Results Official

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: &
/ Kleptocracy /

Mission: to explain kleptocracy’s dependence on official decisions: on executives

The results are now Official.
Fred Capossela

I can still hear Cappy’s voice at Belmont, at Aquaduct, at Saratoga … Most of the time everybody at the track can see which horse crossed the line first. But it doesn’t matter how far in front Secretariat or American Pharaoh was, or seemed to be to the spectators: the runner ain’t safe till the umpire says so. The economy isn’t healthy until a pundit in Washington says so. In the NYRA flat track races no horse could win until the officials considered claims of foul, claims of doping. There’s more to racing than horses.

Nothing is official until Caesar says so.
(And Caesar don’t speak till the bribes have been counted.)
2015 11 19 I’m not just resurrecting, I’m adding wisecracks.

People who see their horse cross second or third may throw their bet ticket on the floor in disgust.
Sometimes the race is close enough that the supporters of the front pair are at each others’ throats even though they know that there will be a review of the photo finish.

(Understand: the photo finish is not a photograph of the finish. It’s not a snap shot. It’s a length of film fixed with precision on the finish line: it photographs only the line; not the race. It photographs it over time. Film is drawn past the aperture while the aperture is held open: while the horses cross the line. If a horse falls down dead one inch short of the line — one centimeter — no part of that horse will appear in the finish: only those parts actually reaching the line.)
(At least that was the technology in 1961.)

Sometimes even the officials, who theoretically have no favorites (what? among humans!?!?), with an unobstructed view both of the race and of the photo finish, are hard pressed to make a decision as to which horse’s nose (tongue or lip) touched the “line” first.

In the great majority of races the crowd, the officials, the owners, the jockeys, the photo finish, and, presumably, the horses are in untroubled accord as to what happened. Nevertheless, ten or twenty minutes would routinely pass before Cappy would lean back over the mike with that familiar phrase I cite above: The results are now Official. Because, you see, time has to be allowed for the participants to lodge complaints about other participants. Jockey M says Jockey O cut him across the face with his crop; Jockey N says Jockey M grabbed his horse’s reigns just coming into the stretch … The officials automatically reserve ten or fifteen minutes for deliberation in just such cases. The photo finish isn’t the only camera at the track. Races are automatically filmed: both officially and unofficially. Furthermore the officials know the tricks of this and that jockey, this and that trainer, her and the other owner …

Am I saying that the officials are always right? Not for a minute: merely that the state requires an official decision: hopefully within minutes, routinely within twenty minutes: even when there’s a problem. Only rarely does an official decision not get announced within five or eight minutes of the closing of the betting for the next race.
(You see, it’s not about truth: it’s about money!)

(The races are of course scheduled thirty minutes apart. The para mutual windows close for a particular race once that race’s odds are rendered official: still another official decision without which the state might become vulnerable to paying out more money than it takes in.)

(Indeed, that last item needs another word: Racing experts employed by the state calculate odds for each horse in each race and publish them as the “Morning Line”. The track does not pay according to the Morning Line; the track pays according to the actual handle: the total money bet on a particular race: minus the state’s commission. The favorite may start the morning at 6:1 but actually run the race at a mere 3:1. That is: more people backed the favorite than the favorite’s performance history supports. In other words: though the public may attend the races in order to gamble, the track itself is not there to gamble. The track is there to collect taxes for the state: 15% (or whatever the law sets). The state guarantees itself 15% of the handle of every race: collect $1: divvy 85 cents among the winners.)

(The single exception is the law that states that a winning ticket must earn a gain of at least twenty cents. Theoretically the state might have to finance the winning tickets holders of a race in which everyone bet the winner. I doubt that it’s ever happened though one might be able to research it.)
Thus, even with trouble, bettors start getting paid with time left to bet the next race. No point in having nine races if most are broke by the end of one.

Gee, isn’t that nice. There may be more versions of what happened during the race than there were witnessed accounts of the rape in Roshomon: but the wise officials arrive at the truth within a few minutes almost every time! But of course the visitor already sees past my sarcasm: the truth is not what civilization runs by; it’s decisions that civilization runs by. If the tennis player wants to keep playing for a hundred grand here, a million there, he’d better shut up and get ready to receive service … so the commercial breaks, the station announcements, the scheduled commentaries … can proceed as planned. So too the jockeys and trainers and owners … and bettors. (The horses themselves are wisely mum.)

Typically a race horse doesn’t see the horse that cut her off or that bumped her for a long time. They’re kept in different paddocks, get returned to different farms …

Sometimes unofficial results are overturned: Jockey and horse P are disqualified. The Place horse Wins; the Show horse Places, the fourth horse Shows.

(I’d like to see Seabiscuit unattended in a meadow with the official that disqualified him.)
And yes, I’ve known people who gathered considerable income sifting the floor litter for winning tickets prematurely discarded. The pickings are especially good after a turnover, but sometimes people throw away winning tickets where there’s no inquiry. The guy in the grandstand had a bad angle on the finish. His whole life is in that ticket. He thinks his horse got nosed. Impulse makes him … Suicide.
But suicide is for the public. The state seldom commits suicide impulsively (no: rather slowly: as when we elect a Kennedy, a Nixon, a Bush …)

I’ve said before: when the Roman army got sick of Caligula, they elevated Claudius within minutes: even though he was hiding from them behind the curtains. Oh, no. Anything but be emperor!
What human in her right mind would want to be King of the Woods either? (See Frazer.)

Humans living in bands made their own decisions more often than not. Ooo, I think I’ll eat that beetle. The hell with these berries: I think I’ll go look for those other ones. “Should we go to the woods or to the shore?” might be a question the group had to decide, and no doubt many different procedures were effected. In emergencies a group may turn to a leader; but we know that even in groups as large as tribes, chiefs were chiefs only some of the time. Poor Claudius was emperor twenty four hours a day, seven days a week: every damn month (twelve of them by Claudius’ time: their great grandparents had had a mere ten month year!)

More to say, but I don’t have to say it all at once.


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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