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By Key Program Update for Scratch BOT - 06-24-2020
9:51:55 AM
Scratch BOT ONLY (06-24-2020) PROGRAM UPDATE

The new 06-24-2020 Scratch BOT Only program update handles recent changes Equibase has introduced into the xml for reporting Off Turf races at some tracks but not all.

Link to the Scratch BOT ONLY (06-24-2020) Program Release Notes PDF: here.

If you are using JCapper Build 198 (either Silver or Platinum) and you want Scratch BOT to pick up Off Turf races correctly:

Get the Scratch BOT ONLY (06-24-2020) PROGRAM UPDATE asap.



10:10:51 PM
I'm going to be publishing a new (follow up) Scratch BOT only program update sometime in the next 48 hours.

Here's why:

Over the past several weeks I've noticed two patterns where Track Condition is (frequently) wrong in the Scratches and Changes XML.

Imo, the error rate is high enough that I've decided to not only write about it --

But I've also decided to make an update to Scratch BOT to give you a way to deal with it.

In all cases that I've looked at:

Bad track condition in the XML appears to stop there.

So far, whenever I've noticed bad track condition in the XML on race day - and spot check track condition in the charts data later that same day or the next morning:

Track condition in the charts data has (so far) been correct.

Here are the two patterns:

• FIRST: The most common pattern seems to happen for races taken off the turf. To me, it looks like a track employee (correctly) takes a race off the turf but (somehow) "forgets" to note the dirt track condition in the xml for that same race.

A lot of the time the other dirt races on the card will be listed in the XML as Good, Sloppy, or Muddy, etc. but the off turf races on that same card won't have an entry in the XML for current dirt track condition at all.

So that you'll know what to look for:

If you scroll through the races on your SQL HTML Report you might see SY in the race header for races that were originally scheduled to be run on the dirt.

But the off turf races for that same card won't have anything in the race header for TkCond.

FYI, last Tuesday on 07-07-2020, the off turf races at BTP and MNR would be perfect examples of this.

As would (right now as I type this) tonight's (Mon 07-13-2020) races 1 and 2 at MNR.

• SECOND: The other pattern I've noticed when bad track condition shows up in the XML is when a track employee takes the time early in the day to key entries in the XML listing dirt track condition as FAST for all of today's dirt races.

But then that same track employee (somehow) forgets to make corrections to the XML listing current dirt track condition for the remaining dirt races as Good, Sloppy, or Muddy, etc. later in the day after it rains.

FYI, the Saturday 07-11-2020 card at PRM would be a perfect example of that.

In most cases I am (now that I'm looking out for it) able to recognize the problem early on - simply by comparing TkCond on my SQL HTML Report against track condition shown on track video.

For the most part, TkCond on track video is correct. (But not always.)

During the early part of their Thursday 07-09-2020 card: KEE actually had current track condition in the XML listed as FAST. Yet, at the same, current dirt track condition on their track video was listed as SEALED.

Hint: Sealed is not a valid track condition!

A look at Keeneland track video for R4 clearly shows this... along with plenty of standing water on the dirt surface itself.

The track condition certainly wasn't Fast as listed in the xml.

I actually got in touch with Equibase - who in turn had a field supervisor contact Keeneland - who (at least) corrected the track condition shown on their track video.

But it wasn't until R6 that current dirt track was corrected in the XML... First Sloppy... Then Muddy.

And current dirt track condition wasn't corrected in the XML that day for races 2, 3, and 4.

Over the past several weeks, I've had many conversations with Equibase where I've emphasized the importance of getting accurate track condition into the XML.

After the Thurs 07-09-2020 incident at Keeneland, it finally dawned on me:

Major tracks like Keeneland are (likely) operating with essential personnel only. That (likely) means skeleton crews with many employees furloughed or working from home.

I'm guessing Equibase is (likely) doing the same.

I'm also guessing minor tracks are even more severely impacted.

Under the current conditions I suspect no amount of harping from me about the importance of getting accurate track condition into the XML is likely to make that happen.

Imo, if it hasn't happened by now: It isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

Given the amount of harping I've already done: Tonight's Tues 07-13-2020 off turf races (R1 and R2) at MNR should be plenty evidence of that.

Last Thurs afternoon 07-09-2020 (after the R4 'sealed is not a valid track condition') incident at Keeneland:

I brought up the Manual Changes Module and made my own corrections to track condition for Keeneland's remaining dirt races.

After that, I ran a Calc Races for the Keeneland Card only -- and kept that HTML Report handy for the duration of the Keeneland card.

The trouble with making changes in the Manual Changes Module is that the next time you run an XML parse routine:

All previous changes made in the Manual Changes Module get overwritten by new info picked up by Scratch BOT from the XML.

The info model I used when I wrote the program is one where the info in the XML is assumed to be correct.

Obviously, that's no longer the case.

SO... Last Thursday night 07-09-2020:

I decided to create a new screen for Scratch BOT called the Manual Race Override Tool.

The idea behind the Manual Race Override Tool is to give you a way to override bad race info for surf-dist-tkcond in the XML.

When you see bad race info for surf-dist-tkcond in the XML, you'll have the ability to launch the Manual Race Override Tool from the Scratch BOT menu, bring up the race in question, key corrected into for surf-dist-tkcond into the boxes, and Save your changes as a Manual Race Override entry to the Changes Table.

The difference between surf-dist-tkcond changes made in the Manual Race Override Tool and surf-dist-tkcond changes made in the Manual Changes Module is that --

Scratch BOT will be programmed to:

1. Recognize, and give special status to, Manual Race Override entries sitting in the Changes table.

2. Not overwrite Manual Race Override entries in the Changes table with new (bad) race info parsed from the XML.

Of course, you'll (always) have the ability to pull up and either modify or delete any Manual Race Override entries that you've saved to the Changes table.

And of course all entries in the Changes Table (and this includes Manual Race Override entries) are cleared from the Changes Table at the start of each new race day when you clear the previous day's .JCP files from the program (before loading new .JCP files into the program) in the DFM Card Loader.

Here's a screenshot of the new Manual Race Override Tool in Scratch BOT:

Here's a second screenshot:

Apologies for being so long winded and hope I've managed to type most of that out in a way that makes sense,



~Edited by: jeff  on:  7/13/2020  at:  10:10:51 PM~


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