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Thursday, April 30, 2009

80-20

Derby week is here, and that is upon us, but I would like to share something with you regarding the recently completed Gaming Summit in Windsor, Ontario that I attended.

At dinner one of the nights a racetrack employee said this to me: "When you get to know people in the business-end more and more, do you have a different view of us?"

I answered "Yes. This is a fine business with passionate people. I admire what many of you want to accomplish for us as horseplayers and horse owners, as well as the business overall. However, I find that this is the only business in the world where 80% of the people want to change things for the better, but the other 20% stop them from doing it."

The people I was speaking with all agreed with that statement.

This is something we see far too often in racing. With several powerful organizations that all agree change must happen it would seem change would happen. But there are factions in each group that simply will not let go of the status-quo. They have been the problem for years, and continue to be to this day.

Until we have some sort of organization that simply says no to these factions we will be fighting an uphill battle. At HANA we will not stop fighting against the status-quo, and we tried to forge relationships with the same-minded people who want to join the fight with us.

As for HANA's appearance it is tough to gauge of course. Virtually everyone there mentioned that they liked what we were about, and what we had to say. But that could have been them being polite. I do think however we are well-received. And I do know this: People are paying more attention to us, and our brand is growing.

On the Future of Wagering panel we spoke about where racing is going with new markets and what might be done to grab these new markets. Mainly we focused on new investment. As members know we have previously called for an internet wagering task force, and a tech panel for racing to move us to new markets. We stressed that this business will never be able to charge 22% takeout via the internet and we want them to start moving towards lower pricing for the tech savvy new markets. I think they are starting to see this. After all, it is not hyperbole. The people in the audience have stock trading accounts and pay $7 a trade. They know that they would not pay $300 a trade like they did before by having to call a broker, or walk into his/her office.

On the Betting exchange panel I was delighted to meet Mark Davies, Managing Director at Betfair. As most know they now control TVG and the business has high hopes that they can bring some of the nuance of their marketing and business model to that franchise. Some know that they have grown from 36 to 2.1 million customers in eight years at Betfair. They are now the 4th largest web start up out there, only trailing Facebook, Craigslist and Wikipedia. They clearly know the gambling market, and I was impressed. They reiterated that horse racing is their core business and that they are committed to seeing it grow via increasing handles and marketing the sport. Since we at HANA have the same view on that, we meshed well and got along nicely. I was happy that Mark spent an hour or so with me after the session so we could chat about horseplayer issues and growing racing, here across the pond.

We at HANA hope to attend many more of these conferences as we believe that we must work together to grow racing; and the horseplayer needs to be heard. We thank the organizers for inviting us.

Enjoy your Derby weekend everyone. Let's hope for a great race, and good luck at the windows.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

HANA Releases "The Track Metrics Player Resource"

We have completed, and published, the updated track ratings. This list, we believe is the most up to date resource on the web today in terms of takeouts, field size, and wagers offered. We have included mutuel pool size, and exotic pool size to help bettors make better informed decisions. An added bonus? It is sortable and it includes six new tracks we could not find information for in Version I. Want to find out who has the best tri takeout? Where does your favorite track rank in field size? Who has the highest mutuel pools in North America? It is all done by pointing a clicking.

They are available on our website here.

We thank HANA board member Bill for the system and his work, and Jeff for doing the programming. Please feel free to use the resource as you wish. We hope it makes you a more informed and successful bettor.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gaming Summit 2009 - Twitter Updates

HANA is being represeted at the Gaming Summit in Windsor Ontario over the next few days. The requisite wagering conference is sponsored by Standardbred Canada, however most panels on are wagering in general. Included in the lineup of panelists and speakers are Delaware North's CEO, Betfair/TVG's Managing Director, the founder of covers.com and many more from the world of wagering. The theme this year is "Driving Innovation in Horse Racing".

The HANA panels are in two main areas: 1) The Future of Wagering - How will wagering change over the coming years, and 2) Betting Exchange Dynamics - Are they something that racing should look into doing.

When the panels begin HANA will be updating anyone who wants to follow the program via our twitter page. It can be accessed here. If you are on twitter, are not following us and want to, please add us as we hope to have some interesting things to say during the conference.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thanks For Playing Hawthorne Folks!

Our pool day is complete and by all accounts we did well. We noticed the following today, in comparison to some metrics:

Avg. per race last 16 mos.: $268K
Avg. Saturdays last 16 Mos. : $302K
Avg. Saturdays this year: $248K


Today for the Pool Party: $385,000

Thanks everyone!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thorough-Graph Data For Hawthorne Race 6 On Saturday


FREE Thorograph data is now available for tomorrow's (Saturday's) HANA Pool Party at Hawthorne (Race 6). Here.

HANA thanks Thoro-Graph for their support.

And again, here is a link to FREE past performance data and more thanks to TrackMaster.

Platt Letter to CHRB, And Miller Hawthorne Picks

Two things to update everyone on. First a draft of the letter Jeff sent on behalf of HANA members regarding the meeting today in CA where they are discussing raising takeouts.

Attn: Kirk Breek Executive Director CHRB

Re: Agenda Item before the CHRB


Dear Mr. Breed,

My name is Jeff Platt. I am president of an organization called HANA (the Horseplayers Association of North America.) We have only been around since Sept 08 and in that time have grown to over 1000 members - all of them horseplayers - with collective annual handle in excess of $41 million.

Our goal as an organization is to give the customer a voice within the industry and to communicate customer needs and wants to the industry.

Speaking on behalf of more than 1000 HANA members - horseplayers with handle in excess of $41 million annually - I would like to voice STRONG OPPOSITION to the agenda item before the CHRB to continue an increase in takeout.

