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Breeders' Cup: Wagering on Friday card down five percent
By Matt Hegarty
Total commingled handle for the 10 races at Santa Anita on Friday, including six Breeders' Cup races, was down 5 percent compared with the Friday card at Churchill Downs last year, according to figures released by Breeders' Cup.
The decline, from $50.05 million last year to $47.58 million this year, was the second consecutive drop in handle for the Friday card, which was added when Breeders' Cup expanded to 11 races in 2007. Since then, the number of Breeders' Cup races has increased to 15, with six on Friday and nine on Saturday.
The decline was likely due to a confluence of factors, including several short fields in the six Breeders' Cup races and the problems facing residents of the Northeast seaboard, which remains reeling from electrical outages, transportation problems, and gas shortages brought on by the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy earlier this week.
In the six Breeders' Cup races on Friday this year, 59 horses competed, including the five horses that contested the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint, the smallest field that has ever competed in a Breeders' Cup race. Last year, 69 horses competed in the six Breeders' Cup races on Friday.
Given those factors, Breeders' Cup officials said they were pleased with the overall result. Officials said prior to the event that they expected handle to decline based on the effects of Hurricane Sandy alone.
"Considering the effects of Hurricane Sandy and difficult circumstances for much of the East Coast, to be within 5 percent of last year's total handle is a success," said Ken Krichner, Breeders' Cup's senior wagering consultant.
Attendance at Santa Anita Park also declined compared with the last time the event was held at the Southern California track, in 2009. The Friday attendance this year was 34,619, compared with 37,651 in 2009. Attendance at Santa Anita in 2008 for the Friday Breeders' Cup card was 31,257.
Total handle on the pick six, which was hit by one ticketholder, was $1.45 million, compared with $1.46 million last year. The winning ticket paid $773,865.20. Only two tickets were live going into the last leg, the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic.
Many New Yorkers I spoke to said their tired of NY getting ignored and said they were going to ignore the Breeders Cup Betting this year and see what happens .
All of these comments are the reason why horse racing is in decline. Everyone on here is saying how terrible horse racing is. Horse players are self loathing and that stops others from joining. I focus on the positives and tell others how exciting and fun the game is. So the Juvenile Sprint sucked. Maybe over time it will get better. And I enjoyed the marathon.
I wonder if the lasix ban in the juvenile races was one of the causes, hmm.
I am not the least bit surprised that the wagering handle was down for yesterdays BC card...Arguably it was one of the worst BC cards in history and, as is becoming commonplace, another disappointing example of the BC when it is run at Santa Anita Park! The expansion of the BC into a 15 race, two day extravaganza was met with much anticipation and fanfare a few years back but unfortunately the experiment has to be viewed with mixed success up to this point in time. The result is a decline in handle as the racing has become less formful and less attractive from a wagering standpoint. Since Americans have a way of eventually taking the fun out of everything, perhaps some advice might be in order to help try and save the BC from its own hubris and ultimately a permanent decline in interest if the quality of racing continues to decline as it has over the last 5 years. 1) Drop the dirt marathon from the schedule altogether. N. American horses can't run a mile and three quarters. Everyone who follows American racing knows that and it is nothing but an embarrassment and a crude attempt to appease the Europeans, whose horses can't run on dirt. 2) Drop the juvenile sprint race, with yesterday's running being a perfect example of why; i.e. a short field which ultimately became even shorter after two key race day scratches; race ends up being won by a maiden. And not just any maiden, but a bridesmaid who had started no less than eight times since the end of May, under the "esteemed" tutelage of a washed up, has-been trainer who was known for many years as a "butcher" of 2 year old horse flesh! 3) Seriously reconsider the policy of the BC site selection committee which, for some inexplicable reason, seems to feel that it is necessary to run the BC in Southern California 50% of the time! By the time the BC is run at Santa Anita in 2013 it will have been run in California in four of the last six years and five out of the last 11 years. Those of us who have followed BC racing since its inception know full well that the most memorable BC events have, for the most part, been held at venues far, far away from the the worn out SoCal racing circuit! 4) Whatever schedule of BC races ends up becoming permanent, it is imperative that the practice of running all of the races for females on one day be discontinued. As anyone who has followed the event over the years is aware, the races restricted to fillies and mares have historically had a tendency to the shortest fields with the most obvious short-priced winners and therefore the least amount of appeal to the wagering public. By interspersing those races with the much more exciting and lucrative open events, the negative impact of the races restricted to female horses can be mitigated to some extent. 5) Somehow the BC and the various TV interests need to come together and reach an agreement which allows networks such as TVG and HRTV to cover the event live, every year at every venue where the BC is run. NOT allowing these specialized television networks to cover the BC is a ridiculous display of greed and self-interest which proves beyond any doubt that the BC officialdom doesn't really care about the interests of the wagering public any more so that the racing industry has historically.
