Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wiz Dog

Having trouble potty training your dog?

Here's a new (click here) approach.

And here's another...
doggy litter

I would think that it this approach could be successful, we would have heard about it a long time ago.

Now, if you can only get us to exercise on our own.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Say what? Having trouble sleeping?

First of all, on the subject of favorites at the greyhound track, I found a study that evaluated 4,723 greyhound races and found that the favorites win 22.3% of the time. Yes, really.

Now, why such a study and by whom? Here's the link. See for yourself

Actually, there's some really good information in there for the serious handicapper if you wish to mine for it. The bottom line: Favorites in greyhound racing are overbet and longshots are underbet.

Or, if you wish, you can sleep on it.


P.S. Here's an older similar study from NC (2000).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

About Paydog

Link to
Nowadays it is not necessary to visit the track to place wagers on greyhounds. You can do it from the comfort of your own living room. Here's a description of the Internet web site known as PayDog based on information obtained directly from their site:

"PayDog is owned by US Off-Track. US Off-Track, was originally founded as Greyhound Channel, a joint venture between three of Florida's and indeed America's most successful greyhound racetracks, Derby Lane, (established in 1925), Jacksonville Racing (established in 1935), and Palm Beach Kennel Club (established in 1932).

On August 15, 1997, Governor John A. Kitzaber authorized the Oregon Racing Commission to regulate a multi-jurisdictional totalizator hub for account wagering if the business is located in Oregon. He also signed HB 2104 which authorized “account wagering”. Both bills were requested by the racing commission and the racing industry in an effort to give the industry an opportunity to regain market strength. Up to this time, the commercial tracks and the county and state fairs had existed in Oregon for over 65 years.

The Oregon Racing Commission receives one quarter of one percent (0.25%) of the money wagered through the hubs as pari-mutuel tax. One third of this pari-mutuel tax is transferred to the State General Fund, while the remaining two thirds is used as a Pari-Mutuel Industry Development Fund.

With the advent of legislation in the State of Oregon to permit multi-jurisdictional hubs, Greyhound Channel applied for and was issued a license to conduct account wagering. In April 2000, Greyhound Channel opened its "Oregon Call Center", equipped with a state-of-the-art AmTote International multi-community totalisator hub supported by a highly trained staff of wagering operators and customer service representatives. In addition, Greyhound Channel deployed internet, IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition) and wireless Internet wagering technology.

In spring 2002,Greyhound Channel officially changed its name to "US Off-Track". Now with the advent of PayDog a new chapter begins. PayDog is a web site specializing in Greyhound racing and wagering.

PayDog provides access to all greyhound racing content in the country. As well as Derby Lane, Jacksonville Racing Circuit, and Palm Beach Kennel club, it offers wagering on Corpus Christi Dog Track, Gulf Greyhound Park, Tampa Greyhound Track, Flagler Greyhound Park, Ebro Greyhound Track, Hollywood Greyhound Track, Tri-State Greyhound Park, Tucson Greyhound Park, to name a few.

Through this partnership with America's premier tracks, and under the terms of USOT license granted by the Oregon Racing Commission, in accordance with Oregon Statutes (ORS 462.725), PayDog conducts simulcasting and pari mutuel wagering. We offer information and wagering opportunities into the co-mingled pools of Greyhound tracks throughout the country. A portion of all wagers struck benefits the individual tracks and the dedicated dog men and women of America. We have close links with our industry's support organizations and we are extremely proud of our membership and sponsorship of the AGTOA (American Greyhound Track Operators Association) and the AGC (American Greyhound Council). Over the past 3 years we have contributed over $700,000 Dollars to these two greyhound bodies."

Take care,

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winning percentages for favorites

I saw a comment today on a greyhound handicapping forum noting that 35% of the betting favorites go on to win the race. Based on my experience, I think that number is high. Back in the old days (1980s), it varied from track to track but usually hovered between 20% and 25%. I could be wrong, but I don't remember it being over 30% anywhere at any time.

