4 December 2009

Why Does Woodbine Race Wednesday Nights?

I just don't get why Woodbine continues to schedule night racing for thoroughbreds. There is pretty much no demand for their product at night, and they could be doing much better if they switched to days.....or could they?

Here is a comparison of Woodbine with Beulah on Wednesday December 2.

Woodbine (Total Handle $1,635,771) Field size 10.78
Race and purse
Race 1
Race 2
Race 3
Race 4
Race 5
Race 6
Race 8
Race 9

Beulah (Total Handle $1,994,441) Field size 9.78 per race
Race and purse
Race 1
Race 2
Race 3
Race 4
Race 5
Race 6
Race 7
Race 8
Race 9

So what does the above prove? Because of lack of competition on Wednesday during the day, Beulah was able to take advantage and have a very good day. Bettors may not care that much when it comes to quality especially if field size is close to 9 horses per race.

Woodbine doesn't fare well on Thursdays during the day either, so the might embarrass themselves going head to head with Beulah during a light competition day. It makes me wonder why Woodbine handle is so lousy, considering their field size and purse structure is so good.

Is it the polytrack? I don't know. In 2005 and 2006 Woodbine only had handle of $1.3 million on each of their last two Wednesday nights of the season. Up until this year, Woodbine benefited from things like common pool wagering and signal availability at many ADWs and tracks.

There is something that turns players away from betting Woodbine in general. Is it that the takeouts are actually being looked at by more bettors? Beulah takeouts are higher for bets like WPS (18% versus 16.95% at Woodbine), 22.5% versus 20.5% for doubles and exactors, but for other exotic bets, Beulah remains at 22.5%, but Woodbine charges between 25-27% on things like Pick 3's, supers, and tris.

It could be a combination of poly, takeout and signal availability. Beulah is available at pretty much every ADW and the one's that give decent rebates may attract the afternoon players who in most cases don't get much, if anything, from Tracknet or NYRA tracks, and in some cases don't even get NYRA or Tracknet signals.

Woodbine made a smart move for next year by switching post times to 2PM on Thursdays. This gives them a chance to woo the dinner crowd. I can understand them trying to hang on to Wednesday nights on the bases that they have corporations that have dinners at Woodbine. But Woodbine is not taking advantage when it comes to converting these potential newbies because of the reputation horse racing has when it comes to beating the race and not the races.

There is no incentive for anyone to learn a game that has no visible winners, and where the only winners are those who get substantial rebates. And players just can't last because of current takeout levels whether they understand takeout or not.

Woodbine is in a position where it won't hurt them to reduce their takeout significantly. I can tracks everywhere inching downward when it comes to takeout rates. Woodbine can be a leader.

Ideally, I think 12% takeout on all bets would be very close to optimal. Optimal being where race tracks make the most money.

Woodbine can do themselves a huge favor by dropping takes to at least more reasonable levels. How about 16% WPS, 20% for exactors and doubles, and 22% for all other bets? See how it goes, and then maybe drop even lower if successful.

If Woodbine does not lower takeout, they might as well run on Wednesdays with a 2PM post.

UPDATE: David Willmot to leave post as Woodbine Entertainment's CEO on June 4th. Nick Eaves, the current COO will take over.

Best news out of Woodbine all year. Maybe Eaves can get racing to grow in Ontario, an impossibility with Willmot at the helm.

It has been known for years that certain horses inspire certain jockeys:


NYC OTB Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

US-Online Gambling Legislation Put On Hold
The legislators just want to make sure that horse race betting isn't compromised at all, so they are being extra careful with how they word the law.

Down The Stretch has some good articles: The case for Chantal Sutherland being Athlete of the Year in Canada.

An interview by Perry Lefko of HBPA President Sue Leslie.
She confirms that Nordic Gaming wants too much money for the joint. It looks like the only hope Fort Erie has right now is if the government changes the 10-10 percentages on slot revenues. Sounds like Nordic can hold out because the province has remained silent on whether the casino will close if there is no racing.


Eddie D. said...

I don't really understand why Woodbine races into December at all. Its season is way too long.

The night racing I don't mind, though. There's more of a demand for Thoroughbred racing at night than there is for harness racing at night. How did Woodbine's handle compare to Northfield or Pompano?

Cangamble said...

I don't think the length of the season is a problem. It keeps people employed almost full time.
Harness racing doesn't get much play to begin with these days. Comparing thoroughbred handle to harness handle is like comparing apples to skin rashes.

Inside The Pylons said...


High takeout

They stick a gun in their core customers side when robbing them on their simulcast takeout rates

They refuse rebate bettors

They charge more than avg for their simulcast signal



Their signal is open to everybody

They charge a very low host fee so rebates are great


Basically....Woodbine makes almost every bettor....1. Alter their play as to avoid exotics......2. Feel like they were robbed when betting simulcasts....3. Not be able to bet their product.....4. Decide that they might not want to bet on Polycrap...or 5. feel like they are a necessary evil and not valued when they can't just bet and feel good about betting there.

Beulah just says....bring it on even though our races are crap, our track is crap and we have nothing to offer except we try to have a fair betting deal for all.

The_Knight_Sky said...

Cangamble asks:

It makes me wonder why Woodbine handle is so lousy, considering their field size and purse structure is so good.


I think a lot of bettors have gravitated to the type of racing they know and grew up with. That means traditional dirt track racing.

Woodbine suffers from the same type of disdain that Turfway Park product is undergoing at the moment. These are not the racing meets that we used to appreciate some five years ago.

Today, large fields are assembled regularly but it's "jockey racing" and not horse racing. The racing results are dictated by how and when the jockeys make their decisions on the racetrack. Sounds like turf racing-on-the-main-track to me.

railbird said...

Betting down because of POLYCRAP POLYCRAP POLYCRAP end of story!

railbird said...

POLYCRAP POLYCRAP POLYCRAP thats why betting is down!