It's been a pretty wild weekend in racing.
First, just late last week, Tioga announced that they were lowering takeout. The amazing thing, Jeff Gural and the management at Tioga actually wanted to go much lower (eg to slot machine takeout levels) but the state does not let them. Someone should get that bizarre law changed. Ray Kroc would have never sold a burger if he had the state mandating his prices.
HD poster and long time bettor "The Whip" did not much care for the news about the Tioga takeout reduction, because he thinks if WEG shows those races, their "commission rates" will charge the old takeout rates anyway. He is not a happy camper.
Quote: "Not sure why Standardbredcanada.com would even publish this [Tioga news]. HPI will simply re-adjust the rake to what they normally take anyway.. so this means nothing to Canadian consumers. HPI Commission rates remained unchanged on every track....... still waiting to be able to bet Maywood and Balmoral pick 4s again. "
In addition, the news that Woodbine was guaranteeing their pick 4 pools on Monday's at $35k was not met with much fanfare on the chat boards either (in fact, similar comments were left right on SC's main site linked above). Most people remember when the pick 4 at Woodbine was good value at a 14.75% takeout, but then it was raised to 25.0% or so. Whomever made the decision was pretty sharp, because at the same time they lowered mins to 20 cents, which added to pool size, and deflected any lost handle in the pick 4 (although, also not surprisingly, with less money in your wallet, overall handle suffered since that move). The 20 cent min decision was curious in its own right, in my opinion. That is way too low for a sweep of four races and it is why no other track has gone lower than 50 cents.
Woodbine gave a sincere, honest effort with their huge pick 6 guarantee last year for the runners. I hope they give something new a shot, other than guarantee's of a bet which a lot of bettors feel is terrible value in the first place.
I believe Woodbine has some serious work to do to get bettors on their side again, from a branding perspective. On chat boards and other avenues, there just does not seem to be much praise for the track; and there is for some other tracks (eg Tioga, the M, Western Fair, Balmoral, Maywood), so the old "horseplayers complain about everything anyway" line, does not hold water.
Rachel Alexandra will not race in the Apple Blossom on April 9th, after her rather lackluster effort this weekend. This has caused some consternation on thoroughbred chat boards and blogs. I don't really know why. She was not up to snuff, so they do not want to meet the best filly or mare we have seen in ages in three weeks. Seems logical to me. I have my doubts she will be back to her old self, regardless, but I hope I am wrong.
What happens when a track executive goes undercover with a bettor? Here is one person's satirical take.
For those who can play in youbet.com, don't forget their new promotion: The 0% take pick 3 at Sam Houston for a few weeks. No Whip, I don't think you can bet that one here either.