I received an email earlier today from Gary K., a horseplayer who was betting the Thistledown card on Monday 05/21/2012.
Here, unedited, are Gary's comments:
I thought you might be interested in one of the all time best examples of lack of pool integrity which occurred today (May 21, 2012) at TDN 5. It highlights both the problem of past-post odds change AND the influence of robotic wagering which should be banned as far as I am concerned.
I was watching the betting pools at TDN 5. As the race started there was around $13k in the win pool most of which was bet on #7 who was 1-5.
Part way through the race, the odds changed tremendously with 30-1 and 50-1 shots dropping to 9-2 and the 1-5 favorite jumping to 5-1.
Here is a snapshot of the final pools:
----- ---- ------ -- ----- -- ----- --Horse Odds WIN % PLACE % SHOW %----- ---- ------ -- ----- -- ----- --#1 9/2 15,449 14 133 3 2,089 11#2 9/2 15,357 14 184 5 2,093 11#3 9/2 15,227 14 43 1 2,074 11#4 4 15,987 15 530 14 2,341 12#5 9/2 15,342 14 234 6 2,109 11#6 9/2 15,478 14 291 7 2,198 12#7 5 13,431 12 2,243 61 5,164 28-----------------------------------------
As you can infer from the totals, very late in the wagering, some robotic wagering program must have mistakenly bet $15k to win and $2k to show on all horses except the #7.
Actually it worked out very nicely for those who bet the 1-5 shot and got paid at 5-1.
But this is really absurd. Granted, this cost the robotic programmer $90k ... an expensive lesson.
But it points out how ridiculous it is to allow robotic access to the pools. As well as the changing of the odds during the running of the race.
FWIW, here are my comments:
Looking at the win pool totals, by all appearances, the last second bettor did the following:
- Took a stand against the #7 horse who was the 1/5 favorite at the off.
- Dutched every horse in the race except the #7 horse so as to equalize the odds no matter which horse won the race.
Note: This probably was done through a robotic wagering interface. However, our last second bettor COULD have used an app or spreadsheet that isn’t in any way connected to the tote to arrive at amounts needed to equalize the odds on each horse. From there, he or she could have keyed the bets in manually – or even called them out over the phone. Doing that for 6 horses so close to the off might take guts. (But it certainly isn’t rocket science.)
- One thing IS obvious. The wagers were made VERY LATE in the betting. The advantage in betting last is that your opponents (the other bettors) are denied any chance to react to the odds created by your last second bet.
If the above scenario is in fact what happened, if in fact our last second bettor acted on purpose (and the bets were not the result of some whale team’s computer glitch) then our last second bettor goofed where it counts! A serious math error was made in estimating final pool size, and based on that: final odds for the eventual race winner.
In fact, the actual final pool size and odds guarantee a nominal loss to our last second bettor if any horse other than the #7 wins the race – and guarantee a catastrophic loss if the #7 wins the race. (That’s actually what happened. The #7 horse won by more than 16 lengths.) Ouch!
One other scenario crossed my mind when I saw the dollar amounts in the pools for this race:
What if our last second bettor’s primary play was a LARGE win bet on the #7 horse? But instead of making the bet in the pari-mutuel win pool, what if the real bet was made through a bookmaker that doesn’t (normally) lay bets off in the pools? What if the player believed that the #7 horse was close to a sure thing and made the aforementioned dutch bets on the other horses in the race as a ploy to inflate the odds on the #7 horse? (Ala George Smith/Pittsburgh Phil)
Stranger things have happened.
EDIT 05/24/2012 - An Update from DRF: