01/04/2010 9:54PM

The $223 Horse


MoneytruckloadWhen Hudson Heights won Saturday's sixth race at Aqueduct and paid $223, it was the largest win mutuel at a NYRA track in almost 11 years; the start of a $4,223 double (with a $60.00 winner in the 7th) that was the highest since 1945; and began a pick-4 sequence that was,to the best of anyone's recollection, the first time no one went 4-for-4 since the bet came to New York almost a decade ago.

There was a single $1 live ticket going into the last leg of the pick-4, which would have returned $170k for a buck, but alas it was not to the winning favorite, Golden Boychick ($4.50). Bad time to single against a favorite. So under state regulations, the $170k was instead shared among those who had any 3 of the 4 winners, some $128 worth of tickets, with a payoff of $2,668 for $2.

The unusual situation led a few people to wonder whether it wouldn't have been more fun if three-quarters of the $170k had carried over to Sunday's card (which would have carried to Wednesday, since Sunday's racing was cancelled due to high winds and low temps.) Sounds like a good idea, and some smaller tracks do carry their pick-4's, but there could be problems.

At tracks that run two or more pick-4's a day, the sequences often are consecutive -- a typical nine-race NYRA card offers the bet on races 2-5 and 6-9, and a weekday eight-race card in California has pick-4's on 1-4 and 5-8. Is it really fair to bettors to give them what would be less than half an hour between the announcement of a carryover and the start of one? And what about days, often the biggest of the year, when a third pick-4 is shoehorned into the card with an overlapping race or two?

Carryovers work best on once-a-day bets such as the pick-6 and pick-9: There's no confusion about when the carryover will be, and everyone gets at least one night to study.

Hudson Heights did prompt a one-day $35k pick-6 carryover when Aqueduct reopens Wednesday. It's actually pretty amazing that single 5-of-6 conso was sold Saturday (at River Downs), making it a day when Nobody Picked Six, Somebody Picked Five, and Nobody Picked Four.

How tough was Hudson Heights? On the positive side, the son of Champali was stepping up off a pair of career-best efforts, but those were against $4k maiden-claimers at FInger Lakes and he was making his first start against winners, albeit of the $15k N2L variety. He jumped up 7 points (2 1/2 lengths at 6 furlongs on the Beyer scale) to win with a figure of 55:

Download HudsonHeights.

gocashbaby More than 1 year ago
Low Beyers or not, I would be curious to know if there has ever been another 99-1 (Actaully 110 1/2 -1) shot that has won stepping up off a WIN in it's last race. I have never in my 40 years betting races, thoroughbred or standardbred seen a 99-1 come in that had won it's most recent race.
Pat More than 1 year ago
Let's not forget that we wouldn't even be talking about this if Crazy Charlie doesn't spot the field 5 lengths.
peewee More than 1 year ago
I don't see a problem with carrying the p4 over to the next available one. Alot of p4s are available for 50 cent minimum and even for the $1 its reasonable to cover alot of combos efficiently. Its not a $2 min. like the p6 which takes more planning and alot more gelt. Those players of that track and p4s would be able to quickly put a play together wihout the skullbusting of the p6 play.Additionally, it would support regulars of that track instead of others just hearing about the carryover and jumping in.
hammer More than 1 year ago
Nice photo of the money dump truck. Have him make a delivery to my house
Arcstats More than 1 year ago
Bill_Corrigan, you are absolutely spot-on when it comes the delivering the racing product to the public. We now live in an age where you can watch sporting events on your phone, but racing cannot provide their entire product (or what's left of it) to the masses through all the national cable and satilite systems. This makes no sense as the handle continues to drop. No one seems to understand that people no longer go to the track. I've been retired for over 3 years and have an extensive Directv system in my home. But with only TVG for race coverage, I'm a frustrated non-betting horseplayer that's become a full-time sports bettor.
Stephen Taylor More than 1 year ago
Steve- Both Chicago tracks carry the pick 4s early to early and late to late so that handle can be attracted for the next day, and they do carry over more often than you might think.
Jonny More than 1 year ago
Does anyone knwo if the Magna Pick 5 will return in 2010. Last year it started in the last week of Janaury. Thanks
Bill Corrigan More than 1 year ago
Steve - I was watching the races and playing online Saturday and saw the Hudson Heights win. It was just another example of how BAD the racing is in the northeast during this time of the year. For most of the card Saturday, you could have just picked names out of hats and done as well as anyone who did actual handicapping. By the way, I would like to start playing Gulfstream now because the racing quality is much higher there at this time of the year. Alas, the only TV channel I can get on Comcast (and DISH is not available to me) is TVG and therefore can't watch the Gulfstream races. Since I'd rather watch racing on my 70 inch TV than my 14 inch laptop, I will end up skipping most of the Gulfstream meet. This industry is just SO frustrating that each of the fiefdoms keeps protecting their deck chair while the Titanic is going down. Do you think we'll ever see a national body to normalize the sport? As an owner, I am fed up and have been divesting my horse racing investments. I believe that if we don't see some sort of national governing body, then the sport will be completely dead within the next couple of decades.
KenfromRI More than 1 year ago
Steve, A friend of mine pointed out that the double at Gulfstream on Sunday (race 7 and race 8(quality road)) paid only 7.80 when the horse in the first leg paid 7.60 to win. Is there any requirement that the double pay more than each individual leg or is it entirely up to the double betting pool making it possible for the double to pay less than one of the individual legs. Thanks for your response in advance. [Ken: No requirement that a double pays more. And since the takeout's higher on a double than a win bet, a double involving a 1-10 or 1-20 shot could actually figure to pay less.]
Stefan More than 1 year ago
Steve, There would be plenty of time for handicapping and no confusion nor unfairness if tracks that offer two pick 4s a day assumed the convention of carrying the pool over to the next day's identical sequence (early-early or late-late). Granted that this will skew the next day's pools one way or another, but wouldn't the tracks prefer one smaller pool and one enormous pool to two average pools?