Archives for May 2018

A Study to Prove Daily Fantasy Sports is a Game of Skill?

Daily Fantasy Sports is a Skill Game, We Have a Study to Prove It

“Now we have proof – real analytical, data-driven, published proof – that DFS is indeed a game of skill.  This study states that it’s backed by arguments and logic used in basic statistics and probability theory….”

JD Supra (press release) Full coverage

Source: Daily Fantasy Sports is a Skill Game, We Have a Study to Prove It

Justify’s Win Illustrates a Major Problem in Horse Racing

By Charles Simon

Justify ran his eyeballs out in winning the Preakness and, truly, he has done some amazing things by being pushed to the limit in a modern racing world where risk taking is seemingly a foreign concept. He is headed to Belmont with a chance to win a quite unique version of the Triple Crown. However, one of the biggest underlying issues of horse racing is being exposed during this fantastic and rapid ascent by Justify.

The very top of racing is polluted with conflicts of interest, with too few horsemen training all the best horses for a narrow group of very wealthy people that have increasingly chosen to join together rather than compete against each other. When Triple Crown-runs and our most important races are now potentially compromised because of that situation, how much longer until the validity of the results of the sport are questioned?

Derby144 workout Justify at Santa AnitaAx Man won the Sir Barton over the same track as Justify did on Saturday with a better speed figure (99 to 97). Does that mean he would have won Preakness or is better than Justify? Absolutely not, but it does mean that him not participating in the Belmont Stakes because his trainer is shooting for a Triple Crown with a different horse is a little unsettling. I completely understand why they wouldn’t run, but it’s still an uncomfortable situation to try to explain away.

Audible might have won the Preakness considering the 1/2 length margin that Justify won by over clearly inferior horses with running styles very similar to Audible’s running style. If Audible who is owned by the same group that owns Justify doesn’t run in the Belmont and goes on to be the best three year old post-Triple Crown season, it could be the first modern day Triple Crown that comes with an asterisk.

Sure, Justify is a great horse who will have earned it if he completes the Triple Crown with a Belmont win but having potentially two of the arguably top five, healthy three year olds not competing because everyone seems to be on the same team… well, to be kind, it is not a ‘good look.’ We have no idea if they could beat him but the whole idea of racing is to race to see if they can.

These are our very best and most important races, and they are increasingly fraught with conflict of interest which are more readily apparent because of the spotlight focused on the Triple Crown. Think about how compromised our regular graded stakes can be affected in a similar though more subtle manner? We won’t even go into regular overnight races and the issues created there.

The entire premise of the sport of horse racing is competition. “My horse is better than yours. Let’s prove it on the track”. The more bastardized the top of the sport becomes, the more the foundation of the entire game is weakened. If this past week’s white-hot debate over the ‘future of racing in a sports betting legalized world’ doesn’t make this situation even more troubling, you just aren’t paying attention.

Imagine if the owners of the Golden State Warriors bought a 20-percent stake in the Houston Rockets before the Western Conference Finals? How do you think that would go over with sports fans? And our sport is supported by people BETTING on it!

 

  • Charles Simon is a successful, veteran trainer based out of South Florida.

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Belmont Man o’War Card Soars over 50%

Saturday’s stakes-packed card at Belmont Park, highlighted by Hi Happy’s victory in the 60th running of the Grade 1, $700,000 Man o’ War, generated all-sources handle of $15,642,446, a 50.6% increase over 2017. The 11-race card, which included 4 graded stakes and 5 total stakes, had an average field size of 7.82, a 7.6 percent increase over 2017.

Despite cool temperatures and intermittent rain throughout the day, on-track handle was $1,812,370, a 48.1 percent increase over 2017.

 2018 Man o’ War Day
  • May 12, 2018
  • Races: 11
  • Stakes: 5
  • All-sources handle on NYRA races: $15,642,446
  • On-track handle on NYRA races: $1,812,370

2017 Man o’ War Day

  • May 13, 2017
  • Races: 11
  • Stakes: 4
  • All-sources handle on NYRA races: $10,384,063
  • On-track handle on NYRA races: $1,223,589

Source: Press Release

Overnight Ratings Spike 12% for NBC Preakness Broadcast

Is Horse Racing Dead?

With viewers perhaps sensing a special horse in undefeated Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) winner Justify, overnight ratings for NBC’s Preakness Stakes (G1) increased 12% compared with last year’s broadcast.

Source: Overnight Ratings Spike 12% for NBC Preakness Broadcast

“Off the Charts” Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – May 20, 2018

Put these runners in your Stable Alert or Stable Mail service.