So, for the record, I will keep track of all the racing cards I play for a while (until 100 sample races have been run). After a few weeks or a month, I will do it again. If the results are inconclusive, I will do it again in the Spring. Note: Only full 8-dog races are included in this list.

Raynham, Massachusetts
Thursday, 01/24/08 Afternoon Charts

Race 1:Dutch Drummer #6 1.70 Closed For Place (2nd)
Race 2:Kiowa Letigation #1 1.70 Set Pace, Showed Mtk (3rd)
Race 3: 7-dog race
Race 4:Dutch Dixon #7 1.90 Cutoff, Bmpd, Up Shw (3rd)
Race 5:Starz Pirate #8 1.70 Bad Step 1st, Ofst'd (6th)
Race 6:Willy Fix It #8 0.70 Fell, dnf (8th)
Race 7:Sweet Arrival #8 3.20 Frcd Wd 1st, Up Plce (2nd)
Race 8: 7-dog race
Race 9:Sugar Doll #1 3.20 Outfinished Inside (3rd)
Race 10:Oneco Avalon #1 3.10 Held Show Inside (3rd)
Race 11:Little Gem #3 2.80 Closing Threat Mdtrk (3rd)
Race 12:Delightem #8 2.40 Good Effort (3rd)
Race 13:Pete's Sweet Sue #1 2.30 Led Every Step Insde (won)
Race 14:Sol Logan #8 2.20 Even Effort (4th)
Race 15:Kiowa Lottery #2 2.40 Second Effort Inside (6th)

Friday, 01/25/08 Afternoon Charts
Race 1:Pjs Play Action #2 1.90 Up For Place (2nd)
Race 2:Bartley O'Shea #6 0.60 Always On Top Midtrk (won)
Race 3: 6-dog race
Race 4:Drivenby Jackson #5 2.90 Solid Effort Outside (3rd)
Race 5:Cold B Camway #2 2.60 Led The Way Inside (won)
Race 6:Rocco Slammer #1 1.90 Crwd 1st & Ent Bkstr (6th)
Race 7:Exceptional Trent #1 1.40 Sme Wd 1st, Almst Up (2nd)
Race 8:Atomic Matter #4 1.70 Blkd & Col'd 1st Trn (4th)
Race 9:Driven By Fate #5 1.90 Cutoff 1st, Gaining (4th)
Race 10:R's Luckylink #1 2.40 Drew Clear In Strtch (won)
Race 11:Daring Oboe #4 1.30 Crwd Erly, Almost Up (2nd)
Race 12:Casey's Boy #1 3.00 Showed The Way (won)
Race 13: 7-dog race
Race 14:Starz Danger #4 2.60 Almost Up Inside (2nd)
Race 15:Pat C Skylark #2 2.80 Gained For Place (2nd)

Friday, 01/25/08 Evening Charts
Race 1:AE's Seemewin #1 1.00 Settled For Show Ins (3rd)
Race 2:Bristow Glory #1 3.00 Held Place Inside (2nd)
Race 3:Lantana #1 1.30 Padded Lead Inside (won)
Race 4:Starz Kirby #3 1.00 No Room Break (6th)
Race 5:Becky's AR #1 2.00 Drove To Place Ins (2nd)
Race 6:Kenton Krime #8 2.60 Stretch Fade Inside (3rd)
Race 7:Gretchin Betchin #8 3.20 Pressing Show Inside (4th)
Race 8:Kenton Rafi #3 1.40 Nipped At Wire Ins (2nd)
Race 9:Silencersrevenge #8 0.50 Reclaimed Show Mdtk (3rd)
Race 10:Designem #1 2.30 Wide 1st Trn Closing (3rd)
Race 11:Carney #3 1.60 Bumped 1st Driving (2nd)
Race 12:Sanjak Robert #1 1.60 Weakened Midtrack (5th)
Race 13:Ucme El Diablo #8 1.60 Forced Pace Midtrack (2nd)
Race 14:Royal Reverie #1 1.00 Up For Place Mdtrk (2nd)

