PlayersBoycott

Alert!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Seven Questions With...

This piece with Candice Hare originally appeared in the April edition of Horseplayer Monthly.  To read the rest of the issue, FOR FREE, please click here.

Q:  What is your favorite track to play, and why?  

A:  My favorite track to play is Keeneland. Because the meets are short, it seems less overwhelming to really dive in deep and focus solely on that track unlike tracks that race year-round; plus, you typically get large, competitive fields that offer solid wagering opportunities.

Q:  Familiarity with a training colony or riding colony (along with the horses) drives betting at some staple racetracks, and it's hard for other tracks to gain market share. What would a newer, smaller signal track have to do to entice you to patronize their betting pools?  


A:  For me, I think offering one solid "Big Day" per season drives my attention to a smaller track because such days are often more publicized. I'm not typically in tune with even local stakes races at a smaller track, so honestly just making those bigger races known whether it be via social media, print, or radio, it'll capture my interest. The tracks that I don't ever bet are more often than not, the ones I know very little about. 

Q:  Can you name a track that you may have discovered within the last few years who you feel is doing most of the right things to entice you to become a customer?  

A:  I'd say aside from the major tracks that run all year-round, I'd say I've really taken to Kentucky Downs. I personally like to play doubles and pick-5s, so the take-out for that meet is conducive to me making those wagers. Plus, they typically get very large fields, and a solid sized pools, so you end up with a toteboard that offers odds that I feel are typically more true to form (not skewed by small pools or short fields). 

Q:  If you could only play the races (not as a spectator, but as a bettor searching for interesting races and betting value) one day a year (e.g. Breeders Cup Saturday, Derby day etc), which day would you choose?  

A:  I would choose Belmont Stakes day. I think recent changes in that card have made it one of the best betting days of the year.

Q:  The State of the Industry for Customers is ________ Pick one: Poor and needs a ton of work, Ok, but it needs some work, Fine, could be better, with a couple of small tweaks, Great, I am totally satisfied.  


A:  Fine, could be better with a couple of small tweaks.

Q:  What is the number one thing a racetrack could do to entice you to bet more? 


A:  As I said above, it's all about publicity and making sure the public is aware of what solid races or wagering opportunities are available to me especially if a track offers a low takeout wager. I'll usually give the races a look if that's publicized. Santa Anita, for example, really pushed their pick-5 wager on social media for a while due to its takeout and now it's undoubtedly my favorite bet in the country. I don't need a whole lot of convincing to bet, but tracks do need to do a better job at publicizing what they offer to potential customers like me.

Q:  For a little fun question: Who will win the Kentucky Derby?  


A:  Upstart

Sunday, April 26, 2015

New Horse Racing Survey - Please Share Your Opinion

HANA was contacted to distribute the following Thoroughbred racing survey for horseplayer feedback. Would you please consider filling it out to have your voice heard?

Here is the link - http://opco.me/A21903B 

Thanks very much,

Your HANA Team

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rainbow Six Mandatory Expected Pools, Advantage Chart

Michael Antoniades - Chicago Racing Analyst

 In 1941 when the legendary actor Humphrey Bogart described the quest for The Maltese Falcon as “the stuff that dreams are made of “, this was the moment he was talking about. This afternoon at Gulfstream Park will culminate the quest for the Rainbow Six with a mandatory payout that will likely tilt the odds in the players favor, resulting in one of the largest Pick 6 pool in American racing history.

The carryover going into Saturday is $1,453,762. The 20 cent wager will start on Race six with a scheduled post time of 3:30 eastern. Based on past performance, a seven digit payoff is possible. The record payoff on the Rainbow Six was last year, when Dan Borislow took down the entire pool which returned a record $6,678.939 for twenty cents.  In 2012 one single winner in New Jersey took home $3,591,245.

Considering the investment opportunity presented by Sunday’s Rainbow 6 will be one of the greatest ever, I will estimate a Saturday pool of $7,000,000 which includes the carryover. The chart below demonstrates this rare scenario that will pay the winners more than the amount wagered if the final pool is less than $8,700,000. Gulfstream Park has delivered an unforgettable afternoon and possibly the chance of a lifetime. The players thank you.

Note - Other bets today worth looking into from a players advantage is the Prairie Meadows Pick 4 carryover, the Turf Paradise pick 5 carryover; as well as the 12% Pimlico Pick 5. On the "Higher Takeout Alert" scale, the Woodbine Pick 5 is 25% takeout, and Churchill Downs' pick 5 is 22%. Churchill Downs is still under a boycott from horseplayers

Good luck everyone.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Seven Questions with John Doyle

This piece with former National Handicapping Championship winner John Doyle originally appeared in the April edition of Horseplayer Monthly.  To read the rest of the issue, FOR FREE, please click here. 

