Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Games of Chance--A Horse is a Horse

Thanks to one of my commenters for reminding me that horse racing and shidduchim are closely related.

The world of thoroughbred horse racing has as an integral component the bloodlines of the horses being raced. In-depth studies are done on the dam and sire going back generations. It is reasoned that good bloodlines will produce horses with the "right stuff." Sometimes this is true. Sometimes this is only partially true. And sometimes this is not true at all. Who your grandfather was may have had affect on his life, but it cannot predict what your life will be like. How your grandmother acted said something about her, but may say nothing about you. Wagering money on how well someone conforms to their bloodlines may well be money down the toilet.

In addition to bloodlines, horse racing aficionados look at the stable a horse comes out of. It is reasoned that certain stables produce "winners" more than other stables. There must be something about their methods, about their trainers, that works well. And it is true that some stables do have more than their fair share of winning horses coming out of them. And yes, some trainers are better then others. But stables have plenty of "duds" in them. They don't like talking about those "duds" but they are there nonetheless. So, betting on a stable as the sole criteria may well be money down the toilet.

Then there are the jockeys who ride the horses. They are the horses' "best friends." They know their horses better then anyone. They are privy to all the little quirks and individual qualities of the horse they are riding. Yup, some jockeys are seen as better then other jockeys. But even a good jockey can have a bad day with a horse. And sometimes a bad jockey can have a good day with a horse. Knowing who the jockey is is no guarantee that the horse will be a winner. Judging a horse by its jockey can be a big error. Betting on a jockey can well be money down the toilet.

Then there are the tracks where the horses run. Some racing tracks are seen as better then others. The running field is given better upkeep. The track is maintained better. The spectators seats are more comfortable. The line of vision is clearer. But sometimes good horses do not do well on a good track. And sometimes good horses do well on a poor track. And sometimes bad horses do well on a bad track. Betting money on a horse solely because of the track where they are running may be money down the toilet.

There is also the length of the running track. Not all tracks are the same distance. How long the track is can affect the performance of the horses running. Some horses do better on a shorter track. Some horses do better on a longer track, needing the greater distance to show off their capabilities. The length of the track and the horses stamina need to be coordinated. Some horses are sprinters--they come out of the starting gate at full speed. Some horses need to build up steam. Sprinters do better on a shorter track. Slow starters do better on a longer track. Betting on a horse solely based on the length of the running track may be money down the toilet.

And then there is the horse's will. Some horses are eager to race. They are competitive. They smell the other horses and their competitive mode sets in. Some horses want to be out ahead of the others so badly that they will run even when injured--winning is everything. Some horses are content to stay as part of the pack. Some horses seem to have no interest in the activity they are participating in. They run the race on their own time schedule, not the other horses' schedule. Sometimes they balk and will refuse to run at all. They just aren't interested. Some horses have good days and off days and there is no way to know when those days will happen. How these horses perform will be based on how they "feel" on any given day. Betting on a horse based solely on a horse's will may be money down the toilet.

There is a reason that betting on the horses is called betting. It is because there is no sure thing, despite all the time and effort and money that goes into "guaranteeing" winners. Yes, looking at a horse's record may be a fairly good indicator of what he might do. The key is "might." On any given day, any given horse can have a moment of brilliance. Bettors who wager money solely on past performance may see their money go down the toilet.

I'll refrain from talking about the capabilities of stallions at stud and the qualities of brood mares. I'll refrain from talking about the horse that looks just like a perfect horse should look but can't perform to save its life--the "perfect" insides are missing.

Obvious, isn't it, how horse racing and shidduchim are quite similar?


Anonymous said...

At least no boy has ever asked to examne my teeth, although given all the other questions, why not that one.

Anonymous said...

Lol, I asked for it and I got it. Bet you could probably relate shidduchim to the Theory of Relativity

Anonymous said...

Should have covered the stud angle. Too many of us feel that the women are looking at us and judging what kind of fathers we will be and forgetting about all the rest.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'm the only one to think that comparing gambling and shidduchim is unappropriate. One is a vice and the other is not. How does making fun of shidduchim help people to get married?