Rob’s ASD Best Bets, Weekend Longshots for June 7-8
“Adapt or die” is a phrase that is tied into so many aspects of industry and technology. The ability to innovate and change to suit an ever-changing market place is the key to sustained growth and survival for any industry, whether it be textiles, bonds, livestock or horse racing.
Even though the main demographic for horse racing is older, the ability to attract new racegoers can be directly attributed to the effective use of modern technology which might include the Internet, cellular devices, broadcast methods, data collection and data distribution.
The collection and distribution of horse racing data has evolved over the year. Trakus is a major step forward for the tracks that have implemented the costly system. Trakus provides data via a chip in the saddle cloth that shows how fast and how far a horse actually ran in a race. This is data that was previously unknown.
Woodbine and Gulfstream are two of the leading examples of tracks that use Trakus and publish the associated data on their websites, if you know how to find it. This is one of the issues of the game -- the great data that is collected is never easy to find. It is hidden on some corner of a web page that can only be found if someone knows what to look for.
Horse racing is the only sport that charges its consumers for data. Think about it, all major sports betting stats are readily available and the odds on a table game are easily found and free. The cost of obtaining data is a major sticking point in attracting new customers.
The Daily Racing Form is a majestic work of information that has come a long way, but it still is expensive and cumbersome. ASD does do some things to defray the cost of a day at the races however, with free admission and free parking.
The Daily Racing Form is jam packed with information but still lacks a certain drive for innovation, as it hasn’t been truly challenged since the early ‘90s. Times are inaccurate at many small tracks and that affects everything from class ratings to Beyer Speed Figures. Timing systems are increasingly frustrating as are so many results across North America. They simply don’t seem to make sense. Arlington Park’s turf course has a timer that is consistently malfunctioning. That makes it hard to trust times, but as a handicapper I cannot go back to the assertion that time only matters in jail, as that can drain your wallet as well.
The methods that are used to broadcast and deliver racing are also developing. Horse Races Now is an Apple app that is absolutely incredible, showing live races, race replays, entries and results, all at the touch of a button. A very useful tool, it works along with the Equibase app. The ability to watch races on mobile devices has made racing much more accessible, which means a younger and more tech savvy audience can be tuned into racing. If you have an Apple device, I highly recommend Horse Races Now, as it is a very useful tool.
The ability to wager online is a new development in racing through HPI and in the United States through other advance deposit wagering companies like TVG. I won’t get into the whole argument about rebates and takeout rates as that is a whole year’s worth of opinions, so I’ll just mention that the Internet now has most of the information you need on racing. If you are willing to look for it, it’s findable.
One of the tools I have used a little bit is online racing forums, and even though some are a little hostile there are a number of them out there. TVG, Betfair and e-ponies are three I am unfamiliar with, but PaceAdvantage is probably the biggest and is sponsored in part by ASD. PaceAdvantage is quite opinionated at times so if you’re searching for an answer, you’ll quite likely get it in direct fashion from this forum. PaceAdvantage is worth taking a look at.
Horse racing needs to adapt and keep developing to draw a younger crowd. That much is certain. How they do it though, is a tough question to answer.
Rob’s Best Bets and Weekend Longshots
Record-to-Date: 5-4-0 from 14 starts
Wagered: $84.00 Returned: $102.30 Profit: $18.30
Friday Best Bet: Race 1 - Betterinthebahamas
Friday Longshot: Race 6 - Anotation
Saturday Best Bet: Race 7 - Lil Missknowitall
Saturday Longshot: Race 5 - Nobyjo
Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, 2013