Saturday, May 5, 2018

Never Bet a Horse Named Joe: Update

Several years back, I tested a theory that horses with popular boys or girls names were overbet in parimutuel markets. My hunch was that the betting public is more likely to bet on a horse if that horse's name contained their own name (or that of their wife, son, daughter, etc.). I arrived at that hunch by extrapolating from a sample size of one - me.

What I found in that original analysis, using a limited dataset of races run in California, was weak evidence for my theory, but that fell short of statistical significance. However, I now have a much more robust dataset, consisting of nearly all races run in North America over the past four years.

With this new dataset of some 200,000 races, I ran a logistic regression on the probability of a horse winning a race using the following variables: