Thursday, May 22, 2014

Churchill Downs Lost Handle Story Hits the Mainstream Press

The #boycottCDI group - that would be horseplayers like you - were recognized by the mainstream press.

Frank Angst, writing at, interviewed Jeff Platt and the KHBPA's Marty Maline about CDI's handle numbers this meet. As you blog followers know, Churchill Downs handle is off over 25% on non-Derby days this meet, and $19 million, including the Derby. Arlington Park has had a poor start as well.

This despite tracks like Belmont - who have been getting hurt badly (worse than Churchill) in field size holding their own. Several other tracks, like Woodbine, Pimlico, Santa Anita are up handle in the month of May.

Give the story a read and comment there if you wish. There are currently 37 comments from horseplayers just like you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Now Churchill Downs Wants to Increase Takeout at the Fair Grounds

From the New Orleans Advocate:

"Down the road, Bryant said CDI would be interested in discussing cutting racing days and increasing the track’s takeout on bets, something that takes the legislature’s approval, and having 24 hours of slots operations instead of closing at midnight."

This is why 90.2% of you said you needed to boycott Chuchill Downs properties, ADW's and providers. You knew they would be coming after you at more than just one track.

Thursday, May 15, 2014 Churchill Handle Update reports Churchill handle down sharply through May 11, 2014 on regular race days.

Key Executives at CHDN have made a calculated decision to hit horseplayers with a takeout increase. WIN-PLACE-SHOW takeout at Churchill Downs was recently raised to 17.50%, an increase of 9.375% vs. last year's takeout of 16.00%. Takeout for all EXOTIC wagers at Churchill Downs was recently raised to 22.00%, an increase of 15.79% vs. last year's takeout rate of 19.00%. 

Churchill's numbers through the first 10 days of their meet: 

Wait a minute. You mean I'm boycotting and handle is only down 4.7%? 

Not so fast... 

For those of you who may not know, Kentucky Derby Day Saturday is the single highest handle day in all of North American racing. Likewise, Kentucky Oaks Day Friday is also one of the highest handle days in all of North American racing. 

What happens if we break the Kentucky Oaks Day Friday and Kentucky Derby Day Saturday cards out as special event days - and remove both of them from the above table? 

This is what the numbers look like for the remaining regular race days:

The above numbers - for the eight regular race cards so far this meet - are telling: 

• Avg Field Size is down 0.71 starters per race. -9.13% 

And while you'd expect that to have a negative impact on handle - but not to the extent handle has fallen for seven of the eight regular race days so far this meet: 

• Total handle? DOWN -$12,097,198   (-23.08%) 

• Avg Handle per Race? DOWN -$127,531  (-20.19%) 

• Avg Handle per Day? DOWN -$1,512,550. (-23.08%) 

Do the above numbers suggest everyday horseplayers are staying away? 

Well, something is causing this. Is it possible that everyday horseplayers are saying "no" to higher takeout? 

Churchill's meet is 37 days long. There are 10 days in the books and 27 days left to go. You the everyday horseplayer still have a very big say in all of this. 

Stay the course for the next 27 days and the racing world will hear your message loud and clear. 

• is asking horseplayers to consider the idea that horseplayers are consumers and that every handle dollar bet not just at Churchill Downs, but at CHDN owned tracks Arlington Park, Calder, and Fairgrounds, along with every handle dollar bet through CHDN owned ADW, and every dollar spent downloading data and reports from CHDN owned data provider is a vote for higher takeout everywhere. 

• also wants horseplayers to know there are plenty of tracks running this summer whose wagering menus offer better value than Churchill and that players have other options when it comes to choice of ADWs and data providers. 

* About the above numbers: The above numbers were compiled by horseplayers who spent volunteer man-hours combing through the charts hand keying pool amounts into a spreadsheet. If you notice an obvious mistake please let us know by email at: info @ hanaweb . org (remove the blank spaces first)

Tracks you may want to check out this weekend: 

• Woodbine: 14.95% WIN takeout 

• Belmont: 16.0% takeout WPS    18.50% takeout Exactas and Doubles    15.0% takeout 50 cent Pick5 races 1-5    (arguably the most insightful pre-race TV analysis of any track out there.) 