Saturday, 01/26/08 Afternoon Charts
Race 1:Bugtussle Bea #4 1.90 Cutoff Erly, Gaining (6th)
Race 2:Starz Jangle #1 2.90 Nearest Threat (2nd)
Race 3:Boarding Pass #3 1.50 Pressing Winner Ins (2nd)
Race 4:Fuzzys Rodeo #4 2.90 Shutoff, Blkd, Gaind (5th)
Race 5:Carolina Java #8 3.00 Held Safe Lead (won)
Race 6:On Reflection #8 2.60 Up Late Midtrack (won)
Race 7:Pat C Clement #8 0.80 Best Of Rest (2nd)
Race 8:Little Rascal #2 2.50 All Alone Inside (won)
Race 9:King's Choice #1 1.90 Forced The Pace (3rd)
Race 10:Crystal B Lucy #1 1.60 Held Short Lead (won)
Race 11:Dutch Kermin #4 2.80 Outnodded At Wire (2nd)
Race 12:Aprazel #8 2.80 Trbl 1st Trn, Drivng (5th)
Race 13:Cajun Chief #8 2.30 Blkd 1st Tn, Up Show (3rd)
Race 14:Fuzzys Snowman #7 2.30 Closed For Show Mdtk (3rd)
Race 15:Sea Hero #1 1.80 Enough Left Inside (won)

Saturday, 01/26/08 Evening Charts
Race 1: 7-dog race
Race 2:Bethany #5 2.90 Box To Wire Midtrack (won)
Race 3:Dk Sugar N Spice #5 2.00 In The Hunt Inside (4th)
Race 4:Intricate Fisk #1 2.20 Set Pace Showed (3rd)
Race 5:Starz Hank #2 2.20 Just Missed Midtrack (2nd)
Race 6:Dutch Thyme #5 2.50 Bmpd Crtn Trn Coll'd(6th)
Race 7:Blazing Wes #2 1.00 Stretch Rush Mdtrk (2nd)
Race 8:Angel Terri #8 1.10 Good Try Inside (2nd)
Race 9:Djays Playboy #8 3.20 Up At Wire Midtrack (won)
Race 10:Baddest Boots #6 2.00 Belated Gain Inside (5th)
Race 11:Jain't It Fozzy #1 2.20 Closing Fast Outside (2nd)
Race 12:Sol Lobby #1 3.40 Ran Down Leader Mtk (won)
Race 13:Rollover Ronee #1 2.10 Up For Place Mdtrk (2nd)
Race 14:Toots Energizer #1 2.20 Late Fade Midtrack (4th)

Sunday, 01/27/08 Afternoon Charts
Race 1:Bailey's Alonso #6 2.80 Never Close Inside (6th)
Race 2:Starz Tamatha #3 2.00 Never Prominent (7th)
Race 3:Starz Tammy #6 1.60 Bumped Wide 1st Turn (6th)
Race 4:Bushwacker Rocky #3 1.80 Gaining Ground Mdtk (4th)
Race 5:RA's Sarah B #5 1.80 Bmpd Wd 1st Collided (6th)
Race 6:Dutch Charmayne #8 2.70 Closing Midtrack (3rd)
Race 7:Pat C Air Blitz #3 1.00 Closing Midtrack (4th)
Race 8:Shoeshine Suzie #4 1.10 Split Leaders Str (won)
Race 9:Flying Detroit #3 3.00 Up For Place Mdtrk (2nd)
Race 10:Starz Shirley #1 2.30 Steady Gain Inside (4th)
Race 11:Dutch Dynamo #7 1.50 Took Charge In Str (won)
Race 12:Tony Garea #1 1.80 Best Of Rest Inside (2nd)
Race 13:Starz Classic #1 2.30 Drove To Place Ins (2nd)
Race 14: Dead Heat for win

