View from the eighth pole: Will the races address the impact of computer-aided betting? – Horse Racing News

Race 7 at Santa Anita on March 27 was a maiden sprint on grass for California-bred kids ages 3 and up that drew nine runners, three of whom were making their debuts. Four other entrants had only raced once, including a Gallant Son gelding named Fast Buck, who is owned and trained by Cesar De Alba and ridden by Edgar Payeras.

Sixth of eight runners at odds of 15-1 in his racing debut at Del Mar in a dirt sprint for maidens last Aug. 14, Fast Buck was tied at 12-1 at the morning line and 17-1 when the horses were being loaded onto the track in Arcadia, California, on March 27.

Slowly breaking from the rail post position, Fast Buck was quick to take command in the early ballpark, setting fractions of :21.27 and :44.07 for the first half-mile, then pulled away down the stretch to win by 7 ½ bodies, stopping the stopwatch. in: 55.42 for five furlongs.

Fast Buck paid $16 to win, meaning his odds dropped from 17-1 to 7-1 as the field filled up at the starting gate.

Last-minute swings in odds have become commonplace at some tracks since the advent of computer-aided wagering (CAW) players who have accounts with legal offshore reimbursement operations. It is unclear whether computer gamers have created programs that limit racing from a traditional point of view, comparing each horse’s odds of winning against actual odds, or whether computer bets are placed strictly on perceived inefficiencies. in the market.

Horse players almost always notice when a horse like Fast Buck gets hit on last minute bets and wins just as impressively as he does. But computer gamers aren’t always right; many times a horse that has significant action in the last few seconds will lose.

Successful computer players don’t have to win in the traditional sense to show a win, thanks to the payouts they receive. If, for example, a computer player bets $100,000 and gets a return of $95,000 in winning payouts, he might think that the player lost $5,000. In reality, paybacks of 10 percent or more (depending on the track and the type of bet/withdraw percentage), can take the same player out of the red computer and make him profitable. A 10 percent refund would net that same player $105,000 on $100,000 in bets. In the long run, a 5 percent return on investment is significant when churning millions of dollars through betting pools.

In the case of Fast Buck, according to the California Horse Racing Board, a single player placed 13 winning bets totaling $11,206 in the last 40 seconds before betting closed. The total prize pool for the race was $159,078, so one player in the last 40 seconds accounted for 7 percent of all winning bets.

That $11,206 in winning bets returned $89,648.

According to the CHRB, these bets were placed through Elite Turf Club, an offshore account betting company in Curaçao, partly owned by The Stronach Group and NYRA Bets LLC. Elite is a unique business in that it sets up betting accounts for a handful of high-volume players who are believed to number less than 20.

This is the betting record provided by the CHRB for the Elite Turf Club player in the race on March 27 until betting was closed at 16:17:21 pm PT.

Time Bet Placed Elite Turf Club Winning Bet Time before betting stops
16:16.41 $41 40 seconds
16:16.41 $1,822 40 seconds
16:16.53 $131 28 seconds
16:16.53 $3,386 28 seconds
16:16.55 $6 26 seconds
16:17.02 $38 19 seconds
16:17.01 $3 18 seconds
16:17.06 $496 15 seconds
16:17.08 $3 13 seconds
16:17.11 $2,890 10 seconds
16:17.12 $2,276 9 seconds
16:17.18 $74 3 seconds
16:17.19 $40 2 seconds

There is no way of knowing why this particular Elite Turf Club punter landed on Fast Buck. The horse moved off the dirt in his first outing onto the turf after showing little in his debut seven months earlier. The quality and size of the pitch seem similar to his debut. Fast Buck’s past performances have shown that three of his last five workouts at Los Alamitos have been designated with a bullet as the best of morning breezes. There were no apparent angles between jockey and trainer that could improve the horse’s chances.

Perhaps it was simply a matter of perceived value for a horse, as he was at 17-1 odds compared to a 12-1 morning line.

In the end, however, at final odds of 7-1, Fast Buck was the bottom line.

I didn’t have a dog in this fight at Santa Anita on March 27, but in previous instances I have benefited from and been negatively affected by changes in final odds created by computer players. It’s frustrating to bet with the expectation of a certain payout and then see the odds cut in half in a matter of seconds. Occasionally, the odds of a winner will increase on the last click of the tote when computer players fail.

Last year, the New York Racing Association restricted computer gamers by cutting off their ability to place winning bets within three minutes of posting. They were still allowed to make other types of bets as of press time. Many tracks are hesitant to do the same for fear of losing significant betting dollars from some of their biggest customers. But if race officials don’t address this issue, they will continue to lose the trust of the common jockey, the supposed backbone of the industry.

That is my view from the eighth pole.

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