Economic studies (Cummings and others) have shown that an inverse relationship exists between takeout and handle. Higher takeout causes racing's largest price sensitive customers to bet less. When takeout is raised handle is driven downwards and revenue as a percentage of handle flowing back to state coffers is reduced not increased.

We believe the staff analysis presented to the CHRB in support of this agenda item fails to take this effect into account.

Sincerely,

Jeff Platt, president

HANA (the Horseplayers Association of North America)
http://www.horseplayersassociation.org

Analysis of the Data and Fundamental Economics Behind Recent Trends in the Thoroughbred Racing Industry - by Cummings Associates:
http://www.nationalhbpa.com/resources/Cummings_report7-17-04.PDF

Secondly, Hawthorne GM and capper Jim Miller has offered out some thoughts on this Saturday's HANA Betting race - The Pretty Jenny Stakes, Race 6 at Hawthorne.

#1 - Lose None - Runs for trainer Scott Becker. Scott is new to the listed trainer ranks, but he knows the game as he has been a barn manager and assistant for quite some time. He is very capable. Lose None probably needed her last start and has every right to improve in here.

#2 - Miss Fontana - Off since last August, the barn was very high on this one last summer. She has been consistent in her drills and is 2 for 2 with Karlsson in the saddle. I just worry that she may need a start.

#3 - Tessies Tilbury - Another that this barn really likes. She has done everything right in her first two starts and looks to be maturing quickly. She is a fine looking filly and looks poised for a good effort.

#4 - B N Graced N Glory - She's my pick, but I really don't know what we have in her. Her last two wins were very impressive, but both came in the slop. She is the most seasoned of any of these runners and has some fast track form. Jock Pitty gets along with her extremely well as he has ridden her in all four of her wins. In my mind, the track isn't an issue, I just think she is very sharp right now.

#5 - Fashionable Lady - Has improved in each start. She can be a price play in this race. Disregard the last work, listed at Delaware, she did not work there.

#6 - Cart's Linda - She will be a part of the pace. She seems to run the same each time out, but I worry that she lacks the late finishing kick.

#7 - Bow Tie Pasta - Another with a world of talent. This OBS purchase has been much better as a three-year-old and looks the part as well as she has grown tremendously. She may be a beneficiary of a quick early pace.

#8 - Cart's Zenforus - Just the one start which was a win, but she didn't beat a whole lot in that race. She will need to improve to win in here and I'm not sure if she's up to the rest of the field.

#9 - Cumulonimble - Still a maiden, but she ran a very good race in the Showtime Deb here last fall. She has been off since that start, but Hobby is nearly 20% off a long rest with a $1.99 ROI.

#10 - Happy Henrietta - Another who has been away since last fall. This is an interesting call as I would expect Thornton had his choice of this one or Bow Tie Pasta. Her works are decent, but she's not going to be in my top three.

#11 - Aptitude in Me - Another maiden who isn't helped by the outside draw. There was a lot of talk surrounding this horse before her debut, but she is yet to run to the hype.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Past Performances And More Available For Hawthorne Pool Party


Thanks to Craig from TrackMaster for the free stuff again this week. Here is a link to free past performance charts and more for race 6 at Hawthorne on Saturday.

Please support HANA by playing the race any way you choose. Win, place, show, triactor, exactor, it doesn't matter, just play the race.

1000

Last July or August on Paceadvantage.com an idea for a horseplayers association was born. The half dozen or so with screen names like “Raybo” or “Chickenhead” were meeting in the ‘war room’ to decide on a name, on what the planks would be; and the discussions were focused mainly about if this would even be an idea worth trying.

Nine months later, on April 23 2009, we are happy to report that this group that was called HANA has received its 1000th member.

Back in September when we were incorporated under the laws of the state of Virginia at the behest of our very capable Treasurer Theresia, we discussed benchmarks we would like to hit in membership numbers. Because we are all horseplayers there was no shortage of predictions. In the end we said if we received 1000 members by September of 2009 we would be doing very well. It is amazingly exciting and gratifying that we beat that estimate by such a huge number. Not to mention humbling.

To everyone who has helped, our sincere thanks. But most of all, to the other 995 of you who have signed up, thanks for making this happen.

Jeff, Dean, Theresia, Bill and John

This week we are betting Hawthorne race 6 on Saturday. Stay tuned to the blog for PP's and other free tools. If you'd like to join us at HANA we are only a click away. Thanks for participating.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Betting Pool Party: Hawthorne in, Arizona Out


From an email out to members this evening:
Last week we had decided to pick Turf Paradise as this weeks race to bet into. We have been doing some good with the wager, thanks to all of you, and we thought it was a perfect time to play Turf Paradise and highlight a couple of issues. These were mainly the Arizona ADW law which makes it a felony to accept internet bets from Arizona, which some horsemen, and most bettors find insulting and exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.

However, after we announced the play, members spoke loud and clear – they wanted nothing to do with Arizona as a target. The negative comments were very strong, and players cited both the Arizona Law and the high takeouts at Turf as the main reasons. So we now announce we will not be playing Turf Paradise this weekend as planned.

We are happy to say that we are moving this Saturday’s race to Hawthorne Race Course – Race 6. Expect free past performances, thorograph sheets, pacefigures, and more as usual.


This week we are not focusing on a certain bet. Simply support HANA by betting the 6th race at Hawthorne on Saturday any way you want to.

Jeff Platt's HANA Interview on TVG

On Saturday at HANA Day at Keeneland, the folks at TVG were kind enough to interview Jeff about HANA. John set up the interview via Youtube so those who could not see it, now can.



HANA would like to thank Tony, Matt, Todd, John and everyone at TVG for their hospitality this past weekend at Keeneland.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

RCI Conference: Maloney, HANA and Nicholson

Ray Paulick is live blogging the Racing Commissioners Intl conference today. Two people who mentioned the horseplayers were Nick Nicholson, of Keeneland, and Mike Maloney, horseplayer & HANA member.