• Santa Anita: 15.43% takeout WPS    18.0% takeout rolling Doubles    14.0% takeout 50 cent Pick5 races 1-5. 

• Gulfstream: 15.0% takeout 50 cent Pick5 

• Hastings Park: 15.0% takeout WPS, Double, Pick3, Pick4, and Pick5 

• Northlands Park: 14.50% takeout WPS    10.0% takeout Pick5    (the LOWEST WPS and Pick5 takeout of any track in North America) 

• Prairie Meadows: 15.0% takeout 50 cent Pick4 

• Monmouth: 19.0% takeout Exacta and Double    15.0% takeout 50 cent Pick4 and Pick5

 NEW! Printable Takeout Guide for your Wallet! click here 

 NEW! Printable Takeout Guide for your Desk! click here 

These two printable PDF charts point out, at a glance, Player friendly wagers available at North American thoroughbred tracks. "Player friendly" is defined as less than 17% for WPS and less than 20% for all other wagers. Focusing wagering handle on these pools is a way to send the message to all tracks that lower takeout rate wagers will be supported and that lowering takeout rates on all wagers is the most efficient path to future wagering handle growth. Please also note that while several wager types for Arlington and Calder appear on the list at this time we recommend avoiding them during the boycott of their parent company, Churchill Downs Incorporated.
For more information, please visit

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hong Kong Executive: "The Customer is King For Racing To Keep Relevance"

There is some news filtering out of the Asian Gaming Summit.

Comments from the HKJC chairman:
 Sports betting will overtake global racing turnover this year and that only a "customercentric" approach can maintain racing's relevance, Hong Kong Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges has warned.
Relating to an issue North America has to come to grips with, with all-too-short fields:
 "It seems a worldwide trend that in jurisdictions which are breeder-driven, and not as focused on the wants of the customer, that field sizes are a significant issue," he said. "For racing, pari-mutuel is the more attractive proposition but you have to ensure field size, which creates value for wagering potential
As most know, Hong Kong has been very customer-centric, but was not always as much so.

In 2006, amid falling handles, a program giving cash back on lost bets to encourage demand had begun. It's very different over here. Just last month, Churchill Downs Inc. increased takeout, not lowered it amid falling demand, and field sizes throughout the US do not seem to be a concern from a customer demand perspective.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Follow the Leader

In our last survey this question was asked and here were your responses:

92% of you think this is just the beginning. It's why, at 9 in 10, you've wished to withhold some or all money at CDI properties.

What's funny is that we often hear from some 'CD's takeout is still lower than track X so why aren't you upset with track X?

Because of the above. It's follow the leader.

This was exemplified this weekend at Churchill Downs.
Yes, a CD employee wanted to compare CD's 22% exotic take to California's 23.68% exotic take. "See, you are getting a good deal. Those guys are higher"

But as you all know well, California's takeout rate was raised to 23.68% from 20.68% in 2011.

They are comparing their raised takeout rate to another track's raised takeout rate.

In 1908, pari mutuel betting had a takeout of 5%. Now it's around 21%. That's exactly how you get there.

 That's why this is important, and that's why 92% of you understand the game of follow the leader.

This past week at Churchill Downs, despite perfect weather, a debuting big board and the usual fantastic Derby card, you bet less. Well over $5M less since the press release on Tuesday. On our email some of you said you were not going to bet the Derby or the Oaks (both were down from a wet 2013, and a shorter field Oaks in 2013). These events might've surprised some, but it didn't surprise us.

Now is the time where the takeout hike is most felt: With you the every day horseplayer. If that $5m reduction so far goes lower, you are speaking. You're telling tracks that they can't follow the leader anymore. You're telling Gulstream that they can't raise their takeout to "just under Churchill" on their pick 5. You're telling NYRA that because they have a super low exacta take, they can't raise it to "just under Churchill's". It's something you all believe needs to be done, and we stand with you.

Friday, May 2, 2014

One of the Best Bets in North America Debuts Today

At 8:30PM ET in race one today at Northlands Park the 10% takeout pick 5 debuts. I don't need to do the math on horizontals to tell anyone that's a fabulous deal, and it makes it much easier to win.

They even have free programs. Go figure.

To visit Northlands Website it's here.