UPDATE: The Meadowlands has just been added to the Betting Exchange. When the article was originally posted, the Meadowlands was not.
Exchange Wagering is underway in New Jersey and is likely to kick into high gear this weekend with the opening of Monmouth Park. Being inquisitive, I took a spin on 'The Exchange' to see how it works. I only backed horses, leaving the 'lay' bets (betting against a horse) to those with bigger bankrolls.
So far, there is no harness racing available on the exchange. The Meadowlands is supposed to become part of the exchange except it is reportedly being held up due to a dispute over how wagers are being handled by bettors placing their wagers at the Meadowlands using their ADW accounts Both parties agree there is a need to solve this problem, the question is how. One has to wonder why Geofencing which is being used on the exchange can't be introduced to 4NJBets? This would seemingly solve the problem. One would hope some trotting tracks will be willing to be part of the exchange and come on line soon.
Prior to Monmouth's opening, the only major thoroughbred track available was Woodbine. While most of the tracks are accepting 'in-play' wagers, wagers being placed during the race, some tracks only allow wagering before the race begins. This can still be beneficial to the gambler as they can get fixed odds for their wager, often better than the price you can get at off-time (of course, the opposite is possible too) traditionally. Whether higher or lower than the final pari-mutuel odds, you are getting a price you are satisfied with and not getting your play pounded at the last minute.
One thing which is striking is if you check your account history and you have a winning wager, there is a separate line item showing the deduction for the rake. Ouch! Seeing the rake as a separate line item makes you see how bad the takeout can be. Reminds me of the good ol' days when you went to an OTB in New York and saw the track payoffs and then saw the prices OTB was paying. Still the rake is lower than the regular parimutuels.
It takes a little time to get used to how things are displayed, but the exchange is easy to use. Considering how often horses I select get pounded down, the exchange is a welcome option for win wagers. You still need to go through the regular parimutuel pools for anything other than win wagers.
Nothing worse than your sulky breaking into two as you come down the stretch. This is what happened Friday night at Northville Downs as Tim Driver took a spill in the 11th race as the sulky he was using shattered while driving Spec T. We assume (and hope) Driver didn't suffer any serious injuries.
Next time horseplayers see the program with Spec T racing, it may be a bit confusing as the horse was charted with broken equipment (correct) but finishing fourth and being disqualified and placed 8th (huh?). Anytime I have seen something like this happen in the past the horse has been charted with a DNF. If this is the charter's discretion, there needs to be a standard put in place how these incidents are charted.
If you are on Facebook, you may be aware of the ongoing debate regarding Standardbred Canada refusing to accept the name 'Only God Knows Why' for the foal of Sydney Weaver's broodmare Sydney Seelster. Sydney is a beloved individual within North American harness racing but this doesn't mean the same policies regarding horse names which apply to others shouldn't apply to her. Yet, her family is continuing to campaign for the name selected in Harnesslink's contest (which should have been checked first before being offered as a possible winner). The way this debate has been going on unabated, it is only a matter of time until Fox News starts covering it with the fervor of their annual 'Happy Holidays' vs. 'Merry Christmas' debate.
Some may say this is political correctness running amok. It may be easy to say this when it benefits you, but there may be a time when tossing PC is going to offend you. In this case, you may not be offended by a name with 'God' in it. Would you feel the same way if someone named a horse suggesting your favorite deity was dead? Better to be PC; it is safer.
I understand the Weavers' disappointment in having the name turned down, and realize there is some discretion used by the individual who reviews names at the breed registry but it is time to let this issue rest. If all the time spent debating this issue was spent debating serious issues which face harness racing, the sport would be in a much better position.
This is the end of this discussion as far as I am concerned.
For those who are not in the Elitlopp spirit yet, here is a short promotional video being shown locally.