9 October 2010

Hialeah Gets It

Hialeah Park recently announced they are dropping their takeout to 12% on all bets. Now this is forward thinking at its finest. It is unfortunate that Hialeah runs such a short meet, and that they don't have thoroughbred racing (only quarter horse racing) yet.

This is a track looking to rebuild. Another track looking to rebuild is Fort Erie. They have done nothing in the takeout reduction area, and now have an average takeout twice the amount of Hialeah's new rates. I'm disappointed in Fort Erie and their new regime. Problem is that they went with the old guard who just don't get takeout. No clue. Fort Erie has the second worst blended takeout rate in North America. And since the overwhelming majority of bets happen at venues where they only get a fraction of the takeout rate, the only people getting constantly slaughtered by the rate are those who attend races live. They give these patrons who cash tickets less than 99% of the tracks in North America. The players have less to bet back, go broke quickest, and are likely to come back less.

This is not how to grow a business. Give players more money back and they will bet more and come back more often.

It took John Brunetti Jr. to do the opposite of what his dad did 17 years ago which helped put the final nail in Hialeah's coffin at the time when he raised takeout to levels that resemble Fort Erie's today.

The biggest problem Hialeah will have now is exposure. Barring a miracle of Biblical proportions, Canadians won't be able to find Hialeah at HPI or any Canadian racetracks, unless the tracks pay a lot less than what Hialeah patrons would get on track.

This is what is sad about the industry today. Even in the USA, I don't expect many tracks to carry Hialeah. ADWs will probably have them, but only ADWs like this one will actually look forward to having them on the menu.

Hialeah's drop in takeout comes into effect around the same time as the mindless takeout hike in California. I believe a lot of pissed off Horseplayers are going to divert some funds and give Hialeah a try.

TrackMaster recently upgraded the way they do speed figures for Quarter Horse racing, probably giving their customers the best edge amongst past performance distributors.

They also added a trouble indicator in their thoroughbred past performances.

I know for a fact that this company actually listens to the customer.

The Breeder's Crown, harness racing's version of the Breeder's Cup races tonight (Saturday) at Pocono Downs. Post time is 5PM. Here are free past performances for the event.

The Knight Sky has put all the finalists in the University of Arizona's Racetrack Industry Program's Funniest Horse Racing Video contest on his website.

The one I laughed at the most was the one on the top right. The one done by Grand River (the one at the bottom right of the second section) also gave me a chuckle.

The ORC released their ruling which allows Woodbine to ban Bruno Schickedanz indefinitely from stabling and running horses at Woodbine because of the Wake At Noon tragedy.

It is a pretty long ruling, but interesting nonetheless. The most damning part of the report to me was this:

“I was spending money on the horse and I was researching what the possible options could be.” “No decision had been made on any of those options.”
“Q. And when you say you were spending money on the horse I take it that if he was racing you were hoping to get some of that back?
A. I think anybody would be thinking that if they were doing it. Is that a bad thing by the way?”

Interesting that this is track specific, and I believe Schickedanz can still stable and race at Fort Erie.

They nailed him on conduct unbecoming to horse racing, because it appears he didn't violate any other rules.

The ORC should put in new rules so that morally bankrupt acts like this are dealt with in not such a vague manner.

Of course, at least to me and probably many others, the ORC has major credibility issues due to their recent mind numbing decision in letting Fifty Proof's result to stand. A couple of comments from Jen's Blog:

W. McGovern - October 5th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Excellent blog Jen. This is a great source for racing info covering Ontario. Regarding Fifty Proof: this stinks. I’ve seen similar starts result in a DQ…and then there’s the Wilmot (sic) angle which further makes it stink. If I were racing at Woodbine, I’d keep a copy of that start on hand just in case you ever got a DQ for a similar situation.

Keep up the excellent work, Jen. Your blog is a pleasure to read. I have written to the ORC regarding the Fifty Proof matter. I hope that others do too. The decision is nonsensical. If the gate was functioning properly then the only explanation is that Fifty Proof pushed it open. Totally contrary to what the Chairman says. A disgrace for horse racing in Ontario.


bullring said...

1. Bruno is a dirt bag. Wake At Noon made him so much money, the horse did not owe him anything. What he expecting to get back racing a 13 year old horse off a 5 year layoff at Penn National?

2. The ORC ruling on Fifty Proof was a joke. I just happen to think this is a case of inept civil servants. The optics of it are terrible, with this being David Willmot's horse.

The_Knight_Sky said...

Thanks for the plug CanGamble. The voting on the videos continues till Halloween according to the Racetrack Industry Program.

The top vote getters qualify as semi-finalists at the Racing Symposium. Others wait till next year.

Anonymous said...

Did you see the proposed changes here by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency?


Download the PDF. On page 36/37 it says the max pct% an association may deduct and retain of an pool is 35 per cent. I assume that is takeout. It currently is set at 23 per cent.

That's a huge increase if I read it correctly! What the hell !

Cangamble said...

Anon, I believe the 35% allows tracks and HPI in Canada to have the Swedish lottery harness bet on the menu.
They also have the option to have their own extremely high takeout lottery style bet in the future as well.
I highly doubt that we will see any takeout increases on domestic product from here. Unfortunately, with the trend to lower takeouts, Ontario remains high on just about every type of bet at every track.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cangamble,

Thanks for clearing that up. Actually that harness lotto should be a good gimmick bet to have here.

On a different note, do you know if HPI is making any progress with getting dime supers and 0.50 pick fours here in Canada?

Cangamble said...

No idea. I don't even think it is on the list of things to do. I assume you mean being able to bet 50 cent pick 5's at Monmouth through HPI or at Woodbine tracks.