Pat Cummings

Open Letter to the Industry: #FreeDataFriday Vol. 37: Where’s the Takeout Menu?

Amongst serious horseplayers, takeout rates in pari-mutuel pools are a frequent discussion. It should be a focus of breeders, owners, trainers and track operators. Unless they are serious bettors too, takeout rates rarely "get a run" from those constituencies, though. Our recent #FreeDataFriday piece highlighted the impact of various takeout rates on win pools at three different tracks. The higher the rate, the lower the return to winners--and thus, the less they would have to churn through the pools and start another cycle of betting. Recently, a few bettors lamented...

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#FreeDataFriday — Volume 36: Kentucky Workout Rules Not Working

Our sport can, and should, always seek continuous improvement. Take last Saturday, [May 23]'s first race at Churchill Downs as an example. Trainer Thomas Drury Jr. had two starters in the race--Step Ten, making his career debut and Baby White Sox, who would make his first start for Drury, but his third start overall, having run twice for Joe Sharp in 2019, the last of those starts coming in mid-September. While Step Ten is shown as having five published works, one most recently at Churchill and four at the Skylight...

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Open Letter to the Industy: #FreeDataFriday: Volume 34

UNDERSTANDING TAKEOUT Ogden Mills Phipps, former chairman of both The Jockey Club and New York Racing Association and a legendary owner and breeder, heartily advocated for lower takeout nearly five decades ago. In December 1976, Blood-Horse outlined the Phipps plea, a source of great concern given the rising competition in the New York market. "With continuing declines in track attendance and mutuel handle, Thoroughbred racing is faced principally with twin threats, witnesses at an Aqueduct hearing stressed. There are the existing off-track betting structure, which has hurt track management and...

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Open Letter to the Industry: #FreeDataFriday – Racing’s Open Data Canyon

Thoroughbred Idea Foundation Two weeks ago, Microsoft announced the launch of its "Open Data Campaign," in their words, "to help address the looming 'data divide' and help organizations of all sizes to realize the benefits of data and the new technologies it powers. "We believe everyone can benefit from opening, sharing and collaborating around data to make better decisions, improve efficiency and even help tackle some of the world's most pressing societal challenges." Now, it is obvious that it is in Microsoft corporate's interests to convince others of this, but...

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How Much of the Wagering Dollar Actually Goes to Horsemen?

The following is an abridged version of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation's #FreeDataFriday entry for this week. The full version can be read at this link. Here is a simple question: How much revenue does a horse race produce for the horsemen running horses in that race? The answer is incredibly complex, and in many jurisdictions, almost impossible to discern. A publication from the Thoroughbred Owners of California in 2016 offers a glimpse into an answer, at least for races run in that state. While these numbers are likely to have...

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TIF Executive Director Pat Cummings Joins TDN Writers’ Room

Thoroughbred Idea Foundation executive director Pat Cummings joined the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland Wednesday to discuss a wide-ranging assortment of macro issues the sport is facing, and how it can be more efficient post-pandemic. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Cummings was asked about last week's #FreeDataFriday white paper posted by the TIF, in which he focused on the shockingly small percentage of purse money that is derived from wagering dollars. "It's been happening like this for a very long time...

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TDN Writers’ Room for April 29, 2020 With Pat Cummings

The Thoroughbred Idea Foundation issued a paper last week showing just how much of the pie goes to ADWs, and how little to purses, in California. Pat Cummings of the TIF joins us to talk about it.

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Open Letter to the Industry: Horsemen Struggling, Purses Down – Give Away Free Basic PPs

by Thoroughbred Idea Foundation For more than two weeks, Home Box Office (HBO) has offered free streaming via the HBO Now and HBO GO platforms for several of its famous titles, "the first time...this type of programming [is] available outside of a paywall throughout the month of April. The service is usually priced at $14.99 per month." Horse racing is not HBO, but the point is obvious. What a better way to get people to try your product than take the most captive audience period in history and give them...

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Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission Suspends Sooner 6ix Wager

The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission (OHRC) has suspended the Sooner 6ix wager until further notice and all wagers on the Sooner 6ix placed Friday were to be refunded, according to a tweet from Remington Park. The decision stems from Remington's failure to pay out the Sooner 6ix jackpot Apr. 10 to horseplayer Jeff Arthur, who constructed what appeared to be a unique winning sequence using 2,016 combinations ($403.20 ticket cost) Apr. 10. Remington Park claimed that a dead-heat created a second winning ticket, thus nullifying the jackpot. Arthur instead was...

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Remington Park Fails to Pay Jackpot to Single-Ticket Winner

From the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation: Oklahoma-based Remington Park has failed to pay its single-ticket jackpot to a winning customer, claiming a dead-heat created a second winning ticket, negating the player's unique win. Horseplayer Jeff Arthur structured several non-overlapping tickets playing Remington's Sooner 6ix bet Friday, Apr. 10, 2020. One ticket, costing him $403.20 and including 2,016 combinations, was entered via Arthur's ADW account. An image of the ticket can be found here. Arthur received consolation payouts totaling $8,920, which was the total amount of that night's minor pool, and which...

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TIF #FreeDataFriday Volume 28: Improving Racing Integrity

'What happened to the organization once called "the FBI of racing?" TIF Note: We hope you are staying healthy during these challenging times for our world. Over the past months, we have published a series of reports questioning the state of transparency and integrity measures in North American racing. We have made some suggestions that, if implemented, would yield more open reporting in the hopes of creating a sport in which well-intentioned participants have more confidence. The following is another submission in this series. What questions might you have about...

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Open Letter to the Industry: #FreeDataFriday Vol. 25: Hiding in Plain Data

Editor's Note: the following is part of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation's weekly `Free-Data Friday' series. by Pat Cummings The federal indictments handed down on Monday, March 9 have rippled through the American racing industry, with every indication more are on the way. The results confirmed details which American horseplayers have accounted-for in their analysis over a long period. The veritable dean of those, Andy Beyer, used his platform in the Washington Post as the nation's horseplayer/columnist of record for decades to share his insights informed by observations and data. In...

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