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Thursday, October 16, 2008

King of the Portfolio

- I'm actually making money in one of my investments, and, not surprisingly, it has nothing to do with the securities market. Rather, it's my share in Kasey K Racing Stable. Actually, I guess I'm always ahead as long as it has a horse standing since the stake was gifted to me. Nonetheless, King Mobay ($26) became the 9th winner of the year for the outfit, pretty impressive indeed! And, in picking up the winner's share of $21,600, he became another claim that has at least earned back his tag. The horse lost his last two by a combined 25 lengths, and had been 0 for 5 on the grass, and believe me, I would have said something here if I thought he had a shot. Bob said he cleaned up, but I think he always bets his horses the same. He certainly has a good eye for them, and he may just get me hooked on these Thorograph sheets one of these days.

Real obscure breeding for King Mobay - he's by King of the Hunt, a Seattle Slew stallion (a full brother to General Challenge) standing in New Mexico for $2000; out of Raise a Champion, an unraced son of Raise A Native.

King Mobay was the 7th winner, from 19 starters, for trainer Bruce Brown, who is winning at a 25% rate since he started out on his own early this year. He's also seven for his last 13, including winners at the Meadowlands and Mountaineer.

- Speaking of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, Steve Crist told John Scheinman of the Washington Post:

"I don't think people are saying, 'I'm not going to play the horses until the NTRA comes out with a seven-point plan."
And therein I think lies the problem, or at least one of them, with the NTRA's notion that bettors will gravitate towards tracks who follow the suggested guidelines. Unfortunately, I don't believe that most horseplayers, when deciding which tracks to bet, are really considering whether there's a safety rail, whether penalties are uniform with other states, if the track is reporting their injuries or even conducting efficient testing. They want good races they can bet on for the most part. NTRA and the industry have really been thrown for a loop by the aftermath of Eight Belles, the big fuss over the steroids administered to Big Brown, and the political grandstanding on Capital Hill.

Not that the NTRA isn't addressing important issues here. I'm not quite as cynical as John; I think that NTRA does care about success, even if there is a certain amount of posturing to Washington and the PETA contingent involved in this case. But they've certainly spent a lot of time and effort on devising guidelines that they are unable to enforce, and which don't figure to play much of a role in growing the TV ratings or handle.


Anonymous said...

I asked Waldrop about that at the press conference and he conceded that few bettors would be swayed by accreditation. The thinking, though, is that horsemen will gravitate toward the safer, accredited tracks -- and away from unaccredited tracks -- boosting field size, which in turn will lead to higher handle for those tracks as horseplayers reward them for running more competitive races. Maybe. It sure sounded reasonable to me ... but it's a theory that'll take a couple years to test.

Alan Mann said...

Jess - OK, sounds reasonable to me too. But I'd think that purse size would be at least as big of a factor. And I think that we can also presume that certain horsemen would not want to race in a state with out of competition testing!

Anonymous said...

Horsemen that won't capitualte to out of competition testing are destroying the public confidence, or what's left, in this sport. Shrink the business by elimiating the "have to cheat" players and perhaps horse racing, as an enterprise, will survive.

Anonymous said...

There is a segmant of the population turned off by the percieved abuse of animals, and some of those folks do enjoy gambling and might be more inclined to wager if the NTRA imposed new horse protections rules in addition to purely focusing on testing and medication prohibition.

A few such rules;

A) Limiting the use of the whip using the Euro model,
B) Mandating a ten day rest period between races,
C) mandating a scratch if a horse rears in the gate and hits itself anywhere, or tosses its rider and runs off for any lenghth of time in the post parade. Do not leave it to the track employees to decide.
D) eliminating all bends and caulked shoes,
E) Banning known buyers for slaughterhouses from the NTRA sactioned tracks
F) Suspending any trainer/owner caught selling a horse to D)
G) Mandating serious suspensions and fines for trainers AND owners, with one appeal to be heard within one week, for those caught cheating*.
H) third strike and your out penalty for trainers caught cheating*.

Cheating is defined as a horse testing positive for any non-therapeutic medication or any steroid overage, or possession of any such medication.

Anonymous said...

Do you think horseplayers would gravitate to the tracks that implement the NTRA plan based on the notion that some of the changes will level the playing field, protecting the "integrity" of the sport?

I personally think a central element of any plan to improve safety or integrity should involve more disclosure, which it seems like horseplayers would be in favor of as well.

I am optimistic, but I hope the fact that the plan is voluntary, and has no real teeth as is, won't create a 'race to the bottom.'