Archives for December 2022

Is There a Betting Edge with Female Jockeys? One Study Says Yes

jockey riding a horse raceWe analyzed British horse racing data from 664,536 runners (horses and riders) in National Hunt races across a 20-year period, from January 2001 to January 2021. National hunt races require horses to jump fences and ditches. The races were mixed—women didn’t compete in separate races.

Using starting prices, the odds at the start of a horse race, we calculated each horse’s probability of winning. We also gauged the expected finish position of each horse by ranking the odds. Then we compared our predictions with the race results.

To our surprise, the results for horses with female jockeys were significantly better than their odds predicted. Indeed, our model estimates that across the study period in a 20-horse race, females would on average finish one place higher than their odds implied.

Starting prices are… continue reading about an edge with female jockeys

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What percentage of the time do favorites win?

Sunland Park Horse Racing Returns Friday

Sunland Park Racetrack getting ready for 60th racing seasonThe 63rd season of horse racing is set to begin Friday at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. The 55-day meet, which ends April 2, 2023, will feature some of the top thoroughbreds and quarter horses in the country.

Racing will be held on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with an average of $275,000 in daily purses will be given away, totaling $15.5-$16 million in purses this season. Last season, the track paid out approximately $14.7 million in purses.

Sunland Derby, Oaks return

The annual Grade III, $600,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) will be run on Sunday, March 26, 2023. The Kentucky Derby prep race… continue reading about Sunland Park

What’s Happening with Racinos in Chicago?

Fans at Hawthorne racecourse. Fans at Hawthorne racecourseMore than three years after Hawthorne Race Course was authorized to add casino gambling, not a single card has been dealt nor a coin dropped in the slots. The $400 million combination horse racetrack and casino, or “racino,” was supposed to have opened in 2021.

Workers even started initial demolition work at the track, which shut down the grandstand. Track officials maintain the project is coming soon, but construction has yet to begin, leaving racing and casino fans alike scratching their heads.

In the meantime, other ventures have gotten the go-ahead for new casinos in Chicago, Waukegan, East Hazel Crest and Danville. Temporary casinos were…  continued from the Chicago Tribune

Big Data Derby Winner of Horse Racing Analytics Contest Announced

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) today announced that a team led by Brendan Kumagai has been selected as the winner of the inaugural Big Data Derby competition. Kumagai, together with Gurashish Bagga, Kimberly Kroetch, Tyrel Stokes, and Liam Welsh, took the $20,000 first prize with the submission, “Bayesian Velocity Models for Horse Race Simulation.”

Kumagai’s team created a dynamic model that focused on horses’ forward versus lateral speed, and examined the results of sustained momentum and velocity within races. The team also studied jockey performance and how that would impact a horse’s running style. Another conclusion in the study posited that with additional biometric data, it would be possible to calculate a horse’s welfare and injury probability.

“We’re honored to be named the winners of the inaugural Big Data Derby competition,” said Kumagai. “Our team primarily works in financial analytics and hockey statistics, so working with horse racing data has been a unique challenge which allowed us to apply our skills to a relatively new and unexplored domain.”

The Big Data Derby was launched with the goal of analyzing the vast amounts of data available to racing organizations, and to understand how the results of those studies could impact traditional methods of racing and training. The competition was sponsored by the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) in partnership with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Equibase, The Jockey Club, Breeders’ Cup and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

Related Article about the Horse Racing Analytics Contest winner

A total of 106 submissions were received for the inaugural Big Data Derby. 9,349 potential competitors accessed the competition’s four data files over the course of the competition. A wide and varied range of submissions offered models that shed light on injury prevention, jockey decision making metrics, race tactics, track bias and more.

An open notebook of user-created content and data can be viewed at:….

“Our main objective with this competition was to usher in an age of technological innovation analyzing horse racing data to suggest improvements in vital topics such as equine performance and welfare,” said NYTHA President Joe Appelbaum. “The enthusiastic response from this community suggests that our tradition-bound sport could benefit by applying knowledge gained from machine learning.”

Kumagai, a Data Science intern at Zelus Analytics, was previously part of a team that won the 2022 Big Data Bowl offered by the National Football League.

The Big Data Derby offered a total of $50,000 in prize money with $20,000 awarded to the winner and $10,000 each to the next three placings. The competition was held on Kaggle, a global data science platform with over 500,000 active users where participants compete by using machine learning to solve problems ranging from the trivial to the extremely complex.

The runners-up included Kyle King’s submission “Track Bias,” which explained the calculation of a track bias metric. Timothy Leung and Philip Leung offered “Advanced Horse Race Tactics Using Coordinate Data,” which examined the impact of drafting percentage, path efficiency, race strategy and speed fluctuation. Artem Volgin and Ekaterina Melianova submitted “Winning Strategies: What Works Better,” a study of jockey tactics and race flow.

“Data science can have a profound impact on a number of different aspects of horse racing,” said Joe Longo, GM of NYRA Content Management Services. “It can be applied to enhance our understanding of equine health and safety or day-to-day training methods by providing a new toolkit to even the most knowledgeable racing participants. NYRA is committed to embracing this pursuit moving forward.”

The competition was judged by data analyst Rob Bingel, Rhodes College Economics Professor, avid horseplayer and thoroughbred owner Marshall Gramm, and Craig Milkowski of TimeformUS.

“What came across loud and clear in reviewing all of the presentations was a passion for quantitative analysis and a learning curiosity that was piqued by the intricacies that the data-rich world of horse racing has to offer,” said Bingel, a financial planner and racing data analyst. “This competition served as a valuable introduction of the data scientist community to NYRA/NYTHA and holds the promise for future collaboration. The solutions proposed by the entrants, especially the winners, naturally leads to thoughts about what future important questions they could so capably answer.”

