Trio resolutions worth making

As we finally turn the page on 2020, horseplayers can be thankful that racing was in some way or shape able to keep going throughout the year. Looking at 2021, here are three New Year’s resolutions that can only increase the chances of profitability and enjoyment of the sport:

1. Refuse to play any wager with a jackpot carryover provision with the lone exception being when there is a mandatory payout.

Horseplayers face the unenviable task of battling takeout rates that vary from 12 to 25 percent depending on the track and the type of wager. Playing a Pick Six with a single ticket jackpot will only increase the likelihood of failure.

As an example, let’s take a closer look at the Rainbow Six at Santa Anita, where 70 percent of the pool after takeout (23.68%) is split among tickets with the highest number of winners, while the remaining 30 percent of the pool is placed into a single ticket carryover pool to be paid out when there is a single winning ticket.

The takeout rate becomes 23.68% plus 30% of the remaining 76.32 cents for each dollar bet (22.89 cents) for a total effective takeout of 46.57 cents on every dollar when there is no single ticket winner. That leaves just 53.43 cents per dollar returned on days with multiple winning tickets.

The wager is designed for batch wagering syndicates to throw large sums of money into stacks of unique tickets hoping to take down the jackpot. The jackpot wager works for the track, since total day to day handle is higher than what would be handled on a traditional $2 Pick Six with no jackpot.

The wager also works for the betting syndicates, who can continue to fire large groups of tickets day after day in hopes of cleaning out the jackpot while collecting shared payoffs along the way.

Not all wagers at each track are designed for all horseplayers, and I am fine with that. I will leave this one to those equipped with unlimited bankrolls and a fast computer.

2. Lobby for the impasse between Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association to be resolved.

Spectator-free racing became normal in 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions. The primary option for horseplayers wanting action was to play through Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) accounts like TVG, Xpress Bet, and Twin Spires in states where ADW accounts are allowed.

Those accounts are forbidden in Nevada, which makes race books imperative. Why would a company like CDI not come to an agreement to show Churchill Downs, Fair Grounds, Turfway Park, and Arlington Park in Nevada?

Horseplayers would be introduced to the product at CDI tracks, handle would increase, and players would get the impression they are an important part of the business. A win-win result for all.

3. Work to find whip rules that are acceptable and protect all parts of the horse racing industry.

More restrictive riding crop rules are here to stay. There is no getting around that fact. There will be a reduction in the total number of times a jockey can use the whip, as well as the number of times a whip can be used in succession without waiting for a horse to respond.

To make those determinations without input from the jockeys themselves — the guys and gals who are putting their lives on the line — seems insensitive, irresponsible and illogical. In California, requiring jockeys to use the whips in an underhanded manner has also proven to be a problem.

Just as important, the new restrictions in California have jockeys publicly announcing that there are times when they cannot get the best out of their mounts to maximize their placings. The bettors are the victim when this is the case, as is the integrity of the sport.

A common ground can be found that protects the horses, the jockeys, and the betting public if the decision makers would include the participants in the rule-making process.

No Lasix in 2021 Stakes races

Starting New Year’s Day, many tracks, including Santa Anita, Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park, and Laurel will no longer allow the use of Lasix in Stakes races. The only exception in California is for Cal-bred Stakes races for older horses.

Will previous form hold up or will there be some unexplained form reversals? We will find out shortly.

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Santa Anita Thursday, Race 6: Shashashakemeup (No. 4). Trainer Peter Miller had plenty of success with Churchill Downs claim C Z Rocket, who went on to finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. This recent Churchill Downs claim improved immediately in first start for Peter Miller barn and is spotted for victory on Thursday.