Keep info current on multi-race events
February 06, 2019 3:00 AM
by Dave Valento
The jury is still out whether legalized sports betting in states outside of Nevada will have a positive or negative impact on horse racing.
They have always shared the stage in Nevada sportsbooks although horse racing is more the supporting actor to the lead role sports have held.
There are some in racing who are worried that given an option horseplayers may divert their wagering dollars to sports and shun the less predictable pari-mutuel pools.
Horse racing needs more transparency in their pools. Specifically, players need to know what the potential payoffs are in multi-race wagers well before the last leg of the sequence.
There should be a display that gives minimum and maximum payouts on every runner in the upcoming race in Pick 3’s, Pick 4’s, Pick 5’s and Pick 6’s.
Say you catch a big price in the first leg of a Pick 4 sequence, have a single in the second leg and are deep in the final two legs. Imagine knowing the range of payoffs if your single wins in the second leg. Having that knowledge would help make the decision on whether to hedge on your single.
Currently, players have no idea what their payoff would be until will-pays are shown in the final leg of the sequence. If horse racing is going to compete with sports betting, it is going to have to respect the fact that gamblers desire transparency and information.
Keeping these pools “blind” might not matter to the casual bettor who is betting small amounts. But they do matter greatly to bigger players.
Moreover, tracks have started to push “jackpot” style wagers. These are Pick 5 or Pick 6 bets that pay out the entire pool if there is just one winning ticket. If there is more than one winning ticket, the pool pays out a much smaller percentage to winners and rolls over the remaining amount (carryover) into the next racing day.
For the most part, players have no idea about the potential for a winning jackpot score until the final leg of the sequence. This costs horse racing a great marketing opportunity.
The appeal of gambling can be as much about imagining a big score as it is about actually winning.
If a player knows there is a chance, no matter how remote, a pathway to a huge payout exists, it will have a big impact. Other players can live vicariously through the “live” jackpot runners along the sequence.
Decision-makers need to embrace technology in all its forms. Horse racing has been woefully behind the curve in this area for many decades. Illuminating blind pools is just one area that technology should be enhanced to the benefit of horseplayers.
Play Of The Week
The play of the week comes in the second race on Thursday at Oaklawn Park. It is an optional claiming race at one mile with a purse of 43,000.
Oaklawn has played to speed, which is why it’s likely the pace of the second race on Thursday will be lightning fast and set up for the deepest closer in the race. Operation Stevie (No. 4) is a come-from-the-clouds type that will be an absolutely unencumbered last for most of the race. He’ll be able to save ground while the speed is contested and fast in front of him.
Last year, this Indiana-bred took the exact same path (three Indy-bred stakes, layoff, route at OP) to win here off the break at 4-1. He loves the surface and has worked well for the return. He is 6-1 on the morning line.
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