Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6: Thing of beauty or sucker bet?

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Some love it, some hate it, but a lot of people are talking about the Rainbow Pick 6, Gulfstream Park’s jackpot bet that is horse racing’s best answer to the life-changing payoffs we hear about so often in multi-state lotteries like Powerball or Mega Millions.

The jackpot pool is just short of $3 million for Monday’s Presidents Day holiday program, and even experienced horseplayers who think it’s a sucker bet are tempted to sink at least a small part of their bankroll into chasing the potential pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. 


Gulfstream Park’s president, Tim Ritvo, is loving every minute of it.

The bet is a unique stepchild of the traditional pick 6 in that it only pays out its carryover jackpot when there is one correct winning ticket identifying the winners of the day’s last six races at the South Florida track. Unless there is a single winning ticket that claims the entire pool, 60% of each new pick 6 pool is paid out daily to the players correctly picking six (or when no one picks six, five) winners. The other 40% goes into the jackpot, which carries over until there is one lone winner.

And that jackpot has grown, slowly at first, since it was last hit on Dec. 29, when a single ticket took down $327,110.

It took seven days to reach a $100,000 jackpot, five more to hit $250,000, five more to get to $500,000, then six to pass $1 million on Jan. 31. Seven more programs passed without an individual Rainbow 6 winner and the pool reached $2 million on Feb. 9. And now, going into the Feb. 18 Presidents Day, the Jackpot has reached $2,965,689.  

(UPDATE: the Rainbow 6 Jackpot grew to $3,107,159 for Thursday after $442,094 was wagered Monday. There were multiple tickets selecting all six winners, each paying $4,613.)

The beauty of the bet, according to Ritvo, is that it costs just a dime – unlike most pick 6 bets that require a $2 minimum. When the Rainbow 6 jackpot was hit by a single player for $791,364 last April, the cost of the winning ticket was $2.40. The winner picked four horses in one race, three in another, two in another and one horse in each of three races. 4x3x2x1x1x1=24. Divide 24 by 10 and you get 2.4 or $2.40.


The low minimum is the great equalizer, Ritvo said, because when a traditional pick 6 has a big carryover it is often brought down by a syndicate of bettors who pool their resources and try to cover all the logical outcomes of the six races with a huge ticket. But the Rainbow 6, in many ways, defies logic because, for there to be just one winner, especially as the pools grow, the outcome requires more luck than skill.

“A lot of our people love this bet,” Ritvo said. “In the $2 pick 6 the everyday customer would build the pot up and the syndicates would take it down. The syndicates can move in on the Rainbow 6, but we’re getting a lot of tickets worth about $300. The neat thing is the winner could be a grandma who plays a 10 cent ticket using her grandson’s birthday.”

The bet is modeled after a similar wager at Beulah Park that failed to catch on and Puerto Rico’s Poolpote, which has had several multi-million-dollar payouts.

It is confounding to a lot of handicappers and veteran horseplayers because, in many ways, only an illogical outcome can ultimately win. “You have to pick winners,” said Ritvo, “but you have to pick winners that nobody else will pick. It does kind of play with people’s minds.”

One of those people is the horseplayer and author, Andrew Beyer, who wrote recently about the Rainbow 6 in Daily Racing Form, calling it “an almost impossible challenge.”

Ritvo read the piece and the more than 150 reader comments that followed it.

“I look at the blogs and listen to people,” said Ritvo, who added that he is considering changing the format for next year as a result of some of the comments. “When we get to a $1-million carryover, maybe we’ll switch the distribution from 60/40 to paying out 90% every day (adding 10% to the jackpot).”

Critics of the bet have said the 40% carryover provision when there are multiple winners makes the daily takeout on the bet too high. Beyer and others have referred to it as a 52% takeout on daily pick 6 payouts. (If $100,000 is wagered and the current takeout is 20%, that means of the $80,000 remaining only $48,000 is paid out that day, with the other $32,000 put into the jackpot.) Technically it’s not a 52% takeout, because the $32,000 will be paid out eventually, but they do have a point.

Daily Rainbow 6 pools have averaged over $400,000 per day the last two weeks, and Ritvo said many of the players are playing for the consolation, which has averaged $15,472 since Feb. 1. During that period, the low payout was $294.30 on Feb. 14 and the high was $111,535.94 on Feb. 6.

