Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whales Should be Playing Xtreme

On August 9th the second annual Xtreme Horsepower is being raced at Georgian Downs, about 60 miles north of Toronto, just south of cottage country. The 5/8's mile track is quite nice, and with the races scheduled, it will be more than interesting.

Last year it was something new. The weather did not cooperate, but fans got to see things that they will not see at a harness track anywhere - different distance races, large field sizes and more.

This year it promises more. A couple of races will be good for whales to play. Yep, you read that right - big bettors should be playing some of these races.

This one is one:

Xtreme Marathon: For gladiators with stamina to spare, we offer the Xtreme Marathon - a three lap, 1-7/8 mile test for $25,000. Eighteen-horse fields on both the trot and pace will duke it out for big money and xtreme prestige. The marathon is for horses that have started for a base claiming price of $20,000 or lower, or are non-winners of $100,000 lifetime.

These two races have 18 horse fields. It will be a superfecta. That means one thing - opportunity.

When the tracks went to lower denominations for super bets, it killed whales. A full coverage type super bet, something like 34-34-a-a and 34-a-34-a costs $224 for a buck minimum in a 10 horse field. Not many can go that deep unless you are playing with a big bankroll. The big bettors had a monster edge. At Xtreme this edge is back. In an 18 horse field the same type super will cost $168 for a 20 cent ticket. Small players will not be going deep.

In addition, any pick 4's, and I hope they card a couple, will have at least one, and possibly two huge fields. Another edge, even with a 20 cent minimum.

Whales should not be playing Del Mar on August 9th, they should be playing Georgian Downs.

We will handicap the Xtreme card here at PTP. I have enlisted (ok, he does not know it yet, but I will ask) Louis the Whip to offer his card analysis. He is quite possibly the best B track handicapper in Ontario, so we'll see if he can pick us some winners.

6 comments:

Allan said...

This is one of the problems facing harness racing. What you are talking about here is catering to the whales, which while important to the industry, does nothing to develop new fans. Remember, tomorrows whales start as $2 bettors.

Pick 6's, Pick 5's and all other exotic bets like that people need a large bankroll to realistically have a chance to hit with any regularity. This eliminates the opportunity for newcomers to the sport to have a chance to win big money with any type of chance.

Win, Place and Show wagers are not going to excite newcomers. Trifectas are hard to hit. We need something easier to hit, yet a potential for a bigger payoff.

If I may suggest something from the world of greyhound racing, the twin-Quinella. A simple $2 bet where you pick the top two horses in consecutive races regardless of order. While not overlly easy, someone can play one ticket for $2 and have a realistic chance to win hundreds of dollars.

I would also suggest re-introducing the regular quinella to the wagering card. Yes, it may not pay much but again a newcomer can get a bigger payoff than a win bet and not have to worry about things like boxing horses. Make it simple and give them the opportunity to make decent money and they may actually give the game a chance.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope the whole pool goes to some unemployed guy who is facing foreclosure using his last 60 cents.Saves his house and ends up on TV telling how harness racing turned his life around. "I did it and you can to."
When I was a paperboy we chipped in 50 cents each for place parlays on the three best bets of the day. Did't know what whales were then but when we hit it was hamburgers and malts. How great was that?

RG

Anonymous said...

I fear the pool sizes
will be small. They were
last year if
memory serves.

cheers

Dean said...

Allan: "This is one of the problems facing harness racing. What you are talking about here is catering to the whales"

I am not saying 'cater'. I am just observing that there is opportunity for them if they choose to play this card.

Pull the Pocket said...

Allan,

As for the rest of the post, I agree with much. Good stuff. I will have a post up on the pick 6 bankroll drag soon. Barry Meadow has a great article on it in this months American Turf Monthly.

RG: Like the lady who paid off her mortgage by betting a horse who almost fell at 1000-1 at betfair? Yepper, excellent word of mouth.

Anonymous said...

News just out from Standardbred Canada:

Sixteen major U.S. markets including the Meadowlands, Arlington Park, Pompano Park and Philadelphia Park have announced that they have added the Xtreme Horsepower card to their simulcast schedule on Saturday, August 9.

The event, a partnership between Georgian Downs and Standardbred Canada, was already scheduled to be simulcast into all of Georgian Downs' regular markets in both Canada and the United States, and to be televised live on HPITV. The new simulcast partners will likely result in larger pools, bigger payouts and increased interest in the program.

The list of U.S. racetracks picking up Georgian Downs' simulcast program on Xtreme Horsepower night are listed below.

Arlington Park
Balmoral Park
Freehold Raceway
Hazel Park
Lewiston Raceway
Maywood Park
Monticello Raceway
Ocean Downs
Philadelphia Park
Pompano Park
Rosecroft Raceway
The Meadowlands
The Meadows
Tioga Downs
Vernon Downs
Yonkers Raceway

This will surely help the handles and maybe generate some decent payoffs due to the larger fields.