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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sea the Back of Racing

DiscreetPicks sent along an excerpt from a story about some proposition bets being offered in the UK.

Paddy Power, who are refunding all losing ante-post bets placed on Sea The Stars for the Classic, offer an interesting market.

The Irish layers are also offering odds of 25/1 that Sea The Stars produces a Derby winner from his first crop of foals.

Paddy Power said, "It's sad to see the back of him but he has nothing more to prove. Let's just hope he's more Sadlers Wells than Cigar or Gorgeous George (Washington)!"

William Hill take a slightly different line and offer 12/1 that any of his first crop wins any of the British classics.

They are also betting on what the initial stud fee will be for Sea The Stars.

Between 90,000 and 110,000 euros is the 6/4 favourite, over 110,000 is on offer at 7/4, while less than 90,000 is available at 2/1. [bettingzone]
First of all, maybe that's a custom in the UK, but seems quite nice of them to refund all that money. Did Steve Wynn do that? Secondly: "It's sad to see the back of him." lol, I love the way they put things over there.

But thirdly and most of all....25-1 on Sea the Stars siring the winner of the 2014 Epsom Derby? Do you think that would perhaps be fair odds for one of his progeny to start in the race? Of course, he does have every right to be a prodigious stallion, given his freakish talent and his blue blood - a son of Cape Cross, a sire of 57 stakes winners in his seven crops, including Ouija Board, out of Urban Sea, the dam of seven stakes winners, including champion (racehorse and sire) Galileo and local star My Typhoon. And he'll surely have a healthy size crop, even if the over 110,000 on his stud fee pays off at 7-4. Still, doesn't seem like fair odds to me.

DiscreetPicks adds:
I can't tell you how cool it is that the Europeans are taking bets on Sea The Stars' breeding exploits. Those people love to gamble, and they give horseracing the respect it deserves. The chances of anything like that being offered in Vegas is 0%.
If it's 0% in Vegas, you can imagine what it would be in the rest of the country. Given the stubborn resistance that has met the expansion of gambling every step of the way even to the still relatively small (at least compared to the UK) amount of legal gambling we have nationally, it's hard to imagine any bookie joints opening up in Manhattan (or anywhere else) anytime soon. Too bad; not only could we really bet on who gets the Aqueduct racino (or on the Monserrate verdict), we could get down on whether Paterson scratches his crotch during the press conference (or whether Monserrate gets kicked out of the Senate should he be convicted of a lesser charge).

And it's true, it's a different culture when it comes to gambling over there; and it almost makes comparisons of the (lack of) popularity of the sport here to what it is over there meaningless. Surely, things would be drastically different for the sport if gambling was part of the popular culture here. I've always maintained in this space that it's the gambling angle which is the sport's only hope of regaining popularity, and I think we'd see that borne out if attitudes about gambling were different, and if creative propositions were well-marketed and readily available. I also believe that the attempts these last two years to market the sport by promoting Curlin and Rachel Alexandra prove what a total waste of time and effort that approach is. Horses in the 21st century simply don't race nearly enough; and we see the back of them far too soon to make anyone care. The sad truth is that nobody does. And it certainly doesn't help when you have egotistical owners more interested in making a buck or proving a point than being a sportsman; or a network partner which quite obviously considers its contractual obligations to be more of a nuisance than an endeavor it takes pride in.


Anonymous said...

Wondering how a proposition bet such as "What will Sea the Stars' initial stud fee be?" would be considered by bookmakers.

Wouldn't the owner of the horse or farm members of where he will be standing already know this inside information, leaving the door open for a large wager?

alan said...

Good point, but no different I guess than the insider who buys stock options ahead of a takeover announcement. Do they have an SEC equivalent to police wagers like that?

El Angelo said...

The minute Betfair (or other betting exchanges) are legalized in this country, the floodgates for fun prop bets should be opened.

DiscreetPicks said...

Many years ago, i once read a story about an English betting firm (i forget which one) who booked the following wager at a customer's request. I think they gave him 10,000-to-1, if memory serves.

