chasing too early, he should be able to get second to round out a $14 exactor.

You can bet the first race (actually races 1 through 5) on Betfair tonight. Though there is a risk that you could get less than track odds there, in the long run you get much bigger payoffs as their takeout commission averages at less than 2.5%.

Betfair has a summer promotion for new accounts: Once you've made a deposit to your account bet at least £25 ($50 Canadian) either in one bet or in a series of smaller bets.
You'll receive your free £25 ($50 Canadian) within 24 hours, whether you win or lose your bets! Simple as that.

Interesting way to promote your product: New proposal for NY OTB's is to cut the signals for night harness racing from out of state tracks. How about cutting the track takeouts, so patrons can last longer and bet all kinds of tracks?

Racetracks to investigate past posting incident
'Curtis Linnell, director of racing analysis for the TRPB, said the fourth race on June 28 at Philadelphia Park is under investigation because of possible past posting. The TRPB is seeing if wagers arrived from off-track locations, specifically Tampa Bay Downs, not only after the race began but also after it had been completed.'

Woodbine Offered $120 Million in Tax Breaks For Woodbine Live Project
Just remember, live spelled backwards is evil.

NOTE: The comments that appear after each post only represent my opinion when I'm making the comment. I don't edit comments, so please stay away from personal vendettas (or I may have to reconsider my policy). Opinions, legit venting, and constructive criticism about anyone or anything involved with the industry is always welcome though.

7 July 2008


Racing at Ellis Park lives on. All thanks to track owner Ron Geary and the fact that he completely caved into the horsemen's major demands.
In the new one-year deal, Geary is giving up a portion of his percentage to the purse in order to bring the horsemen's cut from 2.5 percent to six percent.

"I've negotiated with 10 ADW's between five and eight percent," Geary said. "I've given the whole six percent to the horsemen's purse fund, then I'm going to try to make it up through other items. But it allows us to have good purse money. Hopefully we can raise our purses, and we can race a lot."

5-8% for signal fees is much higher than most tracks are willing to pay just to put another track on the menu. They are used to buying signals for 2-4% in most instances.
I know that if I had a track and had to pay 6% for Ellis Park's signal, I would only sell to Ellis Park for the same price, and my guess is that Ellis Park would have to comply if they expected anyone to take their signal.

But more importantly, this is a huge win for the horsemen, who will now demand 5-6% in almost every jurisdiction.

And how many tracks are going to sell their signal just for the benefit of the horsemen, where the track does it for free like Geary did? Not many.
What it looks like to me is that signals will be sold for 8-9% in the near future.
And this is not very good incentive for the host track to have their player betting simulcast tracks as they will make a lot more money if their clientele only bets their own product. How will tracks deal with this? What kind of incentives can a track offer to get their players to bet most of their money on their own products?
Lower takeouts could be an option, but then again, if another track is paying 8-9% for the signal, a lower takeout will probably take out potential buyers of the signal.

Increasing the takeout will sound like a reasonable answer to racing execs almost everywhere, but all that would happen is that they will make a lot less money in the long run, because many players on the bubble looking for one more straw to break their backs, will just say goodbye to horse racing. And higher takeouts do not attract new money to be lost regardless, it just eats away at the track's existing players much quicker, turning them off more.
I know the solution, but I'm not saying......yet:)

Anyway, my guess when it comes to who negotiated the lowest signal rates of 5% would be Woodbine. For one thing, there is no way Woodbine would put Ellis Park on the menu if they had to pay a higher fee, and more importantly it seems that horsemen groups and racing execs seem to think that WEG/HPI and offshores like Elite represent complete bonuses to their pools, so they aren't held to the same standards and demands that are placed on American domestic tracks and ADWs. Woodbine/HPI was not affected by the Calder blackout, as they had Calder on their menu I believe.

BTW, Ellis Park has crappy track takeout rates, and without a good rebate I'm not interested in playing there at all:

Win, place, and show: 17.5%
All other exotic wagering: 22%

Their win bets are higher than even WEG, the exactor takeouts are higher as well, but the triactor and superfecta takeouts are lower. So on average, Ellis Park's takeout are probably equal to WEG's rip off rates. At least Ellis Park doesn't have slots so they have a bit of an excuse, and they did experiment with a 4% Win 4 last year. Woodbine of course, jacked up the rate to at least 25% for their valued customers.

