01/07/2011 4:52PM

Santa Anita does listen


Del Mar did it. Hollywood Park did it. Fairplex Park did it.

The minimum wager for the pick four was lowered to 50 cents last year at most major racetracks in Southern California.

The reduced minimum made the bet affordable for smaller players, and lowered the potential tax liability for the occasional “big score.”

California bettors liked it.

But when the winter meet began Dec. 26, fans accustomed to 50-cent increments were surprised to learn Santa Anita kept its pick four wager at a $1 minimum.

“We had talked about (lowering it) earlier, but it kind of fell off the radar,” track president George Haines said.

In phone calls and emails, bettors let Santa Anita know they preferred a pick four minimum in line with other Southern California tracks.

 “We had numerous requests for a 50-cent pick four, so we decided to implement it,” Haines said.

It starts this weekend.

Both pick fours (first four races, last four races) at Santa Anita will be a 50-cent wager beginning Saturday.

Santa Anita did it. They listened.