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Breeders' Cup 2017

Short Fields: An Owner's Dream and a Horseplayer's Nightmare


After reading Matt Scott's recent post on the short fields in California I felt it necessary to give an alternate view of the situation, which we as horseplayers often overlook.


Unlike many horseplayers, I have experienced the sport from both points of view because in addition to my fifteen years as a horseplayer I have also had a firsthand view of the sport from the owners point of view.  My father has owned thoroughbred race horses since the late '70's and over the years I have experienced the high's and the low's.  I know the costs of keeping a horse in training and I have a great respect for those that choose to invest in a horse ownership even though the probability of being profitable is almost zero. 


With that said, let's take a look at the sport from both points of view to see why we have differing opinions on field size.


From a horseplayer's perspective short fields rarely offer any value.  Oftentimes they contain an odds on favorite with a high probability of winning, which in turn results in depressed exotic payoffs.  No value equals no bet.


From an owner's perspective short fields almost always offer great value.  The opportunity to run with a guarantee of a share of the purse money so long as the horse finishes the race is an opportunity that no owner will pass up.


As horseplayers, we seek out betting opportunities that offer a positive expectation.  Those opportunities occur when our horse is being offered at overlaid odds, when an exotic bet provides overlaid probable payoffs or when there is a carryover that will nullify the takeout rate.  Those are the situations that call for a serious bet.


Owners also seek out opportunities that offer a positive expectation.  Running a horse in a four, five, or six horse field guarantees a piece of the purse money.  Running in a ten, twelve, or fourteen horse field does not.


As horseplayers, our goal is to turn a profit each year.  We do that by carefully selecting which races and betting pools to invest our bankroll in because we must not only beat our fellow horseplayers but also the exorbitant takeout rates.


Owners also have a goal of turning a profit each year.  They do so by carefully selecting which races to run their horses in.  They need to collect purse money in order to cover the cost of daily training, vet bills and all other costs associated with keeping a horse in training.


I could continue but I think you get the point: horseplayers and owners both have the same goal of turning a profit each year.  Betting on horse races is expensive and owning horses is expensive and combined with the chaos that can occur in race it is no surprise that only a select few in each group comes out in the black at the end of the year.


The bottom line is, without horseplayers betting on the races, there would be no money to fund the purse accounts, and without owners buying and racing horses, there would be no races for us to bet on. 


They need us and we need them and rather than taking shots at one another a more productive effort would be to sit down and determine how we can help one another make the sport more attractive for both sides.


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Older Comments about Short Fields: An Owner's Dream and a Horseplayer's Nightmare...

The best rebuttle from this thread was I fart in your general direction.......
Well done TV.
TV__ a silly discussion about CYCLING vs Match races and you’re still always right. If all else fails, call them ignorant. Come to think of it, you pretty much think anyone who hasn’t been on the 7th floor {except the gate crew, of course} is an *ignant*/ idiot/dunce/ so I’m in good company.___ I fart in your general direction – J Cleese.
When I am told that there were only a handful of races that I have studied, then I laugh out loud: there are over 100
a match race. The 2012 American Manual list many many more
Lori Lynn over Rogation are big names? at FRESNO? Yeah, real big...
Did you coin the phrase >> "Me not dumb" too? :D
travel_vic · Ignornance just perpetuates itself >> like :D
bif names like Lori Lynn over Rogation at Fresno OCt 12th 1957 and on and on and on Jovial John over Blunt Man at the famous Cahokia Downs Nov 16h Nov 16th 1972...there are about 100 of them
Ignornance just perpetuates itself
Didn’t think so. Guess you’ll NEVER admit error.
I am not the one who claims there are more, t_v. You made a claim, support it. You also own a manual, I do not.
Your ignorance fits you like a cheap suit. Fitting too
travel_vic · • match races are CONTINTUALLY Like bicycle contests in the Olympics … cat and mouse affairs that are paceless__ Do you have data?
no you are such a great investigator, find an American Racing Manual and list them yourself
List them. Modern intentional races.
American Racing Manual lists them over 2 to 3 pages and these are just the MAJOR ones
there have been FAR MORE than 7 match races over the years many many more
1/7, or 14%

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