The situation here in the north east is horrendous, more than anyone of us could imagine. I am sure people who had planned to go to SA for the Breeders Cup had to cancel or had their flights cancelled. I read that even the jockeys, trainers and horses had trouble getting to SA. The timing of this storm was the worst it could have been. As for wagering by computer, many people have no power so that is not an option. Those with power, many of those still have no cable TV and internet. Gas shortages make getting to an OTB parlor next to impossible. Even some folks have limited phone service. Cell towers in power outage areas use backup but the backup now is running low. In areas far enough away from storm surge, there are no gas supplies. I live 70 miles north of NYC and we have gas stations but without gas. Long lines etc Just surviving is a major task so betting on Breeders' Cup is not high on our list. I do hope that people who can get to Santa Anita today do so. Let's all patronize our sport whenever we can. Sure we have differences about how the sport should be but let's just support our horses. The pay out yesterday seemed to be pretty good even among favorites. Royal Delta and My Miss A exacta paid $30.30. That is not bad as I have seen some exacta payouts pay $5 or $7 dollars on a two dollar wager ticket. Beholder (a no brainer wager) paid $9.80. Again not bad for favs. Meanwhile, please remember and pray for the North East US. Might be another Nor east winter storm headed our way Tuesday to Wednesday. This one could be snow, ice, wind etc
I pretty much stopped betting on US racing because of computer betting bots. How can I wager when I don't have a clue as to what price I am getting? If I bet a horse at 9/2 with 2 minutes to go and he ends up at 2/1, I don't want the bet. Massive fluctuation in odds were a rare sight in the past, but it happens quite frequently nowadays, even at the big tracks. Short-sighted track executives only think of the slice they get from the turnover (which is minimal because these bots receive massive rebates), yet they don't see the unintended consequences. A simple solution would be to deny these bots access to the pools at 3 minutes to post.
This is the first BC I have sat out since its beginning. When your female division is the best you have to offer, someone has screwed the pooch! Royal Delta ran a big race against good competition. Today's field for the Classic is a sad commentary on the horsemen and what they have done to the best sport in the world!
This is FAR better than I expected. Based on everything that has happened because of Sandy, I was suspecting there would be a 30-40 percent decline in BC handle due to all of the problems in the northeast with many people either still without power or having just got power back, not to mention those who are dealing in some cases with serious and even catastrophic damage from Sandy's wrath and in other cases having to work many extra hours either to repair damage because of Sandy or in some case fill in for people with no way of being able to get into work due to lack of transportation (especially in parts of NYC). It has been a very trying week for many in the northeast, some of whom are displaced and may not recover for a very long time in some cases. That doesn't even factor in everyone who had to lay out for emergency supplies ahead of Sandy or evacuate and pay for hotels and other things related to the storm on top of those who lost pay from not being able to work. The fact the drop in handle for Friday was just five percent is remarkable given how much of the northeast is still dealing with the aftereffects of Sandy and will continue to be dealing with that for a long time, especially with all the disinterest in this Breeders' Cup due to the storm in the Northeast, not to meant lack of print editions of DRF, the DRF site being down for 2 1/2 days in the middle of BC week, etc.
An average horse player that usually comes to santa anita these days has no more than 100 bucks on him, sometimes less. The valet parking does not have more than 30-40 cars on weekends, food stalls are almost empty, one does not see big bettors like we used to see in the 70's 80's or 90's. The whole scene has changed and it will get worse for the racing industry who are aware of the factors that has caused the demise of this wonderful sport and business. On BC day general parking is $10, entrance $20, form $7, program almost $3, any sandwich $8, drink $4. It all adds up, after paying for gas etc one does not have more than 1/2 of what one started out with to begin with. Take out's are high except for the p4 and p5's. There is always 1 winning ticket in the P6's. There is no mention in the form or the local papers who won the P6, where it was bought, how it was played or how much the ticket was worth. This info was made public almost 20 years back but not anymore these days. Someone has a great " schtick " going in this business, I doubt it will be exposed similar to the BC P6 scandal of some years back. There is no way in the world that almost every day one person can hit the P6 regardless of the payoff. By the way this posting has to do with racing in southern california.
It should be down. There is less to offer this year for the fan and next to nothing to offer the newbies.
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