The ownership of racetracks ranges from complete state control, in which case the national government may own the tracks and horses and employ trainers, jockeys, grooms, and other necessary personnel, to complete private enterprise, as in most of the United States, where tracks are privately owned and operated for profit, as are the horses, and trainers and jockeys are independent contractors. In-between conditions include government ownership of tracks and in some cases horses, which are leased, and nonprofit privately owned tracks, as in Australia and the New York Racing Association.
Racing in medieval England began when horses for sale were ridden in competition by professional riders to display the horses’ speed to buyers. During the reign of Richard the Lionheart (1189–99), the first known racing purse was offered, £40, for a race run over a 3-mile (4.8-km) course with knights as riders. In the 16th century Henry VIII imported horses from Italy and Spain (presumably Barbs) and established studs at several locations. In the 17th century James I sponsored meetings in England. His successor, Charles I, had a stud of 139 horses when he died in 1649.
The paper argued that a horse’s success or failure was the result of factors that could be quantified probabilistically. Take variables—straight-line speed, size, winning record, the skill of the jockey—weight them, and presto! Out comes a prediction of the horse’s chances. More variables, better variables, and finer weightings improve the predictions. The authors weren’t sure it was possible to make money using the strategy and, being mostly interested in statistical models, didn’t try hard to find out. “There appears to be room for some optimism,” they concluded.
Benter grew up in a Pittsburgh idyll called Pleasant Hills. He was a diligent student and an Eagle Scout, and he began to study physics in college. His parents had always given him freedom—on vacations, he’d hitchhiked across Europe to Egypt and driven through Russia—and in 1979, at age 22, he put their faith to the test. He left school, boarded a Greyhound bus, and went to play cards in Las Vegas.
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Stephen Foster Handicap Night - Pavel was a mild upset winner in the 2018 Stephen Foster (G1) at Churchill Downs by 3 3/4 lengths over Honorable Duty and Matrooh. Also on the card were the Fleur de Lis (G2) won by Blue Prize, the Matt Winn (G3) won by King Zachary, the Regret (G3) won by Beyond Blame, and the Wise Dan (G2) won by Mr. Misunderstood. Get the results, charts, and photos here.