Gulfstream Park is promoting the bet by distributing $100 worth of Rainbow 6 tickets daily; at a cost of $.10 each that’s 1,000 tickets. “Everyone at the track is following it and watching it come in,” Ritvo said.

The best news, he added, is that the Rainbow 6 is not cannibalizing other bets, something that originally concerned Ritvo. In fact, he said, other wagers including pick 5 and pick 4 bets have increased as the jackpot has built. People are handicapping the Rainbow 6 races but not playing huge tickets on the bet, even as the jackpot rises, leaving them plenty left over for other wagers.

“It’s really been a phenomenon,” Ritvo said.

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  • LongTimeEconomist

    All those bets requiring at least four winners are a sucker bet, particularly with the huge takeout on those pools.

  • LongTimeEconomist

    All those bets requiring at least four winners are a sucker bet, particularly with the huge takeout on those pools.

  • salthebarber

    Andy Beyer called the Rainbow Pick6 a sucker’s bet. He figured that on carryover days the takeout is 52%. Yet, the takeout on carryover days on the regular pick6 is around 75% or more. And when the regular pick6 carries over, the syndicates come in to scoop it up. So, when all is said and done, the regular pick6 is a sucker’s bet as well. The only difference is the Rainbow is a much more affordable sucker’s bet.

  • salthebarber

    Andy Beyer called the Rainbow Pick6 a sucker’s bet. He figured that on carryover days the takeout is 52%. Yet, the takout on carryover days on the regular picks is around 75% or more. And when the regular pick6 carries over, the syndicates come in to scoop it up. So, when all is said and done, the regular pick6 is a sucker’s bet as well. The only difference is the Rainbow is a much more affordable sucker’s bet.

  • FourCats

    This bet shows the great appeal and buzz created by a wager that has a big carryover; not to mention that a really big carryover gets the attention of the non-horse racing public.  That publicity is worth its weight in gold for racing even if there was some cannibalization of other wagers (which may not happen at all).  But I don’t like this particular bet because it is a lottery-type wager; that is, it mostly relies on luck to hit versus handicapping skill.

    I think that the same result (ie. a big carryover with buzz) could be achieved while still emphasizing handicapping skill by creating something like a Pick 9 (9 winners).  The difficulty level would be roughly equivalent to the lottery (for example, 8 horses in each race would give about 134 million possibilities versus about 260 thousand possibilities for the Pick 6).  That difficulty level would knock out most syndicates from dominating the wager.  Furthermore, that difficulty would also allow the tracks to  have a guarantee payout of say 5 million (only for all 9 winners) to get it started without running much of a risk that they would ever need to pay out the 5 million.  They could even offer it only on Saturday as a weekly bet instead of every day to increase the buzz and make it an featured event for people who can’t get to the track during the week (most of us).

    • Figless

      I like this idea, even better if they could televise, somehow.

    • http://twitter.com/HoopsandHorses Hoops and Horses

      Where the pick-9 as a 10-cent wager would work best is on Breeders’ Cup Saturday, and I’ve repeatedly suggested that over the years.  That where you can really market that wager towards lottery players with a $5 Million guaranteed pool.

      I’ve actually played the 10-cent pick nine (which actually is the grandaddy of all 10-cent wagers in the US) at Balmoral Park in the Chicago suburbs (which first offered the “Pick Nine For a Dime” a number of years ago before the 10-cent superfectas became the rage) and thought it was a great bet because you can do a ton of combos on very little money, especially when the carryover got up to five figures.  Never hit it, but thought it was an excellent concept.

  • FourCats

    This bet shows the great appeal and buzz created by a wager that has a big carryover; not to mention that a really big carryover gets the attention of the non-horse racing public.  That publicity is worth its weight in gold for racing even if there was some cannibalization of other wagers (which may not happen at all).  But I don’t like this particular bet because it is a lottery-type wager; that is, it mostly relies on luck to hit versus handicapping skill.

    I think that the same result (ie. a big carryover with buzz) could be achieved while still emphasizing handicapping skill by creating something like a Pick 9 (9 winners).  The difficulty level would be roughly equivalent to the lottery (for example, 8 horses in each race would give about 134 million possibilities versus about 260 thousand possibilities for the Pick 6).  That difficulty level would knock out most syndicates from dominating the wager.  Furthermore, that difficulty would also allow the tracks to  have a guarantee payout of say 5 million (only for all 9 winners) to get it started without running much of a risk that they would ever need to pay out the 5 million.  They could even offer it only on Saturday as a weekly bet instead of every day to increase the buzz and make it an featured event for people who can’t get to the track during the week (most of us).

