One Hundred Percent Of Nothing Is Nothing

horses racing

  

A horse racing industry is a three-faceted construction made of investors, contributors and regulators.

Investors (breeders, owners, punters and promoters) are the foundations. Contributors (trainers, jockeys and grooms) are bricks and mortar and regulators the roofs.

Breeders invest in land; infrastructure; and bloodstock. They provide the sport’s competitors. Owners buy potential competitors from breeders; at private treaty; or via the claiming box. Then owners incur huge recurrent expenses including trainers’ fees/medical expenses; grooms’ salaries; jockeys’ riding fees; and mandatory “bonuses” for trainers, jockeys, and grooms.

Promoters provide infrastructure and management to put on the show. Punters pay for promoters’ recurrent expenditure; purses; and government taxes by betting in the tote.

The regulators (Racing/Betting Gaming and Lotteries commissions) ensure the sport’s/tote’s integrity and fairness. I’ve deliberately ignored “bookmakers” who make only minimal investment/contribution while operating as unofficial tote agents with guaranteed profits.

The local horse racing industry has languished in the doldrums for 20 years because investment inputs are taken for granted and rarely rewarded. Instead, breeders are unregulated and dis-incentivized so they continue to operate ad hoc, producing mostly inferior stock the best of which are exported to the Eastern Caribbean.

Trainers, who also invest by advancing services and expenses and bill in arrears, have no incentive to get the show on the road as they must buy supplies produced and priced in US$ but charge in frequently devalued J$ at ludicrously low rates, then depend on an exorbitant (world’s highest) 15% mandatory bonus from owners’ purses.

Jockeys, who make zero investment (don’t even buy a saddle) are paid 10% of owners’ purses no matter if they win or deliberately lose a race. Again, this happens nowhere else in the world. Jamaican grooms supplement their meagre wages with a unique 5% purse bonus.

The upshot of all this: unappreciated owners shell out millions in capital expenditure and keep and care only to lose 30% of their purse to persons they also pay weekly or monthly for services. Punters are even more victimized than owners as 30% of their investment is extracted off the top (40% for exotics) ensuring a worldwide minimum return on investment with little chance to boost the tote with repeat betting. Punters must travel miles from home to suffer the inconvenience of an archaic racetrack facility or the discomfort of squalid OTBs to bet in this extortionate tote.

No industry can survive on this sort of fiscal lunacy. It’s time to address horse racing’s financial fundamentals. If we don’t, popular controversies like handicapping versus claiming could soon be redundant and we’ll be restricted to watching foreign racing on TV from countries where tote takeouts are 14-16% (instead of Jamaica’s 30-40%) and purse bonuses are 17.5% (instead of Jamaica’s 30%).

Even 100% of nothing remains nothing.

DEPARTMENTS:

Clocked-In

This regular review of local performances is based on REAL times.

Abbreviations: CT = “Corrected Time”; TV = “Track Variant” (a calculation of the effect of track conditions on official times to arrive at “real” or “corrected” times); TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” a slow track (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade standard.

April 20, 2019 [TV+0.5 per 200m (Round); +3 (Straight)]

Enedina (-3) a late foal who always promised to be smart showed improvement (Race 9; 3yonw2/ Imported maidens; 1000m Round; TV+2’) winning by 2¼ lengths from Reggae Gone Grammy (-0’) with Universal Boss (-0’) a head third. The winner clocked 1:00.2 (CT 0:59.4”) which is 3½ lengths better than nw3. She should continue to progress. The 2nd/3rd’s CT (1:00.2) is 3/5ths second faster than nw2 so can win one of these.

April 22, 2019 [TV+0]

Earn Your Stripes (-7) was impressive (Race 5; Imported nw3/maidens; 4y0nw3/0T; Native Bred 3yos; 1500m; TV+0) beating smart importee Legality (-3) by 3¾ lengths in 1:32.2! That’s already 1/5th second faster than Open Allowance standard and this from one who is still a 2yo (May foal) so he’s a very exciting prospect for the fourth quarter and a likely big player in the 2019 Diamond Mile.

Legality (CT 1:33.1) equalled Overnight Allowance standard so he’s not done winning.

