15 May 2011

50 Cent Pick 5's Won't Work For Everyone

Monmouth had very good success last year with the 50 Cent pick 5 (though it was introduced back in 2007). Much of the success was due to the fact that eyes were on last years meet because they raised purses a bunch and wound up with pretty good field size on top of it. The low takeout didn't hurt either. And not having a Pick 6 most probably helped as well.

Turf Paradise also has had a 50 cent Pick 5 for a while too. But on carryover days, they are lucky to hit $12,000 in total pool.

Still, after watching what happened at Monmouth, Gulfstream Park decided to follow suit, and it looks like it was a factor in helping them have a very good meet relative to the industry the past winter.

Calder and Hollywood Park have now joined the show with low takeout Pick 5's, while Arlington and Churchill Downs added 50 cent Pick 5's to their menus too.

Hollywood Park needed to do something to say that they still care about the customer after California increased takeout on exotics to 22.68% on doubles and exactors and 23.68% on all other bets (an increase of 10-15% from 20.68%). Calder wanted to give Horseplayers a reason to play that track (their takeouts are in the stratosphere), so they put out a 12% 50 cent Pick 5 this year.

To me, as I've stated before, the Pick 5 is the last reason for me to handicap a card. Once I handicap a card though, I might play it if it looks like something I can cash. Tracks like Hollywood and Calder are banking that Horseplayers will handicap the lower take Pick 5's. and then will make other wagers on these cards.

Of course, carryovers on the Pick 5 help tremendously, but at a 50 cent minimum and when fields are on the small size, they don't happen too frequently.

Hollywood was lucky enough to have one the past week, but don't expect many more in the future.

Monmouth hardly had many last year, even with larger fields.

The low takeouts attached to these Pick 5's are insulting to me actually. Pick 5 winnings are least likely to be churned as payoffs are usually on the high side. If track execs were even remotely interested in growing their business, they would lower takeout on higher churn bets like exotics like doubles, exactors and Pick 3's.

More and more smaller tracks are likely to give these Pick 5's a shot, and I think it is a mistake if they go the 50 cent route. First off, the hope for smaller tracks is a larger carryover, and that is why I think they should opt for a dollar minimum.

I would rather see dollar Pick 5's at tracks like Louisiana Downs, Mountaineer, etc. who have Pick 6's that need months to build, and they rarely, if ever have a Pick 6 carryover that catches the eyes of players from around the USA and Canada.
I believe that Pick 6's should only be available at California A tracks and possibly NYRA tracks.

As for the Fortune Pick 6 Jackpot bet that Beulah introduced and Gulfstream added this year. I like them, only because they can attract slots and lottery players possibly, and some of these players might cross over to horse racing. However, I would make mandatory payoffs happen a lot more frequently...not just the end of the meet. Mandatory payoff dates are when real money is bet on this type of wager. Once every three to four weeks should do the trick.

Again, a low takeout isn't important on Pick 5's or Pick 6's. Tracks, especially smaller ones, should look at some of their wagers that attract low pool size, for example, like Fort Erie's Pick 3's, and reduce those bets as a stepping stone towards doing more reducing down the road if successful.

And one more thing, when it comes to Superfectas, I hate the dime or twenty cent minimums that are out there right now. 50 cent minimums like Mountaineer has are just fine for most gamblers. The idea of superfectas in the first place was to give players an opportunity at a large hit. 10 or 20 cent supers at high takeout rates just wipe players out a lot faster as they usually wind up with exactor or triactor payouts anyways if they cash a super in most cases.

Also, supers should not be available in races that have less than 8 horses. Again, all this does is dilute pools and break customers faster (takeouts of 25% are usually associated with supers). It is one of the reasons why horse racing is dying right now.


The_Knight_Sky said...

CanGamble wrote: Hollywood Park needed to do something to say that they still care about the customer after California increased takeout on exotics....


What Hollywood Park (and the other SoCal tracks will now be doing is taking a cut from this new Pick 5 pool to offset the losses in handle.

Another crutch for the TOC/CHRB to avoid what needs to be done in order to start reversing course. Nothing less than a rescinding of the takeout increases will create positive P.R. among the serious horse racing clientele.

Food trucks and microbrew festivals is not the future.
It certainly will not bolster field sizes. Won't make horses healthier. Won't sustain purse increases.

Anonymous said...

Do you actually think 15% is a low takeout?

Cangamble said...

15% is relatively low. From an optimal takeout point of view it is on the high side. I believe optimal takeout on WPS should be around 8%, while exotics should be around 10% for doubles, exactors and Pick 3's, and 12% for triactors and pick 4's, and maybe 13-14% for supers and pick 5's and 6's.

Anonymous said...

"Calder and Hollywood Park have now joined the show with low takeout Pick 5's"

"Lower" would be more accurate.

Keep up the good fight!