JC / Railbird

The Next Web

“Turns out, that there is still huge unlocked potential, there is still a huge frustration that people have, because we haven’t got data on the web as data.”

In the TED talk embedded above, Tim Berners-Lee recalls inventing the WWW twenty years ago and observes that the web’s original purpose of linking documents together is evolving into one of linking data. (Think APIs, think of the potential for racing. Amazing, right? Try not to get too discouraged contemplating the current state of data distribution in the industry.)


“Try not to get too discouraged contemplating the current state of data distribution in the industry.”

Thank goodness I don’t have to worry over the farblondzhet industry. At My podunk hippodrome it’s ALL free – ALL the time. (with two years of replays, even.)

Posted by wiinky on March 13, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

Fraser Downs is an enlightened track. There are others that provide patrons with entries, live video, charts, etc. And Keeneland is very progressive. What I find frustrating, though, isn’t so much getting pps or replays, but getting raw data to do any sort of specialized or historical analysis. That’s where linked data, XML feeds, APIs etc. would be incredibly useful.

Posted by JNC on March 13, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

RAW DATA NOW!! Say it with me now!

Posted by o_crunk on March 13, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

“but getting raw data to do any sort of specialized or historical analysis”

I takes me about 30 minutes to cut and paste 3 days of result charts off of an HTML page and into EXCEL as text, massage it a bit and then a few more minutes to import into ACCESS.

Alternatively TrackMaster provides charts as CSV text for a buck a day.

Posted by wiinky on March 13, 2009 @ 10:28 pm

I watched this today and thought about your ideas JC.

About eight years ago I wanted to get football data for a betting idea. I contacted someone with a scraping program thingy, but lo a behold I stumbled upon a website which was already doing just that. He had boxscore raw data from 1990 onwards. This site, along with others which sprouted up from that time on allowed football bettors, and fantasy football fanatics a chance to get hooked.

Not long after that I tried in racing, and hit roadblocks at every passage. It was extremely difficult. I contacted someone who was scraping published results data and he would not allow me to use it for fear of being sued. I then tried to buy some, but the cost was too prohibitive and I would have had to pay someone to crunch it anyway. I finally gave up.

In terms of API’s betfair has been cutting edge with this for a long time.


One of the companies founders started up bettor logic not to long ago. It crunches all sorts of historical data to look at trends and neat stuff like that.


Outside racing, there is some really neat stuff happening on the data front.

Posted by PTP on March 13, 2009 @ 11:42 pm

As you said in a comment on your site, PTP —

Maybe we don’t need a commissioner, we need a CTO.”

Posted by JNC on March 14, 2009 @ 3:25 pm