Horse Racing

Is this really such a stupid game?

“Now why would I do that?” For some of us, the more painful that question becomes, the easier the answer becomes. It’ll be right there in that empty bottle, greeting you on the table in the morning.

However, for those of you with more complex influence behaviors, there is obviously a handy publication called Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. And you think horse pedigree is a niche hobby.

In a recent edition, researchers from the universities of Eastern Finland and Liverpool collected data from 15,000 Finnish men starting national service. I hope we’ll be comfortable cutting down on the chase, as they conveniently reduce all of their analysis to a few concluding sentences.

“This paper,” they claim, “shows that a person’s IQ predicts his interaction with horse betting.”

Now you know where this is going, right? It’s another example of wasting a lot of time and effort trying to prove something that we know is pretty obvious.

But wait. “Our results show that IQ… is positively correlated with participation and spending on horse betting.” In other words, the smarter your Finn is, the more likely it is to bet on ponies. Horse racing quizzes, the researchers suggest, will appeal to the most sophisticated, inquisitive minds.

Just think of all those generations of strict parents who sat down with their errant sons (the survey didn’t include children) to reprimand their negativity on the track. It turns out that they really should teach them adultery strategies and how to make Ragozins rich. Head West, young man, but make sure you don’t miss Arapahoe Park along the way.

(Listen to this column as a podcast.)

For many of us, a deposit in breeding, rearing, or trading Purebreds is a gamble enough. But it is good to be reminded of the stimulus available in the constant variables of our business and to consider the various factors that govern our decisions.

After all, to what extent are those decisions really ours? The extent to which we act on our innate or genetic nature – the things we, in other words, carry the world with us – and that we are simply conditioned by learned experience how much; by the conductive form being absorbed from the environment?

For example, why are modern horsemen so reluctant to ask the Purebred questions as well as the questions often asked by their predecessors? Lecturers today may think they are simply making a reasonable assessment of a growing body of evidence; Whether because they consider the breed to be less powerful, or their own methods are more sensitive. But the chances are that to a large extent they are simply reacting to the burgeoning habits of their mentors and peers.

For example, no less than the two best horses in the world. One will play at Ascot on Saturday; the other is quite likely to do the same at Keeneland in three weeks’ time. It must be emphasized that both of them have shown their talents with great skill. But while the two are often compared to ghosts of the past, they won’t really discover their full potential even against such horses still alive and well.

Okay, so the fact that they operate in different fields means a direct confrontation between Baaeed (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) and Flight route (Tapit) has almost always, even in more daring times, been a bridge too far. But the fact that Flightline entered the pantheon in no more than 431 seconds; while Baaeed, though blooms more slowly Frankel (GB), like that champion is confined to home and a group of competitions where his dominance has long been clear.

To be fair, Flightline has tested the cramped parameters of his career with as much ambition as possible: from Del Mar to Belmont, from six spans to 10. Baaeed, for his part, accurately followed the footsteps of Frankel at the age of four, ran in the same five races and thus only stepped up from a mile in the penultimate start. (Something may come true of the Flyway.)

America’s Best, Flightline | Sarah Andrews

Baaeed’s reaction to that new challenge hints that he may have just found his real man. For a while, relationships entertained the idea of ​​exploring a deeper region of tolerance in Paris. In this case, they would feel completely vindicated, for having backed down, when the Arc was contested under such extreme conditions. However, for some of us, even now a difficult question remains. If Baaeed won the G1 Qipco Champion S. with his usual comfort, why didn’t he progress to the Breeders’ Cup?

Remember he started his career last year by winning four races from June 7 to July 30. Obviously he’s on a different level, at that level, but he He completed each task with equal enthusiasm and since then has often appeared to keep something in reserve. And this year, crucially, the three-week span makes Breeders’ Cup much more viable for any Ascot protagonist than it would have been if the card had been staged, with its deplorable, only discriminatory racism. a fortnight before.

Given the relative emphasis on speed between Keeneland and his race at York, GI Breeders’ Cup Turf’s extra 300 meters, if not technically exploited, will only play to Baaeed’s strengths. There’s obviously a degree of presumption, given that he has some serious work to do at Ascot, but I can only think of one reason why the question shouldn’t at least be asked once it’s safe to do so. into the winner’s circle – and it’s a reluctance to go looking for unnecessary trouble with a precious and beloved champion.

But if that’s really the case, then it just shows how awfully bad the instincts of modern horsemen are for the genetic proof of the breed, and the promotion of the sport. . Baaeed would not lose a dime of his net worth, if the gamble backfired; nor will he be remotely diminished in the estimates of posterity. He will have nothing to lose and much to gain – both in terms of his own stature and our shared hope of reaching a wider audience.

In principle, the same is true for Frankel. As it stands, however, the Breeders’ Cup was never a realistic option. However, it was staged just two weeks after he ran on bad ground in Ascot; and his coach, of course, then there were heartbreaking mitigations for his conservative instincts. But I’ve always said that he runs like a dirt horse, and would beat them in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic instead of winning against Fort Larned (E Dubai).

In both cases, therefore, we have the same suspicion: that an immaculate record becomes increasingly an obstacle to maximum perfection. It is unnecessary to restate the list of great champions who, from the Secretariat down, have run (and risked) enough to beat the official title of invincibility. But let’s remind ourselves that an undefeated horse is very different from an undefeated horse.

As we said, the kind of thinking that shapes decision making – our priorities, our assumptions – will often include common standards. And these things will change, completely if gradually, from generation to generation. During the first few days, Purebred dogs were asked to run three laps of four miles in one day. No one is suggesting to do it now; nor was anyone seriously expecting Baaeed to join Flightline in his own game.

Nobody? In fact, that’s not entirely true. But if he were mine, I guess that wouldn’t be the only time in the morning I’d come down to find that bottle waiting reproachfully on the table.


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