Published today in the North County Times:
Santa Anita and Hollywood Park have asked the Thoroughbred Owners of California to lower the takeout on daily doubles, exactas and quinellas on an experimental basis at their upcoming fall meets, according to a letter obtained by the North County Times late Saturday night.
The Pacific Racing Association (Santa Anita) and Hollywood Park Fall Racing Association want daily doubles to be lowered from a 22.68 percent takeout to 15.43 ---- the same as a win, place or show bets, which are the nation's lowest ---- and they want exactas and quinellas lowered from 22.68 to 21.68.
The two racing associations are also asking for 50-50 split on the new 50-cent pick five wager. The TOC now receives a higher percentage of the profits from the bet than the tracks do.
The letter comes on the heels of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club CEO Joe Harper announcing on opening day that he was in talks to try to lower some of the wagers that were raised this year.
"Raising the takeout was not a smart idea," Harper said Saturday morning on Roger Stein's radio show. "Raising the takeout may not have seemed like a big deal, but it is a big deal.
For the full story please click here.
I have to laud Hana's efforts at repealing these suffocating take-out hikes. As it stands, CA has lost nearly all of my handle (the exception being the new pick five and an occasional W/P bet).
If CA offered the reduction on the doubles, I would be incentivized to refocus my energies on the So. Cal circuit. I think the exacta reduction is better than nothing, but anything over 20% on two-horse wagers is usurious. However, I'm a huge fan of doubles and think this solution, while far from ideal, is a decent compromise.
I have my doubts that horsemen would accept this proposal, however. They seemingly believe their interests are better represented with enhanced takeout schemes. And the modest success of the Del Mar meet might give them optimism that high take-outs are a viable solution. My theory is that Del Mar has been incredibly innovative in increasing field sizes and tinkering with incentives (i.e. low take out pick 5, subsidized pic 6, heads up wager). I just fear the horsemen will be hellbent on undermining any progress. If that's the case, I'll continue generating handle for tracks with robust fields and sensible takeout schemes (i.e. Keeneland, Churchill, TampaBay, Saratoga, etc.).
Jeff - - who notes that the horseracing industry has an incredible opportunity to appeal to a new generation of racing fans. This is partially the result of the DOJ's actions to undermine online poker. There are potentially millions of would-be handicappers who might flock to racing if they felt they had a reasonable chance of winning. In the context of online poker, the idea of a 'winning player' is central to its appeal. All of those Americans who once played at Pokerstars or Full Tilt might now consider playing at Twinspires or TVG. Unfortunately, this fleeting opportunity will be ignored as racing's leaders fail to market and price the sport for optimal growth.
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