Thursday, April 28, 2016

Crist Opines on Canterbury's Two Moves & the Breeders' Cup

In the DRF today, Steve Crist highlighted two huge moves by Canterbury Park. First he lauded the takeout reduction:

"Canterbury is well positioned to show substantial gains. It has had virtually no national simulcasting presence, so almost any business from players wanting to vote their approval of the new rates will be entirely new business. "

What he touched on next was even more compelling. Canterbury also was considering a "jackpot" bet at high takeout, but after discussing the bet with players, they decided just this week to scrap it.

This is a bold move. Canterbury wants to be known as horseplayer friendly by returning more money to customers when they hit a bet. That increased balance on your voucher (or in your ADW account) will be rebet, encouraging more churn. With a jackpot bet, it kills churn, so on-track players especially may be saving more on one hand, but betting it from the other into a terrible bet.  It kind of destroys the whole concept.

So far the Minnesota track has made some good moves. With the reverse on the jackpot just this week, they're keeping the momentum going.

There is a new Horseplayer Monthly coming out in May. We'll have Barry Meadow and the usual columnists, but we're adding a preview of the Canterbury meet, with stats and more. If you want the magazine delivered in your inbox free, you can visit our magazine page here. 

Good luck and good racing everyone.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Press Release: Kentucky Downs Tops the 8th Annual Horseplayers Association of North America Racetrack Rankings

(Charlottesville, VA, April 21, 2016): Kentucky Downs, the Franklin, Kentucky racetrack that races a short, all-turf meet, has topped the 2016 HANA Racetrack Rankings for the second consecutive year.
The rankings 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.
"With low takeout and a field size of over ten horses per race, Kentucky Downs continues to excite customers," said HANA President Jeff Platt. “Despite an abbreviated meet, the ratings algorithm does not discriminate when it comes to betting value; Kentucky Downs has it and horseplayers responded with another year of record handles.”
“Kentucky Downs is honored to be named HANA’s number one track for the second year in a row. It is a testament to the hard work that our team puts into providing the horseplayer with the best value possible. We are especially appreciative of HANA’s efforts to represent the best interests of horseplayers and look forward to working with them for years to come,” said Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen.

Keeneland, with their 16% straight and 19% exotic takeout menu was second. Perennial horseplayer favorite Saratoga rounded out the top three.
Canterbury Park, which announced a massive takeout decrease just this week, vaulted up to sixth in the rankings. Suffolk Downs, with their 15% across the board takeout menu, also moved up appreciably.
For a list of all tracks rated one through sixty two, full ratings coverage including statistics, analysis, and track executive and insider interviews, please visit a special 'Industry Issue' of Horseplayer Monthly, our free e-magazine at this link.

For a web copy of this release, please visit here:

 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. 

Click here to sign up early!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Canterbury Park Slashes Takeout for Upcoming Meet

 Note: In this week's 8th Annual "Track Ratings and Industry Issue" of the Horseplayer Monthly, we'll have a feature interview with Canterbury Park officials. To sign up for the free magazine, delivered to your inbox, please do here.

Canterbury Park racing officials today announced a sweeping reduction in pari-mutuel takeout that will result in the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack offering a wagering product priced lower, on average, than any track in the country. With win, place, show takeout set at 15 percent and all exotic wagers at 18 percent, Canterbury Park will be the best horse racing wagering opportunity in the United States when its 69-day race meet begins May 20.

“Canterbury Park has long strived to be the most horsemenf-friendly track in the country. Now, we want to be the most horseplayer-friendly racetrack in America,” Vice President of Racing Operations Eric Halstrom said. “With the growth in the quality of our racing program we, with the support of our horsemen, are taking the next step and making our races the most profitable wagering opportunity. By changing our takeout to the lowest in the United States, we’re giving horseplayers worldwide great value and drawing attention to what is sure to be the finest racing season in Minnesota history.”
Horse racing is conducted using a unique form of wagering called pari-mutuel wagering. Within the pari-mutuel system, all wagers are pooled together and those that pick winners share the money within the pool after a portion of the pool is withheld by the racetrack. This withholding is called takeout. The takeout is used to pay for purses for the races and to pay the operator, Canterbury Park, for putting on the races and facilitating the wagering.

Racing and gaming industry economists suggest that handle, the amount of money wagered, will increase substantially as takeout is reduced. Canterbury officials are confident that bettors will embrace the lower takeout and continually improving quality of racing with field size that regularly exceeds the national average. Horsemen purses have increased by 91 percent since 2010 due to tribal purse enhancements, and out-of-state handle on Canterbury’s races has risen by 114 percent over that same time period.

“We have been successful in increasing handle as our racing quality has improved. However, substantial upside still exists, and we believe this bold move will help us recognize that potential and create passionate Canterbury Park fans throughout the country.  We’re excited to offer something that no other racetrack in the United States has – the highest return to bettors all over the world,” Halstrom said.

Tom Metzen, President of the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents trainers and owners racing in the state, is in agreement with the takeout changes. “Racing at Canterbury Park continues its upward trend and the Minnesota HBPA supports the idea of a reduced takeout for our horseplayers,” Metzen said. “It will not only increase handle but show race fans everywhere what a jewel Minnesota racing is on the national scene.”

The reduction in takeout has also been met with widespread approval from major racing organizations including the nation’s premier horseplayer advocate group, the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA).

“Canterbury Park has made a bold gesture for 2016, lower takeout for all. Their new wagering menu offers tremendous value. It also tells me they want my business,” HANA President Jeff Platt said. “I’ll be giving Canterbury a long, hard look this year and would encourage horseplayers everywhere to do the same.”

The takeout restructuring will be discussed by the Minnesota Racing Commission April 21.