CHURCHILL DOWNS

ANGASTON (Race 4 at CD, 5/10/18) – this 3yo gelding took to the turf like a duck to water.  His grandsire is Lonhro who is a top stallion ‘down under’ in Australia.  The Lon Wiggins trainee drew off and crushed this allowance field at huge odds.  He is now the 4th winner out of his dam (mother) who is by Marquetry.  Can handle all surfaces but is best at one mile or under on the lawn.

AWESTRUCK (Race 7 at CD, 5/10/18) – daughter of top sire Tapit has really come into her own for trainer Rusty Arnold.  Stretching back out, packing more weight, and stepping up into “two other than” allowance optional company was no problem for the 4yo as she absolutely crushed what looked like a good, competitive field.

MIDNIGHT TEA TIME (Race 4 at CD, KY Derby Day, 5/5/18) – lightly raced son of Midnight Lute looked like a winner in this maiden special weights event but was blocked badly in the stretch run, costing him the chance for the win. Out of a stakes winning Dynaformer mare.

BEHAVIORAL BIAS (Race 5 at CD, KY Derby Day, 5/5/18) – This Al Stall, Jr. runner made a bold, wide move at the top of the lane to hook the strong favorite McCracken and battled gamely with that runner in the stretch run.  This allowance race played like a stakes race.  Consistent, talented son of Shackleford will get a stakes win soon.

AUDIBLE (Race 12 at CD, KY Derby, 5/5/18) – Florida Derby winner was the best of the closers and he finished willingly up the rail to just miss 2nd to Good Magic in a very good performance.

Suffolk Downs to Raise Summer Meet Purses 15%

Live racing will return to Suffolk Downs this summer with three two-day racing festivals and the track announced today a purse increase of 15% on overnight purses. The three festival weekends are scheduled to be held June 9-10, July 7-8 and August 4-5.

In 2017, the track conducted four weekends of live racing with an average daily purse of $493,095, including incentives.

The track offered lucrative starter incentives for trainers at $400 per horse and owners were rewarded with $500 for horses finishing first through fifth (on top of purse money) while the owners of horses finishing sixth through last received a bonus of $1,500. This incentive program will continue in 2018.

“We are looking forward to another season of racing and we are glad to be able to continue to reward the horsemen and women who have supported our festival weekends, especially those who stabled here in the past,” said Chip Tuttle, the Chief Operating Officer at Suffolk Downs. “We understand that asking people to ship in for each weekend requires that we ensure some return on their investment and we expect that we’ll be over $500,000 per day in purses with this increase. We appreciate the cooperation of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in making these weekends a success.”

horse racing blinkersWith the 15% purse increase for 2018, $5,000 claiming races will now carry a purse of $30,000, maiden special weight races will offer a purse of $47,500 and allowance/optional claiming races will be listed at $52,500, pending approval by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

The track is also scheduled to host a stakes race both weekends in July and August and those black-type events will have a purse of $100,000. The first weekend of racing, June 9-10, will coincide with the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes.

Over the course of each weekend, there will be stakes races restricted to either horses foaled in Massachusetts or sired by a Massachusetts-based stallion. Each offers a purse of $50,000 and is a showcase for the Massachusetts Thoroughbred breeding industry.

In addition to live racing, the track will be hosting a food truck festival each weekend featuring food trucks from a variety of local vendors, craft beer, live music and family fun activities for the whole family.

For more information, visit www.suffolkdowns.com

Kentucky Derby winner Justify hot favorite for the Preakness Stakes

Kentucky Derby winner Justify hot favorite for the Preakness Stakes CNN Kentucky Derby winner Justify draws No7 post for Preakness Stakes The Guardian Is it time to widen the gap between Kentucky Derby and Preakness? The Augusta Chronicle Justify followed a tricky path to win Kentucky Derby.

Source: Kentucky Derby winner Justify hot favorite for the Preakness Stakes

Churchill Downs and Sports Betting

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (Nasdaq:CHDN) has announced an agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City (“Golden Nugget”) to enter into the New Jersey real money online gaming (iGaming) and sports betting markets, subject to sports wagering legislation and gaming license approvals. CDI is targeting the first quarter 2019 to begin accepting legal wagers for iGaming and sports betting in New Jersey.

“We are looking forward to offering integrated iGaming and sports betting products in New Jersey,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs.  “We have the unique opportunity to leverage our knowledge and experience operating the largest legal online horse racing wagering business in the U.S. as we enter the iGaming and sports betting markets.”

“We welcome Churchill Downs, a respected U.S. gaming operator with online wagering experience, to New Jersey,” said Thomas Winter, senior vice president and general manager, Online Gaming, for Landry’s Golden Nugget. “The addition of their offering will allow Golden Nugget Atlantic City to cater to an even larger demographic of New Jersey online players.”

