|To: 249443 who started this subject||2/19/2003 2:32:14 PM|
British Web Site Lets Gamblers Have It Their Way
By Andrew Beyer
Friday, January 3, 2003; Page D06
A revolution has rocked gambling in Britain. So-called "sports betting exchanges," exemplified by a company called Betfair, have enthralled gamblers, giving them unprecedented opportunities, while generating fear and intense opposition from established bookmaking firms.
While Betfair is principally oriented toward British events, it also handles action on American horse racing and other sports. U.S. horseplayers who establish an account with the company will be amazed by the value it offers. And U.S. racetrack operators -- most of whom are now oblivious to what is happening at www.betfair.com -- are going to be stunned by the nature of this new competition.
Betfair has done for wagering what eBay has done for commerce: Through the Internet, it brings together two parties to make a transaction without having to pay the traditional middleman. Just as the owner of a painting can offer it online to eBay's customers and avoid an auction house's steep commissions, subscribers to Betfair can make wagers with each other, bypassing bookmakers and racetracks with their high takeout rates.
The business has been stunningly successful, and it now "matches" -- i.e. serves as the middleman for -- more than $10 million per day in bets.
Betfair's founder, Andrew Black, told an interviewer: "Centuries ago, betting started between individuals and then needed market-makers -- bookmakers -- when it got bigger. Now, in a sense, it has come full circle."
Betfair handles wagers on a wide variety of activities -- soccer, American football, cricket, darts, the Golden Globe Awards, the 2004 U.S. presidential election, the Dow Jones industrial average (you can bet whether the index will be up or down on any day). In any category, a customer may offer a wager for which he will act as a bookmaker, e.g.: He wants to lay odds of 15 to 1 against Hillary Rodham Clinton becoming the next Democratic presidential candidate, and will take up to $100 in wagers. Or a customer can propose a bet that he wants to make with someone: He wants to bet $50 at 3 to 1 or greater that "Gangs of New York" will win the Golden Globe Award for best picture.
Betfair's computer systems streamline this process, handling as many as 12,000 transactions per minute. Customers first establish an account and make a deposit -- though U.S.-issued credit cards are not accepted. (Americans need to make a wire transfer from their bank.) Their transactions are anonymous; bettors simply type the amount of a proposed or accepted wager into a grid on the screen. Betfair calculates the wins and losses, making the additions or deductions to the customers' accounts after each wager is decided. For its services, Betfair takes from the winner's profit a commission ranging from 2 to 5 percent -- depending on the customer's overall level of betting.
It is this low commission rate that makes horse betting especially attractive on Betfair. Because American racetracks take from 15 to 20 percent of any win bet -- and British bookmakers aren't noted for their generosity, either -- there is an enormous edge in betting man-to-man and paying only a small percentage to Betfair.
Two horse-racing channels televise American races in England, and Betfair handles wagers on these races -- from tracks including Laurel Park, Calder, Hawthorne and Santa Anita.
The action on Betfair is fast and mesmerizing -- and it offers opportunities that horseplayers never see in parimutuel wagering. Every handicapper has encountered innumerable races where he doesn't like the favorite but doesn't have a good way to capitalize on that opinion. On Betfair he can, in essence, become a bookmaker and accept a bet. Recently I was looking at a maiden race from Suffolk Downs where a horse with an 0 for 28 career record was the 6-to-5 favorite. I had no opinions on the race, but this looked like an ideal situation for Betfair. I offered 8 to 5 on the bum favorite and quickly got a taker.
As gamblers around the world make similar offers, the market on a horse race at Betfair is similar to a stock exchange where "bid" and "asked" prices for stocks are constantly fluctuating. The Betfair data on the computer screen shows a "back" and "lay" price for each horse. A horse might be available to bet at 3.2 to 1, while wagers on him could be booked at 3.4 to 1. In most cases, the betting odds are higher than at the track. A player who can anticipate the movement of the odds can lock in a price significantly higher than the post-time odds. I got 8-to-1 odds at Betfair on a horse who would up going off at 5 to 2 at Laurel.
The amount of action on run-of-the-mill American races is astonishing. Typically a U.S. race will produce $30,000 to $50,000 in matched bets. Gamblers are continually looking for any edge they can find, and the Betfair market offers myriad opportunities to secure an edge. As a result Betfair's business is growing every week, and the racing establishment has found it difficult to counter or eliminate the competition from a service that the public loves.