From Mr. Nicholson's morning speech:

Nicholson said the "best single thing" we can do this year in Washington is to get the I.R.S. off the backs of horseplayers who are fortunate enough to hit a ticket they have to sign for.

"The entire economic survival of the modern pari-mutuel system is based on interstate simulcast. At least for the time being we have a virtual monopoly on interstate simulcast." The industry told Congress, Nicholson said, that it could trust the industry because it would be monitored and regulated effectively at the state level. "Any entity that gets into our pools should have a regulatory body, and if it were my say they would have a regulatory body that belongs to this distinguished organization." Horseplayer Mike Maloney erupts in applause.


From Mike's afternoon presentation:

Professional horseplayer Mike Maloney was introduced and began his presentation by urging commissioners to become familiar with a new organization, Horseplayers Association of North American (HANA), and he presented four things HANA would like to see achieved. all track signals available to accredited tracks, lower takeout, strict uniform medication and improved wagering security. Easy to state, hard to achieve, Maloney said. He talked about the confusion horseplayers have about wagering formats from track to track, especially on which races have trifectas or superfectas due to the different state rules that apply to field size of those races.

Maloney urged states to allow trifectas in small fields, something Kentucky has done. He said the handle increases when tracks do that. He then went on to talk about past-post wagering, late odds changes and wagering pool manipulation. Maloney called for wagering pools to close at one minute to post time. "That a bitter pill to swallow that we would ever have to do that," he said, "but it would solve these problems." He acknowledged that it would cause a reduction in handle. "But if that’s what we need to do, if a y ear or two from now if we are still sitting here and don’t have a solution, then I think we seriously need to consider closing the windows early enough so that the odds are final before the gates are open. That would bring back a lot of confidence in that game."


Full recap from the Paulick Report here. Highlights include Alex Waldrop's presentation and more from Mike and Nick Nicholson.

HANA Day 4: Meetings, Military and Foals

Wrap Up Day 4 Sun 4-19-2009

It rained today... but that didn't stop us.

Met again with Keeneland President Nick Nicholson. We discussed (in some detail) the issues of track signal availability, takeout, drugs, and pool integrity. We talked about HANA goals and racing industry goals - and how they are basically one and the same. I came away from today's meeting with two things:

1. A realization that a positive relationship now exists between the management of Keeneland and HANA where none existed before.

2. There actually ARE track execs that get it. Nick certainly fits that description.

I'll just leave things at that.

Today was also Military Appreciation Day. Nick explained to us the idea behind this event. Several thousand US Army soldiers - who are still in basic training - are given one day off at the race track. Banks of phone booths are set up, and the soldiers are allowed to make phone calls to anywhere in the world. They call home to their families... wives, children, etc. Nick explained that the first year of the event people were thanking the soldiers for doing what they do and just handing over their cell phones. And I saw lots of that going on first hand today myself. He also explained that the soldiers bought so much ice cream that first year that Keeneland ran out! This year he made sure they had enough on hand for all of them.

Then there was a day of live racing. Theresia headed up to the dining room on level four - while a few of us took over Mike Maloney's "office" again. Stuball had another good day and so did I. Purple Power stopped in. And so did DBantu. He and I talked about HANA goals for a while. Then we talked shop about programming, handicapping methodologies, and professionalism amongst horseplayers.

He brought along a buddy who is a sports bettor and poker player... who oddly enough has almost no interest whatsoever in playing horses. We discussed at length the reasons why... which only highlighted the things HANA is trying to get across to the industry.

After the races we found Mike Maloney in the dining room and said our goodbye's. I can't thank Mike enough for the doors he opened for us at HANA and for all his hospitality here in Kentucky. I really am at a complete loss for words here.

Afterwards we drove out to visit a horse farm.... Zach Kinneman's Tahoma Stud. Zach, his wife Kate, and their Farm Manager Otto were kind enough to show us around. We got to pet some of the foals. Zach and Kate then took us to the pasture where 23 year old Mr. Bolg still romps. (They rescued him from a kill pen.) And let me tell you he still looks magnificent. They were even kind enough to give us a tour of the farmhouse (built in the 1820's) that they are restoring.

Again, I am simply blown away by the hospitality and the openess of the people here. If you've never been here you're missing out.

JP
Photo courtesy Tahoma Stud

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday News and Notes

HANA Week at Keeneland is complete. As we have been documenting on the blog, the industry has met HANA members with open arms at Keeneland. To Mr. Nicholson and the crew at the historic track, thanks. To Todd, Matt and everyone at TVG, a big thanks. To HANA members from the plethora of states to make the trip, I hope you had a good time. We hope to have Jeff's interview from TVG on the blog sometime soon.

HANA in the News

Jeff and Dean were recently interviewed on internet radio in Canada, via Standardbred Canada's Trot radio here.

HANA will be represented as a presenter at the Canadian Wagering Conference in Windsor, in late April - putting the "North" in HANA. One session will focus on betting exchanges and the horseplayer, to be discussed along side Betfair's managing director, Mark Davies. The other will be on the Future of Wagering.

Last up: The Weekly HANA Bet!


Tuesday is turning to Saturday! This week has been a busy one, but during the weekly HANA meeting we will be setting the sights on a race this Saturday at Turf Paradise. We wish to hear Arizona's players thoughts about this, and if they are able to play along with the rest of us. We will be highlighting this more this week.

Harness Bettors Input Needed

A fair percentage of HANA members are dual breed bettors. If you play harness racing, please help out with a survey here. Thanks!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

HANA Day 3 Wrap: A Horseplayer on TV?