April 27, 2019 [TV+0.8 per 200m (Rd) +4 (General Article) +3 (Sunshine Cat)]

Messi (-10) was awesome (Race 6; 4yonw3; 1600m; TV+6) winning by eleven lengths going away from Kalahari (+1) in 1:40.2! The winner’s CT (1:39.1) is 3/5th second faster than Overnight Allowance. This lightly raced, unexposed progressive colt is one to follow.

The 2nd improved again and his CT (1:41.2) is a full second faster than the grade. Compensation awaits.

Nuclear Evita (-3) broke smartly today and showed improved form (Race 7; 3yo maiden condition; 1000m Round; TV+4) winning by 8 lengths in 1:01.0! Her CT (1:00.1) is 4/5th second faster than nw2 so she can repeat.

Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)

International racing has a premier weekend coming up with the English 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas (Saturday and Sunday at Newmarket) and the Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs). The going is forecast good to firm at Newmarket while, despite forecast of rain for Thursday and Friday in Louisville, Saturday is expected to be dry and sunny with a fast track.

Howling winter book favourite for Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas (1535GMT; 9.35a.m Jamaica Time), Too Darn Hot, has suffered training setbacks and won’t start so the door is opened for Aidan O’Brien’s Magna Grecia who’ll be making his re-appearance in the Classic. He improved on each of his three 3yo starts (squeezed into less than a month starting September 30) and signed off with a win in Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (formerly the Racing Post Trophy) over a mile. Having started so late there’s plenty scope for improvement and he is reportedly moving very well at home. He’s a confident pick.

Bob Baffert appeared to have a stranglehold on the Kentucky Derby (5.50pm EDT; 4.50pm Jamaica Time) with last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner (Churchill Downs) Game Winner; this year’s Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster and Improbable (unbeaten in 3 juvenile starts but twice defeated as a 3yo). All three have worked brilliantly, with Roadster breezing 6f in 1:13.4; Game Winner 7f in 1:27.0 on the same day (April 26; Santa Anita); while Improbable was a bit fresh in a 5f spin at Churchill Downs (April 28) in 1:00.3 (galloped out 6f in 1:13.0; 7f in 1:25.3).

Game Winner was a nose behind new betting favourite Omaha Beach in the Grade 2 Rebel (Oaklawn Park; 8.5f)and then ½ length behind Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby but was victimized there by a wide trip throughout (three wide first turn; four wide 4f out, joined leaders three wide 2f out, ridden and kept on two wide into the lane, led final 120yds, stayed on well under pressure; caught final strides) and is confidently expected to turn the tables on both over Churchill Down’s stiffer stamina test.

But Improbable is preferred of Baffert’s triple threat as he clearly found 9f short in the Arkansas Derby (staying on 1 length 2nd to Omaha Beach); is working best; likely to relish the Derby’s fast early pace; and it’s instructive he’s the first to be sent to Churchill Downs.

But all three can fall victim to value bet Tacitus who suffered a nightmare trip in the Wood Memorial but still stayed on determinedly to win. He’ll also be perfectly suited by the way Derbies are run so, as between Improbable and Tacitus, the winner should be the one with the more favourable (middle number) draw.

On Sunday, we return to Newmarket for the 1,000 Guineas (1535GMT; 9.35 a.m Jamaica Time) where Roger Varian’s Nell Gwyn Stakes winner (two for two lifetime) Qabala is ante-post favourite. She beat three subsequent winners when winning on debut (Newmarket; September) and, on re-appearance, overcame inexperience to win the 7f Nell Gwyn in great style, quickening up smartly in the closing stages to win comfortably. She’s got size, should easily stay a mile and ought to come on for this so is a worthy favourite.  For me, she’ll have to beat Skitter Scatter a more experienced daughter of Scat Daddy whose two year old career saw her winning 4 of 7 starts closing with three in a row stepped up to 7f ending with a stylish win in the Moyglare Stud Stakes. There’s no doubt she’s the real deal and bookies could pay for under-estimating her. Rain at Newmarket would do her a world of good while militating against Qabala’s chances

As usual, we close with a notebook horse:

Rawdaa [4yo bf Teofilo-Lady Lahar (Fraam)] A gentle re-introduction to racing on Kempton’s polytrack (April 20) should have set up this still unexposed filly for a good season. She went two for four on turf last year so she’s one to bet on next time out especially if switched back to turf.

Good Luck!

