By Bill Finley
The dramatic late drop in the odds on Firenze Fire (Poseidon's Warrior) in Saturday's GIII Dwyer S. at Belmont was the result of $124,109 being wagered on the horse to win within 36 seconds of betting being shut off before the race, the TDN has learned from a reliable source.
Though the Jason Servis-trained 3-year-old was ultra-impressive winning the race by nine lengths, the betting on the Dwyer has drawn a lot more attention than the horse's performance. That is because the NYRA feed showed Firenze Fire at 5-1 as the field left the gate and then the horse was 5-2 when the odds were updated about 20 seconds after the race began.
The pool for the Dwyer closed at 4:38:38. At 4:38.02, an $8,500 win bet was made on the eventual winner. A series of bets between $2,083 and $4,355 followed. At 4:38.16, 12 bets in increments of $5,000 were bet at the same time. It's apparent that one player made a $60,000 win bet at that time, but his or her tote company was only able to record the bets at a maximum of $5,000 each.
A bet of $2,012 followed at 4:38.18. At the exact same time, a win bet of $24,055 came in and then at 4:38.21another $11,596 was bet to win on Firenze Fire.
Odds are updated in cycles and the cycles are more frequent as the race draws closer. Within the last minute before the race goes off, the odds are updated every 10 seconds.
At Cycle 2, approximately 20 seconds before the race began, Firenze Fire was 6.3-1. He went down to 5-1 with the next flash and then closed at 5-2.
However, the odds that are shown to the public are not updated immediately. From the time a bet is made, it takes 10 seconds for it to work its way into the parimutuel pools. It then takes another 10 seconds or so before those odds are updated on the toteboard and on the television feed. That explains why the public was not able to see the final odds on Firenze Fire until 20 seconds after the race began.
The TDN was not able to determine who made the bets or where they were placed, but large, last-second wagers of this magnitude are most often made by bettors you use computer programs to calculate what they believe the accurate odds on a horse are. When Firenze Fire was 6-1, their computer programs were likely telling them he was an overlay and his odds should have been much shorter. The computer players bet accordingly and drive the price of any overlays they see down close to what they believe the actual odds should be. They also receive substantial rebates from whichever company handles their wagering.
It also appears that at least two different computer bettors were on to the same angle as the $60,000 and the $24,055 and $11,596 bets were made at different times and the odd amounts of the latter two bets suggests they were made through a tote company where bets do not have to be limited to $5,000 maximums.
At 4:38:23, the money wagered to win on Firenze Fire accounted for 14% of the total win pool. In the final odds, 22% of the win money was on the Servis runner.
The heavy money that came in on Firenze Fire also caused the odds of race favorite Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy) to go up dramatically within the closing seconds. He was 4-5 at the 20-second cycle, even-money at the 10-second cycle and his final odds were 3-2. He finished a well beaten third.
There were a few other odds shifts within the final 36 seconds, but none nearly as dramatic as the one on Firenze Fire. Seahenge (Scat Daddy), Mendelssohn's stablemate, went from 37-1 to 27-1. Seven Trumpets (Morning Line) fell from 15-1 to 10-1.