The day began with breakfast at the Horseman's Kitchen on the backside. On the walk over from the kitchen to the front gate we stopped to let a man on horseback pass us near the shedrow. HANA member Fred Palmer recognized him and called out "Larry Jones!" Larry stopped and chatted for a few seconds. It wasn't until Larry removed his helmet that I recognized him myself.

We met with Keeneland President Nick Nicholson. He described the incredible amount of forethought and detail that went into many of the things that most visitors at Keeneland might take for granted... for example the height of the infield toteboard in relation to line of sight - so that horses running down the backstretch are always visible from the grandstand... how the poles indicating the finish line have the mirror located in the right place: the exact center of the pole marking the finish area. This causes the line in photo finishes to match up perfectly with the area marked as the finish line by the pole.

Note: This is something that should be a no brainer for all tracks everywhere. I can think of a lot of tracks where the mirror is placed several feet away from the pole. IMHO this is bad practice. It gives you a false finish line... a pole marked "Finish" when in fact the mirror several feet away from the pole is used as the actual finish line. As with a lot of things - Keeneland has this part exactly right.

Then we talked about some of the things that matter to us players:

1. Track Signal Availability to ADWs
2. Takeout
3. Drugs
4. Pool Integrity

We started a genuine dialog on these areas. And even though we had blocked off more than an hour for the meeting we ran out of time. Nick had to leave to introduce the chior members who sang the national anthem. But he graciously agreed to sit down and meet with us again tomorrow.

Then we met with Tony Allevato of TVG - who asked me to be a guest on their live broadcast.

I've never been on TV before and didn't know quite what to expect. Todd and Matt asked some questions about HANA, takeout, and drugs. One thing I didn't want to do was bash the industry too hard while on camera. HANA is all about giving the player a voice and making the industry aware of customer needs and wants. I hope it came off ok.

Then there was a day of live racing. I managed to have a good day. But in the post parade before the Lexington I noticed that #11 Advice was acting up, tossing his head, and shying from the crowd. Theresia was sitting next to me and liked the horse. I'm afraid my negative comments about his pre-race antics were a little too strong. I think I talked her off the horse... who came rolling over the top of them late to pay $33.60 to win. If I had it to do over again I would have kept quiet as a MOUSE.

After the races we had dinner and drinks with Mike Maloney and Matt Carothers. Mike told some racing stories that had me laughing so hard I literally couldn't breathe.

It was a long day - one that was over all too soon. I'm really starting to like this place. It grows on you... the hospitality... the racing... the people.

Jeff Platt

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Listening, Learning and Doing Good

A couple of member and board comments. A couple about HANA Week at Keeneland with the crew, and one about Emerald Downs, which Handride noted something about recently on his blog.

From Hajck, writer of our very interesting "Why I Left Racing" series:

After watching
the opening night's festivities from Auburn Washington, I just wanted to take a minute to show how a subtle change can make all the difference in how a track approaches its fan base.

For the last few years, it had been my contention that EMD had a flaw in their wagering format. EMD usually runs an eight race card, with the early Pik4 starting in the second race. This would create an overlap in the fifth race as the concluding leg of the early Pik4 and the initial leg of the late Pik4.

I presented to the powers-that-be (not naming names), on numerous occasions (in writing), that this format might be adversely effecting the handle, that if the Pik4's were split, they would have a larger pool in the late Pik4.

I was told, in no uncertain terms, to live with it. My response was "I'll live with it, but I certainly won't bet it," and proceeded to boycott the wager at EMD.

This year, Emerald Downs has shuffled some of their administrative personnel, and they received a similar missive from a fan of the sport in the off season. The new administration, in concert with long time media relations director Joe Withee, initiated the simple change of creating split Pik4's.

The illustration I am trying to make is that when a racetrack listens to its fanbase, and initiates positive change, everyone benefits.

A hearty salute to Adrian Buchan, the new Director of Marketing at EMD, and the administrative staff at Emerald Downs for taking the track down a new and exciting path. I look for good things from Emerald Downs this season, as the energy is strong, the perspective positive, and the direction finally going the right way.


Further, the HANA board and crew have very good things to say about this week at Keeneland:

Treasurer Theresia:

Keeneland has been extremely gracious with their hospitality and as a first timer at Keeneland this weekend that was the one aspect that struck me the most, its the little things that make a difference in any experience including a visit to the track and Keeneland is one of the few tracks that seems to understand that. I am someone that travels around a fair amount each year to different tracks throughout the country and I have been known to be rather critical at times but so far in my trip I have not had any complaints.

From Jeff Platt, HANA President:

Wrap Up Day Two

Met with Hank Zeitlin - President and CEO of Equibase. Hank was kind enough to sit down and talk with us - and then introduce us around and give us a tour of the IT Center. I never before realized that Equibase was part of the Jockey Club and just how much they do. One thing we did do was start a dialog about one area where (my opinion) the industry could do a better job of disseminating information to players: Scratches and changes in real time. I plan to follow up that initial conversation with ideas about accomplishing the desired goal: Getting a system in place where scratches and changes are published on the web in one location in real time.

We also met with Keeneland President Nick Nicholson. I can't say enough about the hospitality he has shown us. He really rolled out the red carpet. On a crowded Friday afternoon they set us up with a private room (for our board meeting)... monitors everywhere... a fully stocked fridge... our own betting machine... food and drink vouchers... and we even presented the trophy to the winning connections after race 6.

I can't say enough good things about Mike Maloney. Not only did he pass out HANA flyers and talk to people for us, and let us use his private "office". I found him to be completely laid back, open, and approachable about his handicapping. How many serious players can you say that about? We had dinner with him tonight - at a place where he knows the owner... we talked horses and betting and told jokes and just had a good time...

Like I said, I'm just blown away by the hospitality everybody here has shown us.