WEG spokesman Jane Holmes On The Push To Legalize Sports Wagering
"Along with the push by the Ontario Government, a group consisting of the Woodbine Entertainment Group, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, Attractions Hippiques and Horse Racing Alberta have come together to lobby the Federal Government," Holmes, WEG vice president, Corporate Affairs, told Trot Insider....For the past handful of years, officials from the Woodbine Entertainment Group have pleaded with the Government to deal with the illegal online wagering explosion which has seen up to $200 million a year in racing handle funneled offshore.

"Woodbine Entertainment simply wants a level playing field -- it is indisputable that the status quo is just not working," said Holmes. "Woodbine Entertainment either wants the laws on the books enforced or legislation to be passed which would allow us to compete."

Again, the laws on the books allow Canadians to bet at their own risk offshore. It is illegal though for a sportsbook or rebate shop to have a server in Canada if they aren't licensed here.

Secondly, what does WEG know about competing? Seriously? Does anyone think that if sports betting became legal in Ontario or Canada, that WEG would allow their customers to bet on sports at competitive takeout rates (juice)? One would probably still be able to get much better returns at places like Betfair if either the government or WEG were in charge of delivering the betting product.

WEG has a philosophy of entitlement, and competition for customers is not in their current regime's vocabulary.

And doesn't WEG complain about rebate shops and Betfair, stating they don't have to incur the costs that the racetrack does in order to put on a show and that they shouldn't be able to free ride and take gambler's monies bet on their product? And yet, they have no problem free riding sports games. Last time I looked, athletes get paid an awful lot of dough. Who pays to put on the show? It won't be WEG.

The Paulick Report is getting better and better each day. It is starting to catch up to Equidaily very quickly as a number one source for news on horse racing.

Horsemen Say Calder's Issues Resolved
I doubt they are getting the Geary deal though, maybe something close.

ORC Exonerates 6 Trainers On Aminorex Charges
...the Ontario Racing Commission announced that trainers Annette Lorentzon, Karen Cooper, Mitchell Sahely, Garry Merner, George Peters and Kenneth Duncan have been exonerated from Aminorex charges... The basis of this decision is that the horses did race with a prohibited substance; source unknown.

For anyone who missed it. Tom Durkin's musical stretch call:

H/T Pull The Pocket, who linked it first.

4 July 2008

Ontario Must Offer Sports Bettors Real Odds Or Forget About It

Legal Sportsbooks Being Considered By Ontario Government
This will definitely increase the traffic flow into border towns as it is highly unlikely the US will legalize sports betting for at least the next few years, if at all.

How much will it increase the flows? That is another question.
Take the average bettor in the US, he or she may call the bookie and place a wager, knowing that money isn't due up front. The other option is the internet, and yes despite the idiotic laws that exist in the US, an American still has many off-shore services willing to take his or her action.

But it just isn't the same as getting a ticket that you can cash the very same day when you bet offshore. Though most sophisticated gamblers have no problem with this idea, the majority of people like to bet and cash the same day, if they could.
What also comes with legalized sports betting is actual liability to the one taking the action. Though in the long run, the juice the house charges will all but guarantee a profit for the house, there could be short term situations where the house actually loses.

What if the Buffalo Bills go 12-4 against the spread? A sportsbook in Fort Erie is bound to show a tremendous loss on those games, and may or may not make up for it on other games.

The liability can be negated if the sportsbook took a parimutuel approach. For example, if the Buffalo Bills are 3 and a half point dogs against the Jets, and Ontario sportsbooks took $80,000 of action on the bills and $20,000 on the Jets, the cut could be taken out of the $100,000 bet ahead of time. In other words, $5,000 is taken out, so only $95,000 is distributed to winners. If Buffalo covered in this example, those taking the Bills would win around 18 cents for every dollar bet, but those taking the Jets would win $3.75 for every dollar bet.

Because these odds would be on the sportsbook walls, it is highly unlikely that such an extreme example would happen, and generally customers would be receiving 10 for 11 in most cases. In my example, big bettors would see the high odds on the Jets and bet them down, while those who like Buffalo will be turned off from wagering until they got odds that were closer to even money.

NOTE: It is very important that juice on individual games is at the most equal with the juice bookies take, or sportsbooks will be a failed experiment. But knowing the government, they sure like to rip off the customers (take Pro-Line odds, for example). US customers will just bet with bookies and Canadians will just keep on betting with bookies or Betfair.

And finally on this issue, will sports betting cannibalize horse racing even more. The tracks need to negotiate a much bigger cut than the 20% they are currently receiving from the OLG, because $2 bet on a horse race is much better to the tracks and horsemen than $2 bet on slots.

Bob McCown from the FAN 590 is interviewed regarding sports betting
He doesn't envision it the way Woodbine envisions it, that is for sure.


