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What’s Going On Here?

The following is an e-mail written by original Players Panel member Cary Fotias To Daily Racing Form publisher Steven Crist, a.k.a. the Pick 6 king to his friends, regarding that wager on Friday July 8 at Belmont Park.

The note will explain what happened in this scenario and we will endeavor to get a better answer from officials as soon as we can. I was at a loss to explain what happened; probably you will be, too--
John Pricci, executive editor

Belmont P6 - July 08

Hey Steve –

Hope the windows are treating you well.

I am down from four packs to two packs a day thanks to the electronic cigarettes from Green Smoke – still at 10 cups of coffee per day, however. Handicapping takes a lot of drugs.

I was a bit perplexed by today’s Pick-6 payoff at Belmont Park. I know the new rule went into effect quite a few years ago, but as NYRA will not let me copy and paste from its website, I found it somewhere else and pasted below.

(The New York Racing Association last year adopted what ought to be a universal rule governing such situations. When a race is taken off the turf after betting has closed in a pick four or pick six, that race is treated as no contest for the purpose of these wagers. Every horse in the field is considered a winner. Under the NYRA rules, anyone who picked the first three winners in Gulfstream's pick four would have cashed a winning ticket).

"This is a fairness issue," said Bill Nader, chief operation officer of NYRA. "When a race comes off the turf, the whole complexion of the race changes. It's a different event. We did this to protect bettors and for the sake of integrity.

Mr. Durkin announced that races eight and nine were OFF THE TURF around 10 MTP before the fourth race (first leg).

I always wait when the threat of rain is in the air, as I prepare different plays for when any race(s) are taken off the turf. When Durkin announced 8 and 9 were off, I was ready. I called in an alternate ticket of $864, singling Poppy Day in the finale off an Equiform pattern. Had I known the last two races were going to be treated as “Alls”, I probably wouldn’t have even played. I went All (6x4x4) in the first three legs hoping to beat Pletcher in the baby race. Of course that Pick-3 came back a whopping $16.80. After that, it was $5.70, $4.30 (second choice), and $13.80. I thought the Pick -6 would pay in the $600 -$800 range. Instead, I had a boatload of P-5s, paying $7.60.

How could this be? The races were taken off the turf well before the P6 pool closed. I was even more bewildered when Durk announced a carryover of $30,000. Does everyone get an “all” if just one race comes
off? two races or more? It certainly isn’t clear and I can find nothing on NYRA’s website or by googling NYSRWB etc that explains all the possible scenarios.

Imagine if there was a $1,000,000 carryover and Durk announces 10 MTP before the first leg that the last two races are off the turf. Three million has already been bet into the pool. Based on Friday’s protocol, three quarters of the newly wagered money (after take) would AUTOMATICALLY go to another carryover. How would like that if you nailed four $20 horses in the first four legs? Better yet, how would like it if you bet $20,000 into the pool, only to see 55% (75% of 74%) of it AUTOMATICALLY carryover with no chance to collect a major score.

Something is not kosher here. I understand the intent of the rule is to protect bettors who put their plays in early and have no chance to alter their selections. However, it is patently unfair to bettors (large and small) who have the wherewithal to react to changing circumstances.

In any event, I think all of the possible scenarios need to be addressed and clearly explained on the NYRA site. What’s on its site now states that you get an “All” if a race is taken off the turf after betting closes, but makes no mention of the AUTOMATIC CARRYOVER. But betting was not closed for the Pick-6 when the announcement was made on Friday. I know somewhere out there is rule 2468 (a) 3.4 subsection (4)b that clarifies all this, but I’d sure like to see it.

How about this for an idea? All Pick-6 bets are refunded if any races are taken off the turf before or after P6 betting closes. There is a time stamp, before which all P6 bets are refunded. If you bet two hours ahead of time, you get your money refunded and can choose to re-bet with race(s) now off the turf. This way, the egregious “automatic carryover” becomes moot. We aren’t playing the P6 to hit at best an “automatic conso”. If a change of surface is announced before P-6 betting closes, the track should give sufficient time (15 minutes or so) for players to re-bet. Fifteen minutes every now and then would save a lot of aggravation for all (pun intended).

This seems a reasonable solution to me, which means it will probably never see the light of day. Hell, we can’t event get the tote to recycle every 15 seconds (not that it matters much anymore with the dearth of liquidity in the pools). At any rate, I would appreciate your comments regarding the current “rules” and what might be done to improve them.. For now, I’d just like to see the statute or whatever that applies.