Hospitality, dialogue, customer service, respect and customers and tracks who want to change the game for the better. This is a good thing, no matter what business you are in.

Friday, April 17, 2009

HANA Days at Keeneland

The HANA crew are at Keeneland for HANA Day tomorrow. But the festivities have started early as several members are there for the week, and early reports are that everyone is having a good time.

From Jeff Platt via Paceadvantage:

I'm sitting here at KEE with some of the guys... I'm on my second beer. We have a table on level 2 right in front of the paddock. Laptops and printouts everywhere.

Richard Bauer is here... Stuball... Bill W... Tom S... Charli125... Miesque... Corby from BRIS... Mike Maloney joined us for a while... and a few others....

And we're having an absolute blast. Stuball already paid for his trip. He nailed the exacta in R3... and a then followed that up by (after waiting for what seemed like ages for the results of the nose photo to be announed... and then sitting through an abjection afterwards) cashing on the 50-1 shot in R8.

We're here and having a blast... live racing in a great venue. Win or lose you can't ask for a better day than that.

If you're in the Lexington area shoot us an email and make plans to meet up:

horseplayersassociation @ gmal . com
(remove the blank spaces first)


Tomorrow HANA will be presenting to a race winner in the circle. We'll let you know which race. Enjoy your weekend folks!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Quick Notes on a Wednesday

David Siegal at Trackmaster says that consolidation is needed in the racing industry.

...the number of dates does not matter as much as it did at one time to the horsemen. For example, Saratoga Harness receives about 90% of its purses from slot machines. Given that such a small amount comes from handle, they can race 100 days for “x” per day, or race 200 days for just a little higher than “1/2x” per day.

From a marketing standpoint, all point to the short meets of Del Mar, Saratoga and Keeneland as long term viable models, being something new when they come around each year. It’s hard to get too excited about the 200th day of racing anywhere.


HANA Members helping out: Jason is a HANA member and he is passionate about racehorse retirement. He is currently running a not-for-profit handicapping contest at his new site here

We’ve hosted 3 small tournaments recently with great success. Each tournament was filled to capacity. As a reminder, we are a 501(c)(3) charity with 100% of entry fees going towards the payoffs, with any excess contributions (we ask for $20 per user on top of the $80 entry fee) going entirely to the charity. The upcoming April 18 tournament will be comprised of (10) hypothetical $2 Win wagers. Our tournament tracks for that date are Gulfstream, Keenland, and Santa Anita.


If you'd like to play, visit the website, investigate, and take a look!

HANA Day at the Races is this Saturday, April 18th. Word is that HANA Prez Jeff Platt has landed (no word on if he took one of those new fancy flights with Wifi and played racing in the air or not). Other HANA members are soon to be there, and will be all week, so please get in touch if you want to meet up, have some fun, and partake in what we all do: Watch racing!

HANA has been on Twitter for some time now, so if you are interested, please follow us. We have many followers and we follow some of the best in the business to keep you informed about what is happening in racing today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mark Patterson's Mountain Tip Sheet

Four or five nights a week horseplayers who tune in to Mountaineer know Mark and Nancy. They are the staple of the simulcast show at the Mountain, offering insights and some chatter, to help horseplayers win, and hopefully entertain them at the same time. Mark has been a horseplayer for a long time, and frequently is seen in Horseplayer Magazine with a column on playing the B tracks. He is aware of HANA's Race Three Exacta pool party and has offered his 'top three for race three' here on the blog. Thanks Mark!

1) Enter the Lion..Streaky trainer hit paydirt last night with another Ded horse and that bodes well; Tired gradually taking fourth straight drop, but not before dueling the second favorite off the board; Get the feeling outfit wasn't grimly serious there; Cutback plays into that theory since both scores came sprinting; One of those was an allowance no less; Rallied strongly for each win and pace looks legitimate here; Thinking he explodes in third start of cycle; Advise betting with both fists.

2) Take Aim.. Ran better than it looked when battling along a dead-rail on Mar. 17; Early bump forced frontrunner to adapt his style next time, still managed to pull it off; 22 and change with a clean break and career Beyer came on the lead; Fear him if he fronts these.

3) Hey Reemer..Returns to scene of both scores after folding on Polytrack; Ran them down when last teamed with Feliciano some 8 months ago; Moves up sharply on dirt and gives rider tactical options; Decent barn overdue to get rolling.

Wanna play? Free PP's et al here from our friends in cyberspace. Join us at HANA and lend a hand to changing the game for the better in race three at the Mountain tonight!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mountain: Free Stuff for Race 3 Tuesday

Craig has placed all the free stuff up for people wanting to play the Mountain on Tuesday. PP's, FAST Sheets, Bias Reports from Trackmaster and CJ's pacefigures (the full Mountain card!) are all here.

Thank you to CJ for putting them up, and both he and Craig at Trackmaster for supplying them. And thanks to Capital OTB for the plug!

If you want to join HANA we would appreciate it. We can keep you up to date on Pool Parties and it only takes a minute. Details are held in confidence.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Target: The Mountain


This week we are going to head to West Virginia and play Mountaineer. The race is yet to be determined, but we are going to tackle the 'Perfecta' - at least that is what they call the exacta there.

UPDATE: HANA is going to play Race 3 at Mountaineer on Tuesday April 14th.

Stay tuned for more information here on the blog.

Last week we had a blast at Tampa, but that first leg was a killer. However, not for a HANA member. Jay is one lucky dude lately. He not only hit the pick 3 here, he also had another nice hit recently. Congrats Jay, but sheesh, spread the wealth around will ya? We contacted Jay had he had a comment for us via email about the HANA betting days to share. We thank everyone for participating.

First and foremost, it's awesome to support horseplayers and HANA. I like the cause of lower takeouts which benefit us the horseplayer, but ultimately will benefit the horse race industry in the long run - by bringing more people to this game.

