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Monday, June 5, 2017

Are Playing Favorites Self Destructive?

From the title of this blog entry, you may be thinking I am talking about handicapping the races.  After all, if you play favorites all the time, odds are you will be losing.  While this may be true, I am talking about race secretaries and the favoritism given to local horses (often the result of contract negotiations).  Take this condition for example:

NON WINNERS $6,000 LAST 5 STARTS OR $10,000 IN 2017 STARTERS AT LEAST 10 TIMES AT PLAINRIDGE PARK IN 2016-17 ALLOWED 20% AE: CLAIMING PRICE $15,000 4 YEAR OLDS ALLOWED 25%


With this condition, you are basically saying if you are a local horse, you can be a non-winner of $7,200 in the last five starts of $12,000 in 2017; a significant advantage for a trainer.

While I understand the logic, isn't this another case of rewarding the horseman at the expense of the handicapper?  Yes, the horseplayer will be able to see some horses are getting a class advantage over others, but if it results in lower payoffs, it really doesn't benefit the horseplayer.

Of course, this is not a 100% rule.  Take a look at this condition:

 N/W OF 1 EXT. PM RACE OR $7500 LIFETIME AE: MN-BRED/OWNED N/W OF 2 EXT. PM RACES OR $12,500 LIFETIME

Most people would agree Minnesota breeding is not up to par with breeding in surrounding states with slots so giving a local horse the benefit of an additional start may actually make a race more competitive; again depending on the state.  You need to know the stature of the breeding program in the particular state to know whether or not the preference given to horses goes against your interest as the horseplayer.


Over at DRF Harness, Bob Marks asks the questions many of us wonder about.  Take a look and see if you can come up with some of the answers.


You may have missed it:  Thunder Ridge Racetrack's season recently finished.  Don't worry that you missed it, most people did.  Racing moves to Player's Bluegrass Downs.  Their website is out of date (unless you want to know about the 2015 racing season), but at least there is some wagering taking place (in 2014, the lastest statistics available, total wagering at Bluegrass Downs was $19,595 vs. $1,327 at Thunder Ridge; no off-track wagering)  The season starts on June 9.