Andrew Beyer today speaks about the Beulah Pick 6 that was recently completed. No matter what you think of the wager, it took some thinking and it energized people to look at this little track. "A track can sometimes succeed without a high-quality racing product. It can succeed without a large fan base. All it needs is a little imagination. " says Beyer.
We have talked about this many times. With casino's, scratch tickets, slots and everything else under the sun, tracks have to compete to win. They have to come up with bets, offers, what have you to grow and get a slice of the gambling pie. Beyer offers a suggestion:
Laurel Park and Colonial Downs regularly run wide-open, 14-horse fields on their turf courses. Why not offer a special High Five (a bet that requires picking the first five finishers in order) on such a race once a day? The tracks could jump-start betting by guaranteeing a minimum $25,000 pool; if nobody held a perfect ticket, the entire pool would go into a jackpot for the next day. It would be easy to generate six-figure jackpots that would stir the juices of the betting public.
Maryland racing has been off our list for play at HANA because of a takeout hike in their pick 4 a few years ago. Can they win us back? Sure they can. Offer us a bet like this at low take. We'll at least take a look at you again. It does not take much.
Another tiny track that has been doing some good that we are behind is harness track Tioga Downs. The Nichols New York track lowered their takeout to state minimums (why there are minimums is a whole other story. I am pretty sure there is no "sliced meat commission" who tells Subway they can't sell a $2 sub, but I digress). This move triggered some good response. Of course this will not help overnight - increasing betting pools via increased churn never do - but it gives this little track a chance. As most know, Tampa has been rolling, by in part, lowering take since 2003. They were up again this year. Let's see if we can not duplicate that in Nichols New York.
As you know, to help HANA has sponsored the "Pen and Paper Challenge" where two sets of players are competing: Two representing computer picks and two representing human cappers. So far the results are mixed - but one thing you might want to know - some of these picks are stellar thus far. Here are the standings:
Chatsworth (computer/Trackmaster): 51% ROI
Mel (human 'capper): 35% ROI
Bobby Z (human 'capper): - 30% ROI
Ray's Robot (computer): - 65% ROI
There is a side contest for prizes at Paceadvantage.com here. It's not too late to join in for a run at some cash and/or handicapping books. As well, picks are posted there by the above big four protagonists before the racing starts.
We will be running a live blog here on Saturday night. Tioga is open and Tioga cappers will be sharing some picks. As well there are a couple other harness tracks going on at that time. Several of us will be here handicapping and spending some time together. You can join in easily and post picks for whatever track you choose, as well as chatting some racing. I hope you can find some time to join us to support the little track who is trying to grow by respecting horseplayers.