Thursday, December 23, 2010

Woodbine Paying to Play, Handle Records & More

Woodbine wants to add hitching fees. The pros: Fuller fields. The cons: Dead weight in those fields.

Paying only $300, and with a race secretary watching the entries, I don't buy the dead weight angle. If it is a pilot project we will find out very soon. However, a pick 4, with ten horses in each race adds to handle. With supers each race and each race having ten, it adds to handle. Woodbine is trying to add handle, and after years of wondering if they were even trying, it bodes well. Of course, the pick 4 takeout has turned off a lot of bettors, so do what you wish with that.

We mentioned below the purse increase at Pompano Park in Florida. The takeout rates were slashed there this season, and over time it seems to be paying off. Last night the little track had "the highest handle they have seen in two years".

On this blog for several years you have asked some tough questions. Why doesn't racing do something about reversals of form? Why can't we get fixed odds passed? Why can't we lower takeout to try and spur some growth? One area that has done that, and is doing it, is Australia. Story here. After adding betfair and doing some good things, handle in AUS topped $20B last season, a 4.4% jump. What recession? And how is betfair bad for pari-mutuel racing again?

Waples talks about the planned harness racing TV show here.

Oh my head. California dudes with some strange quotes. The business has to ask itself if these folks should be in charge of gambling decisions. It is something we have to come to grips with sooner or later, or we're finished.

Plonk on "silver hairs" and racing.

There are some worthy Hall of Fame harness inductees to vote on this season. For me: Two of the best mares ever - Rainbow Blue and Eternal Camnation (just like my top ten horses of the decade list order).


That Blog Guy said...

I voted for Rainbow Blue and Garland Lobell.

I had proposed fees for horses starting a race, to help cover the expenses, but I also discussed not offering any other purse money unless they finish in the money. This way the owner's interests are the sames as the customer's.

dana said...

That quote about "where else are you gonna play" was astounding! Particularly given Gulfstream's enhancements to their wagering menu and takeout reductions!

Pull the Pocket said...


(for those that do not know, Dana is a proprietor of the very good and needed site, for newer fans/bettors).

I think we really need your voice on these items, and the industry itself should be asking you questions. You are a new fan. You love the sport and its action, horses and the way it is. But you also know that if new fans come to the track by learning on your website and don't have a good chance to make a few dollars they will be non-fans in a hurry.

You have a unique perspective on growing a fan base and I hope this business learns more and more about you, and energizes you to get even further involved.

I also hope this industry (if they ever get a good slush fund going), starts looking at adding funding to your venture. It is important.

Anyway, long-winded way to say: Great work and you are good for this sport. And to everyone - go visit and send some new people there if you can!


dana said...

Wow, thanks Dean! In all honesty it took me awhile to become aware of takeout and that some tracks had more favorable rates than others. One thing I did notice immediately, which I think still holds true, is that there is often little regard for the customer and that quote I referenced is just another example of that mentality. What's really absurd about that quote is that the person assumes that they have a radically better product. I'd argue that Gulfstream is the meet to beat in the winter, and they've made an effort to accomodate fans, not charge them more.

I think as players (who aren't already regular gamblers) become more regular and experienced that price/takeout becomes a bigger factor but giving people a good customer experience, either at the track or a sports bar or in how easy it is to open and fund a ADW account are all major issues for newbies. When I was first starting out (2006-2007) the attitude seemed to be "take it or leave it", and in some cases I think it's still that. But show me another business, company, industry that behaves that way and grows!

And I like the way you think re: industry adding funding to my venture! :)

ITP said...

Those quotes aren't strange. They are right out the Racetrack Management, Organization and Regulatory Manual which has been around for years.

In fact, the TOC, CHRB an CA track management are given a promotional pack each year (mousepads, mugs, pens, shirts, etc) with those quotes on them every year.

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