The 2022 fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack continues through Saturday, December 31. For additional information, and the complete stakes schedule, visit

Source: NYRA

NYRA Joins Forces with Silks Metaverse Game

NYRA Bets Holding, LLC, a subsidiary of NYRA Bets, LLC (NYRA Bets), the official online wagering platform of the New York Racing Association, Inc., (NYRA), and Game of Silks (Silks), the online game connected to the real world of thoroughbred horse racing, today announced a new partnership resulting in NYRA Bets Holding, LLC acquiring a minority equity ownership position in Silks. In addition to this strategic investment, the partnership establishes Silks as the Official Blockchain Game and Metaverse Partner of NYRA.

Game of Silks launched in April 2022 with a mission to democratize thoroughbred racehorse ownership by delivering a groundbreaking experience to a new generation of tech-driven sports and gaming enthusiasts via the blockchain. The landmark agreement between NYRA and Silks will enable the global horse racing industry to capitalize on the rapid growth of Web3 gaming through the Game of Silks, a top 10 sports-themed NFT platform on the Ethereum blockchain which boasts a community of more than 25,000 members.

The Game of Silks metaverse is powered by a play-to-earn gaming economy that parallels the IRL U.S. thoroughbred racing economy. To enter the game, players are required to purchase a non-fungible token (NFT) in the form of a unique racing silk, which represents their identity throughout the metaverse and appears virtually on their horses, stables and other digital in-game assets they own. Each year, Game of Silks tokenizes the annual breeding crop of Gallop into profitability with an NFT horse-racing game platform like Zed Runaround 20,000 thoroughbreds and transforms these horses into digital in-game assets which are then sold to Silks players. Silks horse owners receive valuable rewards pegged to real-world prize purses when their corresponding horse wins a race. They also receive valuable rewards when the real-world counterparts of their horses breed.

“This is a monumental deal matching NYRA with the fastest-growing metaverse sports game in the space,” said Dan Nissanoff, Founder & CEO of Game of Silks. “We clearly see the vast potential that Web3 gaming and the metaverse have to offer horse racing, and this partnership will allow the sport to build an unprecedented interactive virtual experience that can attract millions of new fans.”

Game of Silks allows participants to acquire, collect, trade and interact with digital assets which represent actual thoroughbreds that can have productive racing and breeding careers spanning their 20 year lives. This creates unprecedented long-term utility for these in-game NFT-based assets. Beyond the racetrack, the Game of Silks ecosystem provides an opportunity for players to purchase a variety of NFTs including parcels of land for the development of racing and breeding farms, stables and other racing-related digital assets to support the Silks ecosystem.

“Game of Silks presents its players with a fascinating and entertaining challenge by gamifying racehorse ownership in a completely new way,” said Dave O’Rourke, NYRA President & CEO. “Silks captures the evolution of fan engagement and appeals to both the seasoned horseplayer and complete newcomer, which is exactly why NYRA seized the opportunity to enter this partnership. NYRA is committed to educating our fans about the Silks platform to grow the game and ultimately increase horse racing’s fan base.”

NYRA will utilize America’s Day at the Races and Saratoga Live, the acclaimed national television shows produced by NYRA and broadcast on the networks of FOX Sports, to provide Silks owners with the latest news, data and information on the Silks metaverse.

Moving forward, Silks aims to build interactive digital replicas of the sport’s most historic and important racetracks. In addition, NYRA’s position as the operator of Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack will now accelerate the creation of digital versions of New York’s premium racing venues in the Silks metaverse.

For more information on Silks.

About Game of Silks

Game of Silks is the first derivative gamified metaverse to mirror the real world of thoroughbred horse racing. The Silks metaverse is powered by a play-to-earn economy where participants can own, trade and interact with a variety of in-game NFTs, earn rewards through skilled gameplay, and experience the thrill of thoroughbred horse ownership. Game of Silks was launched in June 2021 by Dan Nissanoff, a 5X technology startup entrepreneur and Troy Levy, CEO of Tropical Racing, Inc., a business primarily focused on thoroughbred breeding, racing and pinhooking. For more information on Game of Silks visit

About NYRA

NYRA holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State’s horse racing economy, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual economic impact. For additional information, visit


Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Upstate New York

Wagering Up 16.5 Percent At Finger Lakes In 2022

Impressive performances at the mutuel windows and on the track highlighted the 61st season of Thoroughbred horse racing at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack in Farmington, N.Y.

Despite one less day of racing, 89 in total, and 25 fewer races, all-sources total handle was $101,480,490, a spike of 16.5 percent. The average daily handle was $1,140,230 for the meet that concluded on Nov. 23.

On-track wagering also saw a double-digit increase of 12.8%, with wagering of $1,969,344. There were a total of 730 races run during the meet…

What Percentage of Thoroughbred Owners Turn a Profit?

The Blood-Horse magazine has published an article based on a study from the U.K.

“For all but a very few mega owner-breeders—whose aim is to create stallion prospects and for whom this is very much a business—having one or more horses in training is a leisure pursuit, something to take the mind away from the day-to-day concerns of work, health, and family. As such, there is a line of thinking that you should not really expect a return on your leisure investments any more than if you take up golf or sailing, or hill walking.

But the reality is that racing is a professional sport which supports a whole industry and has prize money to match, most of which goes to the owner…”  Read the findings here