  • David

    Know with the take-out and all this would seem a windfall to
    the track and purse account.  That said
    and acknowledging an economist I’m not and don’t care to crunch the numbers,
    just can’t help but feel this and similar exotic, exotic bets are net losers
    for everyone except the few who ultimately cash.  In an age of desperately needing to spread the return among a broader
    portion of players this does exactly the opposite.

    • salthebarber

      David, I personally believe that spreading return to more players can be addressed almost immediatley by stopping computer-aided value betting into the win and exacta pools. It is my belief that these type of bettors’ main goal is to skim the pari-mutuel pools.

  • David

    Know with the take-out and all this would seem a windfall to
    the track and purse account.  That said
    and acknowledging an economist I’m not and don’t care to crunch the numbers,
    just can’t help but feel this and similar exotic, exotic bets are net losers
    for everyone except the few who ultimately cash.  In an age of desperately needing to spread the return among a broader
    portion of players this does exactly the opposite.

  • Jack

    Once the pool is this massive, it seems unlikely that there will be a payout until closing day.  I think the pool was over 500k yesterday…5 million combinations played.  If you’re going to play, maybe go counter-intuitive and play all logical contenders, not looking for the big payday, but taking advantage of everyone else spreading their bets out.  I’ve noticed the payoffs have been pretty good, despite the takeout.

    • Jay Stone

      The beauty of this wager is that once the pool has reached a certain ammount there is so much wagered in trying to hit the only ticket that the payoffs for multiple winners is very generous. The idea would be to try and hit multiple winning combos to get a larger piece of the sixty percent handed out daily. With big bettors playing large tickets a small player can get a large payoff multiple times.

  • Jack

    Once the pool is this massive, it seems unlikely that there will be a payout until closing day.  I think the pool was over 500k yesterday…5 million combinations played.  If you’re going to play, maybe go counter-intuitive and play all logical contenders, not looking for the big payday, but taking advantage of everyone else spreading their bets out.  I’ve noticed the payoffs have been pretty good, despite the takeout.

  • Jeromebrown

    Seems Tim is a company man, looking out for the company’s bottom line. He is a real asset to Gulfsteam. His ideas will promote even a bigger handle if adotped–90% back in the daily pool after a million.

  • Jeromebrown

    Seems Tim is a company man, looking out for the company’s bottom line. He is a real asset to Gulfsteam. His ideas will promote even a bigger handle if adotped–90% back in the daily pool after a million.

  • Cpramsey71

    You guys don’t think these state lotteries aren’t sucker bets…. thats why this will be popular with the average betting puplic, because it is more of a lottery bet… it takes more luck than skill because of the lone winner for the jackpot. Plus the 10 cent minimum makes it affordable.
    I thinks its great for there to be some creative thinking by the racetracks to try different things!!

    If it catches on, who knows??? 

    • salthebarber

      I totally agree. The idea of this being a sucker bet was a topic of an Andy Beyer column. I don’t agree with him at all. Actually the real takeout of this bet is about 20%. The takeout of a lottery bet is over 50%. I believe GP has tapped into the small- to mid-sized player market where there was a pent up demand for such a bet.

  • Cpramsey71

    You guys don’t think these state lotteries aren’t sucker bets…. thats why this will be popular with the average betting puplic, because it is more of a lottery bet… it takes more luck than skill because of the lone winner for the jackpot. Plus the 10 cent minimum makes it affordable.
    I thinks its great for there to be some creative thinking by the racetracks to try different things!!

    If it catches on, who knows??? 

  • Figless

    I like this idea, even better if they could televise, somehow.

  • SteveG

    It’s not a bet I fancy but it does seem to be working as designed – relatively low risk with a big carrot out there to drool about – just like the ultimate “sucker bet” – a lottery.  The difference in terms of psychology is that the lottery has a more comprehensive payout schedule to reward consolations to 5 (which the track already does) 4, 3 & even 2 matches – a free ticket, I believe - creating more “winners” out of the losers.  Positive reinforcement.

    I wonder if Gulfstream looked into the arithmetic in regard to the feasibility of carrying over a somewhat smaller percentage & offering lottery style payouts (beyond 5 of 6 consos) when the jackpot isn’t taken down by a single ticket?  If the arithmetic works, it’s an option to create more “winners” out of all those thousands of losers & spread the money around. 

