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Monday, July 5, 2010

Lessons From the Metro Six Shooter

The Metro Six Shooter is no more. The decision has been made to pull the plug on the wager since it has not been able to draw significant interest. The problem with the Six Shooter is it was being hit every week; so no carryover situation was occurring. The key to making exotic wagers like the Pick-6 work is the ability to generate large carryover pools which encourages higher levels of wagering.

So the question needs to be asked, what wager would be able to generate a vast amount of wagering interest? Would the long sought after V75 be successful where the Metro Six Shooter failed? Sadly, without changing the racing product being offered, it too would be doomed to failure. Without racing consistently twelve horses or more in races of various, longer distances, North American harness racing is too predictable to consistently have carryovers (a typical V75 race in Sweden has anywhere between 12 to 15 starters). For us to allow more than eight (or ten) horses in a race, horsemen would have to agree to the use of a second tier on a consistent basis without having to offer massive purse supplements to induce trainers to enter their charges. With the use of a second tier, races would have to become longer in order to give all horses in a race a better chance of winning.

Unfortunately, these are changes horsemen seem to be unwilling to accept. Hence harness racing will be unable to offer that sweepstakes-type wager it so desperately needs in order to gain attention and handle. But then, why should horsemen agree to such changes? As long as slot money is available, horsemen have all the money they need to race for and there lies the problem. This artificial flow of cash is destined to disappear, sooner than many people want to think. By the time this alternative source of funding disappears, it will be too late to develop a wager to get the attention of the gaming public. The key is to make the changes necessary to become relevant now while you have the cushion of alternative income. The sooner horsemen realize this, the better off the industry will be.

Enough Talk put in a monster performance this past Saturday night at the Meadowlands in winning the Titan Cup in 1:52 to defeat Lucky Jim.  Enough Talk had every excuse to spit out the bit at the top of the stretch after being parked out a good part of the race but he kept on coming to overtake Lucky Jim in the deep stretch.  This may very well be the summer of Enough Talk; not that he will win every week but he wil be heard from often.

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