05/14/2009 2:53PM

Light Menus at Pimlico

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The Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness cards at Pimlico Friday and Saturday comprise 26 races including 13 stakes, nine of them graded:


As an enthusiastic player of stakes-rich multirace bets on big-event days, I was salivating over these lineups  -- until I remembered that there is no pick-6 either day, and only two pick-4's on each 13-race card (races 4-7 and 9-12 Friday and races 5-8 and 9-12 Saturday.) Pimlico also does not offer pick-3's starting on the first race or in the same races that start pick-4's. 

By comparison, Churchill Downs ran a 12-race Oaks card and a 13-race Derby card and offered pick-6's both days, four pick-4's on each card, and rolling pick-3's starting with the 1st and regardless of what other multirace bets started on the same races.

These decisions may make sense for Pimlico's regular daily racing, where the additional pools might be small and cannibalize one another, but not on the only two days of the year that the track draws an enthusiastic national betting audience, which bet $71 million on last year's Preakness card.

It seems odd to continue the curtailed menu in a year where there is already concern over possible handle declines due to the national economy and to new restrictive alcohol rules that may cut into on-track attendance. Also, multirace bets are the fastest-growing category in American racetrack wagering, and the strongest year-over-year gains on Derby Day were in the pick-4 and pick-6. Yet instead of adding multirace bets to match the Derby and Oaks offerings, Pimlico's only additions to the betting menu this year are two Super High Fives (a Magna invention) to each card. SH5 betting on the Derby was off 25 percent from last year.

The first Saturday pick-4 is guaranteed at $250k (it handled $339k last year) and the one ending with the Preakness has a guaranteed pool of $1 million (that one handled $1.39 million last year.)

Daniel Fink More than 1 year ago
ray_flack: Don't Forget Gil stalked comfortable leader to first turn 4 wide, drifted farther out briefly when horse carried her farther, asked to get closer late on first turn when farther back than usual due to wideness, had jockey look to his right twice down backstretch with nobody there, was 5-6 wide around far turn to stretch, weakened to last top of stretch and wasn't pushed final furlong. Compare that to her rail trip last out, and two races back, her 2-3 wide stalk of quitting leader, where Gil inherited the lead on stretch turn and held off 2 stalker/closers who went very wide entering stretch. Her wide trip today was anticipated without great difficulty, and I'm surprised Andy Serling did not even mention it compared to her 2 previous trips.
rich_p More than 1 year ago
I guess we'll have more time to structure our $.50 Monmouth Pick 5 tickets for tomorrow. Speaking of big race day exotics, this new wager should really be fun on Haskell Day.
C More than 1 year ago
knight_sky, Rachel is up against it, but I don't buy into the female versus male argument you make. In general, I think sprints are more stressful than routes.
Keith Longey More than 1 year ago
Steven: Any chance on getting the BSE/BP Double will pays up in your ususl collumn form? I played cheaply today, three pick 3's and the late pick 4, all $12 wagers. Tried to homerun in the 3-4-5 pick 3, but alas, best was a 3rd-Win-Place. Did better on the 6-7-8, and collected 3 correct for the $12 effort. In the 9-10-11-12 Pick 4, had a Win-Place-Win-Win (just missing), and that made my last Pick 3 10-11-12 a Place-Win-Win loser. The fly in the ointment in the last two was the terrible race Dominguez rode on Julia Tuttle in the 10th, who wound up placing to the winner by a length after he held her down on the rail in 3rd position, got her blocked at the 8th Pole, swung her 6 wide, and the gallent filly did her best closing gamely, but short. I didn't see it, but other bloggers on Dan's Blog said he was seen to be abusing the filly by whipping her in the face. Nice guy, hunh? Luckily this jerk hasn't got a ride in the Preakness!
ray flack More than 1 year ago
HELP!! Can anyone tell me what happened to (8) Don't Forget Gil in the Black Eyed Susan? I had her on top in all of my bets and the place where I was watching took him off the screen about midway into the race. The DRF chart offers noting either. I suspect he got slammed by another horse.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Silver Lining: The lack of P3s at Pimlico tomorrow - had this been CD on May 2 - would have saved me from myself on Derby Day. Oh, heck. Let's try again (couldn't do any worse than on May 2nd!). Race Day Conditions: Overreaching; The Requiem; & Confusion. Contenders: Papa Clem, POTN, Luv Gov (Silda's Nemesis), Tone It Down Cover Your A. - Big Drama, Rachel (The $8-9M Newly Kept Woman) Pass-General Quarters (the 7th horse in a 7-horse exacta box?) Toss-MT Bird (Sorry, Mike), Fly Private, Take The Points Bet Against-Musket Man, Friesan Fire, Terrain (worst, at best) Churchill Downs Future Pool November 2009: "Where will the Preakness be held in 2010?" Entries: New York, Kentucky, New Jersey, Delaware, etc.
ponyman More than 1 year ago
Preakness---Papa Clem on top of filly.--ex box
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
Steve, please allow me to clarify. I am attempting, badly it seems, to point out the hypocrisy of the mainstream (not industry) press that covers racing once a year. Last year they universally condemned Eight Belles' connections in the most vitriolic manner for daring to run her in the Derby, to the point of almost driving the trainer out of the game. This year, those same folks, are playing up the battle of the sexes to sell newspapers. Hypocrites.
The Bird More than 1 year ago
Larry_T - When you mention the phrase "a sure thing" you immediately lose all credibility. Can't you trace your steps back to 11+ months ago when Big Brown finished last at 2/5. You can have 8/5 on on a filly trying the boys for the first time at a new distance, with a bad draw, new connections, short rest and plenty of other pace pressure. Sounds like a cinch to me!
Ed M. More than 1 year ago
@Mike: The $1M guarantee means that the pool for the wager is guaranteed to be at least $1M. Winnings are split amongst all those who have winning tickets (after take out, of course).