Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Past Posting, Again

By Mike Maloney

What a Preakness. Rachel takes her place in history as Calvin "big race" Borel continues to sizzle. Mine That Bird validates his Derby win with a closing kick reminiscent of Silky Sullivan. Musket Man fires another solid race and trainer Derek Ryan impresses by immediately ruling out the Belmont for the son of Yonaguska. Surprisingly, top contenders Pioneerof the Nile and Friesan Fire are beaten by Wayne Lukas longshots Flying Private and Luv Gov. Bob Baffert and my man Larry Jones candidly admit to being baffled by their horses performances. Not surprisingly, Lukas points toward the Belmont.

All in all, a good day of racing at Pimlico.

Unfortunately the good vibes don't seem to last long in racing today. Barely an hour after the Preakness ended the horses left the gate at Hollywood Park in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap. Jockey Joe Talamo deftly guided Red Arrow to the win and the 2-8-6-3 results were posted on the infield tote board.

The only problem was that the betting windows were still open. That's right, the race is over, the results are posted and you can still make a wager. Hey, who needs Beyer figures anyway?

Let's use this race to conduct an experiment. Let's see if the racing industry is forthcoming and accountable to its customers. By Tuesday at the latest, Hollywood Park should inform the betting public of the failure of the tote system and the possible effect on the pay-offs. I'm sure the California Horse Racing Board was immediately notified of such a serious problem, and since they regulate all racing and wagering in the state, a press release regarding a potential investigation should be issued quickly. The public unknowingly wagered hundreds of thousands of dollars into non-secure mutuel pools, and the CHRB should protect the public's interest.

Let's see if the racing media informs horseplayers about the incident. Will HRTV mention the tote failure, will it be on a TVG newsbreak, how long will it take the DRF to report?

Most of the previous past posting incidents have been swept under the rug by the industry. So keep your eyes on the Hollywood Park race and judge for yourself if the bettor's interests are being protected. And if you aren't satisfied with the industry's response, I have a suggestion for you. Join HANA and help us send the message that today's horseplayers demand transparency and accountability from the industry funded by our wagers.


Ray Paulick said...

Thanks for being the watchdog on these wagering integrity issues. As a result of seeing your piece, I've posted a more comprehensive story at, with comments from Hollywood Park and the California HOrse Racing Board and "no comment" from the tote company (except for an internal email that "explains" the mistake).

My question: if you had not discovered this incident and reported on it here, would Hollywood, SciGames or the California Horse Racing Board voluntarily publicized this major embarrassment? My guess: no.

Richard R said...

I don't understand why the tote companies continue to have these "malfunction" problems. They have a time/date stamp (down to the second) on bet transactions. They have a time/date recording (down to the second) of when the "stop betting" signal gets sent from the host track. So even when the "stop betting" signal notification fails, the backup time/date stamp can be used to accept/reject the bet transaction.

This backup approach will create some chaos at the site(s) that issued tickets on the race after it was off because their machines didn't prevent the transaction, but that is an administrative issue that those sites will have to address. And, it can't be any worse than the chaos that resulted from the way this issue was handled.

Hollywood Park's decision to "throw out the baby (legitimate tix) with the bathwater (bogus tix)" smacks of indifference towards their customers and highlights a fundamental problem with the administrative end of the tote network; and, a technology problem with the operation of the tote network.

It's a joke that this same problem keeps jumping up and biting us. Problem is that THE JOKE IS ON US!

TurfRuler said...

ESPN and Citgo had a similar problem in their for free handicapping contest a few years ago. But they were amateurs compared to the Scientific Games and Hollywood Park "con....", I mean professionals.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this something that the NTRA Safety and Integrity Committee should investigate?!?

Anonymous said...

'The public unknowingly wagered hundreds of thousands of dollars into non-secure mutual pools, and the CHRB should protect the public's interest.'

...and since all of those sites who did NOT receive the stop betting signal were kicked out of the pools, ensuring the integrity of the parimutuel pools.

PS - Since you are a self appointed 'expert' you should probably learn the difference between 'mutual pools' and 'mutuel pools'.

HANA said...

Thank you for pointing out the spelling mistake. It has been fixed.


Anonymous said...

"The only problem was that the betting windows were still open."

Where did you find n open winodw? Not in CA. i assume?

HANA said...


Via Paulick: "Betting windows at 33 simulcast sites remained open on Saturday’s Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park until after the Grade 3 stakes race had been run because they did not receive a stop betting signal from the Scientific Games tote system that contracts with California racetracks to handle pari-mutuel wagering. "


Anonymous said...

How are you able to find out about these pools that are still open? When you find one still open are you placing bets? If so, are you keeping the money?

Anonymous said...

It looks like it may have happened again -- today Penn National.

"This race was declared a non-wagering event due to a tote malfunction."

Anonymous said...

I would like to here how (and when) those refunds were announced at the live wagering sites.

-- Raleigh

Anonymous said...

It hasn't been pointed out that when all of the $ from the "refund only" bets was subtracted from the betting pools, the odds on all the horses, etc. abruptly changed.

THAT must have been a shock.

Anonymous said...

(oops, I forgot there was a (rather unfriendly) self appointed member of the spelling police on patrol here)

I would like to HEAR how (and when) those refunds were announced at the live wagering sites.

-- Raleigh

HANA said...

With regards to this question:

"When you find one still open are you placing bets? If so, are you keeping the money?"

I have never profited from a past posted bet. My goal is simply to force the racing industry to improve their faulty tote system - Mike Maloney