The $1M Meadowlands Pace draw is now complete. OK Commander (whom I thought had a good chance in the final) was unfortunately scratched earlier today with a bad foot.
1. Kyle Major - Jody Jamieson/Shawn Robinson - 15-1
2. Rockin Image -Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter - 3-1
3. Rock N Roll Heaven - John Campbell/Bruce Saunders - 5-2
4. Valentino - George Brennan/Lou Pena - 15-1
5. Im Gorgeous - Andy Miller/George Teague - 12-1
6. Delmarvalous - Brian Sears*/George Teague - 12-1
7. Nova Artist - Brian Sears*/Lou Pena - 15-1
8. One More Laugh - Tim Tetrick/Ray Schnittker - 9-2
9. Fred And Ginger - Dave Palone/Ron Burke - 10-1
10. Sportswriter - Mark MacDonald/Casie Coleman - 6-1
Although not quite as contentious as the North America Cup Final, this looks to be a pretty good betting race. It once again seems to be a trip race, if all horses fire (unlike the NA Cup).
We'll handicap it later this week here and look for some comments.
There is no stronger correlation to betting handle changes, than the price of our product. Up takeout to 40%, lose a pile of handle. Lower takeout, and handle grows. For a game who has lost thousands upon thousands of customers to lower cost/higher expectation games over the years, it is becoming more and more apparent that pricing (like every other business on the face of the earth) is by far our number one issue.
I got an email the other day about the Balmoral Park pick 4. They cut their take from 25% to 15% this year. Although this is a medium sized handle harness track, the pick 4 is gaining traction (without a place like TVG helping out). Their average pool the past two months was over $14,000, while in the first six months last year the highest average was $10,000. Non-carryover months this season at the low take maxed out at over $11,000 as compared to $7000 last year. No this will certainly not shake the foundations and help racing grow overall, but it is something.
Lotteries like California (who had the worst handle in the nation) have cut their takeout. Casinos continually fight for business with 1% takeout machines. Betfair grows and grows with 5% take. Online betting platforms are offering 5 cent money lines in baseball. Rebate shops in racing can turn $10,000 per year handle players in $300,000 or more per year players (and keeping them glued to simo-screens seven days a week - just by giving them a price break).
Pari-mutuel betting in North America is off 52% (over a cut in half) since 1977, while bettors have left us for games which give them a chance to make money. Drip by drip places like Balmoral are trying to get them back, and for that they deserve our support.