Woodbine lowered their win takeout to 14.95%, which is the lowest in North America. Perhaps they checked this handy ratings chart to see where they needed to go to do that. This is a good thing. As I wrote awhile back, looking at each bet type and rake that I thought made sense:
- When we eat at a restaurant we look at the prices and they can help us decide what to order. The tote board is racings restaurant menu. When you see a board with lower takeout, you are advertising value to the masses. This is very important to any sport or game. A football game with a -1+1, -150 line is not appealing, and when racing, for example, has a match race with two horses at 3-5 each it is not very appealing either. You don't have to be a mathematical genius to realize you are getting a coin flip bet, at terrible odds. A low rake tote board let's everyone know you are open for business, it allows bettors to churn more money. It also allows (along with low take two horse exotics) for racing to say "our game is beatable" to sports bettors and poker players (see comments of sports bettors here, for what I mean). I have never, in all my dealings with racing, understood why they have high WPS takeout. It used to be 5% and it should've stayed there.
Like most takeout changes it won't be immediately felt, however, over time it should be a good thing, and for bettors looking for a win pool to play, you can't do much better than Woodbine.
This is apparently for Woodbine thoroughbreds only, which raises some questions. If I have some time I will dig around and try and find out why.
Yesterday we had a semantic CHRB meeting, where the sudden death issue was brought up. Spikes, lulls, normal, abnormal? 'We're not looking at any particular barn'. Ed Zieralski puts the matter out in a simple headline: "Trainer Bob Baffert's Horses are Dying at an Unusual Rate"
Derby Wars is a cool site, and tomorrow they have a $10,000 Game, co-sponsored by HANA. It's a lot of fun and I'm playing. I am going to try and take tomorrow off from serious betting, play the tournament and watch the Masters.
Speaking of the Masters, there is a gazillion dollars bet already this year and no doubt, with a tight leaderboard that will continue. The course is playing soft and I loved seeing Phil Mickelson's comments that he was going to "fire at pins" because this is not a regular Masters. Not too many players say what they feel at Augusta, but he does. Compare that to a bland Tiger Woods interview that sounds like it's been rehearsed with a team of handlers.
I made a trip to the Masters for the first (and probably only time) several years ago. I got to see a practice round, and learned that beer is not served on Sunday's at the gas station beside the hotel. On the way there I stopped at Keeneland and had a blast. After watching Santa Anita go back to dirt, at the behest of some of the power brokers, I hope Keeneland does not follow suit. This meet has been decent to play, with a neat concept at work on the poly: If they go too fast, closers can win. If they go too slow, leaders can win. Whoda thunk it?
There will be an interview with SC's Darryl Kaplan this weekend in Harness Racing Update. Darryl is always good to read because he usually has big ideas and he is simply a huge fan of the sport. Trying things and being bold has never been one of his favorite things to avoid. He also does not let the infighting, alphabets and status quo protectors get him down much either.
Other reminders: Hastings Park opens tomorrow, trying to continue the momentum of their lower takeout and fractional wagering initiatives.
Enjoy your Friday everyone.