Discussion of Racing Data: 2019 Edition
Whatever the reason, I’ll take the moment of inspiration to try to make a little blogging fetch happen, especially considering that the original intent of this blog is help achieve the elusive quiet mind.
What’s been rattling around in my head in need of expulsion? A few things. Let’s start with this…
JUST RELEASED: "Embracing a Future with Free Racing Data" – the newest white paper from the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation challenges @Equibase to propel racing into the era of analytics by opening its raw data to the public. READ IT HERE AND RT: https://t.co/sSjfjnTHHf pic.twitter.com/5VlpxezLI6
— Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (@racingideas) March 11, 2019
I missed most of the discussion in real time (work day!) but there was no shortage of good conversation, like this point…
Sure but you need a stream of new values to collect, different collections of data. There’s not going to be innovation with what is currently collected. Who’s gonna be out there collecting the new stuff? Surely not the biz you’ve undercut as a marketing expense.
— o_crunk (@o_crunk) March 11, 2019
Exactly and this why the idea that all points lead back to Equibase is such a non-starter of an idea.
— o_crunk (@o_crunk) March 11, 2019
Yes, there’s the matter of the existing data being hard to access and ultimately expensive, but it’s a great point that REALLY looking forward includes looking beyond what is currently collected. And if we are going to look for new data models, modes of collection and dissemination, looking beyond Equibase makes a lot of sense.
There’s still the matter of Equibase and the existing data. And I do still think it should be much, much more accessible and affordable than it is now. As a caveat I’ll say that I haven’t read the full white paper, but even if I had I’m not sure I’d really have an opinion on the suggested approach to achieve the end goal, so I’ll leave that commentary to others. But this was a great point that I don’t think got the play it deserves…
Whether we’re talking about handle or data, surfaces or aftercare, so much of what people want for racing is stewardship. But the lure of profit is often stronger. Beyond ideas: How do we create a culture of stewardship?
— Jessica Chapel (@railbird) March 11, 2019
It’s a necessary question, and one that’s not easy to answer. And, it’s something I’ve also pointed out in this post on racing data a few years ago
Every organization that has data, and that has had data for a long time, faces these issues. You can’t blame Equibase for that, and it’s not an easy problem to solve, but at some point an aging, and apparently failing, data structure needs to be addressed. It takes time, money, resources and most importantly proper stewardship, governance and design.
One way to go about starting to create a culture of stewardship, is by defining shared goals, with an emphasis on shared and an emphasis on sharing in the definition of those goals. And that’s not easy either. Especially when every entity in the industry appears to be in “race to the bottom” mode.
I’m happy to see Cummings, Bernick and company trying to move the ball forward, especially since they appear to be well respected in the industry, or at least much more well respected than our little group of social media misanthropes who have been talking about these issues for years.
In all honesty we never would’ve been able to change much, if anything, about the way the industry handles data. I’m trying to stop what amounts to hitting my head against the wall about it by just working on things I like and trying to forget the rest. But I’d like to think that in other industries we would’ve been invited to table for discussion, or at least taken seriously.
This brings us back to question of the stewardship and inclusion, something that is glaringly absent in the racing industry, or at least it appears that way from the outside. So good luck to TIF, they’re gonna need it!