08/19/2014 2:52PM

Another possible pool manipulation at ThistleDown


A bettor or group of bettors who have targeted races in Ohio to cash wagers at non-pari-mutuel bookmakers appear to have struck again on Sunday at ThistleDown Racetrack.

The responsible party made last-second pari-mutuel win wagers on every horse but the odds-on favorite in the fifth race that day at Thistledown, driving up the favorite’s price from 1-2 to 3-1. The favorite, Missjeanlouise, won, paying $8.20.

The strategy has been used in the past at ThistleDown, including a highly publicized case at the track in the summer of 2012. Betting experts have said that the group is using the tactic to boost the price of the favorite while making a large win bet on the same horse with a bookmaker or bookmakers that pay track odds.

In the latest case, the responsible party made five separate $4,000 bets on the five other horses in the race, for a total outlay of $20,000, boosting the win pool to $45,855. To make a profit on the race, the party would need the favorite to win and to bet at least $6,500 at a bookmaker that does not send its bets into the pari-mutuel pools.

The tactic is not illegal, but it is not without risk. If the favorite had lost, then the party would have likely cashed for an amount that was less than the total outlay for the race through the pari-mutuel pools and the bookmaker, by claiming the win payoff for a horse whose odds were driven down by the last-second bets. In addition, many bookmakers take a dim view of manipulating the odds on a race, if they do not have an outright rule nullifying any wager on a bet in which the odds appear to have been manipulated.