Most of us have heard about the V75, but for those who have not, it is the Swedish pick 7 harness bet, which is sold all over Europe. On Saturday of last month, its pool reached $18,000,000. Yep, $18 million bucks!
Stan Bergstein, in a recent column, let’s us in on some statistics regarding the Swedish sweep.
Sweden has 2,030 betting shops and 3,800 cash-register terminals in supermarkets, and takes bets via the website of ATG, the organization that controls Thoroughbred and harness race betting in the country. The V75 not only is Sweden's biggest betting product, but also can be bet in Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Estonia, Australia, Malta, and, yes, in the United States. The Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, and Freehold Raceway offer it in New Jersey, Delaware Park in Delaware, and Saratoga Gaming and Raceway in New York.
2000 betting shops? Cash register terminals? What about Tracknet and TVG fighting over signals? What about HPIbets.com taking extra commissions on common pooling? What about horseman organizations fighting race tracks?
Sweden has got something we do not here - a centrally funded organization to get ideas like this moving. In fact, in our last piece on marketing harness, this is their ad campaign (make sure you watch the television commercial if you have not. It’s awesome).
It has gotten so bad here, that Harness Tracks of America actually mocked the business in a recent newsletter which asks racing to look into this.
Track Topics, the weekly newsletter of Harness Tracks of America, endorsing the idea of a nationwide pool and urging its discussion at the upcoming meeting, has a suggestion. Its headline reads, "Before You Say It Can't Be Done, Give A Little Thought To How We Might Do It."
I think many know how you feel Stan. It is so very sad that most feel the answer to a question in racing will be no, before the question is even asked. But let's hope that this time the business surprises us and comes up with something to help our game.
How exciting is a betting exchange? How about this? In last night’s Democratic primaries between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, you can bet and play it in running at the betting giant. Every state that was contested had a market. At around 10PM I popped on to see what was happening. The Missouri race was not even close as Hillary was up by over 40,000 votes. Clinton was 1.01, meaning 1-100 odds to win, or about equal to the odds on Cam Fella racing, well, me.
But a funny thing happened, the city counties were not counting quickly and they were heavy for Obama. Doing some quick math with a calculator I figured he might win by anywhere from 500 to 1500 votes (if my math was right, and the county numbers were right). Someone noticed the same thing I guess, and I saw that finally he bought all of the 1.01 Clinton money, risking about $20 to make $2000. At around 11:30 Eastern time, it was over. Obama went from down 40,000 votes to up 5,000 votes. He ended up winning 391,000 to 386,000, making one betfair bettor very happy, and one “sure thing” bettor not.
At Maywood Park we noted that in some races the one post has been assigned. Anyone who plays the half mile tracks knows that the one is gold, but apparently at Maywood, it is platinum. So the race office assigns it sometimes to very sub par horses, to hopefully boost pari-mutuel prices. On paceadvantage.com a poster has some stats:
When post one was assigned, the assigned horse has won 2 races in 49 attempts.
If you handicap Maywood some night, be aware of what races that posts are assigned and which ones they are not!
Another poster at Paceadvantage posted up this race, the 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup. For you thoroughbred fans, look at the fractions! I could not believe my ears. What a horse Slew was. It was a nice race for Exceller, who ended up being a sad, sad story. He was sent to a slaughterhouse after his career as a stud. The Exceller Fund carries his name to help retired racehorses.
I can't end on a sad note. So let's go to my favourite Super Bowl ad - the Budweiser one. Of course it has a horse in it. I would not have placed it up here if it had, say a bikini-clad Charlize Theron, instead of a horse. Oh hold it, I might have. Anyway, here it is if you have not seen it. Man I'm a sucker for horses and dogs. They get me every time.
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