Monday, June 9, 2008

Should Big Brown Have Been 1-4?

Big Brown was 1-4 odds to win the Belmont Saturday, meaning you had to bet $4 to try to win $1 betting on him to win the race. While he certainly should have been the favorite, I questioned at the time why so many would risk money to win a smaller amount than they were risking.

In the wake of his last place finish on Saturday, I have reviewed the 29 past instances of situations where a horse came into the Belmont having won the first 2 legs of the Triple Crown. What I discovered is astounding. Of these 29 horses, only 11 have gone on to win the Belmont and the Triple Crown! This shows that the bettors who made Big Brown a 1:4 favorite had a grossly inadequate understanding of history.

It may also indicate something more sinister. To ask a horse to run a 1 and 1/2 mile race, especially when it is his 3rd race in 5 weeks, may constitute cruelty to animals. In light of past experience (11 horses in a row since 1978 that have won the first 2 legs then faltered in the Belmont), one must conclude it likely is animal cruelty and should be abolished.

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