04/18/2013 4:37PM

Emerald Downs: 123 wager designed to appeal to casual fans


AUBURN, Wash. – There’s a new option on the wagering menu at Emerald Downs this year. It’s called the 123, and it might take some time for players to get used to it.

In a nutshell, it’s a modified pick six in which the better selects one horse in each of the final six races on the card and then accumulates points based on the horses’ across-the-board payoffs. The $2 ticket stays “live” for all six races in the sequence, and when all is said and done, the ticketholder with the most points collects 60 percent of the pool.

If, for example, a bettor’s designated horse in the first leg wins and pays $9.80, $5.20, and $3.20 across the board, the bettor accumulates 18.20 points.

In addition to the winner’s take of 60 percent, the runner-up gets 30 percent of the net pool, and the third-place finisher takes home 10 percent. The takeout, as with all exotic wagers at Emerald Downs, is 22.1 percent. Changes are not allowed once the ticket is purchased; if a horse subsequently scratches, the player gets the wagering favorite, just as with other multiple-race wagers at Emerald.

The 123 will be available at the racetrack only – no online wagering – and the leader board will be constantly updated and available for viewing on the toteboard and on TV monitors throughout the grandstand. A free online version of the 123 is available on the track’s website at emerald123.com.

Parx Racing near Philadelphia currently offers the 123, but participation there has been almost nonexistent. Over its four most recent racing dates, the total 123 net pool never exceeded $65, and the largest payout for a winning ticket was $28.60. So there apparently are no “scores” to be made playing the 123, though as Emerald Downs’ director of marketing, Sophia McKee, explained this week, that’s not really the point. The 123 initiative is more about encouraging participation by casual fans, while the free online game encourages interaction and community building through social media.

With a 10-race card on tap for Saturday, the second day of Emerald’s new meeting, the 123 will span races 5 through 10. A player looking for value might consider a ticket that includes longshot Ima Royal Prince in the fifth, the speedy Kinzie’s King in the sixth, Popular Pick in the seventh, River of Aces in the eighth, Polish Dollar in the ninth, and likely favorite Hollywood Holly in the nightcap.