The pick 3 at Tampa was a blast - my biggest Pick 3 score to date. I look forward to the next BUYCOTT! Thanks, Jay in Seattle


If you would like to join us here at HANA please do here. We need you!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kassa: Derby List IV

Three weeks remaining until the Kentucky Derby! The Derby is shaping up to be a top class affair. Seemingly each prep has showcased the kind of talent that a Derby winner must possess. Now, the final preps and finishing touches for preparing these champions.

1. Friesan Fire – Rock solid. Should absolutely love the distance. 7 weeks doesn’t worry me with Larry Jones, and could actually help the price. I really like that he skipped the Blue Grass Stakes, which could have been a grueling race. Looking like the solid “Key” horse.

2. Quality Road – Most talented 3yo Bar None. “Superstar” was huge in Florida Derby, cruising near the front, rating patiently and showing a good response when shaken up in the stretch. Got a great trip, but impressed most with his professional behavior. Quarter-crack puts his Derby status in doubt.

3. I Want Revenge – Talented and Versatile. Left at the break, trapped behind a wall of horses, and responded well to beat a weak bunch in the Wood Memorial. I’m not 100% sold that he will appreciate the Kentucky Derby’s added class and distance, but he could also be the winner.

4. Dunkirk – His Florida Derby was a huge race. However he faced a more talented rival, and spotted that one multiple lengths in trip dynamics. Appeared to flatten a little at the end of the Florida Derby, which is a bit of a concern. On the graded earnings “bubble”.

5. Old Fashioned – Old Fashioned is a puzzle. Hopefully we know a lot more after the Arkansas Derby. In the Rebel Stakes, Old Fashioned dueled with sprinter Silver City at such a fast pace, that he was shocked late by 50-1 shot Win Willy. Is he capable of staying out of an unwanted speed duel? He has a good deal of stamina, and one of the better trainers. I like the switch to regular workout jockey Terry Thompson.

6. Chocolate Candy – Conformation is a little wide up front. However he should handle the distance, and has “big-game” talent. Ability to make headway and finish strongly. Santa Anita Derby finished fast which could be the perfect prep for developing form.

7. Desert Party – So he couldn’t catch stablemate Regal Ransom over that extremely speed-favoring track in the UAE Derby… He looked good and finished willingly. I was more surprised with jockey Frankie Dettori’s comments that the horse felt a bit flat. His loss in Dubai only strengthens his price. Maybe a consideration for single race exotics.

8. Pioneerof the Nile – I think he is a toss for me. No value, and 10 furlongs is a question. Not even sure about his class level on dirt! However he is 100% racehorse. Baffert has him in good shape over that consistent pro-ride surface. I really like that he has developed the ability to make multiple moves in “push button” fashion.

9. Charitable Man – Longshot "unknown" going into his final prep. He has talent, and should get the distance. A strong effort in the Blue Grass Stakes, will make him one to respect, and could be a big price in the Kentucky Derby.

Jay Kassa

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday Notes and Pool Juice

A few things catching our eye here this Wednesday.

First, the Pool Party at Tampa was a success. From last week the pick 3 pool in race 6 was up 99.4%, so we are right around a double. Well done. On last weeks call we thought that this would carry over to the pick 4 and we appear to have been right. The pick 4 pool was up around 15% from last week. Stay tuned for more news on the pool parties. HANA would like this week to thank again, CJ from Pacefigures.com, Craig from Trackmaster, Jerry from Thorograph, Ken from HTR, Mike from Paceadvantage, Capital OTB and bloggers galore for helping spread the word.

Second up, the Mullins situation is a disconcerting one for our sport. One of HANA's planks is not only a level playing field for all bettors through lower takeouts, but also for horsepeople. About half of HANA's members describe themselves as owner/bettors. There is plenty of chatter on this subject on chat boards and the thoroughbred bloggers alliance, as well as the Paulick Report.

Twitter has been making some headlines lately. The real time social networking/chat zone that allows users to create accounts and type short messages is growing rapidly. Racing is using it to their advantage in some avenues. One, is Keeneland who has hired handicapper and bloodstock agent Joe Riddell to give real time paddock reports. A lot of us follow Joe during the racing, and if you want to you can at Paddock Report. It is a good resource for bettors.

Speaking of Keeneland, HANA's first ever day at the races is April 18th at the historic venue. We are hoping for good weather and a chance to meet HANA members from all over. If you'd like to meet, email us please and we can let you know what is happening.

Last up, we have received several new pin orders and we thank you. To order a pin just look right for the pin logo and click it. They are pretty sharp and members are giving them good reviews. In addition the HANA store is in its fifth month now and we are seeing more action there too. We can't thank you enough for your help. If you'd like to buy a cap, shirt and more, you can at the link. The above two notes are the only two sources of revenue we have, so we appreciate the help.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand...... Curses!

More than a few swear words (racetrackers make up some of the best curses known to man) happened with this:



I have received several emails, and on tickets posted on other boards that I see, none have the three. Anyone alive? If so email us so we can follow along. I hope a HANA member makes a big score here!

Edit: Great job again this week everyone. We are looking at about a 125% pool bump! Thanks to everyone who helped.

Pick 3 in Race 6 Fast Approaching

Race 4 just concluded, so only one more race to go to get to our pick 3. A few of you have posted picks here, and given them via email. If you'd like to follow along, several players are posting them at Paceadvantage, and having a little fun here.

There is also a very good conversation about the play on the thorograph thread here.

Dana and Ted place up their picks on their blogs.

Thanks to Pace, and everyone else who helped with this weeks Pick 3.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How To Play The HANA Pick 3 At Tampa Bay

by Cangamble

We at HANA realize that many players have rarely played a Pick 3, and even some players never played it before.