    When people are betting dimes – the big carrot would still be out there to drool over – but I can’t see them complaining about a “smallish” conso when the alternative is nothing.  

  • SteveG

    It’s not a bet I fancy but it does seem to be working as designed – relatively low risk with a big carrot out there to drool about – just like the ultimate “sucker bet” – a lottery.  The difference in terms of psychology is that the lottery has a more comprehensive payout schedule to reward consolations to 5 (which the track already does) 4, 3 & even 2 matches – a free ticket, I believe - creating more “winners” out of the losers.  Positive reinforcement.

    I wonder if Gulfstream looked into the arithmetic in regard to the feasibility of carrying over a somewhat smaller percentage & offering lottery style payouts (beyond 5 of 6 consos) when the jackpot isn’t taken down by a single ticket?  If the arithmetic works, it’s an option to create more “winners” out of all those thousands of losers & spread the money around. 

    When people are betting dimes – the big carrot would still be out there to drool over – but I can’t see them complaining about a “smallish” conso when the alternative is nothing.  

    • salthebarber

      Steve, the people at the control room at HRTV put together a 10c ticket recently and went an amazing 5 of 6 with a slew of longshots. The pick6 paid $111k to two ticket holders and the people at HRTV got nothing for a most amazing handicapping job.

  • http://twitter.com/HoopsandHorses Hoops and Horses

    The thing that I’ve noticed about this wager is the fact that if you ignore the “jackpot” portion and focus solely on the “regular” portion, you can get some nicely overlaid payoffs in the pick-six even if the wager had a normal takeout.  Those going for the jackpot create that scenario, which makes it so you can sometimes get the same payoff for 10 cents you might have otherwise on a $2 pick-six, which is absolutely insane.

  • http://twitter.com/HoopsandHorses Hoops and Horses

    The thing that I’ve noticed about this wager is the fact that if you ignore the “jackpot” portion and focus solely on the “regular” portion, you can get some nicely overlaid payoffs in the pick-six even if the wager had a normal takeout.  Those going for the jackpot create that scenario, which makes it so you can sometimes get the same payoff for 10 cents you might have otherwise on a $2 pick-six, which is absolutely insane.

  • http://twitter.com/HoopsandHorses Hoops and Horses

    Where the pick-9 as a 10-cent wager would work best is on Breeders’ Cup Saturday, and I’ve repeatedly suggested that over the years.  That where you can really market that wager towards lottery players with a $5 Million guaranteed pool.

    I’ve actually played the 10-cent pick nine (which actually is the grandaddy of all 10-cent wagers in the US) at Balmoral Park in the Chicago suburbs (which first offered the “Pick Nine For a Dime” a number of years ago before the 10-cent superfectas became the rage) and thought it was a great bet because you can do a ton of combos on very little money, especially when the carryover got up to five figures.  Never hit it, but thought it was an excellent concept.

  • MessersmithS

    I hope everyone continues to take a shot and it carries thru til closing day…the only day I’d try to hit it.

    • Herewego

      My thoughts exactly!

  • MessersmithS

    I hope everyone continues to take a shot and it carries thru til closing day…the only day I’d try to hit it.

  • David Young

    What’s Tim Ritvo give the horseplayer with all that slot money?

    A bet with 52% takeout.

    How about lowering the takeout with all tht slot money Tim?

    • salthebarber

      David, Tim Ritvo is the most horserace fan-oriented GM I have seen in this game in a long time. I love it when he said he read all the comments to the Andy Beyer columm. I wish every GM would do the same. The takeout on this bet is about 20%. The 52% was the effective takeout according Andy’s math. Using the same math, I learned that the effective take for $2 picks is 75%.

      • David Young

        Mr.Ritvo and Gulfstream park have giving nothing to the horseplayer with all that slot money. 

        • salthebarber

          David, email him and ask him about. Anytime I have emailed him (I don’t know him personally), I have found him to be very responsiive. He came up through the ranks of the game and he is very interested in making horseracing a success.

          • David Young

            I have ,Mr.Ritvo is not interested in lowering the takeout to attract more horseplayers.

          • Don Reed

            How much of the mortgage is remaining on Gulfstream Park?  Maybe they can’t afford to do it.

          • David Young

            Can’t afford to attract more handle or horseplayers?

