10/08/2013 3:07PM

Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau reports past-posting incident


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Eleven win and exacta bets were made on an unidentified race three weeks ago after the race had already been run, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau’s director of wagering analysis disclosed Tuesday during a presentation at the Simulcasting Conference here.

J. Curtis Linnell, the bureau’s top wagering security official, said after the presentation that the incident was known to the authorities and that the state racing commission and host track are conducting an investigation. When asked, he would not disclose the identity of the track where the race was held but said it was a Thoroughbred track.

The wagers were able to be placed on the race after it had already been run because a single site in the track’s simulcast network did not recognize the stop-betting command that was issued after the race started, Linnell said. Because the wagers were counted in the pool, they depressed the legitimate win and exacta payouts for the race. A person with knowledge of the late bets made a call to the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau to report them, Linnell said.

The incident is sure to provide fodder for critics who, citing fluctuating odds during the running of a race, contend that past-posting is widespread in racing. Linnell said that such incidents “do occur,” but that they are extremely rare, and, because of security protocols put in place over the last five years, they are almost always detected because of automatic signals generated through the bureau’s auditing software.

Linnell said that when the investigation is complete, the identity of the track will be released.

Linnell mentioned the incident at the beginning of a presentation on a new tote security initiative that is being developed by the bureau and that has been funded by the tracks within the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, which administers the Simulcasting Conference. Linnell had said that the incident three weeks ago would have been averted under the new system’s protocol for issuing stop-betting commands.

The new security protocols will be tested in a live-operating environment beginning in November, Linnell said during the presentation. The tracks and simulcast sites that have agreed to participate in the project will begin to be added into the system in early 2014, Linnell said. There are 41 members of the TRA, which includes most of the United States’s most prominent tracks.

But the cost to participate in the network has already become an issue, with operators of several small sites complaining at the conference that the $950 monthly cost was too heavy a price to pay, especially considering that every licensed business that takes a bet will be assessed the same cost, regardless of size. For example, a small greyhound track in Florida that takes Thoroughbred signals will be assessed $950 each month, as will the mammoth New York Racing Association.

“That’s just not fair,” an unidentified parimutuel operator complained to Linnell from the audience.

The new system also will calculate updated win odds to the 10th decimal place at 2-second intervals, Linnell said. That should lead to less dramatic late-odds fluctuations, which are many times caused by enormous batched bets made by computerized robotic wagering systems. The odds will be updated every 2 seconds for at least 10 seconds prior to post, with the odds updated on 10-second intervals in the last 2 minutes.

The rapid odds updates will be limited to the win pool when the system is ready for implementation, Linnell said. The updating protocols will then be gradually applied to other pools, with the exacta pool most immediately in line.