I won't go all preachy here by going into why the Pick 3 is one of the best value plays available to horseplayers. But we want your support in this venture, even if it is just for a few bucks.

Normally, a Pick 3 at Tampa Bay has a pool size of around $12,000 or so. Not bad if your longshots come in and you don't have to split the pool with many other handicappers. I'm going to go out on a small limb and state that the pool size for tomorrow's Pick 3 starting in Race 6 will be over $30,000, and hopefully a lot more. Well worth taking even a quick pick.

There are two main school's of thought when handicapping a Pick 3. One is to find a key or two, or a key and couple of contenders in another leg, while spreading out the leg that you are not sure of. The other way to bet it is to throw mud against the wall and hope for the long ones to come in. When the pool is the size that we are expecting tomorrow, the latter approach is probably the best way to go. If you get lucky enough, you could wind up with a nice score, as long as horses picked on the program don't win any legs. I've even been known to wind up cashing a few pool shots doing it this way.

Normally, I don't like spending more than $27 on a pick 3 (3 onto 3 onto 3) on one ticket, but if field sizes are large in each race I've been know to bet $36 (3 by 3 by 4, not necessarily in that order) or even $48 (3 by 4 by 4).

Steven Crist in his book Exotic Betting, tends to like keying different races on different tickets, giving the player a chance to hit the Pick multiple times if the right key horses come in.

And of course, there are bettors who confidently take $5 or $10 straight tickets which may rely on a couple of keys while throwing in a couple to 5 horses in the other leg.

It is impossible to say exactly how I will play the Pick 3 tomorrow until I know the scratches and if the 7th race will remain on the grass. But here comes my help just the same. The important thing is to find the contenders.

The sixth race is a filly race. Perfect for a Pick three because fillies are very erratic, and somewhat more unpredictable than the boys. The key contender is Silver Truth (#2). She has the best figures, and could be unbeatable if she ran back to her race on March 10th. That being said, she has run two very good races in a row and the best she could do was run second at this same price tag. She is due for a bounce. I have to pitch Number Uno Lady (#4) because her figures are inferior to Silver Truth, and she has won a couple of races in a row, now moving up from NW2 to NW3. Yankee Victress (#5) might be ready to cycle back into contention. She has run OK numbers in the past. And Ontherockswithsalt (#8) has been prepping well ready for her first start of the year, while taking a drop in class. Celebration Dance (#7) is another pitch. I don't cheap horses off between 30-60 days unless they are trained by someone hitting at over 18%. Anne's Dancer (#9) is even a long shot contender. She was way too close to the pace last time and figures to improve a bit if not more.

I'm going to handicap the 7th race for grass only. The program choice is Doctor Carina (#2), and I will probably pitch her. She barely qualifies on my 30-60 day elimation rule, and I just don't like the fact that she has a problem running twice in any month. She has put together quite a few five furlong works, which is a positive, but for my money, the fact she is picked on the program, I have to eliminate her. Barefoot Babe (#3) is a must use, but I think she is very beatable. I'm not crazy about horses that come from 7th or worse in order to get up. I'm much more attracted to Vivi's Book (#1). Her last race shows a bit of a middle move followed by a bit of a hang. That doesn't sound that great, but I've seen many winners coming off similar form lines. She had the one post last time as well. For many horses that could be an intimidating post the first time they have it. If Icy Glance (#12) gets in, she could be dangerous after over extending herself early first time on the grass, while bouncing off a nice win. She'll be a nice price. On Lake (#6) looks OK off a layoff. I'm a little concerned that she hasn't worked over 4 furlongs, and the trainer is winless this year. Maybe that is why she hasn't had a longer workout. Dovita (#8) is making her third start off a layoff and quit last time after going too fast too early. She was off a win, and figured to bounce in her latest. This time she figures to progress. The race is a tough one as it is full of many fillies who haven't even raced 10 times in their life. I don't usually press the ALL button, but considering the expected pool size, it might not be the worst option for this race.

The eighth race looks like the easiest race to handicap. There are two main contenders. African Angel (#1) is taking a class drop and his last two numbers is better than any recent form from anything else in the race. Again, I'm not crazy about his running style. But class tends to overcome running style in many instances. See I A (#3) looks like he will be able to dictate the pace. Another major class dropper, he tends to stop to a walk if another horse breathes on him. However if you look at his first lifetime start against maiden 12,500, he did pass horses, meaning he might just linger much longer and might just go all the way in this one.
I'm pitching This Is My Game (#6). He is on the vet scratch list and has been off 30-60 days. Plus his numbers are inferior to my first two selections. As possible throw ins, Tigerglider (#2) is not impossible. Good post, and four starts ago, he did win at the exact same distance in pretty good time. He is very erratic though and doesn't appear to be a horse that will benefit from today's pace. One who might benefit is Unethical (#7). First time going two turns, he could find himself with a great trip, not too far back, and he might just get up by default if See I A packs it in naturally, and African Angel doesn't quite get up in time.

My mud against the wall ticket before scratches or changes in surface ($1 base amounts):

2,5,8 with 1,3,6,8,12 with 1,3,7 Total cost $45

The Steven Crist type play:

2 with all with 1,3 $20
2 with 1,3,6,8,12 with 1,2,3,7 $20
2,5,8,9 with 1,3 with 1,2,3,7 $32
2,5,8,9 with 1,3,6,8,12 with 1,3 $60

The multi-dollar key key key play:

$5 ticket 2 with 1,3 with 1,3 $20

One of the best things about the Pick 3 is that, lets say you took most of my advice and pitched the 4 horse with leading rider Daniel Centeno aboard in the 6th, and this horse winds up winning the first leg. You can always dust yourself off and take a Pick 4 starting in the 7th race, or even a daily double which includes the 7th and 8th races, since Tampa Bay features daily double betting starting in every race, except the last, of course.

