02/21/2008 1:01AM

Q&A 2/21/08


A whole bunch of you -- el_angelo, las_vegas, rawlawltd, tim -- asked how I played the big Monday carryover at Santa Anita, so let's get that disaster out of the way first.

I limited myself to a $960 investment. I've put more into smaller carryovers, but that was my comfort level given that I'm still getting my feet wet in California and thought the card was very difficult.

I played a basic A-B-C-x array of tickets, meaning I could win with either 6 A's, 5 A's and one B, 5 A's and one C, or four A's and two B's.

The winning sequence was 4-1-6-4-3-1. As you can see, none of them were x's, but since it was a C-A-C-B-A-C result, I didn't even get a whiff of a conso. If I had played all the abc's in each leg -- 6x3x7x4x4x8 -- it would have cost $32,656 and, in theory, I would have split the $3.1 million with "Mr. D" from The Meadowlands. But since that's over $31k more than I was comfortable investing, it's not as if there was any danger that was going to happen.

elsie_from_chelsea says: This [the SA pick-six results] illustrates the one benefit of the caveman ticket – it is far more likely to cover combinations that include two, three or, in the case of a pick-6, even four longshots. Thus, while a more refined betting strategy will cover combinations the bettor thinks are more likely to occur, the caveman ticket will sweep in some combinations that the bettor thinks are less likely to occur but that are guaranteed to produce massive returns....Do you agree with the analysis? If so, does that mean that while a caveman bettor will hit fewer Pick-6's, he will in the long run come out nearly the same as the more refined bettor because the ones he hits will pay more?

That's an excellent analysis of how it worked out in this case, but I'm leery of saying "Therefore that's the optimal way to play." It's really tough to make "in the long run" conclusions about high-risk/high-reward bets since one happy result in a lifetime can determine the overall profitability of any particular approach. As the saying goes, in the long run we'll all be dead.

bryan says: With the Brooklyn now moved back to a mile and a half, is there no better time really to re-name it the Easy Goer. I think this would be a perfect opportunity to finally recognize one of the greats of New York Racing and Racing overall with a stakes race named after him at a distance that he truly excels at. It is a shame to me the only other time I saw his name ever tagged to a race in NY was when I was a Belmont Stakes program years ago and one of the allowance races on the early part of the card at a mile and a half was named the Easy Goer. Lets finally give this horse his due. Your thoughts??

I'd love to see an important race named for Easy Goer, and a 12-furlong one would honor his glorious Belmont Stakes quite nicely. I don't think the Brooklyn's the right way to go about it, though, because I'd like to see that race and its history preserved. Maybe if this whole marathon-racing thing catches on, there could be a new Easy Goer Stakes race at the Belmont fall meeting at that distance.

jim_pino says: Saturday at Aqueduct a winner in NY obtained a whopping 15 Beyer? A day when there was a track record. Is this a record for NY winning a race with this low a Beyer?

I've never seen one lower. Patty'scombination, a statebred maiden-claiming filly, indeed earned a BSF of 15 winning the fourth race. Saturday was a tricky, windy day at Aqueduct with a couple of variant splits, but even the most generous interpretation of the track speed couldn't make it better than about a 23. Here were the times of the day's four six-furlong races:

Race 4: 1:15.25 3FNY MC25k
Race 5: 1:10.65 OM Clm7500
Race 8: 1:10.82 OM NY Stk
Race 9: 1:10.78 OM C30N2L

You would never have seen a horse win a race at a NYRA track with a 15 Beyer until the addition of statebred maiden-claiming races to the menu in 2006. Before that, statebred horses of that caliber ran at Finger Lakes.

hammer says: Is there a mathematical formula to determine what an exacta "should" pay? I try to bet exactas that pay more than they should.

