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Crunching Numbers
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - by T.J. Burkett

I am spending the week here in Tucson, Ariz., (it’s in the 50s, so can’t brag on the weather) at the 40th annual Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming.

The morning’s panels included a keynote address by Christopher Kay, CEO of the New York Racing Association; a panel introducing a new reality show called “Horseplayers;”** and a panel titled “New Ways to Look at Numbers.”

That “numbers” panel was of particular interest to us in harness racing because it included David Siegel, president of TrackMaster, which works with the USTA to provide past performances to tracks.

Siegel, also a USTA director, offered up some interesting new innovations during his presentation, including two projects that involve the USTA: automated morning lines and added data for simulcast presentations. He asserted that after a two-year study, the automated morning lines have proven to be much more accurate than their human counterpart.

The “added data” is harder to explain without a graphic. Ever watch a football game and the color commentator shows his “keys to the game?” TrackMaster is creating a product that automatically produces “keys to the race” for each horse in each race. So, in the graphic in Siegel’s presentation, he showed a horse in the post parade with items under its name, such as first time hobbles and highest average speed rating last race. He said it would provide analysis without the “overhead of a human analyst.”

Both are great products that will help make harness racing data more sophisticated, accurate and accessible to bettors, which are all good things.

**The “Horseplayers” show was intriguing, but I had to miss it to work on the magazine. I made it back in time to see their “sizzle tape,” which showed some characters which were competing for the National Handicapping Championship.

This is a great idea for a show, but I will try to cover it later in the day when the cast members come together on a panel this afternoon.

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  • Man versus Man (Tuesday, December 10, 2013)
    T.J. Burkett reports from the 40th annual Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming.

Editor's Note: The views contained in this article are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.
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