 

ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF NOTHING IS NOTHING

Terrible Tout

 

A horse racing industry is a three-faceted construction made of investors, contributors and regulators.

Investors (breeders, owners, punters and promoters) are the foundations. Contributors (trainers, jockeys and grooms) are bricks and mortar and regulators the roofs.

Breeders invest in land; infrastructure; and bloodstock. They provide the sport’s competitors. Owners buy potential competitors from breeders; at private treaty; or via the claiming box. Then owners incur huge recurrent expenses including trainers’ fees/medical expenses; grooms’ salaries; jockeys’ riding fees; and mandatory “bonuses” for trainers, jockeys, and grooms.

Promoters provide infrastructure and management to put on the show. Punters pay for promoters’ recurrent expenditure; purses; and government taxes by betting in the tote.

The regulators (Racing/Betting Gaming and Lotteries commissions) ensure the sport’s/tote’s integrity and fairness. I’ve deliberately ignored “bookmakers” who make only minimal investment/contribution while operating as unofficial tote agents with guaranteed profits.

The local horse racing industry has languished in the doldrums for 20 years because investment inputs are taken for granted and rarely rewarded. Instead, breeders are unregulated and dis-incentivized so they continue to operate ad hoc, producing mostly inferior stock the best of which are exported to the Eastern Caribbean.

Trainers, who also invest by advancing services and expenses and bill in arrears, have no incentive to get the show on the road as they must buy supplies produced and priced in US$ but charge in frequently devalued J$ at ludicrously low rates, then depend on an exorbitant (world’s highest) 15% mandatory bonus from owners’ purses.

Jockeys, who make zero investment (don’t even buy a saddle) are paid 10% of owners’ purses no matter if they win or deliberately lose a race. Again, this happens nowhere else in the world. Jamaican grooms supplement their meagre wages with a unique 5% purse bonus.

The upshot of all this: unappreciated owners shell out millions in capital expenditure and keep and care only to lose 30% of their purse to persons they also pay weekly or monthly for services. Punters are even more victimized than owners as 30% of their investment is extracted off the top (40% for exotics) ensuring a worldwide minimum return on investment with little chance to boost the tote with repeat betting. Punters must travel miles from home to suffer the inconvenience of an archaic racetrack facility or the discomfort of squalid OTBs to bet in this extortionate tote.

No industry can survive on this sort of fiscal lunacy. It’s time to address horse racing’s financial fundamentals. If we don’t, popular controversies like handicapping versus claiming could soon be redundant and we’ll be restricted to watching foreign racing on TV from countries where tote takeouts are 14-16% (instead of Jamaica’s 30-40%) and purse bonuses are 17.5% (instead of Jamaica’s 30%).

Even 100% of nothing remains nothing.

DEPARTMENTS:

Clocked-In

This regular review of local performances is based on REAL times.

Abbreviations: CT = “Corrected Time”; TV = “Track Variant” (a calculation of the effect of track conditions on official times to arrive at “real” or “corrected” times); TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” a slow track (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade standard.

April 20, 2019 [TV+0.5 per 200m (Round); +3 (Straight)]

Enedina (-3) a late foal who always promised to be smart showed improvement (Race 9; 3yonw2/ Imported maidens; 1000m Round; TV+2’) winning by 2¼ lengths from Reggae Gone Grammy (-0’) with Universal Boss (-0’) a head third. The winner clocked 1:00.2 (CT 0:59.4”) which is 3½ lengths better than nw3. She should continue to progress. The 2nd/3rd’s CT (1:00.2) is 3/5ths second faster than nw2 so can win one of these.

April 22, 2019 [TV+0]

Earn Your Stripes (-7) was impressive (Race 5; Imported nw3/maidens; 4y0nw3/0T; Native Bred 3yos; 1500m; TV+0) beating smart importee Legality (-3) by 3¾ lengths in 1:32.2! That’s already 1/5th second faster than Open Allowance standard and this from one who is still a 2yo (May foal) so he’s a very exciting prospect for the fourth quarter and a likely big player in the 2019 Diamond Mile.

Legality (CT 1:33.1) equalled Overnight Allowance standard so he’s not done winning.

