JC / Railbird


Dark Pools

Michael Cox reports on “price steaming” in unregulated exchanges:

[It] might sound like a lot of money to bet on horses that you don’t want to actually win, but if the liquidity was high enough on CITIbet, it could easily be a lucrative strategy. Because CITIbet pay-outs are based on the home totalisator dividend, a bet on the exchange of $20,000 — depending on some other factors, including the liquidity available — could have returned around $128,000 to the instigators of the sting for a total spend of around $60,000 — still a tidy profit of more than 100 percent and at much better odds than the 1-to-5 initially showing before the price steaming took place. Still, in this instance, the strategy backfired to a degree as the large investments triggered robotic wagering programs that also took a slice of the inflated odds, and as a result, the payout was much less …

Tote Improvements

Last-minute late odds drops may be less of a frustration for horseplayers by late 2012, when the TRPB plans to fully implement a new tote security system that will make it possible for racetracks to display real-time decimal odds. Frank Angst explains in the Thoroughbred Times:

The decimal odds would allow a horse that is 2.60-to-1 to actually be listed as 2.60-to-1. Currently, a horse that is 2.60-to-1 is listed as 5-to-2. If that horse’s odds fall to 2.40-to-1, it currently is listed as 2-to-1, which creates the perception of a more dramatic odds change that what actually occurred. The system initially will focus on win odds but plans would allow for the eventual addition of other pools.

According to the press release sent out by the TRA on Tuesday, the new system will also include a standardized stop-betting process — which should help end the sort of past-posting incidents handicapper Mike Maloney has publicized, such as this one at the Fair Grounds, or this one at Hollywood Park.

1/10/11 Addendum: If only such a system were already in place. Then, the odd betting that manifested in Sunday’s sixth race at Santa Anita might not be so mysterious. PTP speculates that one bettor may have been responsible.