Monday, 01/28/08 Afternoon Charts
Race 1:Pat C Sprocket #7 2.10 Held Tight Inside (won)
Race 2:Dutch Oscar #4 2.30 Blocked 1st Turn (8th)
Race 3:Oneco Avalon #8 2.30 Led Every Step Insde (won)
Race 4:Sol Logan #2 2.80 Forced The Pace Ins (4th)
Race 5:Starz Pirate #2 0.70 Strong Finish Inside (won)
Race 6:Junipur #2 2.70 Got Lead, Held (won)
Race 7:Mesa Gillette #8 1.70 Frcd Sme Wde 1st Trn (6th)
Race 8:BottledLightning #3 1.50 Factor Thruout Insde (4th)
Race 9:Dutch Drummer #5 2.30 Up At Wire (won)
Race 10:Kiowa Dream Date #8 1.90 Led Erly, Chased Mtk (2nd)
Race 11:Gotcha Cinnamon #1 2.80 Led Erly, Chased Ins (2nd)
Race 12:Emerald Tweet #3 3.20 Good Effort Inside (3rd)
Race 13:Silver Sand #1 1.70 Held Tight Inside (won)
Race 14:Front Page Queen #8 0.80 Led Erly, Almst Back (2nd)
Race 15:Ucme Passions #1 1.80 In A Romp Inside (won)

Wednesday, 01/30/08 Afternoon Charts
Race 1:Winter Cassia #1 1.30 Was Close Early Ins (5th)
Race 2:Kiowa Spaceghost #1 0.70 All Alone Inside (won)
Race 3:Kiowa Mon Money #3 2.30 Cutoff After Break (7th)
Race 4:Starz Kirby #5 0.80 Stretch Control (won)

Races: 100; Won: 25; Place/Quin: 53; Show/Trif: 71; Super: 82; Out: 18; Win Pct: 25%; Trifecta Percentage: 71%

Note: Of the 75 races NOT won by the betting favorite, 18 were won by the second choice, 16 by the third choice, 19 by the fourth choice, 9 by the fifth choice, 3 by the sixth choice, 6 by the seventh choice, and 4 by the longest shot on the board.

'Hope this is helpful,

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Greyt Outerwear

OK, I couldn't resist. I want some jammies like this. While you are on their site, check out the scarfs and snoods and bandanas too!! I have no affiliation with this people, but I figure they won't mind a plug.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Massachusetts Debate

During the past year, the debate regarding the possible banning of greyhound racing in Massachusetts and New Hampshire has escalated.

Following are excerpts from the published letter by John O'Donnell, Henry Chin and Casey O'Neil as representatives of Massachusetts greyhound kennel owners and operators (courtesy of the American Greyhound Council):

To the editor:

This letter was created by the hard-working, tax-paying Massachusetts greyhound kennel operators, owners and trainers responding to a letter recently published in newspapers across the state by Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

Mr. Pacelle's misleading information was simply a continuation of "scare tactics" used by anti-greyhound racing groups in an attempt to ban greyhound racing in Massachusetts. These organizations continually skew information, often from other areas of the country or even around the world, to attack the rights of Massachusetts kennel operators and owners to pursue a living for them and their families.

...Why would owners who have invested thousands of dollars in each of these athletes (greyhounds) treat them cruelly or inhumanely? To the contrary, greyhounds in Massachusetts are arguably the best cared for and protected animal in our state due to the many laws and regulations governed by local and state agencies overseeing every aspect of their care. Comprehensive rules and regulations cover everything from housing, nutrition and exercise to track conditions, weather, crate sizes and retirement. It is unlawful to euthanize an adoptable greyhound in Massachusetts.

Citizens (of Massachusetts) were denied the opportunity to vote on this issue in the last election when a dog protection measure was stricken from the ballot.

Why? Mr. Pacelle failed to mention that this action, which failed to pass in 2000, was denied in 2004 when the Massachusetts SJC voted 5-0 against it because, attempting to play upon the public's emotions and gain support to ban greyhound racing, the measure included police, seeing eye and fighting dogs. Fortunately, though, the presiding judges saw through the smokescreen, noting that it was a cover-up and just a scam to get rid of dog racing.

...Racing greyhounds in Massachusetts are housed in climate-controlled buildings consisting of relatively large crates, in relations to the size of greyhounds, with the dimensions written into the existing rules and regulations by a committee comprised of representatives of the Massachusetts State Racing Commission, its veterinarian, MSPCA and Grey2K. These crates are comparable to the largest crate sold at PETCO for dogs like Great Danes and St. Bernard.