  • David Young

    What’s Tim Ritvo give the horseplayer with all that slot money?

    A bet with 52% takeout.

    How about lowering the takeout with all tht slot money Tim?

  • salthebarber

    I totally agree. The idea of this being a sucker bet was a topic of an Andy Beyer column. I don’t agree with him at all. Actually the real takeout of this bet is about 20%. The takeout of a lottery bet is over 50%. I believe GP has tapped into the small- to mid-sized player market where there was a pent up demand for such a bet.

  • salthebarber

    David, Tim Ritvo is the most horserace fan-oriented GM I have seen in this game in a long time. I love it when he said he read all the comments to the Andy Beyer columm. I wish every GM would do the same. The takeout on this bet is about 20%. The 52% was the effective takeout according Andy’s math. Using the same math, I learned that the effective take for $2 picks is 75%.

  • David Young

    Mr.Ritvo and Gulfstream park have giving nothing to the horseplayer with all that slot money. 

  • Jeffrey

    To be consistently profitable with sequential wagers (population: 200 random or 500 sequential by calendar) one generally needs to have a diverse set of handicapping skills. I’m not aware of many who possess such diversity.

    Most handicappers are hedgehogs rather than foxes (reference Isaiah Berlin’s “The Hedgehog and the Fox” via Wikipedia). By hedgehog I mean specialists; we’re really good at one element of handicapping. For instance I’m a pace handicapper.

    Pace handicapping always works, except when it doesn’t. That’s the key! One needs to learn when their insights work and when they don’t. Learning this is indeed an arduous task which I am sure those willing will attest to.

    Unless you are part of a syndicate or you are a fox (diverse handicapping skills), the path to reliable ROI via sequential wagers would seem to rely more on luck than skill.

    It seems the question is whether one is trying to produce reliable ROI or hit the BIG ONE.

    Personally I enjoy the challenge of producing a positive ROI where the focus is on single race betting and pace handicapping.

    There is a lot of be learned from understanding the concept of hedgehogs and foxes, as well as understanding one’s cognitive biases and how they can be tamed (somewhat) in the context of your decision tree.

    Lastly I offer up lattice work / mental models. Go look up Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s pal) and read-up on what he has to say about mental models.

    • salthebarber

      There are time periods where my handicapping just seems to be on. It can last for a while and then mysteriously disappear. Some call this a lucky streak, but it probably is more related to the fact that the track is carding more races that suit my specialty. Or maybe, it’s just a time of year where my specialty seems to work better for whatever the reason. Or maybe, it’s just a lucky streak. :)

      These days at Gulfstream you’ve got to be able to handicap successfully md 12,500 dirt, 6,500 claiming on the dirt and maiden 35,000 on the turf. This is especially true on weekdays. Maybe, just a focus on one track helps in building skills across different types of races. I will read your suggested references.

  • Jeffrey

    To be consistently profitable with sequential wagers (population: 200 random or 500 sequential by calendar) one generally needs to have a diverse set of handicapping skills. I’m not aware of many who possess such diversity.

    Most handicappers are hedgehogs rather than foxes (reference Isaiah Berlin’s “The Hedgehog and the Fox” via Wikipedia). By hedgehog I mean specialists; we’re really good at one element of handicapping. For instance I’m a pace handicapper.

    Pace handicapping always works, except when it doesn’t. That’s the key! One needs to learn when their insights work and when they don’t. Learning this is indeed an arduous task which I am sure those willing will attest to.

    Unless you are part of a syndicate or you are a fox (diverse handicapping skills), the path to reliable ROI via sequential wagers would seem to rely more on luck than skill.

    It seems the question is whether one is trying to produce reliable ROI or hit the BIG ONE.

    Personally I enjoy the challenge of producing a positive ROI where the focus is on single race betting and pace handicapping.

    There is a lot of be learned from understanding the concept of hedgehogs and foxes, as well as understanding one’s cognitive biases and how they can be tamed (somewhat) in the context of your decision tree.

    Lastly I offer up lattice work / mental models. Go look up Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s pal) and read-up on what he has to say about mental models.

  • salthebarber

    David, email him and ask him about. Anytime I have emailed him (I don’t know him personally), I have found him to be very responsiive. He came up through the ranks of the game and he is very interested in making horseracing a success.

  • Indulto

    Mr. Ritvo said, “When we get to a
    $1-million carryover, maybe we’ll switch the distribution from 60/40 to paying
    out 90% every day (adding 10% to the jackpot).”

