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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

From Horseplayer Monthly: State of the Industry Q & A with Jerod Dinkin

This Q &A appeared in the May/Track Ratings edition of Horseplayer Monthly. To read the rest of the issue FOR FREE, including several more of these Q & A's and HANA's annual track ratings, please click here.

Q:  Are you enjoying the betting side of the game more or less than you were a year ago? Why?

A:  Each passing year that goes by, I enjoy the pari-mutuel game less and less for a number of reasons:

(1) The number of overlay situations has sharply decreased as there is less “dead money” in the pools. There are a myriad of reasons why this is the case, but that is a subject for its own piece.

(2) I would generally set aside 25%-30% of my yearly bankroll for the Keeneland Polytrack, which I found to be nuanced in a way that I understood while the balance of bettors did not. With the main track surface back to dirt, it’s just another run of the mill opportunity in terms of value. Nice fields, great track, wonderful place, but no longer advantageous from a betting standpoint for my personal strengths as a handicapper.

(3) Saratoga is also not what it used to be. The increased number of race dates has hurt the Spa from a betting attractiveness standpoint. Many of these fields are “Aqueduct North,” and the six-day a week schedule creates fatigue for all parties involved.

(4) There are countless other entertainment offerings out there that feature a lower price point and better customer service. I’m a glutton for punishment, but can only take so much.  

Q:  With more international racing being shown on TVG and elsewhere, along with important cards like Dubai being front and center, do you find you’re more interested in watching and wagering on it?

A: No, not at all. I really like International racing, specifically the English and French Classics, but do not know enough about it to feel I have any sort of edge nor are the post times conducive to a productive family life. Yelling for the 26 horse to win the seventh race at Moonee Valley at 3 A.M. generally doesn’t go over that well in my household.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2155466484705516802?source=hana

Q:  Jackpot bets, yay or nay?

A:  Nay, no, nein, nyet, meiyou, le, lo.

Q:  Do post drags ‘drag on you’, or do you feel they’re part of the game and you factor them into your daily or weekly play?

A:  Since Gulfstream now runs 30 races a day, 365 days a year, I just assume that every 32 minutes there is some sort of a race in Hallandale Beach no matter the day or time, so post drag is basically like death or taxes.

Q:  What’s worse, inconsistent stewards' calls, or tracks running on top of each other?

A:  Wow, that’s like deciding which of the Osmonds is most annoying. I’ll say steward inconsistency as those decisions have monetary consequences.

Q:  What were your impressions of Always Dreaming's Derby performance?

A:  Very solid, professional effort. Johnny V worked out a superlative trip and he was much the best.

Q:  Out of any of the possible Preakness "new shooters" (Conquest Mo Money, Royal Mo, Senior Investment, etc.) do any of them interest you from a betting standpoint?

A:   I think the Triple Crown races are epidemically over-handicapped. I find it difficult not to take some preconceived biases from intently watching all the Triple Crown preps which can be beneficial, but at the same time you can easily overthink it. As such, I’ll be waiting until the field is drawn to start any tangible analysis.   

About Jerod - Jerod Dinkin is a HANA Board Member, a former Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year, 6’3” small forward with suspect lateral foot speed, in the Top 50 Lifetime at publichandicapper.com, and loves nothing more than a comfortable spot on the couch to listen to the soothing stylings of Richard Grunder on the weekends.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Press Release: Kentucky Downs Again Leads the 9th Annual Horseplayers Association of North America Racetrack Rankings

Kentucky Downs, the Franklin, Kentucky, racetrack that races a short, all-turf meet each September, has topped the 2017 HANA Racetrack Rankings for the third consecutive year.

The rankings are based on an algorithm using factors indicative of horseplayer betting value, gleaned from both empirical and academic study. Key factors including takeout rate, field size, pool size, and signal distribution are analyzed track by track and weighted to produce a final composite score.

"With low takeout and a field size of almost 11 horses per race, Kentucky Downs continues to excite customers," said HANA President Jeff Platt. “Despite an abbreviated meet, the ratings algorithm does not discriminate when it comes to betting value: Kentucky Downs has it and horseplayers responded with another year of record handles.”

“Kentucky Downs is once again honored to be recognized as HANA’s number one track for the third year in a row," added C.J. Johnsen, the Director of Broadcasting and Wagering at Kentucky Downs.  "Our team has worked hard to give horseplayers the best value for their wagering dollar, and it is extremely gratifying to see such a positive response. We have the utmost respect for HANA and their rankings and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

The algorithm ranked Suffolk Downs’ micro-meet (race dates this year are July 8-9, August 5-6, and September 2-3) second, based almost solely on their North America-low 15% across the board takeout rates.  Major tracks Keeneland, Saratoga and Del Mar rounded out this year’s top five.

