In most cases, entries for a given day’s races are taken three days prior to race day (e.g. Wednesday for Saturday, Thursday for Sunday, etc.). So how come HorseTourneys rules state that players typically are not able to make their contest selections—or gain access to the free Brisnet past performances available—until roughly 24 hours before the start of a tourney?
It’s a good question and one we get emailed fairly often to our firstname.lastname@example.org customer service address. The basic answer is that not all entries are created equal.
Entries may all be drawn—and initially released as “overnights”—at roughly the same time, but the point at which official betting numbers and morning line odds become finalized can vary quite a bit from track to track.
This is most notably the case with West Coast tracks like Santa Anita, Del Mar and Los Alamitos where such information is not always nailed down until the morning or even early afternoon (Pacific time!) of the day prior to race day. Here’s one example of a race drawn almost 48 hours ago that is still in its “overnight” state:
And since so many of our multi-track tourneys include races from a West Coast track, we prefer to wait until all the races within a given tourney are finalized with respect to betting numbers and morning lines rather than roll things out in haphazard, non-uniform fashion.
(A perhaps-interesting side note—tracks are seemingly getting less consistent in how quickly they finalize races rather than more consistent. Fair Grounds, for example, has been taking entries seven days ahead of race day. And their betting numbers and morning line odds are incorporated in at warp speed. This is terrific for players who like to do their handicapping early, even if the early draw does lead to an increased rate of late scratches due to various minor illnesses and injuries that can rear their ugly heads at a moment’s notice—and that didn’t exist on entry day. Mahoning Valley, on the other extreme, does things old school. They don’t “enter to run” (to borrow an old racing-office phrase) like most other tracks do. Saturday overnights may come out on a Wednesday. Then sometime late on Thursday, they take a round of early scratches, and only then do they assign betting numbers and even begin the morning line odds process. Until fairly recently, this was the system in place in Maryland as well.)
When one of our tourneys “goes live”, we want players to have accurate and up-to-date information. If betting numbers are yet to be made official, it can cause serious problems for both you and us. And, to a lesser degree, the same is true for morning line odds. Postng one set of contest pages and PPs prior to the availability of morning line odds and then updating to another set of each following the availability of morning line odds also presents various logistical nightmares for us that we, frankly, don’t feel is worth the added manpower costs (that would ultimately have to be passed on to the players).
For tourneys not involving a West Coast track—or not involving a track with a system in place like Mahoning Valley’s—then, yes, we do our best to open up the selection process and make Brisnet PPs available earlier than 24 hours out.
So now you know the method behind the madness. Our 24-hour policy may not be perfect in the minds of all players, but we think it is the policy that makes the most sense for the majority of players—one that reduces the potential for confusion or chaos and helps us present a large volume of tourneys in as clear and straightforward a manner as possible.