The Golden Nugget Atlantic City, located on Frank S. Farley Marina, is a premier resort destination, offering guests more than 740 rooms and suites.  The Golden Nugget has established strong brand recognition worldwide with locations in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Launched in November 2013, GoldenNuggetCasino.com is the number one U.S. online casino and was voted Operator of the Year three years in a row from 2015 to 2017 at the iGaming North America Awards.  Golden Nugget Atlantic City accounts for 35% of the New Jersey online gaming market.

Churchill winner's circleChurchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (Nasdaq:CHDN), headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is an industry-leading racing, gaming and online entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event – The Kentucky Derby.  We are the largest legal online account wagering platform for horseracing in the U.S., through our ownership of TwinSpires.com and have announced our plans to enter the U.S. real money online gaming and sports betting markets.  We are also a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with approximately 10,000 gaming positions in eight states.  Additional information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.

Source: Press Release

2018 Preakness Notes – Part II

Press Release

Quip Ready, Fit Sunday after Breezing 4F
With trainer Rodolphe Brisset aboard, Quip turned in his final timed work for the 143rd Preakness Stakes Sunday morning, breezing a half-mile in 48.20 seconds at Keeneland.
The WinStar Farm homebred son of Distorted Humor, co-owned by WinStar, China Horse Club and SF Racing, covered the first quarter of a mile in 24.40 and was timed in 23.80 for the second quarter. Quip was alone on the track at Keeneland at 6:30 a.m. and beat the heat that spiked later in the morning.
“He did exactly what we wanted and exactly his usual half-mile, out five-eighths,” Brisset said. “There was nothing fancy. We don’t need anything fancy anyway. We’re ready. He’s fit. We let him go off a little faster than 25 and came home in 23, and he galloped out (six furlongs) in 1:12 2/5. That’s his usual. He was by himself. We didn’t want to do more than this.”
Quip won the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and was second in the Arkansas Derby(G1) to accumulate more than enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but his connections opted to pass on the Derby and point to the Preakness. A primary reason was that the colt needed more time between races than three weeks from the Arkansas Derby to Kentucky Derby. Also WinStar had interests in three other Derby runners, including the eventual winner, Justify.
Brisset said he likes how Quip looks and is training entering the Preakness.
“He’s shown all the signs that he is back to his own self,” Brisset said. “The race in Arkansas and the trip was pretty hard on him. We gave him an easy week and a half after the Arkansas Derby. We didn’t lose anything because he has been galloping on a daily basis. Then we decided to pick the weather last week – breezing on Thursday (May 3) before the Kentucky Derby to beat the rain. That gives us a good 10 days between his last breeze and this one today. It’s good timing. Now we don’t have to do anything much, just keep him on his basic, regular galloping.”
Quip will be flown to Baltimore on Wednesday. Florent Geroux, who has been aboard for his five career starts, will ride Quip in the Preakness.
Bravazo Turns in 4F Maintenance Breeze
Calumet Farm’s Bravazo, the winner of Fair Grounds’ Risen Star (G2) who was sixth in the Kentucky Derby after being well-beaten in the Louisiana Derby, worked a half-mile in 50 3/5 seconds at Churchill Downs early Sunday morning in preparation for the Preakness Stakes.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he hadn’t seen the official time but had wanted something in the range of 50 seconds. He didn’t need the clocker’s splits to know Bravazo finished nicely.
“I don’t know what the splits were, have no idea,” he said. “I don’t pay any attention to that. I just want to see how they go. What were the splits? Had to be slow first.”
The official splits were 13 seconds for the first eighth-mile, 25 2/5 for the quarter-mile, 38 for three-eighths, with Bravazo going the final eighth-mile in 12 3/5 seconds and galloping out five-eighths of a mile in 1:04 4/5.
“He just ran eight days ago,” Lukas said. “He doesn’t need much.”
Calumet Farm and Lukas teamed in 2013 to win the Preakness with Oxbow, extending the historic Lexington farm’s record number of victories in the race to eight. It was the sixth for Lukas, who along with trainer Bob Baffert would tie the all-time record with another win. R.W. Walden won the Preakness seven times from 1875-1888.
Lukas’ other Preakness candidate, last summer’s Grade 1 Hopeful winner Sporting Chance, who was a troubled fourth in the Pat Day Mile (G3) on the Derby undercard, was scheduled to work a slow half-mile but wound up galloping.

Major Deal between Paddy Power Betfair and Fan Duel?

Paddy Power Betfair Plc is in talks to merge its U.S. unit with closely held website FanDuel as the Irish bookmaker positions itself for expanded sports betting in the U.S. following a Supreme Court ruling this week.

 “Discussions are ongoing and there is no certainty as to whether agreement will be reached, or as to the terms or timing of any transaction,” stated…