The most important part of a greyhound's day is his or her recreational time in the kennel yard, which they usually spend with 20 of their kennelmates. Not only is this where greyhounds do their business, it's also, more importantly, where they play and interact with each other as well as their trainers and handlers. Recreation time is scheduled twice in the morning, once in the afternoon and again at night. Greyhounds racing during the morning and evening receive additional recreation time in order for them to be evaluated after exercising or racing that day. Recreation time also serves as an invaluable tool for trainers to judge a greyhound's conditioning. Recreation times amount to several hours per day for each greyhound.

...There has been no documented evidence of cruelty by an owner/trainer to a greyhound in Massachusetts since racing was legalized in 1935. The greyhound adoption program used in Massachusetts has worked so well that it should serve as a model throughout the racing industry. All retiring greyhound racers in Massachusetts are "adopted out" through nonprofit organizations and today, the demand for greyhound adoption often outweighs the supply.

...Greyhound racing is highly regulated by the Massachusetts Racing Commission, enforced by state and local police in addition to state-approved veterinarians and the MSPCA, and racing complies with the American Veterinary Medical Association. Racing, incidentally, has the greatest "return" of any form of legalized gambling including state lotteries, slot machines, table games, etc.

Greyhounds were born to run. As "bird dogs," they see, hear and chase. They are at their happiest going to race, tails wagging in anticipating as they prepare for transportation from the kennel to the racetrack for exercise, training or racing. At the recent fourth annual Greyhound Adoption Expo held at the two greyhound racetracks in Massachusetts, Wonderland and Raynham-Taunton, more than 100 retired racers thoroughly enjoyed short runs on the track competing against each other for fun.

People in the greyhound industry have been unfairly portrayed by anti-racing groups as "bad guys." We hope that by reading this letter we've cleared up some of the misconceptions about our business and the sport of greyhound racing.
John O'Donnell
Henry Chin
Casey O'Neil
Massachusetts Greyhound Kennel Operators and Owners

Well stated, my friends!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

K's Flak

Quote of the day:"In 1987 K’s Flak, along with dad Onie Jones, were inducted into the Greyhound Hall of Fame as father and son. K’s Flak also holds the distinction of being the first living Greyhound to acquire this achievement." -- International Greyhound Research Forum.
K's Flak (1979)

The fastest greyhound that I ever saw run was K's Flak. He won the 1979 Wonderland Derby and obliterated the track record for 3/8ths of a mile in the process.

Link to the pedigree of K's Flak

K's Flak is the son of another Hall of Famer Onie Jones and (dam) Montague Memory. K's Flak broke track records at Wonderland Park, Derby Lane and Biscayne during his spectacular racing career. He was named captain of the 1979 All-America Team, and also won the National Greyhound Association's Flash Sir Award the same year. K's Flak was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987 - the same year as his father (and Daisy Mae's Great-great Grandfather) Onie Jones.

The following details were provided by Henry Maxim, with input from Barbara Anderson and G.W. (Bill) Henderson...

"K’s Flak was born on April 25, 1977. He was the only fawn brindle male in a litter of six. His sire was the great Onie Jones and his mommy was a prolific producer named Montague Memory. They were whelped on the Ocala, Fl., farm of super breeder Orville Moses. At the young age of two months old Moses sold the entire litter for $2,500 to Jack Kahn. Jack and his long time trainer, G.W. (Bill) Henderson transported the pups to Kahn’s Pinellas Park, Fl., farm where they were raised by Henderson.

When the pups were of training age, it didn’t take long to notice how aggressive they were, though as a pup in training K’s Flak did not stand out over his littermates. Eventually the time came for the young Flak and littermates to begin their careers as track dogs.

