04/20/2011 3:58PM

Election Day

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The ballot box opens Thursday, when the least expensive wager in California makes its debut on opening day of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meet.

California raised the exotic-wager takeout rate by a 10- to 15-percent margin Jan. 1 (from 20.68 cents per dollar, to 22.68 and 23.68). The cost went up, demand went down. Winter handle plummeted.

This occurred in the face of an arrogant attitude by some.

“Takeout does not matter,” a horseman told me in January. “You gamblers will bet on anything.”

No, we won’t. Someone got the message.

Hollywood this spring will offer a low-takeout pick five that begins in the first race. The 14-percent takeout on the 50-cent bet is the lowest in the state.

It is refreshing when a racetrack takes a proactive measure that favors its customers.

It is up to horseplayers to respond.

Want to do send California racing a message? Vote with your bankroll Thursday.