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|To: 249443 who started this subject||2/20/2003 10:38:01 AM|
|Top 10 Derby prospects |
By RICHARD ROSENBLATT, AP Racing Writer February 19, 2003
Sky Mesa is training seriously again, Toccet is on his way back, and several new colts have emerged as serious contenders for the Kentucky Derby.
Over a busy weekend for Derby prospects, Badge of Silver may have been the most impressive.
In winning the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds by 10 lengths Sunday, the 3-year-old bay colt improved to 3-for-3 with a combined margin of victory of 21 1/2 lengths.
Watch out for Lion Tamer, too. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt took the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday for his third straight win in four career starts. Indy Dancer, another of Pletcher's Derby contenders, was seventh in the Risen Star and dropped off this week's list.
Sky Mesa drilled at Gulfstream on Tuesday, the unbeaten colt's first workout over a real racetrack since wrenching an ankle just before the Breeders' Cup races in October. He's been working out at Palm Beach Downs training track.
Also, Toccet returned to training last week after being sidelined for several weeks with sore ankles. He last raced Dec. 21, but he's been given a clean bill of health.
Trainer John Scanlan said a 3-furlong workout is planned at Laurel in Baltimore by the end of the weekend.
``Things are going well,'' Scanlan said.
And then there's Trust N Luck, who won Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream, the first Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds.
1. Sky Mesa -- (John Ward, trainer; Edgar Prado, jockey) -- Worked 5 furlongs in handy 1:00.40 under Prado, aboard for first time since colt's last race, a win in the Lane's End Breeders Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 5 ... Ward still noncommittal about 3-year-old debut ... Possibilities include Swale Stakes (March 15), or Tampa Bay Derby or Gotham Stakes (both March 16). Derby futurewager odds: 12-1.
2. Kafwain -- (Bob Baffert, trainer; Victor Espinoza, jockey) -- Worked 5 furlongs Sunday in 59.60, the best time of 109 morning works at that distance at Santa Anita ... Baffert says he's leaning toward entering The Thoroughbred Corp.-owned colt in Louisiana Derby on March 9 ... Derby future wager odds: 12-1.
3. Badge of Silver (Ronny Werner, trainer; Robby Albarado, jockey): Pulled away in stretch for big win in 1 1-16-mile Risen Star for third straight victory ... Jumps into prospects list for first time ... Next start, LouisianaDerby ... Derby future wager odds: 11-1.
4. Lion Tamer (Todd Pletcher, trainer; John Velazquez, jockey): Winner of three in a row after a second to Zavata in first career start ... Pulled away in final eighth to take 7-furlong Hutcheson by six lengths ... Seems to be getting stronger ... Among next race possibilities are Louisiana Derby, FloridaDerby (March 15), Gotham Stakes ... Derby future wager odds: 20-1.
5. Toccet (John Scanlan, trainer; Jorge Chavez, jockey) -- Returned to training last week ... Scanlan hopes to have colt ready for Private Terms at Laurel (March 29) ... Started eight times as 2-year-old, with six wins, including two Grade 1s: Champagne and Hollywood Futurity ... Only knock is inactivity -- he last raced Dec. 21 ... Derby future wager odds: 12-1.
6. Ministers Wild Cat (Neil Drysdale, trainer; Kent Desormeaux, jockey) -- Won Golden State Mile on Feb. 9 for second win in two career starts ... Next start uncertain ... Derby future wager odds: 25-1.
7. Empire Maker (Bobby Frankel, trainer; Jerry Bailey, jockey) -- Drilled 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 at Santa Anita on Wednesday, his first work since finishing second to Man Among Men in Sham Stakes on Feb. 7 ... Next start, Florida Derby ... Derby future wager odds: 13-1.
8. Domestic Dispute -- (Baffert, trainer; David Flores, jockey) -- Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 at Santa Anita on Monday ... Won Santa Catalina on Jan. 18 in 3-year-old debut ... Next start, San Felipe on March 16 ... Derby future wager odds: 20-1.
