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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Digging into the Minus Pool

Here is today's question.  Captaintreacherous is racing at Fictional Downs against a field of $10,000 claimers.  For some reason, Fictional Downs has not cancelled show wagering.  A bridge-jumper shows up at Freehold Raceway and bets $25,000 to show on the Captain and of course, the Captain wins.  As a result of the bet at Freehold and other tracks there is $250,000 wagered to show out of a pool of $252.000 of which $1,200 is best at Fictional Downs.  What happens?

a)  Fictional Downs kicks itself in the butt for not cancelling show wagering.
b)  Fictional Downs is on the hook big time..
c)  Freehold Raceway is kicking themselves in the butt for accepting show wagers
d)  Freehold Raceway is on the hook for the minus pool on wagers made at their track.
e)  Both a and b
f)  Both c and d
g) None of the above

Well, I don't know if Freehold Raceway would be kicking themselves in the butt for accepting show wagers but one thing is for sure; they'd be on the hook for the minus pool on wagers made at their track.  So give yourselves an 'A' if you picked answer D; a 'C' if you picked answer 'F'; a 'F' if you chose another answer.

I must confess, you never stop learning when you play the horses.  The genesis of this question came up when I saw that Dover Downs cancelled show wagering on all the Matron races this Sunday except for one of those races.  A friend believed the simulcast locations were on the hook for minus pools but he decided to double check.  After talking to a friend working at a track, he was told the reason why many tracks cancel show wagering is they don't want their simulcast partners to be on the hook for any large minus pools; it's a way to keep those tracks happy and taking their signal.  At another track, the state doesn't allow them to cancel show wagering so they must offer the wager even if there is a short field and a heavy favorite racing; they know odds are their receiving tracks are at risk for taking a hit but they can't do anything about it.. 

So why are simulcast locations on the hook?  They are the ones taking the wagers.  Each simulcast site has the ability to close a pool.  When you think a simulcast location may pay only 3% to the track where the race is contested, the simulcast location can better afford to absorb the loss than actual track. 


Anonymous said...


Very informative. Learned something new today.

Rather than ban show betting on a horse that stands out over the field, I'd rather have a track take the horse out of all the betting pools. Let it run for purse only.

I'm sure some people want the opportunity to bet a big name horse even if the return is $2.10 or $2,20, but the payoffs would be better without Captaintreacherous types.

JLB said...

I think all show betting should be eliminated, all the time. It typically is a small fraction of the total wagered, and, as noted in the article, mostly exists to cause problems when the prospect of a minus pool looms.