10/07/2009 11:00PM

Far Hills to offer mutuel betting on jump races


Bettors will be able to make win, place, show, exacta, and trifecta wagers on six steeplechase races at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 17 as part of an effort by the National Steeplechase Association to package 11 races into what it is calling the U.S. Steeplechase Championships, according to officials of the association.

The wagering menu was confirmed after the steeplechase group was able to reach an agreement with Woodbine Race Course in Ontario to host the betting pools for the six-race Far Hills lineup, which includes steeplechasing's most prestigious race, the Grade 1 Grand National. In addition to the Far Hill races, five other races forming the International Gold Cup at The Plains in Virginia will be broadcast live as part of the event during a five-hour telecast on NBC Universal Sports.

Takeout for win-place-show bets will be 16.8 percent. Takeout on exactas and one daily double linking the first two races will be 24.8 percent, and takeout on trifectas will be 27.8 percent.

Wagering will be limited to the Far Hill races because of a concern by the NSA about the familiarity of bettors with the types of races being offered on the Virginia card, which includes races over timber and a race called a steeplethon, according to Lou Raffetto, the chief executive officer of the NSA. This is the first year that the NSA has packaged the races together and offered bets on them.

"We're trying to be realistic," Raffetto said. "This is a new venture, and we don't want to spread ourselves too thin."