A good Monday morning to you all! It’s Tampa Bay Derby week here in Florida and looking forward to our big day this coming Saturday. Should be a fun card, and weather is supposed to remain good, so hope you’ll either be joining us here in the Sunshine State or betting us on TwinSpires.
I wanted to write today about forgiveness. Now in life, generally I think forgiveness is a good thing. We all make mistakes, and when someone is trying to remedy those mistakes or just trying to do better, I’m a big believer in the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is also extremely important in the world of betting horse races.
The definition of forgiveness, according to the internet, is as follows: to grant pardon for or remission of something. To absolve.
I think most of us know what it means to be forgiving, and what on earth does that have to do with horse racing? Well, let me share for you an example of where two friends weren’t forgiving this past weekend.
The 12th race at Gulfstream Park was the Davona Dale (G2), a big stakes event for three-year-old fillies. One of the horses, Dorth Vader (awesome name), had run her previous two starts at Tampa Bay Downs. On Dec. 3, 2022, she was very impressive, winning the Sandpiper Stakes. So impressive that my friend Evil Seabass texted me right after the race, as you can see below.
We were both clearly wowed by this horse’s effort, and the next time she ran at Tampa Bay Downs, I made sure to text him the morning of to remind him that she was running. Well, in the Gasparilla Stakes that day, she ran a clunker. She was mostly done by the top of the stretch and finished a well-beaten sixth.
So what did Seabass and I do about that when Dorth Vader showed up in Saturday’s Davona Dale? Not a darn thing. Nope, neither one of us forgave her for her ONE bad start. She’d even run well at Gulfstream Park before. But no forgiveness from us.
I often mention on my show that often forgiveness is where prices come from. Many horseplayers (myself included) suffer badly from recency bias — meaning that we tend to focus a little bit too much on what horses have done most recently.
The past performance line that tends to reflect most in the price of a horse is their last race. Horses with really good last races tend to get overbet, and horses with really bad ones tend to get underbet. Obviously there’s a little more to it than that, but it’s a pattern that is pretty consistent among how races get bet.
Did that one bad race mean Dorth Vader had forgotten how to run fast? Maybe she just didn’t feel great that day. Or didn’t like being between runners. What would her odds have been if she hadn’t run in that race at all and just showed up in the Davona Dale straight off the Sandpiper win? I can guarantee you they wouldn’t have been 46-1 in an eight-horse field!
Dorth Vader was a great reminder in the power of forgiveness toward our equine racing friends. Have a great week, everyone!