Some Seemingly Simple Requests From Horseplayers

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In a refreshing move, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission vice chairman John Roach listed a number of horseplayer concerns at a Jan. 16 rules committee meeting.

Roach, who serves on the rules committee, wasn't to the point of taking a position on the issues forwarded to the KHRC by professional horseplayer Mike Maloney, but Roach wanted to get the committee thinking about the issues. Maloney talked with several horseplayers before forwarding the ideas to the KHRC.

The first issue Roach relayed included a request to require Kentucky tracks, and tracks that offer simulcast signals in Kentucky, to provide the odds of each horse while they are being loaded into the gate, at the start, and throughout the race. Maloney and other horseplayers have had concerns about late odds shifts, and the possibility of past posting, for some time.

Racetracks have attributed these in-race odds shifts to wagers--typically from computer-robotic wagering--flooding the pools in the final moments before the gates open. Rather than document these shifts in odds during their race presentations, some tracks have taken the approach of South Park's Officer Barbrady--nothing to see here--and simply stopped showing odds information through the loading process, at the start, and throughout the race.

Maloney said tracks were sometimes being embarrassed by odds changing on the chiclets halfway through a race, so now they don't put the odds on the chiclets until the race is final or well into the race.

A second request was to have track simulcast feeds replay a full pan view and head-on view of each race. Maloney noted that sometimes if a post-race ceremony or inquiry goes long, sometimes tracks will drop the head-on replay from their simulcast presentation. He added with a chuckle that they always seem to have time for their ads.

Horseplayers also called for changes in the reporting of first-time geldings. Maloney acknowledged that improvements have been made in the reporting of first-time geldings, but said racing should move to reporting the actual date of the change. He said currently the listed date is when the change was reported.

And finally the horseplayers called on Kentucky to become a national leader in accurate reporting of workout times.

Maloney said changes like these can help Kentucky attract horseplayers. He doesn't favor micro-managing, but said regulators need to ensure a fair and transparent game for horseplayers and believes that improvements in these areas will benefit the game overall.

"The commissioners are the long-term guardians of Kentucky racing," Maloney said. "There are certain things like showing the replays, making the odds as transparent as possible; certain things that licensees need to be required to do for the sake of the customers.

"If we can brand Kentucky racing as a leader in the integrity area and the accurate data area, we help strengthen Kentucky racing. That will help horsemen, the customers, the racetracks, and we generate more revenue for the state."

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