For a list of all tracks rated one through 64, full ratings coverage including statistics and analysis, please visit a special 'Industry Issue' of Horseplayer Monthly, our free e-magazine at this link. http://www.horseplayersassociation.org/hanamonthly.html.

For a web copy of this release, please visit here: http://blog.horseplayersassociation.org/

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The Horseplayers Association of North America is a 3,000 strong grassroots group of horseplayers who are not affiliated with any industry organization. HANA hopes, through proactive change on several key issues (including but not limited to), open signal access, lower effective takeouts, affordable data and customer appreciation, the industry’s handle losses can be reversed. Joining HANA is free.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Anatomy of a Rules Change

On March 05, 2016 the last race at Santa Anita came off the turf and was made an ALL per the rule they were using for the single jackpot P6.

A poster named CJ summed it perfectly with posts #1, #6, and #10 on this thread at Paceadvantage.com:


Post #1:
"Last race comes off turf because jockeys say it is dangerous. First, they didn't tell anyone until after the 7th even though there were no intervening turf races. 
But the real problem is in the P6 rules. Santa Anita pays out 70% to those that hit all 6, 15% to consos, and carries over 15% if there isn't a single winning ticket. But they made the last race an all, so there is NO CHANCE of a single winning ticket. Yet they are just carrying over the 15% anyway, essentially stealing it from bettors.
It is published beforehand, so buyer beware. That still doesn't make it right. These jackpot bets open up way too many cans of worms for me."


Post #6:
"The right thing to do would be pay out all the money that was bet yesterday in this situation, not every day."


Upon reading CJ's posts in the above linked to thread - I did the unthinkable.

I picked up the phone and contacted the CHRB. I directed them to CJ's thread - and explained to them why players believe the current rule is a bad rule.

Then I asked: "What's the best way to get a bad rule changed?"

My contact at the CHRB advised me that the first step would be to get Santa Anita involved. He explained it to me like this:

"Jeff, if you can get Santa Anita on board in asking for a rules change - at that point I think the CHRB would be willing to go to bat for you."

So from there I contacted track management at Santa Anita by email. I directed them to CJ's thread and explained why I thought the current rule was a bad rule - and that I thought it could be turned into a better rule by following CJ's suggestion:

Post #10:
"I'd write the rule so that if any race comes off the turf, resulting in an "all", the entire amount bet that day is paid out. Of course any carryover from prior days wouldn't be included in that."

Track management at Santa Anita got back to me right away and we had a phone conversation. They told me they were open to getting the rule changed and that they would be getting in touch with the CHRB to figure out how the rule should be reworded and to discuss the path of least resistance for effecting a rules change.

On Tues March 14, 2017 the HANA Board met via conference call.

Two of the items discussed on that call were the March 05, 2017 incident at Santa Anita and a proposed boycott over the incident.

Because the CHRB and Santa Anita had both already agreed in principle to work together (on behalf of horseplayers no less) to get the rule changed:

The HANA Board decided to take the CHRB and Santa Anita at their word and to not boycott over the March 5th incident at this time.

Now you know why the HANA Board decided not to boycott.

It took a few days longer than expected because Santa Anita had to wait for the tote company to get the rules change programmed into the tote system.

Last night, Sunday April 2, 2017 - DRF reported that the rules change had been finalized.

Santa Anita alters pick six rules when late surface switch occurs:
Link - here:

"ARCADIA, Calif.- Santa Anita recently received approval from the California Horse Racing Board to change the rules regarding pick six distributions in the event of a surface switch after the bet is underway.
The new rule takes effect on Thursday. In the event of a late surface switch, the 15 percent portion of the net pool typically dedicated to the single ticket jackpot provision of the pool will be redirected to the portion of the pool distributed to ticketholders with six winners, or into a carryover.
In that scenario, 85 percent of the net pool would be paid to tickets with all six winners, or into a conventional carryover, and 15 percent to the consolation pool.
On a day with a late surface switch, it will still be possible for the single ticket payoff provision to be paid out, if there is a single winning ticket. That is less likely to occur on a day with a late surface switch, since any races affected by a change in surface are considered a winning leg for all bettors, regardless of selections, essentially making the pick six a pick five.
The rule change was requested following a situation on March 5 in which the day’s final race was moved from turf to dirt because of excessive early afternoon rain."


