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I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, but what I saw yesterday at Santa Anita is most disturbing.

As the horses loaded into the gate for the seventh race, the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap, MR GRUFF was listed at 4/1 on the tote board. After breaking cleanly and getting to the front, his odds dropped to 5/2. He went on to win while paying $7.60, instead of the $10 or so bettors were expecting at post time.

In the 10th race, a maiden claimer for 3-year-olds, favorite FOREIGN TAUREAN was 8/5 going into the gate, but took a huge drop to even-money after breaking well and setting the pace. Again, wire-to-wire, paying $4.00 instead of $5.20 or $5.40 that was expected. In both cases a payoff drop of about 25% from what horseplayers could have expected to receive even if they had wagered at the last possible moment.

To add insult to injury, Pick 4 “will pays” into the final race showed ‘TAUREAN returning $443. However, when the actual payoff came back at $401, winning bettors had been dinged another 10%. As if beating the races isn’t hard enough, winning gamblers lost large percentages of their profits due to the above examples.

Batch betting? Past posting? Taking advantage of the seven-second delay afforded to mutuel clerks in order to cancel (or not cancel) a ticket after the gates open? Something had a very foul odor in the air on the last Saturday of the meet. These problems (loopholes?) need to be fixed immediately.

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