I do encourage everyone to make their own selections of course. Don't forget about using the free resources that HANA members and supporters have contributed to our cause, especially the free program from Trackmaster.

Ever Want to Try Thorograph Sheets?

Jerry at Thorograph has thrown his support behind this little project and they have offered out their Thorograph sheets for us this week. You can access them here. This tool is something not all horseplayers have tried so it is nice to be able to. There is a full description of how to read them on the site.

HANA thanks everyone at Thorograph, and continued thanks to all the rest of the folks for offering out free items to horseplayers.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Target Tampa Tuesday: Race 6 Pick 3. Free PP's and More!


As everyone knows we are moving to the sunny confines of Tampa this Tuesday. Chosen is the Pick 3 starting in race 6.

And we have free tools:

From Trackmaster (thank you Craig!), free PP's, bias reports and FAST sheets that can be all accessed here.

From our pal CJ at Pacefigures, his sought after figures (condensed and full) are here.

For those who do not follow Tampa? Well Jeff has given us some Jcapper stats:

Jcapper trainer report


and

Jcapper rider report

We will send out a reminder email on Tuesday! Thanks everyone!

Please join us at HANA. Every member counts!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Member Comments & Notes

We have had quite a few member comments on our blog pieces lately, and that is awesome, however we do get plenty via email, and on the signup form. So, along with a few other things, we thought we would share a couple. But first, some reaction from the blogs about what we've been doing:

The Turf Speculator was happy with day one and now says: "HANA’s Pool Experiment, whose next?"

Turf Luck had some fun with the free PP's, but was sad she missed the quinella pool? What you say? Quinella? :)

Last up Scott Ferguson sends the word out to UK bettors about Tampa Bay this week. "Note, it's about betting in a specific pool, not any race or any bet type. But don't just donate randomly, do the form for the race, and make use of the form links from the HANA site nearer the date. Great cause and it does have meaning to people outside the US as well." Thanks for the mention Scott and we hope a few UK bettors try the pick 3 this week.

Now for a few member comments:

I played $62 in yesterdays WRD 6th. Lets keep it going
GK


Im in!I bet $70 on todays race at WRD.

JO

Thanks boys, that is a sizable bet. I hope you both hit!

Great idea to start.a few problems for sure but youve got the idea. the #1 problem was the time of the race. it started well after the races were finished at beulah, phil and tampa.
SV

We took that into account this week SV. We will be thinking about that each week.

I have been an active player since the age of 14. I am amazed to witness the decline in the sport. I quit playing 2 months ago. Field quality is horrible, and the vig is so oppressive now that computer handicapping has given powerful tools to the most uneducated player, that I felt like I was pouring money down a sinkhole. Also, the inability to control last second parimutuel money dumps so skew the odds that you never know the final odds of chalk or near chalk plays. The only people treated worse than the players are the small horse owners. What a shame for an industry with a wonderful history which employs so many people in so many different capacities. If there is anything I can do...
WA

Sir, you will not find too much disagreement at HANA. The game we play is made very tough by myriad factors we hope to tackle.

It's only a smattering, and please keep the comments coming.

Free PP's should be up tomorrow for Tuesday's Target Tampa.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ah, Lexington Weather!

HANA Board member Bill has made his yearly trip to Keeneland for opening day. He reports that it was "70 yesterday and nice, and now 45 and rainy this morning. Spring weather in Lexington." But he is happy to report that he is at Keeneland, so all is well. Saratoga, Del Mar, Keeneland - three tracks' opening day's that instill passion in horseplayers and fans everywhere. It could be a hurricane at any of those three venues and people would still go.

Bill also reported he has hooked up with a HANA member this morning hanging about, and that got me thinking: HANA Day at the Races is April 18th at Keeneland as you know. With everything going at a million miles an hour lately here, we thought we would update you on that. Please contact us via email at horseplayersassociation at gmail if you want to meet up. We would especially like to hear if any Lexington locals wish to be there that day.

In other news we are happy to report that the Tampa Bay Pick 3 day is moving forward. Craig at Trackmaster graciously is allowing us free PP's for all three races. A bunch of members were pretty amazed at the data on these programs last time, and if you have not checked them out yet, you can for free this week once again. Thanks Craig.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Target: Tampa Bay Downs


After the initial success of the Pool Party at Will Rogers, the crew has decided that Tampa Bay Downs will be the next target. Tampa Bay Downs helps us in two ways. 1) We listened to many of you who said you could not play Will Rogers. Tampa is available everywhere. 2) Tampa is a highly rated HANA track (click here for the rating) who is showing a ton of respect for the horseplayer. It is a win-win.

The race to hit will be a pool - The Pick 3. Our resident handicappers, and members (please give us your input when the entries come out) will decide on a pick 3, somewhere near the middle of the card. With the pool-juice, the race should provide excellent horseplayer value.

We will have many of the same tools up for this race, and we will keep you informed every step of the way.

On the weekly HANA call tonight, the board, Ross, Mike and the rest were completely floored at the participation at WRD. We had small players, big players, harness players, new players and old players, all betting into the WRD pools. We can not thank you enough and we hope you join us this week again. Let's go.

If you have not signed up for HANA please do at this link. It's free and you will not only be helping horseplayers, but the sport of racing.

We can't say thank you enough to everyone who has lent their support, including Pacefigures.com, Craig at Trackmaster, HTR Software, Publichandicapper.com, Cary at Equiform, and bloggers like Greenbutgame (she started calling it a Pool Party!), Railbird, Cangamble, Chalk Eating Weasel, Scott Ferguson and Turfluck. I know we're forgetting someone or two, so apologies. Thanks to everyone.