Fallacious Betting Fable from France: Story of Enormous Mutuel Odds Would Have Been True, If the Horse Had Won, Daily Racing Form, 1908-12-01


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FALLACIOUS BETTING FABLE FROM FRANCE. Story of Enormous Mutuel Odds Would Have Been True, if the Horse Had Won. Some lime back there gained circulation in English papers a statement that a winner of a raw at Maisons-Lallitte had paid the incredible price of over 2.G00 to 1, or, to bo exact, that ten francs invested on the winner in the mutucls had returned 2G.U01 francs. This pleasing story of good luck spread abroad and, among other American news papers, Daily Racing Form mentioned the alleged occurrence in a turf note. It now appears that the only departures from the trutii in the story are that the horse about which it was told did not win, has never won, but that had it won it would have paid the alleged return. Concerning that matter, the Paris correspondent of London Sporting Life, under date of November 17. says: "During the last few days I have repeatedly come across a paragraph in the English papers I have picked up, which at first caused me astonishment and afterwards amusement. I rubbed my eyes when 1 read that last week a record was established by the pari-mutuel at Maisons-Latlitte, when the lucky people who had invested 10 francs on the chance of Etheree had each received the sum of 20,901 francs, or something over 1.000. A thousand sovereigns to eight shillings was indeed long odds, but I asked myself. When did this occur? I had been at all the recent meetings at Maisons-Lallitte. and I had no recollection of Etheree winning a race; in fact, I do not think Baron de Giuestous lilly nas ever won u race at all. "She is peculiarly bred, being by the little-known stallion. Kerlaz. out of Eurydice. and I saw her when she made her debut iu the Prix St. Damien at Maisous Lallitte. about three weeks ago. She did not win on that occasion. I can swear. M. Edmond Blancs filly. Messaouda. was successful, with Casus Belli II. second, and Casus Belli third. This coincidence stamped the race in my memory, and I wrote in Sporting Life at the time about the stupidity -of permitting two horses of the same age to bear the same name. Moreover. Messaouda is engaged in the English Oaks, and I gave you at the time of her victory some particulars alMjnt her. Etheree. in that race, finished nearer last than first. She ran again a week later, on October 30. over the same course at Maisons-Laflitte in a selling race, the Prix des Mureaux. which was won by Baron Leoninos filly. Fabienue. "Ha. Now I have It. I can see how this wonderful story has been put into circulation. The Prix des Mureaux was a remarkable betting race. There were twenty-one runners, and Fabienne started at 11 to 4- against. Rollevillo, which was second, started at 200 to 1, and paid 25 to 1 for a place. Messenger Boy. a 4 to 1 chance, was third. The public is officially informed after each race what the various unplaced horses would have paid If they had won. Oh. the magic of that little word if. Says the German poet and philosopher, the man who invented "If" and "but" must surely have transformed chopped straw into gold. A little if has transformed the despised Etherees defeat into a golden harvest. If Etheree had won. the person who had taken a ten-franc ticket on her chance In the pesage enclosnre would have received 20,901 francs, and the person who had taken a five franc ticket outside in the pelouse would have received 1.078 francs, for the odds there were much reduced. As it happened. Etheree did not finish in the first five, and the holders of the tickets got nothing. "It is just as well to correct these fallacious statements at once. In years to come someone mav turn up .the paragraph and will actually believe that on this occasion the parl-mutuel paid moro than 2,000 to 1 oven Etheree. There Is no reason why the pari-mutuel should not pay such a priqe, ij the general Investments are sufficiently largo and the particular Investments on the winner are sufficiently few. I cannot say off-hand what the exact record in the way of a long pari-mutuel price may bo, but up to now it is well under 1.000 to 1. I remember in the very early days of the mutuel one of the Ilcnncssys. by way of experiment, taking a ticket for each horse in the race, and the extreme outsider took the liberty of winning. The result was a tremendous advertisement for the machine. and many people blindly followed Mr. Hcnnessys example, taking a chance on every horse. This swelled the takings, but long-priced outsiders did not roll home with the expected regularity. "Let it be repeated, however, and as widely as possible, that this story of the pari-mutuel paying 20.901 francs for 10 over Etheree is untrue. Etheree has not won a race, and no such price has up to now been paid by the mutucls. In the long run It will be found more remunerative to back favorites and second favorites at the inutuels, but if you have reason for fancying an outsider and back your fancy you will get a much better price at the totalisa-tcur than from a bookmaker, and if it should win and there is always a very big If about It. mind you the money Is at once forthcoming. And that Is a great consideration."

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1900s/drf1908120101/drf1908120101_2_4
Local Identifier: drf1908120101_2_4
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800