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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Notes - Nov 7

- Steve Davidowitz reports in DRF Plus that the main track at Churchill was wet down and manicured after the Distaff to help neutralize a strong inside rail bias that had been a major factor in the other dirt races.

- The winning margin of ten lengths by Street Sense was the largest in Juvenile history, and the highest Beyer, 108, as well.

- Mike Watchmaker writes that the record handle for the Breeders Cup program is even more impressive than the ease with which it surpassed the previous record set last year.

This is nothing short of remarkable considering that with all the longshot winners in this Breeders' Cup, there was little betting churn. It's almost scary to think of what the all-sources handle might have been if the Breeders' Cup results had been a bit more formful, because if they were, money would have gone back to more bettors, meaning more bettors would have been more willing to put more money back into Breeders' Cup pools. [DRF]
- You don't mind if I toot my own horn a little, do you? On September 22, before the running of the Matron for two-year old fillies, I posed the question: is it possible that Magical Ride's 102 Beyer in her winning debut at Belmont is too high? Dick Jerardi in the Form explains how and why the figure was subsequently lowered to 92.

- Vic Stauffer is out as track announcer at Gulfstream. He was notified by email, very nice.

I heard Stauffer call a race the other day at Hollywood that had a very close finish, and after the race he goes, "I think it's [so-and-so], and if it is, that's good for me!" We know that Stauffer bets on races from his appearances on TVG, which he'll have more time for now. And while I have no problem with announcers having fun doing their craft; for example, those who do imitations of other race callers and celebrities, to me, that crossed the line of professionalism. I'm sure that bettors who were smarting from the close defeat were not necessarily sharing in the announcer's joy.


Anonymous said...

Exactly why I maintain a very skeptical view of Beyer figures. Not what they used to be.

Anonymous said...

Yo Alan, do you have the complete list of BC figs by chance? Just curious. . .

Funny about MR's fig -- good call. I thought it was high at first and then when Five Star Daydream came back to win I began to second guess myself! At least enough to overuse MR in the adirondack. . .

A healthy skepticicsm of the beyers is a good thing -- with all we know now they are not the "one true light" as they might have been back in the day. That said, I'd argue pretty vehemently that the change in their utility is a function of the market overreacting to them and not any drop in quality of the figs themselves.

As a guy who makes figs when he has time (not often!!), their calculation is much more art than science, especially on the wind-addled NY circuit. It pleases me when the Beyer boys change their figs to accommodate new information and I wouldn't want to ever bet a race without them -- if only to see who's likely to get overbet!

Anonymous said...

A little late to be changing the number, isn't it? After all, people have already bet Magical Ride (and other horses coming out of that race) based on the "bad" number. I think she's had two races since then, hasn't she?

Alan Mann said...

I'll seek out the BC Beyers; they must be out somewhere.

I actually had Magical Ride in her debut. I bet her even though I thought she was a bit dull on the board...sometimes the pedigree is too good to resist.

Anonymous said...

Not to be picking on Anonymous posters, but:

Anyone who has read Beyer's books knows that Beyer Speed Figures are not a "silver bullet." They are also the product of a long and arduous process of calculating, refining, checking against results, and refining again if necessary.

Anyone who berates them as being "not as good as they used to be" or denigrates Beyer for changing a fig after the fact is simply ignorant of the intellectual and artistic part of the process.

Picking Winners introduced the science of figure making, but Beyers 3 subsequent books address: 1. The difficulty of turning a profit based solely on speed figures due to more informed bettors; 2. The importance of interpreting figs relative to trips, pace and track bias; and 3. taking advantage of the explosive growth in exotic wagering.

I would recommend anyone with a "healthy skepticism" read the books before proceeding.

t said...

Who's going to call Gulfstream? Who are the leading candidates? There's only so many out there, so it should be pretty easy to narrow down. Luke K., maybe? They could bring Mirahmadi back to south florida, but I doubt it. Dooley will be busy with Fairgrounds. Isn't Robert Gellar available? That dude would flourish down there.

Maybe new blood? Travis stone & Jason Beem both have winter gigs. There's Tony Calo, but I doubt his style is what they want in south florida, even though I'm a big fan.

Ok, my best bets right now are Luke K., Robert G. or Frank M. What do you think?

Alan Mann said...

How about Marshall Cassidy?

(just kidding.) John Lies calls at Lone Star, another Magna track; not sure if there's overlap there, but I don't think so. He's a good announcer, and a nice guy who I met at Saratoga.

Just had this conversation with another Tony Calo fan; that's just not my style at all, though he seems like a perfectly fine announcer. Just my personal taste. Don't think that's what they're looking for though.

Do you think they canned him because he works for TVG, which doesn't carry Magna tracks?

t said...

In the past the last two weeks of GP and the first two of LS overlapped, but I doubt that would be a deal breaker--it's Magna's contract, they can do whatever they want....which is the same situation that Beem would be in, although he'd miss a lot more than a coupla weeks of the Portland meet.

Yeah, I think JLies is a good bet. He sounds a lot like Stauffer, too.

Anonymous said...

Steve D-

I am skeptical for exactly all the reasons you mention, I just wish they were more caution before assigning a 100+ Beyer to a debut performance by a 2yo filly so they do not need to downgrade three months down the road.

They are "not what they used to be" because they simply are not ever since Beyer sold the company. They rush and spit out figures in under an hour so they are not as reliable as a tool.

Just my opinion.