From "Exotic Betting":

"When you first started going to the racetrack, somebody probably gave you a formula for what an exacta “should” pay, possibly the win price multiplied by the place price or, more commonly, the product of the two horses’ odds. What, for example, should happen when an even-money shot beats a 22-1 shot? As you’re sitting there waiting for the result to be official, you might try to reason it out by saying that the winner is paying $4 for $2 and the runner-up should multiply that by 22 for an $88 payoff. Or you might think that since a double of an even-money shot and a 22-1 shot should come back at a little over $100 that you are looking at a three-digit payoff here too. If so, you will be disappointed when the exacta comes back closer to $59.

"When we said that a 1-1/22-1 double should pay $102.60, we did this by calculating the percentage of the double tickets sold on this combination suggested by the win pool odds. In this case, 42.5 percent of all the double tickets sold used #1 in the first race at 1-1, and 3.67 percent of those tickets used #5 in the second at 22-1. That multiplies to 1.55 percent of the double pool, for an after-takeout payoff of $102.60.

"In an exacta, though, once #1 has won the race at even-money, #5 is no longer 22-1 to finish second. He is still the longest shot among the four remaining candidates to finish second, but instead of being 22-1 in a pool where an even-money shot had accounted for 42.5 percent of the pool, he is now a bigger fish in a smaller pond, more like 14-1 than 22-1. It may be helpful to think of it as if there are two separate races: a five-horse race to see who will finish first, followed by a four-horse race to see who will run second. Since the favorite has been removed from the possibilities for that second race, everyone else’s odds go down."

john_oberzut says:Can you please tell me the reason online users cannot cancel or change bets...I was a lifelong Information Technology worker and can think of no technical reason these sites cannot allow cancellations. Even if they send the data to another site, the next batch sent can contain the cancellation.

There is no good reason, technical or otherwise. There have to be some limitations on cancelling bets so that unscrupulous individuals can't manipulate the oddsboard to mislead the public and then pull their bets out at the last minute, and there has to be a reasonable cutoff so that data transmissions aren't delayed. Otherwise, though, customer-friendly bet-takers should permit good-faith cancellations.

dave says: I am totally new to racing. I don't yet know the basics...My question today is regarding the wagering advisory services. Some charge by the day, some by the month, some charge in advance for the year.The ones that I'm aware of that charge by the year say one will make 1000% and more per year net... I'd be interested to know your thoughts on this, and I'd be glad to hear the thoughts or experiences of anyone else reading this, regarding expensive betting advisory services and 1000% net returns.

Anyone who claims his advice will make you 1000% annually is nothing but a snake-oil salesman. If you're new to the game, learn as much as you can about it, learn how to read the past performances, make your own selections and enjoy yourself.

And now to the most domestically-pressing issue of this Q&A. After a recent picture prompted floppydog to write "Look at the size of those greyhounds!! Too much Mickey D on the road trips. Either that, or they're up after Clemens" and unitas said "
90 pound greyhounds!!! Hey Steve, are you training these dogs to be Clydesdales someday?," and jason_in_austria said "They have thick abdomens for greyhounds!! 90 pound greyhound, that is like a 20 pound Chihuahua," I received the following intramural e-mail from Mrs. Blog:

This is an urgent request to find some reason to post another picture of the boys with a more flattering (and accurate) full-body angle. I will not have people thinking that they are training to be Clydesdales and have "thick abdomens."

Here then, definitive evidence to the contrary:


For the record, Badger Popeye and Badger Pluto both raced at between 78 and 82 pounds, and retired racing greyhounds of their size are supposed to put on about 10 pounds when they're out of training. Since I'm sure floppydog, unitas and jason_from_austria, fine and loyal commenters all, weren't aware of that, their apologies will be summarily accepted. Either that, or it's pistols at dawn.

Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
First, the place you reference gives you track prices if you pay the admission. Second, if you prefer to sit in your basement by yourself that is fine, but I find the whole experience more enjoyable when around others of similar interests. Third, yes, I prefer the track, and will go out of my way to go to Belmont, but The Big A is not much removed from the storefront OTBs you reference. I do not hang out in the store front OTB's and agree they should all be shut down if I were in charge. I play in the restaurant OTB's which are all very nice and offer good food and drink and atmosphere.
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
I guess I need a mental exam, but I am sitting here studying the DRF prepping for my horrible day hanging around with my miscreant friends at the local OTB restaurant. After a five minute walk we will plop ourselved at a nice table with waitress service, enjoy a nice meal and few adult beverages while watching and wagering on all the major races from the major tracks while hopefully rooting home a few winners so that we can donate 5% to Mayor Bloombergs bid to save NYC OTB and keep all those wonderful patronage employees flush. Weekend Warriors, we will have a good time win or lose enjoying the sport we all love, and it will at worst cost each of us less than it would to go see one of our Major League sports teams lose again, with no chance of showing a profit. Sure, we could hop in one of our cars, drive the hour and a half round trip with one of us acting as a designated driver, pay the $30 up front that it would cost us to get there and back plus the excessive costs at the concession stands for mediocre products, and endure the wonderful customer service at the Big A, in hopes of saving the 5% surcharge and avoiding the ridicule of the smart folks like mlnj, but instead we will just be moronic and opt for convenience and comfort.
ml/nj More than 1 year ago
From today's (2/23) NYT article, "If OTB Goes, So Would a Relic of a Grittier City" >>> Downstairs is a vast, dingy space with many scruffy characters soliciting change; on Thursday, a man wheeled in a shopping cart full of belongings in plastic bags and placed a bet. Upstairs, $5 buys admission to the carpeted floors, plush seats, soft lighting and a multitude of simulcast screens;
kevroc More than 1 year ago
re:mlnj LOL, yeah a def need a mental exam but, I'm anal about my bank accounts. I don't like touching them, the OTB account to me is just a wallet extension. I haven't taken monies from the bank and deposited into OTB since 2006.
Jason in Austria More than 1 year ago
As I am 5000 miles away, photos of the hounds sacked out with the form in front of them are images that make me homesick. I have no grudge, they are fabulous characters and I realized my comments were processed with an outdated set of glasses. Their sleekness maintained even in retirement was only noticed once I switched in the contacts. As an owner of an 18 pound cat, I know weight issues and these elegant canines are credits to the breed. No need for pistols, and Aqueduct is better for that kind of thing than Belmont! A toast to Badgers Bluto and Popeye! Jason
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
Think of the 5% as a convenience charge. It cost me $10 in tolls plus gas, parking and admission to get to either Big A or Belmont, so for the $2 bettor it makes sense for some. NYC OTB made about $18M from this surcharge last year, so yes there are enough customers (you will never make money if you call your customers stupid) willing to pay this fee. That $18M paid to NYC is conveniently ignored by Mr. Bloomberg when he publicized the organizations "losses". When added back in NYCOTB generated a net profit to NYC in 2007. Mr. Christ has explained all this in his letter to the editor of the NY Times. So the organization really IS profitable as is, and would be even more profitable if a private sector entity took over and eliminated all the patronage positions.
ml/nj More than 1 year ago
Some convenience charge! Would it still be "convenient" to you at 10%? If you're worried about the $20 bucks overhead and betting two bucks a race I guess it would. The idea in this game is to try to win not to justify losing at some lower rate than you would otherwise lose at so some group that has absolutely nothing to do with racing can live high on the hog.
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
Steve, Definitely interested in hearing your thoughts on Baffert's exclusion as a finalist from Hall of Fame consideration.
kevroc More than 1 year ago
re: 5% surcharge. I get full track price thru my internet wagering account. I also use TwinSpires (formerly BrisBet) but, I like to use OTB because I can use it as a secondary ATM. When driving around and I need cash, I only need to pop into an OTB and no withdrawl fee. I know I'm not earning any "points" like with TwinSpires, NYRA, YouBet and others but, the quick cashout convience is what I'm paying for.
Floppydog More than 1 year ago
Floppydog was wrong and sorry Badge and Popeye don't be snarly When you're lying on the floor your bellies seem a few pounds more It is I the fool, the nimwit joker who's fed and shaped like Al the Roker Flopspeare P.S. There can't be an Easy Goer until the Gold Cup's renamed the Seattle Slew, Much more on this in future posts---don't get me started.