Last fall at the Keeneland meet, two HANA board members were invited to dinner with members of the Hambletonian Society. This society runs both the $1.5M Hambletonian harness race, and the harness Breeders Crown. The Hambletonian crew wanted to know bettors opinions on what they could do (they do not run a racetrack, or racetracks) to give something back to bettors, to make the game better value. A number of ideas were discussed, and over the next eight months they went to work. Doing something - anything - in racing is difficult. You need to get tracks on board, horsemen on board, and you need to navigate the Hudsonian tributaries of state governments. However, they succeeded in something that gives us as horseplayers value. They negotiated the maze to make it happen.
They created a new bet - the Metro 6 Shooter. It is a pick 6, not with a guaranteed pool, but with a seeded one. $30,000 will be added to the pool. In effect, it is a defacto takeout reduction for players. One thing that they added, which to us is imperative, is free past performances for the wager:
"Past performances for the Metro 6 Shooter will be available in live racing programs and online at MeadowlandsRacetrack.com. In addition, TrackMaster will supply free Platinum Past Performances and selections for the Metro 6 Shooter races each week. These will be available on the TrackMaster and Meadowlands web sites. "
The Hambletonian Society also did something else - they added a bettor to their society. Seth Rosenfeld is a horse owner, bettor and HANA member, and a worthy choice. He emailed us today with his thoughts on this new bet:
This unusual bet was made possible by actual cash contributions/ commitments from Yonkers and the SOA of NY. I think this new bet represents an important development because it is the rare instance of tracks and horsemen who have the benefit of slots-fueled purses choosing to share some of their good fortune with bettors.
It seems that too often slots come to a track and everyone- owners, trainers, jockeys, breeders, track operators- seem to benefit tremendously.... but where is the benefit for the bettors? To their credit, Joe Faraldo of the SOA of NY and Bob Galterio of Yonkers- among others- wanted to give something back to horseplayers. I hope this can be the start of a trend of bettor-friendly initiatives from tracks and horsemen who have the funds to do something meaningful. I'm sure you know how difficult it is to get all the various people together to pull off something like this pick 6- especially involving multiple tracks and seed money.
Starting June 5th, we will be supporting this bet and we hope you do too. When a society goes out of its way to ask bettor opinion, adds a bettor to their group, and spearheads a new bet with seeded money (finally from slot machines for us), we think they deserve our support.