The first racing action the litter saw was at Tampa. Kahn’s farm trainer, Bill Henderson, was also the track trainer at Tampa. Rarely do you find a trainer who works both at the farm and the track. Years before, Henderson had the pleasure of training another great Greyhound named LB’s Dallas Girl who some will recognize her as the mommy of Sun Bow’s Best,and sire of Track Ace, Big Ziggy. After 35 years in the business Bill has retired to his native state of Kansas.

In a conversation I had with Bill, he told me that K’s Flak and littermates developed slowly. Much to my surprise The Flak did not run the grade ladder from Maiden to A. He didn’t even win his Maiden right away, though it was clear early on the whole litter had stake potential coming from the Moses farm and having an impeccable bloodline. It’s difficult to believe there wouldn't at least be one exceptional track dog in that litter. After all Montague Memory could have never thrown a dud litter, especially out of Onie Jones! By the time the racing operation moved from Tampa to Derby Lane it was clear the whole litter was exceptional.

K’s Poco had 37 career wins, most between Tampa and Derby Lane. K’s Blue’s Streak and K’s Hyden also had great careers at Tampa and St. Pete. K’s Prince was exported to Ireland following a solid racing career.

K’ s Thunder was the best of the litter before losing two toes to injury. He had the cyclonic finish of the Onie Jones style. The racing career that K’s Flak had was nothing short of spectacular. In the eyes of most long time Greyhound racing analysts, he stands as the best router of all time.

His first stake win came in the Tampa Juvenile on the outside lure. He next made the final of the Derby Lane Sprint Classic which he didn’t win. However, shortly after he broke the Derby Lane 5/16 track record. Now, there was no holding him back.

Onto Biscayne for the Irish-American where the training job was given to Evan (Smokey) Anyon of the Dick Andrews Kennel. It was billed as the Flak against the pack. He won that stake by an incredible 12 lengths. He broke the Biscayne course track record which is a little longer than a 5/16 distance. A trip to Boston for the Wonderland Derby saw the Flak win it by 10 lengths, shattering the 3/8 track record at the same time leaving a new mark of 38.53.

He made a plethora of the top stake dogs look awful—average. Don Cuddy was given the honor of handling K’s Flak while at Wonderland. When it came time to return to Tampa it was back to the 5/16 distance which didn’t stop him from winning the ‘79 Tampa Inaugural. He followed that by re-breaking his own Biscayne track record lowering it to 32.93.

K’s Flak had his career cut short by a calcified toe in June of 1980. In the fall of 1980 after breeding over 20 females Jack Kahn brought him out of retirement for a chance to win the Crown Jewel of Greyhound Racing, the American Derby at Taunton. Flak would be the 7th straight generation of his own bloodline to grace the Taunton oval. Montague Memory’s grandam, Realty was a strong Taunton runner, though she was over aggressive at times, earning a few bore out comments during her racing career.

When K’s Flak arrived at Taunton, I was one of many New England racing fans who drove down Rt. 44 to see the great one school in. What I saw was not the same stake ace of old. He could not overcome his injuries and made a quick exit back to Florida. Keith Dillon’s Southland ace, Position won it that year.

Just before the Biscayne Irish-American, Kahn asked his friend Dick Andrews if he was interested in buying K’s Flak for $200,000. For that amount of money Dick asked for some time to think about it. Later, Dick was able to put together a syndicate, having found buyers for seven shares at $25,000 a share. Dick was keeping three shares for himself.

He had also arranged for an insurance policy with Loyds of London for $200,000. Kahn actually thought he had better dogs than Flak in K’s Viking and K’s Clown. Once the Irish- American was over, Kahn had changed his mind about selling the Flak. He realized that Flak was his best Greyhound. Kahn apologized to Dick Andrews about changing his mind, but Dick being the friend and gentlemen he was, he told Jack it was all right and that he totally understood. Then he wished Jack great success with the dog.

In the end, K’s Flak had over 40 wins in his short career and was voted the ‘79 Flashy Sir Award winner. He was also the captain of the All-America team and finished a close second for the Rural Rube Award given to the nation's top sprinter.

In 1987 K’s Flak, along with dad Onie Jones, were inducted into the Greyhound Hall of Fame as father and son. K’s Flak also holds the distinction of being the first living Greyhound to acquire this achievement.