Look. I'm certainly not a fan when it comes to the proliferation of single jackpot bets.

But if you are a major racetrack and you are going to insist on having a single jackpot bet for your P6:

The very least you can do is get the best possible rule in place.

And this is a case of a racing jurisdiction doing just that after listening to horseplayers.


--Jeff Platt, HANA President



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Friday, March 3, 2017

Apparently, Florida horsemen and track management want to make ADW wagering a FELONY

HANA has reason to believe that horsemen and track management want to make ADW wagering a FELONY in the State of Florida.

Link to an article – here: 
http://floridapolitics.com/archives/232597-senate-amend-gambling-bill

The bill is Senate Bill 8 and you can read the latest analysis put out by the Florida Senate on Page 35 here:
http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/8/Analyses/2017s00008.ap.PDF

There’s no way to sugar coat this:

Apparently Florida horsemen and track management want to make ADW wagering a FELONY. The bill would not be worded the way it is if that were not the case.

There’s still time to save ADW wagering in the State of Florida – but you need to act NOW.

HANA is asking all Florida residents – horseplayers or not – to take 5 minutes out of your day – and WRITE your Florida State Senators and Florida House Representatives:

TELL THEM YOU ARE STRONGLY OPPOSED to the anti-ADW provisions in Senate Bill 8 – and that you are VERY MUCH IN FAVOR of PRESERVING  ADW WAGERING FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS.

We ask that you not just send an email – but that you also do it the old fashioned way:

Mail your Florida State Senators and your Florida House Representatives a POST CARD or a hand written LETTER. Include your name and address. And tell them very succinctly you are strongly opposed to the Anti-ADW provisions in Senate Bill 8 – and that you are very much in favor of preserving ADW Wagering for Florida residents.

Get your friends and family members to mail in POST CARDS and hand written LETTERS too. (Because stacks of post cards and letters are really hard for them to ignore.)

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and CALL. Chances are you won’t get to speak with your State Senators or House Representatives directly - but you CAN voice your opinion to their staff consultants. 

Be polite. Be brief - and get right to the point:

Simply tell them you are strongly opposed to the Anti-ADW provisions in Senate Bill 8 – and that you are very much in favor of preserving ADW Wagering for Florida residents.

If you will conduct yourself in the manner described above:  The staff consultant will more than likely say Thank You afterwards - and tell you that Your Opinion MATTERS.

Look, you can sit on your hands and do nothing. 

Just know that if you do that there’s a really good chance the Florida Horsemen and track management will get their way – and ADW Wagering will become a FELONY in the State Florida. 

Don’t think it can’t happen. Horsemen did this to horseplayers in Arizona back in 2007 and it took almost eight years to get the law overturned.

Only YOU can save ADW Wagering - ACT NOW,

Jeff Platt
President, HANA




Effective Communication with your Representatives:
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/contentViewer.aspx?Category=PublicGuide&File=About_The_Representatives_Effective_Communication_With_Your_Representative.html

Florida House of Representatives Home Page:
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/default.aspx

Find Your Elected Officials in Florida Page:
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx

Florida State Senate Directory:
https://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedContent/ADMINISTRATIVEPUBLICATIONS/sdir.pdf

Florida House of Representatives Directory:
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx


Main Switchboard for Gulfstream Park: Phone (954) 454-7000

Main Switchboard for Tampa Bay Downs: Phone (813) 855-4401

Florida HBPA Main Office at Gulfstream: Phone (954) 457-3516

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Make Your Voice Heard on Pari-Mutuel Tax Withholding

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has set up an automated response form for horseplayers to send to the United States Treasury Department in support of proposed changes to tax withholding on pari-mutuel wagering, and we at HANA would like to encourage you to add your voice.

"With horse racing's all-important Triple Crown season fast approaching, the NTRA urges Treasury and the Service to adopt the proposed regulations as final regulations as soon as it is administratively feasible," said NTRA CEO Alex Waldrop. "Horseplayers, tracks and other industry stakeholders, including governments, are eager to begin reaping the benefits that will result from these updated withholding and reporting rules."

The form is available to fill out at https://www.ntra.com/comment/.  There are a few boxes to fill, such as name, city, and state, and is then an area to write your own message of support, or you can simply use what the NTRA has pre-filled it with.

Thanks for reading,

Your HANA Team