Let’s face it; it appears the time for the $2 Pick Six has come and gone.
Early this week, we took at brief look at the NYRA’s newly instituted Empire 6 based on the same principles as Gulfstream Park’s highly successful Rainbow Six. The New York pool figures were very solid and encouraging.
By comparison, Del Mar’s numbers were depressing.
With a mandatory Jackpot Payout scheduled for today, Pacific Classic day, it was anticipated that a seven-figure handle day was a possibility. Maybe; maybe not. Not by the numbers we saw this week, anyway.
Yesterday, one on-track bettor invested nearly $1,700 and scooped up a lone ticket worth $85,000 [all figures rounded]. (The amount of the Jackpot Carryover being chased did not appear in the today’s Equibase chart).
We looked at the Jackpot numbers for each of the last three days at both tracks and this is what we found below. And tell me, what do you math whizzes out there make of the following?
At Del Mar, pool figures for the last three days were $60,000, $77,000 and $106,000 yesterday, yielding the $85,000 payoff.
By comparison at Saratoga, after $209,000 was bet Wednesday and, with no perfect ticket, $254,000 went into the Jackpot pool. The next day’s $196,000 left a hangover of $293,000. Friday’s pool reached $264,000, leaving $346,000 in today’s Jackpot.
Many things affect handle, of course: the amount in the jackpot carryover; field size; track condition; type of races and Del Mar’s late post time for East Coast bettors must be a factor as well.
Del Mar and Saratoga are both considered boutique meets, but the reality is that it’s an apples to oranges comparison. Screw perceptions of East Coast bias: For a sustained race meet, Saratoga remains America’s strongest racetrack brand.
As an aside not meant for comparison to Pick Six Jackpot pools: Today’s universally promoted Cross Country 50-Cent All-Graded-Stakes Pick 5 begins with Saratoga’s G2 Lake Placid at 5:26 pm EDT, and concludes with the Pacific Classic with a scheduled post of 9:43 pm Eastern.
And by the way, many of those California races could not be more wide open, makin for an extremely difficult sequence. Whales probably are licking their incisors, but I know of at least one minnow who won’t be swimming in the pond with the big fish.
The Jackpot results above have little meaning in the long term, but early trends are interesting and could not be clearer: Giving rank and file bettors the possibility of out-handicapping the big boys and scoring out, is good for business and fan friendlier; it’s just that simple.
What appears in the offing is that the Empire 6 will continue to grow in popularity and it would be no surprise if Del Mar decides to adjust its betting menu for 2020. Change can be a good thing.
Hey, do you think that Churchill Downs Inc. will look at this little comparison and rethink their $1 superfecta policy on Oaks and Derby day?
Neither do I.
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