06/30/2017 12:10PM

NYRA to add late pick five

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The New York Racing Association on Tuesday will add a late pick five to its betting menu that will be limited to New York customers and users of its account-wagering operation, with a potential bonus for those account-wagering customers, the association announced on Friday.

The new bet will have some of the same particulars as the early pick five on NYRA’s cards – a 50-cent base wager and a 15 percent takeout – but it will only be offered at New York betting sites and to customers who have an account with NYRA Bets. In addition, customers of NYRA Bets who use their accounts to place the bet, either remotely or with their players’ card ontrack, will receive a minimum $100,000 payout if there is a single winning ticket.

Tony Allevato, president of NYRA Bets, said the association decided to limit the reach of the bet in order to “differentiate” its account-wagering platform from its competitors in the hopes of driving business to the operation through the wager. NYRA Bets expanded to states outside of New York in 2016, long after the launch of other national account-wagering sites.

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“We’re obviously a late entrant to the national market,” Allevato said. “We don’t feel as if we are keeping anything from anyone. We feel like we’re giving our customers something they want, something they have been saying they want. If you look at the [account-wagering] space and at other businesses outside of racing, it’s common to offer your own customers something more.”

Many sophisticated horseplayers gravitate to bets with large pools in the hopes of winning a large payout. In the case of the new bet, pool sizes may be significantly smaller than NYRA’s early pick five, given the limited availability of the bet. The last four pick-five pools at NYRA’s Belmont Park, on cards run on a Wednesday, a Friday, a Saturday, and a Sunday, ranged from $272,000 to $403,000, according to charts.

Allevato acknowledged that the restrictions on the new bet may lead to smaller pools, but he said the minimum guaranteed payout was put in place to provide incentives for players to wager on the bet. “With fewer people in the pool, you have a better chance of being the single winner,” Allevato said.

The bet will be offered on every NYRA card throughout July, NYRA said, linking the last five races on the card. Typically, linked bets offered later on the card draw much higher handles than linked bets early in the card. The bet will be evaluated at the end of the month, Allevato said.

NYRA’s high-profile Saratoga meet begins Friday, July 21.

“We’re not digging our heels into the ground,” Allevato said. “We’ll take a look at it and see if it’s working.”