"Will a flying saucer, piloted by Elvis Presley, crash into Loch Ness, hitting the monster".

LOL. Just imagine if an Elvis-piloted UFO crashed into Loch Ness, but missed the monster. Talk about a tough beat.

Btw, i have a play on Race 7 @ Belmont today that i like quite a bit. I'll be posting it here shortly.

DiscreetPicks said...

Belmont - Race 7

#3 Lindsay's Point (12/1 ml)

2yo firster for Rodrigo Ubillo outworked My Sire's Fire from the gate (in a best-of-15 bullet) back on Sep 23, and My Sire's Fire emerged from that drill to run a big race a couple of weeks ago, pressing on the outside thru quick fractions before taking the lead into the lane and opening up a couple of lengths on the field @ odds of 18/1. Just got a little tired late and ended up getting beat, but it was just a half-length at the wire behind an even-money favorite, and the time was quite good for a state-bred race (104.3). And as mentioned, judging by their team-drill, this one appears to be the better of the two. Same jockey aboard for this one as well, and i think we can expect another forwardly-placed effort here, which of course is where you want to be going 5.5 furlongs in the slop. Should run very well here at a big price.

DiscreetPicks said...

Lindsay's Point ran second @ 14/1

G. Rarick said...

The English bookmakers are already taking bets on Sea the Stars' fee: He's 6-4 to stand between 90,000 and 110,000 euros, and 7-4 over 110,000 and 2 under 90,000.

Steve Munday said...

Alan, you hit the nail on the head! Racing is a sport that cannot effectively market its stars because their careers are way too short. Racing IS the only sport in the US where gambling isn't merely allowed but necessary for its very survival.

Handicapping isn't an easy thing to pick-up on your own. We need to educate people on how to bet and make it more rewarding (w/ lower takeouts for starters). Showing Hank Goldberg lose his arse betting the chalk doesn't help either.

Marketing should be focused on getting more people betting more money.

SaratogaSpa said...

The NFL did what horse racing failed to do in the 1960's- they put together the perfect marriage of TV and Gambling.

El Angelo said...

That's not hurt by the fact that the NFL is tailor-made for television, while racing is a little plodding for TV.

alan said...

Anyone else old enough to remember that old supermarket contest? Don't recall exactly how it worked, but basically, people picked or were assigned horses from old races from Calder which were then packaged into a half hour show on TV. Simple stuff. Racing on TV, and people had a rooting interest. Not brain surgery.

steve in nc said...

You're right; this isn't brain surgery and I remember similar contests in NY.

In Puerto Rico they have a Pick 6 that people can play for a dime and ordinary people who don't follow racing bet it daily at OTBs all over the island.

The reason is that 75% or so carries over until only 1 person hits it. So builds and gets publicity like Powerball but is more exciting to watch on TV than ping pong balls.

Of course the one time I went to the races at El Comandante, me & a buddy had 30 minutes to decipher the Spanish-language PPs and wagering rules, and handicap. We threw out the champion who was something like 17 for 17 (Senor Speedy? mis-placed in a route) and beat him at 1-9, but got nosed out in one other leg and had to settle for 5 of 6. (Elvis missing the monster.)

Football may be the best for TV. But if racing formed something resembling an actual "league," it would have so much more possibilities than it does now. The BC is just the tip of the iceberg of what could be done for better competition and better marketing.

Anonymous said...

One thing is for sure, trying any of the above ideas is better than what they are doing now, nothing.

If their idea of marketing is Ladies Friday this sport is in big big trouble.

I still say NYRA should break away from the BC and the rest of racing and treat them all as competitors, not partners.

NYRA is uniqued in that they have year round content and more G1's than anyone else, so they should be able to get their own TV deal, which it seems they have been exploring.

Screw the rest of this fragmented industry, pursue a plan that is best for NY Racing.

Anonymous said...

When are we getting the slots at the BIG A? NY needs the money. People can't wait to spend their welfare checks on the slots. They have nothing else to do. We need to raise taxes on the rich so everyone can ride the subway for free. Riding the subway for free is a right in NY.