     

    Why shouldn’t the people playing
    the bet early in the meet get the same benefit as those playing it later on?
    Now that the wager has proven to be popular with recreational and casual
    bettors, Gulfstream should pursue those players even more aggressively by
    demonstrating they intend to provide them with the fairest shake possible.
    Reducing the bet’s “sucker” aspects while maintaining its
    “equalizing” factors will accomplish that.

     

    If Mr. Ritvo believes as I do that
    past a certain point, the size of the jackpot alone does not account for
    increasing participation until closing day, then he might consider the merits
    of a previous discussion here between fellow Paulick Report reader, Roger, and
    me, regarding a dime P6 with a 10% single-winner jackpot allocation. As
    proposed, the wager paid only 6-winner daily consolations prior to
    closing day; thereby offering a supplementary carryover incentive to attract daily play
    from additional limited-bankroll bettors which would also help build the
    jackpot.

     

    Some might argue that paying
    consolations for fewer than 6 winners would increase churn. Perhaps
    experimentation on weekdays is warranted to verify that
    possibility. To support a 10% jackpot
    carryover from day one, Gulfstream could increase the initial seeding of the jackpot — but it
    could also contribute some additional percentage of the daily jackpot increment
    for as long as it takes to reach $1-million.

  • Indulto

    Mr. Ritvo said, “When we get to a
    $1-million carryover, maybe we’ll switch the distribution from 60/40 to paying
    out 90% every day (adding 10% to the jackpot).”

     

    Why shouldn’t the people playing
    the bet early in the meet get the same benefit as those playing it later on?
    Now that the wager has proven to be popular with recreational and casual
    bettors, Gulfstream should pursue those players even more aggressively by
    demonstrating they intend to provide them with the fairest shake possible.
    Reducing the bet’s “sucker” aspects while maintaining its
    “equalizing” factors will accomplish that.

     

    If Mr. Ritvo believes as I do that
    past a certain point, the size of the jackpot alone does not account for
    increasing participation until closing day, then he might consider the merits
    of a previous discussion here between fellow Paulick Report reader, Roger, and
    me, regarding a dime P6 with a 10% single-winner jackpot allocation. As
    proposed, the wager paid only 6-winner daily consolations prior to
    closing day; thereby offering a supplementary carryover incentive to attract daily play
    from additional limited-bankroll bettors which would also help build the
    jackpot.

     

    Some might argue that paying
    consolations for fewer than 6 winners would increase churn. Perhaps
    experimentation on weekdays is warranted to verify that
    possibility. To support a 10% jackpot
    carryover from day one, Gulfstream could increase the initial seeding of the jackpot — but it
    could also contribute some additional percentage of the daily jackpot increment
    for as long as it takes to reach $1-million.

  • Herewego

    My thoughts exactly!

  • kyle

    As a takeout hawk and, further, one who believes we should be paring wagering menus and driving handle to the least exotic pools it would seem I should hate the Rainbow Six. I don’t. I like it. It works. One of only two pick sixes in the country, from a handle standpoint, that does. I don’t think much of the criticism has been fair. Ray touches on it. It is really not accurate to talk about it as having a 52% take, certailnly not in so many words. No one I’ve ever seen has criticized a traditional Pick Six for having an 80% take (when it goes on un-hit). The fact is, despite the daily carryover bite, six winners has not been paying un-generously. That, the dime denomination, and the dream combine to obviously make this an attractive wager for many. I think Tim Ritvo’s idea about altering the payout to carryover ratio is a good one. I’d make one additional tweak. When the carryover got to 250k I’d change the ratio to 75/25 and then go to 90/10 at one million.

    • salthebarber

      Kyle, this bet defies conventional thinking about what the fans of the game really want. It has been thought for years that just lowering the takeout across the board would bring the players back. Also, as David points out, it has been believed that spreading the money out across a larger group of people will serve everyone better. This bet seems to defy this logic. I am guessing that this bet has added quite substantially to the number of fans following Gulfstream and it has also not taken away from the other pools. I suspect that there is a small- to mid-sized customer base that has been totally ignored in this game for years. It is possible what we are witnessing is what the potential revenues of the lower end of the market are if its needs are addressesd.