Q:  What is your favorite track to play, and why?  

A:  Gulfstream Park has decent takeout rates, big fields, attractive prices and the best winter turf racing. Gulfstream is all simulcast for me. Santa Anita is my favorite on site experience. They have put some money in the facility and it shows. They do seem to be more player centric since Tom Lute has taken over.  In the past year I had some great customer experiences there while participating in handicapping contests.  Del Mar is a great venue and location and Keeneland’s racing experience is right up there.
 

Q:  Familiarity with a training colony or riding colony (along with the horses) drives betting at some staple racetracks, and it's hard for other tracks to gain market share. What would a newer, smaller signal track have to do to entice you to patronize their betting pools?  

A:  My big beef with tracks is their lack of transparency, information and customer communication. It's like pulling teeth to get any information. The silence sometimes is deafening. So, a new or existing track addressing some of the items listed below would get my attention.

•    Make stewards and jockey communications public during inquiries
•    Display greater transparency on track conditions (not just it's fast) , horse injuries, medications, shoe information, tote irregularities, trainer/jockey suspensions
•    Report more information with public workouts (times, note, workout partners and trainer comments)
•    Explain tote delays
•    Update us on jockey and horse injuries that have occurred
•    Broadcast in high definition video
•    Provide good paddock watching professional who can supply information and changes in horses   condition race to race (i.e Hong Kong)
•    Base all payouts on 1.00 standard. (current payouts are all over place $2, $1, .50c .10c)
•    Keep number of live pick-4 , pick-5 , pick-6 tickets displayed at all times
•    Keep odds and probable payouts posted while broadcasting replays
•    Improve photo finish technology, it's outdated and erroneous

Q:  Can you name a track that you may have discovered within the last few years who you feel is doing most of the right things to entice you to become a customer?  


A:  Again I like Gulfstream and Santa Anita. You can say what you want about Stronach, but he is committed to the sport and he puts his money up. And Gulfstream must be horseman-friendly because the field sizes are tremendous. However both Santa Anita and Gulfstream are culprits of some of the items I discussed in point two.

Q:  If you could only play the races (not as a spectator, but as a bettor searching for interesting races and betting value) one day a year (e.g. Breeders' Cup Saturday, Derby day etc), which day would you choose? 


A:  I would have to say Breeders' Cup. It's two days. It's generally in a more climate friendly venue. Plus for me the Kentucky Derby is usually the biggest crapshoot from a betting perspective.

Q:  The State of the Industry for Customers is ________ Pick one: Poor and needs a ton of work, Ok, but it needs some work, Fine, could be better, with a couple of small tweaks, Great, I am totally satisfied.  


A:  It varies from circuit to circuit, but my average grade would be OK, but it needs work. A lot of work.

Q:  What is the number one thing a racetrack could do to entice you to bet more?  


A:  Take less and show their appreciation more.

Q:  For a little fun question: Who will win the Kentucky Derby?  


A:  Derby picking is not my forte. California Chrome was my first derby winner since Street Sense. The race is impossible to handicap. However, I think American Pharoah is something special and could even be the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Make Your Voice Heard on Pari-Mutuel Tax Withholding

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association-led fight to change withholding and reporting when it comes to pari-mutuel winnings is moving forward, and the NTRA is seeking horseplayer help with this issue.

According to a press release issued on Tuesday, "The NTRA encourages horseplayers, fans and industry stakeholders who will be positively impacted if the proposed changes are adopted to submit their own comments to Treasury and the IRS using a simple form now available online at www.NTRA.com/IRScomment.

“The two-step process can be completed in Secretariat time – under two minutes,” said NTRA Senior Vice President Keith Chamblin, referring to the 1973 Triple Crown winner’s Kentucky Derby record of 1:59 2/5. 

The form creates a customized message from the sender’s own e-mail address populated with suggested language crafted by the NTRA and submits it directly to the Treasury."

Thank you in advance.

Your HANA Team

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Woodbine High Take Pick 5 Comment, on Behalf of the Smaller Player

We have left this comment on a Canadian website that is focused on Woodbine. We have been trying to spread the word that all tracks should highlight takeout rates for all new bets, good and bad, as a matter of course. Large players (rebated) are affected less when a high takeout bet is brought in (their rebate goes up), but the smaller player, we feel, needs to know exactly what they are paying as a customer.