His career as a sire didn’t turn out to be quite as good as his dad's, Onie Jones. Onie was number one in 1982 and number two in 1983. The Flak was the sixth leading sire in 1983, fifth in 1984 and seventh in 1985. I’d say he qualified as a high quality stud dog for sure.

His lines have endured over five decades, and continue to have impact on North American stake events with every passing day. The dominance of K’s Flak was a fitting end to the decade of the 70’s. Future generations will find the name of the Great K’s Flak emblazoned in the lines of the Champions of tomorrow."

Thank you, Henry, for taking the time to preserve history. Here's a link to his original post.

I also remember that K's Flak was in a movie. I think they put him alone in the 5/16 box and set him loose after a field of routers went by. They filmed him roaring from behind like a freight train. I can't find anything about the movie (yet). If someone with a better memory or research skills than I can shed some light, I would appreciate it. E-mail me at and I will post the details here. In the meantime, I will keep looking.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

3rd Derby Lane Million is cancelled

Sad news for greyhound fans...our Kentucky Derby of greyhound racing seems to be dead at the age of 2.

"It is with deep regret that I have to announce the cancellation of the Derby Lane Million Dollar race," said Derby Lane COO David Tiano today. "We did not have enough entries to move forward with the race that was scheduled for March 1, 2008.

The Derby Lane Million, which would have been the third annual event, was open to any greyhound in the world that was registered with the National Greyhound Association.

This year's format allowed for eighty entries at $10,000 each which would makeup $800,000 of the Million Dollar purse. Derby Lane would put in the additional $200,000to make the race a true Million Dollar purse. Although entries were slow in arriving President Vey O. Weaver announced that would run the race with a minimum of 64 entries.

The smaller field would have depended on a bigger contribution from Derby Lane, but Weaver was willing to contribute more as there was much International interest expressed that would have filled up nearly one-third of the field. "It would have been a big draw for our fans like the previous two stakes," said Weaver. "Like the American interest, the International list of names grew smaller as the months went by."

Based on verbal commitments and early deposits the track had every confidence that the race would take place as the numbers fell near the sixty-four entries needed at the beginning of November.

Derby Lane will fill the void by rearranging their 2008 stakes schedule. "We thank everyone that supported the race," said Vey Weaver. "Our $100,000 Distance Classic stakes will be inserted in the March 1 slot."

For more information contact David Tiano
at 727-812-3339 x 240 or Sumi Russell 727-812-3339 x 263.


Friday, January 18, 2008

The Basics

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

In general, gambling is a bad thing. It is expensive, destructive, depressing, time consuming and unhealthy. Other than that, it can be an enjoyable hobby. The emphasis is on the word "can".

For competitive people like my handlers, Frank & Bomber, it can assuage those competitive desires and become quite exciting. But it's a tough balancing act. Most people find out the hard REALLY IS a tough balancing act. It's so very easy to crash and burn. I know...I've seen it happen with my handlers, more than once.

The purpose of this blog is to highlight my handlers' favorite gambling pastime of greyhound racing (the positives as well as the negatives!) and provide some insight derived from 40 years of greyhound racing experience.

Good Luck! Actually, what I really mean is good overlay...and good money management...and good discipline. In other words, I wish you good skill at the games you choose! Otherwise, bad things will most likely happen to you.

So here's the deal, version #101:

There are many forms of gambling that date back to our ancestors. Understanding that there will be details to come in subsequent blogs, I will begin by describing three basic forms of gambling:

1. Games of chance
2. Games of skill
3. Games of combined luck & skill

Games of chance

In these games, the "house" has the edge. In the long run you will lose. Period. There are no professional roulette players, professional lottery players, professional Keno players, or professional slot machine players. There maybe be addicts who invest countless hours and bankroll in these activities. But, to be professional, one has to make a living at it. It cannot be done...unless YOU are the house. Substantially all public casino games favor the house. That's why they have such nice buildings. There are a few exceptions (blackjack and poker) where the house edge can be overcome with skill. See Games of Combined luck & skill below for further discussion.

