Santa Anita and the Stronach Group's chief operating officer, Tim Ritvo, says he’ll investigate what appears to be irregular "will-pays" from the last race on the iconic track’s opening-day card, reports The Bloodhorse magazine via its website bloodhorse.com.
Spanish Hombre, the 5-2 favorite, won the final race and paid $1,306.85 in the Pick 5 and $128.55 in the Pick 4 based on the 50-cent wager.
Ritvo declined to say the will-pays were suspicious to him personally, but said the issue was "worth looking into." He said Santa Anita will reach out to the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau for guidance and that wagers in the pools will be examined by site and ticket. That process won't begin until Dec. 27, the Bloodhorse reports.
"We will look into who made those bets, where they came from—things like that," Ritvo said.
The wagering analysis will focus on the Pick 5 and Pick 4 probable payoffs. The will-pay in the Pick 5 was $4,900 for 28-1 outsider Dark Energy, far beneath what is usually a five-figure payout for that sequence. The Pick 4 will-pays were similarly low to the favorite's payout, in comparison to usual prices. Dark Energy was also the highest will-pay in the Pick 4 pool, at $466.
In the four races just prior to the final leg of the Pick 5 wager, winning horses paid $17.40, $8.80, $4.60, and $17. In the Pick 3 pool, Spanish Hombre returned $88.90. In that pool, the will-pays were more spread out, as the longest shot, Malibu Music, would have delivered $1,033 for a $1 base wager. The Pick 3 will-pay for Malibu Music was higher than the listed $1 Pick 4 will-pay of $759.90.
Observers note that a circumstance in which a Pick 4 pays less than a Pick 3 is extremely unusual.