08/10/2011 1:55PM

Lower takeout on exotics likely for California


There is an increasing likelihood that takeout rates on some exotic bets will be lower at California tracks this fall, but executives with the racetracks and the Thoroughbred Owners of California have yet to finalize the details.

In late July, Santa Anita and Hollywood Park officials proposed lowering the takeout on exactas and quinellas from 22.68 percent to 21.68 and lowering the takeout on daily doubles from 22.68 percent to 15.43, the equivalent to current takeout rates for win, place and show bets.

Last week, the TOC countered with a proposal to lower takeouts on exactas, quinellas and daily doubles to 20.68 percent, or a return to the rates before Jan. 1 when legislation allowed a 2 to 3 percent increase in the takeout to better fund overnight purses.

Further discussions are scheduled, and changes are not likely to be enacted until the start of the Santa Anita autumn meeting on Sept. 30.

“We’re evaluating the proposal right now,” Santa Anita president George Haines said on Tuesday. “We’re willing to talk and look at different proposals.”

The TOC is the official representative of Thoroughbred horsemen in the state and negotiates purse levels with racetracks. TOC president Lou Raffetto said the significant reduction in the takeout for daily double bets is unlikely, but that a 2 percent drop in takeout for exactas, quinellas and daily doubles is possible. He called for both racetracks and horsemen to give up 1 percent of revenue to allow for the 2 percent reduction.

“The concern was the two-horse wagers were high and I agree with that,” Raffetto said last weekend. “My suggestion is let’s take it slow, go back to where it used to be, and we’ll see what it does to the wagers. This is the thing that makes the most sense. It gives the players what they have been looking for.”

Although Santa Anita’s application for its autumn meeting will be heard by the California Horse Racing Board at its monthly meeting on Aug. 25, Haines said that discussions on takeout can be held past that date. The track and the TOC have already reached a horsemen’s agreement, which primarily details purse levels for the season, he said.

“This portion of our agreement wouldn’t have anything to do with what we’ve submitted to the CHRB,” he said. “In a perfect world, we’d submit it along with it. If we come to an agreement, then we could submit it at a later date and have it in effect for the Santa Anita autumn meeting.”