Who was that 10 pound bug boy without a whip on Touched By Madness in Woodbine's fourth race on Wednesday night? My form says that is was Todd Kabel, but there is no way Kabel rides like that, is there? Watch the race on HPI or Cal Racing (especially for the head on). If Touched By Madness had 120 pounds of dead weight strapped to his back, he would have won the race by at least 3 lengths.

Woodbine Track Bias Report: Speed still sucks at Woodbine. Sid Attard is on fire, while trainers Mike Doyle, Malcolm Pierce, and Dan Vella are cold.

Note to Renee Kierans: quit picking chalk every race on The Score. It is bad enough to have to see what Bannon picks. Seriously though, the public the public knows how to read the odds board, they want mid priced horses or long shots that have a chance.
There are times that the favourites look unbeatable and should be picked, but for sure this occurrence doesn't happen every race.
BTW, Renee Kierans and Elissa Blowe (HPI and Fort Erie) both offer tremendous insight, much more than Bannon and the rest, though I admire the fact that Jeff Bratt is always looking for long shots.
Kierans did an excellent interview Wednesday night with trainer Alex MacPherson. It was refreshing to see a trainer being so up front, while he elaborated on the specifics of why he felt Shenaigan crossed the wire on top after the fifth race.

Ellis Park Update

Ellis Park may not be closed after all. One thing is for sure, Peter Kyte won't be announcing there today or tomorrow. If racing resumes, it will happen by Wednesday at the earliest. It is good to see the horsemen's group have to cave. I just don't get who they think they are.

Magna Entertainment To Proceed With Reverse Stock Split. $10 is a lot further away from zero than 50 cents is. But when the dust clears, it is still the same crap just a different pile.
I guess I should add that the new price will allow Magna to trade on Nasdaq and make future financings more attainable.

Penn National terminates takeover deal

OK, You Wanted To Read The Sadinsky Report. What Do You Think HBPA?

No shock: The Ontario HBPA has remained silent on the Sadinsky Report. Even though the recommendations in the report would mean more bucks to the horsemen, it is Woodbine Entertainment Group first as usual for the Ontario division of the HBPA.

The reality is that the Sadinsky Report would be completely terrible for all track owners, which is not good for Ontario horsemen in the long run. But the smaller tracks are the ones who would hurt the most.

2 July 2008

What A Canada Day For Chantal Sutherland

Chantal Sutherland Has Huge Canada Day

Chantal Sutherland went four for four at Woodbine yesterday on Canada Day. I picked her on three of them, so I'm not sure what was more remarkable, me picking three winners, or her riding four winners.

Sutherland puts her streak on the line in tonight's third race on long shot first time starter Hold That Approval. The field is has no killers in it, and Chantal is the Queen of the EP Taylor Turf Course.

I doubt very much she would have gone 0 for 80 something in Hong Kong, agent or no agent.

Woodbine Entertainment begs for tax breaks Woodbine Project. After all, they are entitled to them, aren't they?

Eldridge Lindsay Apparently Will Get 3 Days For Elbowing
During the stretch drive of the fifth race at Fort Erie in the rain on Sunday, Mr. Lindsay took exception to a horse lugging out at him a couple of times. The third time the horse lugged out, Lindsay just said enough is enough and elbowed the jockey on the other horse, Kris Robinson.
Lindsay's mount didn't get thrown out from fifth to sixth, because Robinson's mount caused the interference to begin with.

Fort Erie track announcer Peter Kyte will be moonlighting at Ellis Park on Friday and Saturday thanks to the overlap in schedule between Churchill Downs and Ellis Park.

A day at Fort Erie can be as cheap as a day of golf says Buffalo scribe.

Welcome aboard blogger The Business Of Racing to the Thoroughbred Blogger's Alliance. He has a recent post called How Canada Gets It Right where he praises both Woodbine and Fort Erie.
On the surface, both tracks may look appealing when compared to how things are run in the USA, however, absent from his post is the fact that our track takeouts in Ontario are well above takeouts from most other venues, and this fact alone has created total stagnancy when it comes to growth.
Looks are important maybe the first couple of times you venture to a race track, but when it comes to attracting new regulars, there has to be a buzz that the game can be beaten.
This is impossible when faced with a triactor takeout of 28.3%, for example.

Lets also welcome Saratoga based blogger They're In The Gate to the TBA.

Labour strike taking a toll on slot profits in Sudbury

Top Harness trainer on WEG circuit Rob Fellows Issued a 12 day suspension and a fine (slap of the wrist) for a class 4 positive.
Could Rick Dutrow be right? Do all trainers who do well cheat?