9. Trust N Luck (Ralph Ziadie, trainer; Cornelio Velasquez, jockey) -- Gate-to-wire winner in Fountain of Youth in 3-year-old debut ... Loves the lead, pulled away by 5 1/4 lengths for fifth win in nine starts ... Ziadie looking at first Derby trip ... Next start, Florida Derby ... Derby future wager odds:19-1.
10. Region of Merit (Christophe Clement, trainer; Eibar Coa, jockey) -- Owned by once-dominant Calumet Farm, which produced eight Derby winners but none since Forward Pass in 1968 ... Won going away in allowance over 1 mile, 70 yards Saturday at Gulfstream ... Winner in three of four starts ... Next startuncertain ... Derby future wager odds: 2-1 (mutuel field).
Others to keep in mind: Composure, Man Among Men, Midway Cat.
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|To: 249443 who started this subject||4/27/2003 11:18:10 PM|
|From: Julius Wong|
|Ins and Outs of 2003 Kentucky Derby|
By RICHARD ROSENBLATT
04/27/2003 15:50:12 EST
Just last weekend, D. Wayne Lukas was still looking for a horse to enter in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.
Now he has two - Scrimshaw and Ten Cents a Shine.
"I never felt any pressure. I'm supposed to get here," said Lukas, back at the Derby for the 22nd time in the past 23 years. "I'm not surprised. We've stayed pretty positive."
So has Bob Baffert, the winning trainer in three of the past six Derbies. While an injury to 2-year-old champion Vindication knocked his best prospect off the trail in February, Baffert will still have two Derby starters - Indian Express and Kafwain. He could have a third in Senor Swinger, but the colt is likely to start in a grass race Friday at Churchill Downs.
"Losing Vindication was very tough - he was my star," said Baffert, who won the Derby and Preakness with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998 and War Emblem in 2002. "But you can't look back. If the Bulls lost Michael Jordan, they'd go on and keep playing. You deal with it and hope you get there."
Bobby Frankel is here, too, with perhaps the strongest pair of 3-year-olds since Calumet Farms sent out Citation and Coaltown to a 1-2 finish in the 1948 Derby. The Hall of Fame trainer looking for his first Derby win will saddle expected favorite Empire Maker, winner of the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial, and Peace Rules, winner of the Louisiana Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.
"I think we're in really good shape," said Frankel after both colts put in final workouts Sunday morning.
Even though three of the most well-known trainers are Derby bound, a likely field of up to 19 will be missing some familiar names - both equine and human.
Besides Vindication, other Derby contenders knocked off the trail due to injury include Badge of Silver, the filly Composure, Man Among Men, Sky Mesa and Toccet.
On the trainers side, two-time Derby winner Nick Zito will miss the race for the second year in a row. Zito ranks eighth on the Derby starters list with 12 - two behind Baffert (14 after Saturday) and 29 behind all-time leader Lukas (41 after Saturday).
"We'll just do a better job of recruiting for next year," said Zito, who won the 1991 Derby with Strike the Gold and the '94 Derby with Go For Gin.
Todd Pletcher won't have a starter, either, despite leading all trainers with 28 early Derby nominations. Three of his colts - Aristocat, Indy Dancer and Lion Tamer - didn't run well enough in their final preps to merit a Derby start.
Out of the Derby picture for the first time in five years is Dubai's Sheik Mohammed, who led all owners with 19 Derby nominations. Inamorato was his best hope, but the colt finished third in the UAE Derby on March 29.
On Derby day, though, it's who's in that counts. So here's a brief look at the definites (as of Sunday):
Atswhatimtalknbout - A son of 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy partly owned by movie directors Steven Spielberg, Gary Ross and Frank Marshall, the colt will try to become the second unraced 2-year-old to win the Derby.
Brancusi - With only a maiden win in seven starts, the son of Deputy Commander will be ridden by 23-year-old Tony Farina, trying to become the first rider to win in his Derby debut since Ronnie Franklin aboard Spectacular Bid in 1979.
Buddy Gil - Comes into Derby off three straight wins, including the Santa Anita Derby. One of two geldings; Funny Cide is the other. The last gelding to win the Derby was Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.
Domestic Dispute - Would Baffert let a Derby contender leave his barn? The colt moved into Paddy Gallagher's care Sunday after being sold for an undisclosed amount. A winner of the Santa Catalina on Jan. 18, the chestnut has finished fifth, fifth and third in his last three races.
