Monday, December 6, 2010

Irwin & the Seven Year Window

Barry Irwin, today at the Paulick Report, wrote an article asking for post times to be coordinated. It is certainly a noble idea - after all, why would we want so much overlap in post times? For those who play with Twinspires TV, or at any simo-center, seeing 0 MTP on four tracks on your screen is as common as pork ribs in Chattanooga.

In the UK where they have a slightly more coordinated market (pushed for by Betfair about ten years ago, so their players could play more races), races tend to go off at intervals with very little overlap. This is easier there of course because there are fewer tracks running, but it was a concern; one that was corrected.

We at HANA agree with Mr. Irwin. There is one person who funds this sport, and that is not the owner, or the trainer, or the feed man, or the vet, it's the customer. As Henry Ford once said "It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages." Unfortunately they are neglected for the most part, as Mr. Irwin alludes.

We had our own idea here at HANA, through feedback from you the player, about something similar. You asked us a simple question: Why do tracks report prices and probables differently? Why on one screen do we see $1 exacta probables and another $2 probables? Why do we see one screen tell us a 10 cent super and another reports a $2 super? It makes no sense.

Of course it makes no sense. If the NASDAQ was starting a stock market would they let Intel report their share price in quarters and Cisco in pennies? It would be corrected even before it was a problem.

We decided, like Mr. Irwin to go to work on that. How hard could it be to get tracks to do something so common sense? How difficult could it be to get them to report all probables and payoffs the exact same way, so you the customer (and especially the newbie!) could have a more positive customer experience?

We asked a high level racing official (I have not asked him for permission to use his name so we won't) for a meeting and he obliged. It occurred in the spring of 2009.

"There is no chance that will happen" he told us.

"Why" we asked.

"Track X wants to do it their way, and track Y wants to do it their way. They will never agree" he replied.

It is the way racing is. Even something so common sense takes a long time, and in some cases would never get corrected.

We notice that just last week the Ontario Racing Commission is recommending what Mr. Irwin suggests in their interim report for that province's tracks - a coordination of post times. This is a subject which has been brought up since about 2003. It is now 2010 and it is being talked about. It seems there is a seven year window in racing. It takes that long to get even the simplest idea off the ground.

So horseplayers take note: Your concerns about post times and pricing reporting should be good to go - around 2017. I sure hope you are all still customers.

Note: We have heard you on the Hialeah situation. As most know they are offering 12% takeout, but some large ADWs appear to be not taking the signal. We are trying to get a full list of ADWs who are taking it, and those who are not. If you have any feedback on this please leave us a mail at

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