- Finally, we've seen some details of the TRPB's probe which resulted in those riders being banned from Tampa Bay and other tracks. Terry Houghton is contesting his being barred from Arlington in connection with the investigation, and the information came out of a hearing in Illinois regarding that ban.
The TRPB investigation focuses in particular on three...races; the sixth at Tampa Bay on April 10, the third at Great Lakes Downs on Aug. 26, and the fourth at Great Lakes on Sept. 5. In each race, the horse ridden by Houghton was left out of scrutinized wagers placed off-site from Michigan and Delaware.Stewards in Michigan reviewed tapes of the Great Lakes Downs races and found no suspicious activities on Houghton’s part. In the 3rd on August 26th, Houghton rode the 4-5 favorite Ambitious Spirit. The race chart says that he was off awkwardly, then passed tired rivals; he finished 5th. The triple in the field of eight, with horses at odds of 4-1, 12-1, and 5-1 running 1-2-3, returned $213, with a bit over $5,000 in the pool. In the 4th on Sept 5th, Houghton rode 5-2 favorite Magical Powers, who finished in 6th (in his prior race, he finished 5th at 8-5); the chart noted simply that he raced evenly. The triple, with the first three finishers 9-1, 31-1, 3-1 respectively, paid $2353. The triple pool that day, the Tuesday after Labor Day, was over $32,000. The Tampa Bay race goes back further than what's available on the Form's Simulcast Weekly. If anyone has access to that chart, please let us know.
“There was a systematic exclusion throughout the betting pattern of a particular betting interest,” said TRPB wagering analyst Jerry Curtis Linnell, who completed the analysis of the three races in question.
“The analysis had produced…substantial and compelling evidence that these jockeys were involved in the fixing of races,” attorney Shawn Wood said on behalf of Churchill Downs Inc. and Arlington Park. [Bloodhorse]
Regarding the August race, the triple may seem a little light (and I'm concentrating on the triples here because that was the wager originally said to be tampered with); but with only $5000 in the pool, the $4,000 that was paid out hardly seems worth the trouble. The size of the pool in the September race was typical of those that day. That probably is a reflection of the paucity of race cards available the day after Labor Day; and I personally can't say whether that payout was fair. Overall, it doesn't seem as if these details really shed much more light on the situation.
- Speaking of suspicious triples, a reader wrote in regarding the trifecta in the 11th at Monmouth on Saturday. The top three finishers went off at 79-1, 11-1, and 21-1. The exacta returned $1536. But the triple was only $2903.10, from a pool of around $62,000. So that would leave around $42,000 after the takeout, which would mean that there were approximately 14 winning tickets (