This all reminds of a day about twenty years ago when I back-wheeled a horse named Jazz City in the double. There was a big chalk in the opener (he won, of course, paying $4.00). But still, the double to Jazz City was paying $74. About fifteen minutes until the second race, Durkin announced that they were experiencing tote difficulties (the board was blank) which they hoped to resolve in a few minutes.

Mind you, the first race had been paid out and the double probables posted. At about 8 MTP, Durk said to continue to bet as the problem should be resolved soon. Well, ay about 3 MTP, The Durk said that because of the tote malfunction, the second race would be run for purse money only, and that all (there’s that word again) win, place, show, exacta, quinella and trifecta wagers on the second race would be refunded (no mention of the double).

Well, Jazz City won for fun at 15/1. I had a $20 double and lined up to collect. But wait, the double was paying $3.80 according to the screen. Was there a late scratch and that was the conso? Oh No! Somehow, it was decided that due to the tote malfunction, the double would be paid off to all horses in the second race.

This made no f****** sense to me and I stormed into the racing office demanding an explanation. Didn’t these morons comprehend that if they paid off on the first race, they had to pay off on the listed double prices as those odds were already set before the tote malfunction. I was really steamed, and
some guy pulled out a little blue book that had all the rules and regulations of the Wagering Board. I asked him to show me the rule that covered this particular situation.

After 15 minutes of fumbling through his little blue book, he told me he could find no specific paragraph that dealt with my situation. There were rules concerning acts of God, rules for when the tractor couldn’t move the gate after the start of a two-turn race, rules for computing show payoffs when there were dead heats for third, and so on and so on. But, nothing about my immediate predicament.

Finally, at a loss, the racing official turned to a subsection of a subsection that stated, “anything not covered in these rules is subject to the discretion of the management” or some such disclaimer. I stared at the guy and asked him again how could they pay out on the first race and not pay out on the double, as both pools were set in stone after the first race was made official.

Exasperated, he handed me the little blue rule book with a hint of compassion. He said I could have it and told me that maybe I could find something in it to help my case.

I never did.

Well, time to beat Gomez at even money in the 7th at Hollywood.

Best Wishes


Follow-Up from the New York Racing Association

ELMONT, N.Y. – The following is a statement from The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) regarding the $34,680 carryover resulting from the Pick 6 pool, comprising races four through nine, at Belmont Park on Friday, July 8:

Immediately following the running of race three, races eight and nine were switched from the turf to the dirt. However, this information did not reach the mutuels department until wagering had closed on race four, the first leg of the Pick 6. This resulted in races eight and nine being ruled as “all wins” for the purposes of the Pick 6, and necessitated a carryover of the wager, per New York State Racing and Wagering Board Rule 4011.23 (copied below). NYRA is conducting an official investigation into the communications failure, and upon completion of the investigation will take appropriate steps to avoid a similar occurrence in the future.

New York State Racing and Wagering Board Rule 4011.23. Pick-six pools

(b) Winners and carry-overs. In general, after deductions for cancellations, refunds and statutory takeout, 75 percent of the resulting pick-six net pool for the day shall be distributed, less breaks, to the holders of tickets selecting the winners of all six designated races in the pool, or to the holders of the tickets selecting five winners out of six and have no more than on "all win" event, and no other races are cancelled or declared "all win" in the pick-six sequences or races, and 25 percent of such net pool shall be distributed to the holders of the remaining tickets selecting the most winners. (Such takeout shall be established [at 36 percent, except that the New York Racing Association may elect to establish a 25 percent takeout before the first pool of a meeting is conducted.)] at a rate between the range of 15 percent to 36 percent inclusively. Such rate may not be changed more than once per calendar quarter to be effective on the first day of the calendar quarter.) Should there be no wager selecting winners of all six designated races, or five winners and no more than one "all win" 25 percent of the net pool shall be distributed less breaks to the holders of tickets selecting the winners of the most pick-six races and the 75 percent of the net pool reserved for holders of tickets selecting six winners, or five winners and no more than one “all win”, shall be carried over and added to and distributed with the 75-percent net pool share of the next subsequent pick-six pool in which a wager correctly selects the winners of all six designated pick-six races, or five winners and no more than one "all win." Carryovers from prior pick-six pools, advertised guaranteed amounts or advertised added amounts will be distributed to winners in such day’s pick-six pools, provided that there is no more than one "all win" event and no other races are cancelled or declared "all win" in the pick-six sequence.

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Do you have a take on the state of the game, a favorite race horse, trainer or jockey? Share your ideas. Show the racing industry and media the folly of their ways. The HRI Readers Blog: "When you lose it, Use it." Submit your blog to HRI Webmaster.

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