Here's a great post on Pull the Pocket about Bill Belichick's ultimately ill-fated decision to go for it on a 4th down deep in the Pats' own territory last night, comparing it to a "horseplayer decision."
Fortunately, we can mess around and check the numbers, like a bettor does when making a value decision on a horse in the 4th. What would you have bet [on] the Patriots before the play? What would you have bet on Indy to win if they are stopped. What would you have bet on Indy if they receive the ball on a punt instead? What would you have bet [on] the Pats, if Indy scores quickly and they needed a field goal to win?(My take is that is was a bold ploy by a team with not that much to lose considering the quality of the divisional foes chasing them. You play to win the game, as some guy once said, and Belichick was two yards away from winning this one. So, while I can't stand the guy, I don't at all disagree with the move.)
Speaking with a professional bettor who runs these numbers better than I can, said "He [Belichick] made the right call because the odds favored him. It was probably around 60-40 call - at the very least a coin flip - and nothing out of the ordinary if you run the numbers." In effect, Belichick made a value bet.
The choice between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta may not be a "horseplayer decision" in the same sense since the deciders have nothing to win or lose themselves. However, it is a decision to be made by horseplayers; because, after all, I don't know of a single turf writer or voting employee of the Racing Form or NTRA who is not a horseplayer him or herself, do you? And this idea that there should be an option to vote for both of them is just plain unbecoming to our breed. Like betting a quinella, and what self-respecting player does that anymore? (Uh oh, just got myself in trouble.)
So, cut the crap and just decide on one or the other. Either of them will do the title of Horse of the Year proud, and neither's accomplishments will be diminished if they lose. Quit waffling, just be a man (Uh oh, probably just got myself in trouble again!), and vote for one of the distinguished ladies.
- Mike Watchmaker agrees with the above opinion, but adds: Rachel Alexandra should not be penalized for not competing in the Breeders' Cup. [DRF, subscription]
Sure, it would have been nice if Rachel Alexandra was there. And yes, the Breeders' Cup is always a fantastic event no matter who is or isn't there. But just because the Breeders' Cup markets itself as a "World Championship" event, that doesn't make it so. It has never been a requirement that you had to run in the Breeders' Cup in order to win a championship, and here's hoping that it never becomes one.Here, I respectfully disagree with the esteemed Racing Form columnist. Is it a "requirement," as in a "prerequisite?" No, certainly not. However, once the Triple Crown has concluded, and even before so for the horses not involved, all we hear is owners and trainers plotting the interim period before the Breeders' Cup with that event in mind. And this has effectively ruined the summer and fall seasons during which championships used to be determined, turning it into a long series of prep races (the lame Win And Yer In concept notwithstanding). So as long as the Breeders' Cup exists and bills itself as a championship event, it better damn well be a crucial determinant of the year-end awards. I believe that some judicial activism on the part of the voters to encourage intransigent owners who hold out for no other reason than to serve their own interests and ego is not only appropriate, but demanded. Otherwise, we might as well scrap the whole idea of a World Championship event, and go back to the old way which, by the way, served us quite well during the glory days of the sport.