The Meadows 50/50 contest has the potential to be a winning wager. Basically it is a modified Pick 5 with half the money wagered after the takeout going into a consolation pool and the other half goes into the jackpot pool. To win the 50/50 grand prize, you need to be the only person to hit the winning combination. If more than one person picks all five winners, they share in the consolation pool. If a bettor is lucky enough to select all five horses on their own, then they collect the jackpot pool and the tickets with the next highest number of winners share in the consolation pool.
Each wager is $.50 but due to PA racing rules, the minimum wager allowed per ticket is $2 so a gambler would need to play at least four combinations. The wager debuts on Monday, March 5 with a $5,000 guranteed pool, at which point the Pick 3 wager will be discontinued. I predict this wager will be a success as there should be some good jackpots to try to bring down. I know I will be looking at it as the pools get bigger.
I must confess, I wonder why the Pick 3 seems to never have taken off. I personally find it to be one of the best value bets out there. If you wager on the Pick 3 and manage to get just one mid-priced to longshot on your ticket, you get a decent return. Maybe you won't get jackpot size pay offs with the Pick 3, but you have a chance to get a good return without having to invest a lot to cash in. Rather than eliminate the Pick 3 completely, I rather see tracks add the Pick 3 for the last three races on the card, even if it replaces the late Daily Double.
An Ominous Sign? Earlier this week, it was announced the Nadia Lobell was being cancelled this year due to lack of nominations. The Nadia Lobell is actually a Red Mile event which last year was contested at The Meadows and was supposed to be raced at the Meadowlands with an estimated $200,000 purse so this was not going to be a chump change race. Also on Thursday night, the Syrinx Hanover late closing event only had one division, which is probably connected with the upcoming opening of Chester Downs and the opening of Freehold Raceway. It appears the drain of racing stock at the Meadowlands has begun and we will start seeing if the Meadowlands is able to retain sufficient horses to have a quality meet the rest of the way this year.