Lets start with the first item. A member of Pace Advantage Forums who works at Prairie Meadows has been openly soliciting ideas from HANA members. Whether Prairie Meadows does anything with the ideas is another question.
He made a comment on the board that he was considering variable takeouts depending on field size (I still don't know if he means that the bigger the field size the bigger or smaller the takeout?), but I chimed in and wrote:
I don't get the variable takeout scenario. The more horses in a race, the more is bet, however less players cash because of the degree of difficulty. So less money is churned immediately.
In small fields, less money is bet, but more people cash. And more people will churn back the money won back immediately.
If I ran a track, I would have a base purse for different classes (which are lower than the average), and I would add X amount for each individual starter over 6 horses.
For example, at Fort Erie where they run for around 9,000 for a 4,000 claimer, I would set the base purse at say 7,500, and I would add 500 for every parimutuel entry that starts the race over 6 horses.
So a 7 horse field would have an 8000 purse, and a 10 horse race would have a 9500 purse.
That is the way it should be everywhere. Averages need to be adjusted so that the total purse money available is distributed to the horsemen for the season.
Three days later, Charles Town announced that they would "offer purse incentives in certain races with seven or more starters effective June 6 in an effort to increase field size."
Did the execs read my comments and act on them? I don't know. I do know that racing execs read this blog (lots of hits on my blog comes from Woodbine, for example). The Pace Advantage Forum is the number one horse racing forum on the internet (it attracts the most sophisticated bettors and horsemen), so I have to believe that execs from a multitude of tracks read what is posted there, and most likely, many are forum members as well.
Regardless, of whether Charles Town "stole" my idea, the fact is that my idea was workable and credible.
Now lets look at example number two. After the past posting incidences at Hollywood and Penn National, I started a thread on Pace Advantage about closing the windows at 1 MTP. I even wrote a post on Cangamble about it as well.
At least two thirds of those polled are with me. Close the windows early. Some people suggested right at zero minutes to post, and a few suggested to close the windows when the first horse loads.
So what has happened since? Penn National had another past posting incident Friday night. I received this email yesterday from an ADW:
Effective immediately and until further notice Penn National Race Course will close wagering on all live races as soon as the first horse enters the starting gate.
This move won't help Penn National, who have one of the most brutal track takeouts in North America. Sophisticated bettors (those who also care about integrity), stay clear of the track anyway because of the takeout. And batch bettors (who usually bet with big rebates) will not adjust their system for just one track, so this too will hurt Penn's handle. Many bettors will be turned off by this because they don't have this situation at all other tracks yet. The bulk of betting money comes in late, and until the majority of tracks do the right thing (what Penn is doing), Penn's effort here is fruitless, but I still commend them, and hope the majority of track's follow in their foot steps.
The Woodbine Oaks Goes Today
I like Milwaukee Appeal today to win the race, though I think it is a shame that Scott Fairlie had to import a jockey for the race. If Double Malt gets a decent pace to run at, watch out, she should get a good a piece.