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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Forty Minute Experiment and More

It was announced by the Meadowlands that their Kentucky Derby day card will feature a 40 minute Pick-4 kicking off with the first race at 5:30.  A better description for the wager would be the 40 Minute Experiment.  Many people complain it takes too long for the races to go off.  Well, if you are one of those people, it is up to you to support the effort by not only playing the Pick-4, but by wagering into other pools.  Failure to support these races may very well kill off 'fast' races for quite a while.

Of course, to get four races off in forty minutes would be quite an effort so to aid their quest, the Meadowlands will be bringing in two races from its sister track Tioga Downs for the assist.  The Pick-4 sequence will alternate between the two tracks with the first and third legs (races 1 and 2) coming from the Meadowlands while the second and fourth legs (races 2 and 3) will be simulcast from Tioga with the Meadowlands having their own pools separate from Tioga Downs, giving fans a chance to shop for odds.

Besides seeing if there truly is a demand for speeding up the races, one has to wonder if management will be gauging the interest in Tioga Downs' races.  With the Meadowlands having a hard time filling their races, it is conceivable at some point the Meadowlands may attempt to import races from Tioga and/or Vernon Downs to fill their shortened cards.  This could be a win/win proposition.  The Meadowlands solves their horse shortage while the horsemen at Tioga Downs earns a percentage for their purse accounts from the wagering which takes place on their races at the Meadowlands.

One may ask, if racing is trying to improve the on-track experience, how would simulcasting races on the card impact the 'boredom' many fans complain of?  If the Meadowlands is able to speed up things so four races take place in 40 minutes, the time between a race becoming official and the next race going off on-track at the Meadowlands would be no longer than it currently is.  For bettors at home, it would be action every ten minutes making the signal more popular.

If successful on Derby day, the 40 minute Pick-4 may be the birth of something different for harness racing.

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