Parimutuel handle down 5% in June, close to 8% for the year
Where is the bottom? Players continue to die off and they aren't being replaced. No reason for newbies to get into horse racing with its high learning curve. We need visible winners. That is what did it for poker. Sports betting and blackjack are perceived as beatable in the long term too, at least by a few lucky and smart gamblers. In other words, a carrot exists. There is no carrot in horse racing.
At least we are seeing a slight trend in reduced takeouts. It needs to be faster.
On the bright side, if you took California racing out of the equation, June's handle numbers might be close to on par with last year. I had to check, and yes, they are still racing in California. How long the track's can continue to absorb the losses thanks to the takeout hike is the big question? Don't expect honest answers though because they wouldn't admit it if they are only a few more boycotters away from going to 3 days a week.
Back in September I wrote a piece called "Is ITPP The Super Trainer's Drug Of Choice
Today?," well the drug finally made it to print in the DRF. Stan Bergstein states that money is needed to test for the drug. Here we are, 9 months after a hack blogger (me) gets wind what is happening, and there still isn't a test for this stuff.
By the time the racing industry gets off their butts, the next designer drug will come into play.
This is just too frustrating. Not only do bettors like myself shy away from races with super trainers in them, but horse owners who don't have super trainers have no chance to make money. Either cheat or go for third money. Either pay huge vet bills and supplement bills or go for fourth or fifth money.
Horse racing's high collective takeout rates already keep newbie Horseplayers away, now cheating trainers keep new horse owners away too.
HANA (Horseplayers Association of North America) has come out with their 2011 track ratings.
California tracks sunk badly, and the stats don't include this year's handle numbers which are down farther than the industry average.
Woodbine climbed up to 23rd in overall ratings, but in order to crack the top 5, takeout on supers, pick 3's, triactors, and pick 4's need to come down.
Apparently, according to Nick Eaves, they are working on a 2% reduction across the board, something Eaves stated was a priority when he took over the reigns at Woodbine last year.
Fort Erie climbed up a couple of tracks thanks to dropping their Pick 4 takeout to 14%.
Interestingly, the Fort Erie takeout drop was mentioned in a recent Blood Horse article about what Ohio needs to do now that they have slots:
CIS said Ohio racing must lower takeout rates “enough so that it becomes the lowest in the region and lures new bettors.” The consultants used Fort Erie Racetrack & Slots in Canada as an example, noting a reduction in the pick four takeout from 26.2% to 14% generated a 59% increase in handle in the first two weeks.
Controversy At Woodbine Yesterday
In the fourth race, the first leg of the Pick 4, the favorite 1A Kiama out broke the gate yesterday. She overcame the weird start to win the race. However, the Stewards (flipped a coin?) and decided that it was an unfair start, so they issued a refund. Well, except for those holding Pick 4 or Pick 3 tickets. They wound up with the new favorite, who didn't wind up as the official winner.
The problem is of course, that this looks like the exact situation that occurred last year when Fifty Proof broke through the gate and was allowed to keep the victory (in fact, there wasn't even an Inquiry).
Here is yesterday's race:
It would nice for bettors to have just a little consistency.