April 27, 2019 [TV+0.8 per 200m (Rd) +4 (General Article) +3 (Sunshine Cat)]

Messi (-10) was awesome (Race 6; 4yonw3; 1600m; TV+6) winning by eleven lengths going away from Kalahari (+1) in 1:40.2! The winner’s CT (1:39.1) is 3/5th second faster than Overnight Allowance. This lightly raced, unexposed progressive colt is one to follow.

The 2nd improved again and his CT (1:41.2) is a full second faster than the grade. Compensation awaits.

Nuclear Evita (-3) broke smartly today and showed improved form (Race 7; 3yo maiden condition; 1000m Round; TV+4) winning by 8 lengths in 1:01.0! Her CT (1:00.1) is 4/5th second faster than nw2 so she can repeat.

Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)

International racing has a premier weekend coming up with the English 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas (Saturday and Sunday at Newmarket) and the Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs). The going is forecast good to firm at Newmarket while, despite forecast of rain for Thursday and Friday in Louisville, Saturday is expected to be dry and sunny with a fast track.

Howling winter book favourite for Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas (1535GMT; 9.35a.m Jamaica Time), Too Darn Hot, has suffered training setbacks and won’t start so the door is opened for Aidan O’Brien’s Magna Grecia who’ll be making his re-appearance in the Classic. He improved on each of his three 3yo starts (squeezed into less than a month starting September 30) and signed off with a win in Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (formerly the Racing Post Trophy) over a mile. Having started so late there’s plenty scope for improvement and he is reportedly moving very well at home. He’s a confident pick.

Bob Baffert appeared to have a stranglehold on the Kentucky Derby (5.50pm EDT; 4.50pm Jamaica Time) with last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner (Churchill Downs) Game Winner; this year’s Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster and Improbable (unbeaten in 3 juvenile starts but twice defeated as a 3yo). All three have worked brilliantly, with Roadster breezing 6f in 1:13.4; Game Winner 7f in 1:27.0 on the same day (April 26; Santa Anita); while Improbable was a bit fresh in a 5f spin at Churchill Downs (April 28) in 1:00.3 (galloped out 6f in 1:13.0; 7f in 1:25.3).

Game Winner was a nose behind new betting favourite Omaha Beach in the Grade 2 Rebel (Oaklawn Park; 8.5f)and then ½ length behind Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby but was victimized there by a wide trip throughout (three wide first turn; four wide 4f out, joined leaders three wide 2f out, ridden and kept on two wide into the lane, led final 120yds, stayed on well under pressure; caught final strides) and is confidently expected to turn the tables on both over Churchill Down’s stiffer stamina test.

But Improbable is preferred of Baffert’s triple threat as he clearly found 9f short in the Arkansas Derby (staying on 1 length 2nd to Omaha Beach); is working best; likely to relish the Derby’s fast early pace; and it’s instructive he’s the first to be sent to Churchill Downs.

But all three can fall victim to value bet Tacitus who suffered a nightmare trip in the Wood Memorial but still stayed on determinedly to win. He’ll also be perfectly suited by the way Derbies are run so, as between Improbable and Tacitus, the winner should be the one with the more favourable (middle number) draw.

On Sunday, we return to Newmarket for the 1,000 Guineas (1535 GMT; 9.35 a.m Jamaica Time) where Roger Varian’s Nell Gwyn Stakes winner (two for two lifetime) Qabala is ante-post favourite. She beat three subsequent winners when winning on debut (Newmarket; September) and, on re-appearance, overcame inexperience to win the 7f Nell Gwyn in great style, quickening up smartly in the closing stages to win comfortably. She’s got size, should easily stay a mile and ought to come on for this so is a worthy favourite.  For me, she’ll have to beat Skitter Scatter a more experienced daughter of Scat Daddy whose two year old career saw her winning 4 of 7 starts closing with three in a row stepped up to 7f ending with a stylish win in the Moyglare Stud Stakes. There’s no doubt she’s the real deal and bookies could pay for under-estimating her. Rain at Newmarket would do her a world of good while militating against Qabala’s chances

As usual, we close with a notebook horse:

Rawdaa [4yo bf Teofilo-Lady Lahar (Fraam)] A gentle re-introduction to racing on Kempton’s polytrack (April 20) should have set up this still unexposed filly for a good season. She went two for four on turf last year so she’s one to bet on next time out especially if switched back to turf.

Good Luck!

 

 

 

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