Empire Maker - The class of the field may go off as the shortest price favorite since Arazi in 1992. The son of 1990 Derby winner Unbridled out of a mare who produced four Grade 1 stakes winners also has Hall of Fame connections in Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey.
Funny Cide - The gelding will attempt to become the first New York-bred to win the Derby.
Indian Express - The bay colt may be the first Utah-bred to run in the Derby. His first two starts were sprint wins in Panama before he was moved to Baffert's barn. He finished second in the Santa Anita Derby.
Kafwain - One of the most consistent horses in the race, the son of Cherokee Run has four wins in 11 starts.
Offlee Wild: Trained by T.V. Smith, the son of 1984 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Wild Again was third in the Blue Grass behind Peace Rules and Brancusi.
Outta Here: California-based colt was fourth in the UAE Derby on March 29, his only start this year. The last horse to win the Derby off one 3-year-old race was Bold Venture in 1936.
Peace Rules: Frankel made a brilliant call to take the chestnut colt off the grass and run him in the Louisiana Derby. He won that and then took the Blue Grass for his fifth win in eight starts.
Scrimshaw: With a win in the Lexington Stakes on April 19, the son of Gulch gave Lukas a Derby starter.
Sir Cherokee: Earned his Derby shot with a win in the Arkansas Derby at odds of 55-1.
Supah Blitz: Finished second in the Aventura on April 5, and will be ridden by Rosemary Homeister Jr., the fifth female to ride in the Derby.
Ten Cents a Shine: Despite finishing eighth in the Blue Grass, the colt's workout on Sunday convinced Lukas to enter him. Formerly trained by Ken McPeek, the colt will be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez.
Ten Most Wanted: The Illinois Derby winner is trained by Wally Dollase and will be ridden by Hall of Famer Pat Day.
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|To: Julius Wong who wrote (14)||4/28/2003 11:00:57 PM|
|re: KY Derby|
I have future bets on Wayne's horse @ 20:1 due to the impressive Lexington run. The Lewis's & Wayne stated this is one of the best horses they have ever had -- thankfully the surgery went well. The Lexington Beyer number, however, wasn't too high. I think the horse has room for improvement.
I also bet Ten Most Wanted @ 17.5:1 after the Illinois Derby, which I focused upon last year with War Emblem. War Emblem won the Illinois Derby and entered the '02 Derby with the highest Beyer. I believe Ten Most Wanted has the highest Beyer coming into this year's KY Derby -- although Crist says the race may have been a fluke and the Beyer's not "reliable".
Having said that -- Empire Maker looks terrific. The local books have him @ 1.4:1.
I wish Sky Mesa was in the race.
There is a new DRF book out about interpretting Beyer numbers. The author is a henchman of Andy's and assists in calculating Beyer numbers. I enjoy the book - but then again I enjoy anything about Beyer numbers.
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|To: Julius Wong who wrote (16)||4/28/2003 11:41:43 PM|
Empire Maker is dropping to even money.
Late money coming in on Ten Most Wanted.
drf.com and brisbet.com have some
Peace Rules +800
Empire Maker EV
Ten Most Wanted +500
Indian Express +1000
Funny Cide +1600
Offlee Wild +2000
Buddy Gill +800
Sir Cherokee +1600
Outta Here +4000
Supah Blitz +5000
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|To: 249443 who started this subject||4/29/2003 11:04:44 PM|
|He's bruised, but still a go |
By JAY PRIVMAN
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Empire Maker is suffering from a bruise to his right front foot that needed attention Tuesday morning from both a veterinarian and a farrier, but trainer Bobby Frankel believed the injury would not prevent Empire Maker from running in the 129th Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Still, the timing is not ideal. Foot bruises can clear up quickly, but can prove problematic if they linger or develop into something more serious. That is why Frankel and his staff jumped on the problem Tuesday after Empire Maker jogged one mile around the track.
"We're not panicking," said Frankel, whose mood lightened from concern to playful as the morning wore on. "Things like this happen every day. It just gets more attention because it's the Derby. Tomorrow, he'll be perfect. Put it this way - if he's not right, he's not going to run."
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