The emails and comments we have received so far are not from large players (we have received some), as much as the smaller player who feels marginalized. Maybe your voice will not be listened to, but as a customer advocacy group, we will ensure people at least see it.

Woodbine has been made aware of your feelings.

Hi Jen,

We at HANA have not done anything, yet, other than let horseplayers know that the takeout for the pick 5 at Woodbine is well above average, and let Woodbine know they must as a business, let customers know what that new takeout rate is.

The pick 5 is a bet that smaller to mid-sized players have come to support, because tracks North America-wide have provided them with lower takeout and bigger payoffs. The current industry average stands at approximately 15%, and the last few pick 5's created were:

Northlands Park, 10%
Pimlico (Stronach), 12%
NYRA - Belmont, Aqueduct, Saratoga 15%
Santa Anita, Del Mar, etc, 14%

As you can see, customers are conditioned to play them, and they will likely blindly play them at Woodbine *thinking* they are getting a good deal. They are not. Their payoffs will be up to 16% to 17% lower.

Woodbine can do whatever they wish; however, not telling horseplayers in programs and on the track feed they are getting lower payoffs for bets they expect to be good is where we must step in on their behalf.

It's a shame Woodbine did not come in with a lower takeout pick 5 like other tracks. They have been doing some good things in the US market, and this, in our view (and looking at chatboards and our email inbox) has set them back in the States.

Thanks for reading,

HANA

Thursday, April 9, 2015

For Immediate Release: Kentucky Downs Tops the 7th Annual Horseplayers Association of North America Racetrack Rankings

(Charlottesville, VA, April 9, 2015) Kentucky Downs, the Franklin, Kentucky racetrack that races a short, all-turf meet, has topped the 2015 HANA Racetrack Rankings. Kentucky Downs unseated Keeneland, who led the rankings for the first six years.

The HANA Racetrack Ratings are based on an algorithm using factors indicative of horseplayer betting value, gleaned from both empirical and academic study. Key factors including takeout rate, field size, wager variety, pool size, and signal distribution are analyzed track by track and weighted to produce a final composite score. The rankings are supervised by HANA board member Charlie Davis, a professional horseplayer, and Industry Analyst Mike Dorr, a graduate of Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management.

"With low takeout and a field size over ten horses per race, Kentucky Downs has definitely given horseplayers something to get excited about," said HANA President Jeff Platt. “Despite the short meet, the ratings algorithm does not discriminate when it comes to value; Kentucky Downs has it and horseplayers have been responding.”

“It is gratifying to be recognized for our efforts,” said Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen.“Providing the horseplayer value drives virtually every decision we make at Kentucky Downs. As our formula continues to be successful and handle increases - which produces more purse money - then it is a win-win-win for the fans, horsemen and track.”

For a list of all tracks rated one through sixty two, full ratings coverage including statistics, analysis, track executive and horseplayer interviews, please visit, “Horseplayer Monthly”, our free e-magazine at this link. http://www.horseplayersassociation.org/hanamonthly.html

For a web copy of this release, please visit here: http://blog.horseplayersassociation.org/

-30-

 The Horseplayers Association of North America is a 3,000 strong grassroots group of horseplayers who are not affiliated with any industry organization. HANA hopes, through proactive change on several key issues (including but not limited to), open signal access, lower effective takeouts, affordable data and customer appreciation, the industry’s handle losses can be reversed. Joining HANA is free.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bettor Alert: Woodbine Comes After Horseplayer Money with a High Takeout Pick 5

One of the best bets for Horseplayers the past few years has been the lower takeout pick 5. Beginning with Monmouth (15%), and later on at California racetracks (14% Players Pick 5) and NYRA (15%), this bet has been a staple.

Just this year, Pimlico, trying to get people interested in their product, created a 12% takeout pick 5, and Northlands Park in Canada, one at 10%.

Woodbine in Rexdale Ontario, did pretty much the inexplicable. They created a 25% takeout pick 5;  well above the average price, and over double, Pimlico's.

We had heard earlier in the week this was occurring, but finally got information today. Yes, we have seen your emails upset about this wager.

Woodbine, and Ontario, lost slot machine revenue in 2012. The government mandate for continued funding for the track was to "grow wagering" and show customers more appreciation and more value. I highly suspect they will be none too pleased with a bet that achieves the opposite.

We wanted you to be aware of this new bet, and how deleterious to value it is. There are clearly other racetracks who care about you and your wagering dollars, so shop accordingly.