The Rainbow Six has been a very successful bet for Gulfstream. Although many lament its churn killing tendency, it has drawn headlines and bettors to the south Florida oval, and has done so for some time. Of course, the Rainbow Six is not Gulfstream's idea, it's the idea of someone else. The Jackpot Six was first introduced in Puerto Rico, then Beulah in Ohio tried a "Fortune Six" and that did have some success for that little track.
Business author James Suroweiki said, "Intellectual-property rules are clearly necessary to spur innovation: if every invention could be stolen, or every new drug immediately copied, few people would invest in innovation." He's right, and when it comes to horse racing, there are no rules.
If you own track A who is trying to grow handle (like Beulah) and come up with a great bet that bettors flock to, the bet will be at NYRA, or Gulfstream tomorrow. It's not your bet, you get no benefit from innovation. You were just used as testing ground.
Ergo, without any monetary incentive for a track to innovate bets, horse racing has little betting innovation. Such things would be fine if somehow the sport worked together, but it is fractured.
I'd love to see a grand experiment in pari-mutuel land: For ten years if you create a new bet, the bet is protected as intellectual property for your track. I imagine the landscape would become a fertile testing ground, and at the end of the period, this sport would have a some new, exciting, ROI industry positive bets to guide it into the future.
Instead, even if you do decide to take a shot, big tracks copy your work, and get the chocolates.
A look at the Rainbow Six - the math behind it - took place in this month's Horseplayer Monthly. It's free, and is jam packed with handicapping and betting insight. The bet is an excellent one to study, due to its odd tendencies. Clearly it's the only bet in racing that has the characteristics the author describes.
In HRU "Harness Racing is for Old People, So What" looks at the age demo and why it should not be an albatross. This is not really a column about it, however, we might look more deeply into the thought behind this tweet, in the future:
@superterrific @Pullthepocket The distinction re: understanding your audience's psychographic, not demographic seems so important to me.Enjoy your weekend everyone!
— Railbird (@railbird) March 8, 2015