Greyhound Handicapping: Are The Races Rigged?

From the time the first caveman bet the second caveman that the woolly mammoth would beat the saber tooth tiger that was chasing him, people have been winning and losing money. Losing is no fun. Maybe that’s why a lot of people don’t want to admit that it’s their fault.

They look for outside reasons for why that sure-thing didn’t come in. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how races are fixed. Some sound kind of logical, but some are pretty far out. Have you heard the one about the guy on the roof with the ray gun?

I first heard it at a track in New England where a stooper (someone who bends over looking for winning tickets that were thrown away by accident) swore to me that he’d seen the guy. “He had a green jacket on and a gimme hat and he was pointing that ray gun at the dogs. Just as he did that, the lead dog slowed down and the second dog crashed into it and there went my quiniela.”

“So how does this ray gun work?” I asked him. “How does it slow down the dogs?”

He just shrugged and moved off, looking for winning tickets on the floor. “I think it’s some kind of cosmic ray,” he yelled back to me.

I don’t think so. I think that it might have been someone clocking the dogs with a radar gun to check their speed. Or it might have been someone out on the roof for a smoke, with a big old cigar or something else in their hand and his imagination did the rest.

I’m not so naive as to think that no one ever attempts to fix a race at the dog track. I’m sure with that much money around, greedy or desperate people give it a go from time to time. One thing I do know though from knowing some owners and trainers is that they don’t do anything to permanently harm a dog. They’d be hurting themselves if they did.

They spend a lot of money, time and effort working to get dogs to the point where they make money. They’d be stupid to waste their time and effort trying to “nobble” dogs instead of working to make them faster and smarter about racing.

That said, I’ll admit that some of the races I’ve watched have been screwy to the point where I ask myself if someone wasn’t messing with the dogs. But then I go home and watch my usually graceful Black Lab chase her tennis ball and she manages to run into it and gets bopped on the head and I realize that even greyhounds can make mistakes when they’re running at 45 mph or more with their minds on catching the lure and nothing else.

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4 Responses to Greyhound Handicapping: Are The Races Rigged?

  1. Fred Pacheco says:

    Eb!
    There might be some truth to the fixing of races because of experiences I had at a now closed live racing but still simulcast racing place in Ma. I once had a cashier and relative of the owner of a place try to convince me to play a key on a race. She then spoke to a gofor guy and told him to talk with whomever with that key combo. Sure enough it came out. Hmm! Would’ve won $5000 plus. Ouch!
    I then filed complaints and knew former judges who didn’t deny that the possibility could exist.
    While waiting for a bus one day outside that very dog track. A man came out of no where parked in the parking lot and yes had a lazar rifle, shot several beebies at my knees and when I went running after him he took off in that light green station wagon . To add more Eb a lazar can do damage to a dogs insides or skin as I found out later. Haven’t you heard why they say never to point a lazar in someone’s eyes?
    So to wrap up yes the gentleman has an interesting point and yes I still bet on the net but feel still races are fixed some how! Have you heard the story about a Texas track that supposedly was tying strings around the dogs legs so they would wipeout in the first turn? That I’m not sure about but think possible.
    Enjoy your column and yes I’m a fairly good handicapper. Good advice from you does help! Have a great day!

  2. Eb says:

    You’ve certainly had some adventures! I’m glad you came out of that parking lot situation all right. Let’s hope that public scrutiny will keep most races on the level. I like to think that it does and that most of the people involved in dog racing are decent people.

  3. Art Stoldt says:

    Question : I’m an avid Compulsive Gambler and since moving to Florida some forty years ago I became addicted to the Dog’s . However , every time I research Speed , kennels , post
    positions , whatever , and come up with what looks like a ” Pattern ” , when I apply it I always
    come up empty and it disappears ??? Any Reasonable answer ? I spoke with several Gamblers through the years and I’ve offered this thought , they must have a way of controlling negative Pools , like someone coming in and putting some ridiculous amount on
    the Show pool or a gimmick bet , whatever . One fella years back through this comment out to me and it’s remained in the back of my head all these years . He said they use ” Radio ” Waves to slow or speed up the dogs , through fibers entwined in their numbered
    post position jerseys they wear , or perhaps the muzzles as well , which makes perfectly
    reasonable sense to me , as I’ve viewed thousands of races where one or more dogs will do
    something completely un-explainable in the course of the race , such as be ahead by five or more lengths and suddenly out of the blue his legs will come out from under him and he’ll go tumbling . Needless to say , he was a heavy favorite . Also , many races these days now I’ll be viewing many a race I’ve wagered on and one dog in particular will get a huge burst of speed in the backstretch , like he just got a shock and gain five or six lengths on the leading dogs . This happens with regularity and is the reason I’m questioning this forum , looking for answers to either confirm the possibility of what I just described or dismiss it as ludicrous . Thanks for listening and look forward to your reply .

  4. Eb says:

    I don’t know about radio waves, but I’ve seen dogs do some very strange things during races. On the other hand, I’ve seen my dog do some mighty weird things playing fetch with a tennis ball, so I don’t know if it’s that the races are being manipulated or just that dogs are unpredictable, even good ones.

    I think much more than horse races where there’s a jockey, dog races are hard to handicap because a lot of it is luck, little things that happen unexpectedly in the race and where the dog gets to run due to the behavior of the other dogs, which is also unpredictable. I wish I had an answer to your question and maybe someone else does, but that’s the best I can do.

    Thanks for the comment and good luck with the races.

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