09/22/2008 11:00PM

Super High Five carryover gets a twist


The parent company of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and Calder Race Course in Florida will begin to apply any carryovers from the Super High Five wager during Churchill's upcoming fall meet to the next scheduled Super High Five at either Churchill or Calder, officials of the parent company, Churchill Downs Inc., said on Monday.

It marks the first time a carryover will be transferred from one track to another.

The Super High Five is a super-exotic wager that Churchill first implemented at last year's spring meet in which a bettor must select the first five finishers in order in a race. Beginning with the opening of Churchill's meet on Oct. 26, Calder will offer a Super High Five in the middle of its card, while Churchill will offer a Super High Five late in its card. If no one hits the Calder wager, then the carryover there will be applied to the Churchill wager. If no one correctly picks the Churchill wager, the two-bet carryover will then be applied to the next Super High Five.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved Churchill's plans to offer the wager and transfer the carryover at a meeting on Monday. Florida regulators had already approved the plans.

The two tracks have different takeout rates for super-exotic bets. In Calder's case, the takeout for the Super High Five will be 27 percent, whereas at Churchill, the takeout will be 19opercent. Regardless of where the bet is offered, if no one hits the wager, 75 percent of the pool is carried over, while 25 percent is paid as a consolation.

Churchill officials hope that the strategy will increase the interest among bettors in the racing cards at its separate tracks, leading to higher handle. In addition, because carryovers attract the most money in racing, Churchill is also creating the opportunity to derive a higher share of the daily wagering handle by doubling the potential for carryovers at its properties each day.

The strategy has some complications, however, for bettors accustomed to handicapping at one of the tracks but not the other. Some bettors may be put off by the idea that a carryover at the familiar track will next be offered at an unfamiliar track.