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Old 01-26-2010, 01:40 PM   #1
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Scratch Program File

I spend a significant time checking for scratches (one track at a time) on The Racing Channel. The selection process I use is very sensitive to scratches.

Does anyone know how I can automate this process, with the desired end result of having a single (text) file with all the scratches?

Many thanks to those able and willing to offer help and/or suggestions!!
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Old 01-26-2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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Equibase Gets It Right:
http://www.paulickreport.com/blog/eq...gets-it-right/

Visit the Scratches Today page at Equibase.com. You'll generally find almost all of the scratches and changes propagating out onto the Equibase site in something pretty close to real time throughout the day.
http://www.equibase.com/static/latec...techanges.html

Be aware that early scratches and changes are being keyed into the system at the track level... except for NYRA which so far is the only racing association refusing to participate in this free service for players from Equibase... Also be aware that all subsequent changes are being keyed in by Equibase chart callers as they are announced over the PA system throughout the day.

The goal when this system was created was one source on the web where players could go to get accurate timely changes info. So far, with very few kinks - the system has been just that.

If you want to automate the process, consider parsing scratches and changes directly from the XML Feed.


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Old 01-26-2010, 02:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff P
If you want to automate the process, consider parsing scratches and changes directly from the XML Feed.


-jp

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How does one do this? Are there commercially available programs already out there, or do I pay someone to write the code?
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Old 01-26-2010, 03:08 PM   #4
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I have a program that gathers real-time scratches from RacingChannel/PhoneBet (and odds, for that matter). (PM me)

Has anybody yet made a program for parsing the Equibase feed into a comma-delimited file? That is probably a simple job.
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Old 01-26-2010, 03:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Has anybody yet made a program for parsing the Equibase feed into a comma-delimited file? That is probably a simple job.
I did it... It was a little more involved than I thought it would be at first. But after some brushing up navigating the dom with an instantiated xml parser it wasn't all that hard.

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Old 01-26-2010, 03:36 PM   #6
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Is there any reason we can't put up a webpage that contains the content of the current feed in an alternative (i.e. comma-delimited) format?
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:09 PM   #7
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This is by no means optimal, but here's a patchwork solutions fo those who don't want to parse the xml themselves. Download the Equibase xml file, and then open it as an xml table in Excel (When you try to open the file, it will give you the option). Then save it in CSV format.

I just tried it, and here's an example of what you get:
Code:
race_date,track_name,race_number,change_description,old_value,new_value,date_changed,horse_name,program_number,change_description2,old_value3,new_value4,date_changed5,type,old_value6,new_value7,date_changed8
 12/10/2009,AQUEDUCT,1,,,,,,,,,,,Superfecta,N,Y,2009-12-10 12:16:47.816
 12/10/2009,AQUEDUCT,1,,,,,Badgette,1,Scratched,N,Y,2009-12-10 12:16:41.583,Superfecta,N,Y,2009-12-10 12:16:47.816
 12/10/2009,AQUEDUCT,1,,,,,Badgette,1,Scratch Reason,,Stewards,2009-12-10 12:16:41.583,Superfecta,N,Y,2009-12-10 12:16:47.816
 12/10/2009,AQUEDUCT,1,,,,,Flying Sappho,5,Scratched,N,Y,2009-12-10 12:16:41.583,Superfecta,N,Y,2009-12-10 12:16:47.816
 12/10/2009,AQUEDUCT,1,,,,,Flying Sappho,5,Scratch Reason,,Stewards,2009-12-10 12:16:41.583,Superfecta,N,Y,2009-12-10 12:16:47.816
 12/10/2009,AQUEDUCT,1,,,,,Cash Value,8,Jockey,John R. Velazquez,Alex Bisono,2009-12-10 12:16:41.583,Superfecta,N,Y,2009-12-10 12:16:47.816
 12/10/2009,AQUEDUCT,2,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
 12/10/2009,AQUEDUCT,2,,,,,Bindle Stick,6,Jockey,Victor Santiago,Pablo Fragoso,2009-12-10 12:16:41.583,,,,
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:40 PM   #8
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There's AQU -- I thought NYRA wasn't participating? Is someone doing it for them? Are the late changes from NY being entered?
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GameTheory
There's AQU -- I thought NYRA wasn't participating? Is someone doing it for them? Are the late changes from NY being entered?
Track participation is limited to entering changes prior to an hour before 1st post. After that Equibase employees (the chart callers) take over. In the NYRA case the chart callers have to enter the initial change data when they get to the track.
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillW
Track participation is limited to entering changes prior to an hour before 1st post. After that Equibase employees (the chart callers) take over. In the NYRA case the chart callers have to enter the initial change data when they get to the track.
So the net effect of that is just that NYRA stuff is put up rather late? The data still is there eventually?
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GameTheory
So the net effect of that is just that NYRA stuff is put up rather late? The data still is there eventually?
Yes, the chart callers are actually going out of their way to get there early to get the data input - I've seen it up an hour or so before post.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:34 AM   #12
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Best way to get scratches at Aqueduct is wait for the charts.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:56 PM   #13
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Before EqB made that file available, HDW had the file and made it available to their downloaders. It is actually quite handy and very simple to process.

I did not write any lengthy code to capture the data - The user clicks a button, and the software takes him to the page where he copies it with ctrl-a, ctrl-c then clicks a button in our software to use the copied data.

Sometimes simplest is best.

Gary Pizzigati, the creator of At The Races Pro was kind enough to add a feature to his program that also in a similar fashion. His program has a "results" button. When you click it not only does it capture ALL the missing prices but it copies them to the clipboard. Then our users simply click a button that processes the captured data. Very cool. Grabs all the layoffs, too.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:29 PM   #14
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Before EqB made that file available, HDW had the file and made it available to their downloaders. It is actually quite handy and very simple to process.
Kudos to Ron Tiller at HDW for making that file available.

But I think Ron Tiller at HDW would tell you that "that file" and what Equibase has are not one and the same thing.

The Equibase Scratches Today pages and xml feed is about as close to real time as you will find on the web... and that the HDW file lags behind the changes at Equibase...
http://www.homebased2.com/forums/sho...1&postcount=10


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Old 01-28-2010, 06:08 PM   #15
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We have made for almost 2 years, and continue to make, a comma delimited changes/scratches file for our customers, with all the tracks in one file. This file is made from the replicated data we get from Equibase - it is not a file we get from Equibase and then redistribute. Because we create it from our replicated database, there is a time delay between when Equibase updates our data (scratches, surface changes, etc.) and when we create the file and post it.

Equibase, on the other hand, as Jeff pointed out, has no time delay built in - as soon as it hits their system from the tracks, they can instantly update their web pages and XML file.

Jeff and HANA were an important part of lighting a fire under Equibase to get scratches input sooner and more reliably and getting a single (free) programmer's file containing all the scratches and changes directly from the horse's mouth - Equibase. I say programmer's file because parsing XML typically requires much more programming expertise than parsing a comma delimited or fixed width text file. As Dave points out, comma delimited files are readable out of the box, even without any parsing or programming. XML is not hard to work with but is completely different from working with comma delimited data. Once you crack the initial WTF period, you can cut and paste code from the internet and modify it to work with the Equibase file.

Quote:
Is there any reason we can't put up a webpage that contains the content of the current feed in an alternative (i.e. comma-delimited) format?
I suspect, but don't know for a fact, that doing this would violate Equibase terms of use, against republication or dissemination of the information. Whether you find that a compelling reason I'll leave to you.

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