The publicity in horse racing or about horse racing is almost always about the horses. The stakes races feature the best runners and the headlines in the Saturday horse racing forms and sports pages of the newspapers are usually about the stars of racing. Sometimes the jockeys are featured and let’s not forget the trainers, too. That’s nice and it is good to remember that the real stars of racing are the horses and the people who risk their lives riding them in thrilling races whether they be cheap claiming races or showcase events.
However, let’s also not forget that horse racing melbourne horse racing exists and is maintained by and for the bettors. What would horse racing be if there was no betting on it? Ever hear of polo? Wealthy people play polo or own polo horses and the same is true of horse jumping events and horse shows. They are very nice and there are some beautiful horses that jump, trot, scamper and otherwise take our breath away with their beauty and grace, if we happen to be flipping through the channels and stumble upon one of those events on a cable channel.
Grand Prix jumping is an athletic event that requires great athletic ability for horse and rider. It costs a lot of money to own and compete in those events and you need one of the top riders on your payroll if you want to win, but since there is no real wagering on those events, they go unnoticed by the mainstream or the hoi polloi. Why then isn’t there more written about wagering and how to bet than there is about how a particular horse is once again racing in an event it won last year or that it narrowly missed winning last year?
Yes, if you’re handicapping the race it is good to know how the horses have done in the past. That’s why we use past performances to handicap, but we handicap in order to find good bets. Why not come right out and say that the horse may be a good bet if you can get better than even odds at post time – that if its main rival is scratched you should take it at even money? Why pussy foot around the fact that thousands or even millions of people will be betting on the race and that’s why it’s in the news and not buried in a snippet beside the local lacrosse results?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because our country (the USA) has a love hate relationship with gambling. Politicians and municipalities act like they hate gambling and it’s a scourge, but love to tax it and use the tax money. That attitude influences the people who write about the races and the race tracks themselves sometimes buy into the mistaken notion that they are hosting sporting events that are mainly spectator sports for the curious. Yes, we love to watch horse races, but plunk down $2 on one of the runners and you’re suddenly in the race, as some people say, “You’ve got some skin in the game.”
Let’s lose the outdated, puritanical, hypocritical attitude and admit it’s about the money. Write about the betting and wagering and how much money will flow and who may win and who may lose money on the race. Let’s move horse racing and wagering into the twenty first century.