9 July 2009

Woodbine Scraps Turbo Charged Pick 6

Turbo-charged Pick 6 on hold

TORONTO, July 8 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) is suspending its Turbo-charged Pick 6 wager promotion...for now.

"We're putting the Turbo-charged aspect of the Pick 6 wager on hold, but are considering bringing it back for special events or something more regular later in the season," said Sean Pinsonneault, WEG's Vice-President of Wagering Services.

The Turbo-charged Pick 6, a bet in which horseplayers are asked to select the winners of six consecutive races, was offered over three straight Sundays, beginning on June 21, the day of the 150th edition of the Queen's Plate.

As promotion for the Turbo-charged Pick 6, WEG added $150,000 to the carryover. If the Pick 6 was won, the pool was re-seeded with another $150,000 for the following week.

"We wanted to promote our Pick 6 wager and felt seeding the pool with $150,000 would raise eyebrows, and it sure did," continued Pinsonneault. "It created the buzz we were looking for and encouraged racing fans and horsemen that weren't already familiar with the Woodbine Thoroughbred product to experience our racing with consistently large fields and one of the largest purse structures in North American racing."

The Turbo-charged Pick 6 was paid out on each Sunday the added $150,000 was offered.

On the first afternoon (June 21) of the bet, one fan, from the United States, collected $203,499.40. On June 28, another American hit it for $153,884.20. On July 5, four happy fans, three from Canada and another from the U.S., had the Pick 6 for $46,982.90 each.

"It would have been nice to see it carryover a few days from our perspective but clearly some pretty savvy players were able to walk away with some significant jackpots," said Pinsonneault, "and that's ultimately what we were trying to create. We're happy for those that cashed tickets on the Turbo-charged Pick 6."

A $2 Pick 6 wager will remain on the Woodbine betting menu every Sunday without the seeded carryover beginning July 12 and continue to cover the final six races on the Thoroughbred card.

Woodbine racing is available Wednesdays at 6:45 p.m. and Thursday through Sundays at 1 p.m. until December 6.

Upon hearing that Woodbine dropped their Turbo Charged Pick 6 yesterday, my immediate action was this.

As I stated here in previous posts, the Turbo Charged Pick 6 was a financial disaster. Woodbine was down over $400,000 (they got very little bottom line return on the $450,000 they seeded the three pools with), and their idea of getting a very large carryover was turning into a monumental task, not just because they got unlucky due to horseplayers cashing it every week, but because the $150,000 just didn't attract enough money to substantially build the pool even if it wasn't hit.

Pinsonneault's comments about being happy for the bettor's who cashed couldn't be more disingenuous. Maybe he is getting ready for a career in politics. He didn't need to put that on the press release, he really didn't.

And as for buzz, now more and more people know why bettors avoid Woodbine. Monstrous takeouts on triactors and high takeouts on other exotics.

It isn't that people can't handicap the track. Much to Woodbine's chagrin, bettor's showed that poly or no poly, once some real money is thrown at their Pick 6, it can be cashed.

I wonder if Steve Mitchell (he takes credit for coming up with this Pick 6 venture) is trying to gather up all The Game issues that he can find.

And don't feel sorry for Woodbine or their execs. This was simply a bait and switch gone bad. Woodbine wanted to get people to start playing Woodbine with its ridiculously high takeouts by trying to get them to handicap the Pick 6 first. As for the execs, well as long as they have their lips on the boss's teats, their jobs are pretty secure. If Woodbine Entertainment was a publicly traded company though, almost every exec they have would have been gone a long long time ago, including their fearless leader.

I'll admit, I was wrong, thinking this venture might have been successful, but I thought they would be able to attract much more new money than they did with $150,000 in free money dangling out there. It goes to show me that bettors are avoiding Woodbine more than I even thought. And it isn't a polytrack situation either, just look at how the Pick 6 pots grow in California. But a major reason people follow tracks like Hollywood in the first place, is their track takeouts are fairly low (15.4% on WPS and 20.68% on all other wagers)

Woodbine knows how to run a monopoly. That is pretty much all they know. Problem is that they are no longer a monopoly, and they haven't been for 30 years.

If they want to attract gamblers, they need to hire gamblers to run the place make all the crucial decisions regarding betting.

A gambler may have told the guy who writes the condition book to put on a few bottom maiden claimers on Sunday. Those races wind up with big fields, and lots of chaos. Last night, there would hardly have been a ticket using the fifth winner.

The first thing they have to do is to get their takeouts down to levels that appeal to all bettors. But they will never go that route under current management.

If not for slots, current management at WEG would be hard up to find a job in the real world. Maybe, just maybe, they could get a job selling cold lemonade in the desert. That way they might be able to get away with charging the public ludicrous prices for their product.

It Is Good To Be King......haven
Ontario horse people are still mumbling in a negative manner over the fact that last Saturday, Woodbine carded a claiming race with only five betting interests (it was a 6 horse race, but two of the horses were owned by the same outfit, and thus an entry for betting purposes).

No one is shocked though, because one of the entrants was owned by Woodbine's top vizuzu, David Willmot's Kinghaven Farms.

Willmot's horse, aptly named, Forcefully, won the race by a schnoz in an exciting finish.

It isn't uncommon for a five betting interest allowance race or non claiming maiden race to be carded when Woodbine is short on entries, but my (not so entirely great) memory doesn't recall a five betting interest claiming race ever get carded.
You can go through the entry sheets for years, and not find that kind of thing happen. And it probably won't happen again for years....unless there is a Kinghaven horse entered perhaps.

Nick Coukos Sighting
Good to see that Nick Coukos is still in the industry. He has landed the job of VP of Corporate Affairs at Ajax Downs. Good move by Ajax. Nick is a gambler, and thus understands the needs and psyche of the gambler. Not a good fit for Woodbine, but a good fit for any racing organization looking to achieve real success in the future.

Prince Of Wales Goes This Sunday: Fort Erie's Biggest Day Of The Year
It almost looked like the race was destined to be run at Woodbine this year.

This could be the last Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, as the track is still on death's door. Lets hope not. It is a beautiful track.

I may show up with my camera for the event. I may even wear my bulls-eye shirt in case a Woodbine exec wants to take a shot at me:)

Really Good Article by Jay Cronley: Smart On Smart
Cronley points out that the dummies have stopped betting on horses for slots and lotteries, and now mostly what is left is smart handicappers who are betting against smart handicappers......at the same takeout that existed before the Dummy Exodus.

Even smart handicappers are leaving though. Betting was down 17% in June. So now it really is a game that pits smart handicappers versus really smart handicapper/bettors....at an average takeout rate of 20%.

If parimutuel betting on horse racing was invented tomorrow, the inventors would look around at the competition out there first, and there is no way that any bet would have a takeout of more than 12% absolutely tops.

Big Buzz Created By Paulick On Kirk Ziadie's Drug Suspension Record
There isn't anyone out there saying anything positive about Ziadie and the current state of the game in regard to drug policies.

How is Ziadie still training? His drug violation record should get him a spot on America's Most Wanted.

The betting public is sick of the wrist slaps racing jurisdictions hand out to trainers these days.

From track execs to horsemen to those who police the industry, racing is by far the most dysfunctional industry on this planet.

1 comment:

Scott Ferguson said...

here's what should be happening with drug bans - http://www.racenet.com.au/news/515/51567.asp. These guys are perpetuating a fraud against other owners, trainers and jockeys by denying them income by illgotten means, not to mention stiffing us gamblers. I suggest a three strikes system - six months, two years, life, and NATIONWIDE.