“I think we’re all in agreement that it’s an inaccurate statement and one that doesn’t reflect reality,” says David Weigel, a columnist for the New York Times, author of a book on the horse racing industry, “The Race: The Big Business of Sports.” “On the morning line, the lines are drawn and you can pretty much see every turn the horses make and what they are doing. There’s not really a lot of room to look off into the distant future.”
What’s clear is that at a time in the year when most Americans are watching a few NFL games on TV and others play video games on a laptop, it’s hard to believe that many of the people who work at the track are even in “real time” with the horses.
There are different ways to interpret line-drawing. Weigel believes that even if the race is on the air, you can see the final position of the horses. “But when the final time is shown, you can’t see it. There’s a pause and then he moves down the line. If you’re at all curious, the line is sometimes red, sometimes blue (or yellow). At other times, the line is yellow for a short stretch and a red stretch. At most races, the lines aren’t red or blue. If they are, well, it’s because they’re moving. When you’re on the floor, you can still see the horses.”
According to The New York Times, “officiating officials will stop the action from time to time to give the audience a chance to watch the racing and perhaps make small changes to the lines, giving the horses time to get out of their stalls, for example.”
The average viewer, it would seem, is not terribly concerned what the race lines say. Most people watch television through a headset, so there are many sources of information available to them. And there’s a vast difference between seeing the horses and watching them. But to understand what happens during games — and even when we aren’t watching — we need to know what the officials are doing.
If “in real time,” as Weigel says, is really what you’re observing … but it’s hard to believe … we’ll need to talk about what you’re watching.
So what are the major lines involved in the racing?
As you might expect, the main race line is at the start of the race. From there, horses advance up the line as they are shown
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