At least judging by the early returns it is…
We were curious so we conducted a very unofficial study.
We chose the three most recently completed racing days at Saratoga when the 20-Cent Empire 6 was in effect. The handle figures on those days, with rounding, was $209,000, 244,000 and 351,000, a total of $804,000.
By comparison, we looked at the final days of the traditional $2 Pick 6 at the same track. We didn’t consider factors such as field size, track condition and carryovers; just the amount of money wagered.
Capricious and arbitrary? Yes? A window into the future? You decide.
The final days of Saratoga’s $2 Pick 6 attracted daily handle of $133,000, 118,000 and 272,000, for a total of $523,000.
Whatever the measure, the difference certainly is significant.
Whales argue that fractional Pick 6’s take value out of payoffs. But it does add liquidity by keeping rank and file horseplayers in the game, taking moon shots without betting the ranch. Whales still have the Pick 5.
There are arguments on both sides, to be sure. But from what we see thus far, the combination of the naturally large New York betting pools and top-tier racing has proven popular with horseplayers.
So far, their dollars are doing all the talking.