Games of skill

These are activities where you are simply more or less skilled than your adversaries. Included are such games as chess, golf, bowling, pool, darts and even Scrabble. People bet on these frequently.

But to level the playing field, a system of handicaps is often introduced into the gambling mix. Many of these have rating systems(!) and tournaments. Otherwise, why would anyone bet against someone more skilled than they are? I have always asserted that paying an entry fee and competing for cash prizes is not gambling. But, I admit it. Unless there is money from sponsors added to the prize fund, it is indeed gambling. Just because there is entertainment value, it doesn't change the basic fact that putting up money to win possible prizes which, in total, are less than the accumulated entry fees, is gambling. That's not to say it's a bad thing. But it's definitely a gambling thing.

Games of combined luck & skill

This is the tough one. Some activities that include wagering have both a luck factor and a skill factor. For those people who are less skilled, it is gambling.

I can think of several examples: backgammon, poker, sports betting, blackjack, and pari-mutuel wagering are clear examples. In a game like backgammon, where the odds are difficult but calculable, the skilled players will get the money in the long run. Still, the use of dice leaves a certain amount to pure chance. In poker (see my handlers' other blogs for more discussion about poker), there is, some people argue, about a 70% skill factor and 30% luck factor. Obviously, the proportion of luck and skill varies, even among the most skilled players. In any case, all that is necessary to be profitable is to overcome the house "rake" (plus or minus 10% depending on the venue and the game). In other words, you need to be above average in skill by as much as the rake in order to break even. That's one of the reasons that game selection is so important in poker. And, you need to have a bankroll sufficient to accommodate the swings due to variation caused by the luck factor.

I'm not an expert on sports betting. I'll simply say that there are a few bettors who make a living on sports betting, but they are very few. That's because the vigorish, or house cut, inherent in the reverse betting odds, requires much higher than average skill to overcome. Additionally, the luck factor creates tremendous swings that could jeopardize even the huge bankrolls (think Pete Rose, for example). Although I love sports, I won't live long enough to become skilled enough to make any long term gains betting on professional or college sports. So I avoid them, and so do my handlers.

Many books have been written on methods to overcome the house advantage (though only slightly) in the game of blackjack. Trust me, it's not a simple matter. Before his 1997 stroke impeded his card counting skills, Frank Niro played hundreds of hours at the blackjack tables. So did Richard Ramaskwich (a/k/a Bomber). Together they have seen all that can happen there. Perfect basic strategy alone, I must say, cannot overcome the house odds in the long run. That's all there is to post here on the subject. There are lots of good authors and successful blackjack players out there who can tell you more.

That takes us closer to home...pari-mutuel wagering. The federal government recently declared that horse handicapping is skill, not chance. Say what? I'll just say two things and leave it at that for now: (1) It IS gambling for all those folks who are below average handicappers, or who just play numbers, or who have too small a bankroll, or who steam out (or go on tilt, as they say at the poker table), and as a result don't win enough to overcome the take (which varies by state and track, but is usually around 20%); and, (2) every horse better I ever heard of died broke.

Nevertheless, a good handicapper CAN make money. Because of the nature of thoroughbred racing, horses are more consistent than greyhounds. Therefore, a system of handicapping by saddle and rider weights has been established. Pari-mutuel wagering also applies to standard bred (the trotters and pacers) and quarter horses.

I will elaborate on the skill factors in greyhound racing in future blogs. These have to do with the dogs (class, form, style, speed and box) as well as the human handicapper (race selection, bet size, patience, discipline and money management). There are many other angles that can be discussed further.

The bottom line is that there is a huge luck factor involved in greyhound racing. That's because of the jostling, relatively short distances, track biases which give certain boxes a demonstrable advantage, and other tangible and intangible factors. Almost every race is over in 30 to 40 seconds. If a dog is slow coming out of the box or gets bumped by another at the first turn, there is precious little time to recover.

Nevertheless, it's not the dogs you are betting against. It's the other gamblers. Think about it and we'll talk more another day...