  • kyle

    As a takeout hawk and, further, one who believes we should be paring wagering menus and driving handle to the least exotic pools it would seem I should hate the Rainbow Six. I don’t. I like it. It works. One of only two pick sixes in the country, from a handle standpoint, that does. I don’t think much of the criticism has been fair. Ray touches on it. It is really not accurate to talk about it as having a 52% take, certailnly not in so many words. No one I’ve ever seen has criticized a traditional Pick Six for having an 80% take (when it goes on un-hit). The fact is, despite the daily carryover bite, six winners has not been paying un-generously. That, the dime denomination, and the dream combine to obviously make this an attractive wager for many. I think Tim Ritvo’s idea about altering the payout to carryover ratio is a good one. I’d make one additional tweak. When the carryover got to 250k I’d change the ratio to 75/25 and then go to 90/10 at one million.

  • salthebarber

    Kyle, this bet defies conventional thinking about what the fans of the game really want. It has been thought for years that just lowering the takeout across the board would bring the players back. Also, as David points out, it has been believed that spreading the money out across a larger group of people will serve everyone better. This bet seems to defy this logic. I am guessing that this bet has added quite substantially to the number of fans following Gulfstream and it has also not taken away from the other pools. I suspect that there is a small- to mid-sized customer base that has been totally ignored in this game for years. It is possible what we are witnessing is what the potential revenues of the lower end of the market are if its needs are addressesd.

  • Pally2728

    GP gives away $100 of rainbow6 tickets each day?
    I’m there everyday. let me tell you, that is some well hidden promotion.
     

  • Pally2728

    GP gives away $100 of rainbow6 tickets each day?
    I’m there everyday. let me tell you, that is some well hidden promotion.
     

  • salthebarber

    David, I personally believe that spreading return to more players can be addressed almost immediatley by stopping computer-aided value betting into the win and exacta pools. It is my belief that these type of bettors’ main goal is to skim the pari-mutuel pools.

  • Michael

     I may have a grand idea for the Rainbow Six.     Gulfstream races three days in April, with a closing day of Friday, April 5 which just happens to be Opening Day at Keeneland. The last Sunday in March is Easter Sunday and I am fairly certain that New York will not be able to wager on Gulfstream on March 31. This has always been a concern for Gulfstream management and they have changed their mandatory payout day in the past.   Which brings us to Saturday, March 30. The schedule for the day includes…The Florida Derby Stakes

    The Gulfstream Oaks Stakes

    The Skip Away Stakes

    The Rampart Stakes

    The Appleton Stakes

    The Orchid Stakes

    The Sir Shackelton Stakes

     
      Lets look into the future because that is what horseplayers do. There are 27 racing days until The Florida Derby. In the event that nobody takes down the jackpot in those 27 days, we are looking at a carryover in the vicinity of $7,000,000. Amazing at this may seem, that is not the best part.

      NBC Sports starts their 2013 Road to the Derby on that day with the national telecast of The Florida Derby. If you can get thru these next 27 days without a unique ticket, and Gulfstream can make the decision to have a mandatory payout on Florida Derby Day, you are looking at a total Rainbow Six pool of $20,000,000 that you can bet for ten cents. You can bet what every horseplayer in the country will be doing that day.

      In conclusion, this is the type of event that could jump start the Road To The Kentucky Derby and the entire thoroughbred industry and create something unforgettable.

    $20,000,000 pool on a ten cent bet.
    National TV.
    The Florida Derby.

    I know you have all heard this before, but this horse can’t miss.

    Sincerely 

    Michael Antoniades
    Racing Analyst  Balmoral Park

      

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/YFRRXW7XIJHNYTMPMO6TUSOOEU ALAN

      It doesn’t matter what day.
       It doesn’t matter if it is 6 $6250 claiming races
       It doesn’t matter if it is on tv or not.
       If it is not hit, it will be 20 mill on closing day.
       If you want to play, you can find a way even in NY.
       Good idea for the industry.
       Bad idea for the people who have been playing all along, watching the masses get a chunk of the 7 mill or so that has been carrying over for 2 months.

    • Don Reed

      Excellent. 

      And a pleasure to read.

      None of the usual crazy “Move this here, shift this there, rearrange the bartenders’ hours, have the horses in the paddock circle clockwise if counterclockwise the day before, put the track parking lot in the ocean” schemes that have so often been posted in the past.

    • salthebarber

      Michael, this an admirable idea, but I don’t like it. It is just what the big players want: a full plate of stakes races that are more predictable. I’d rather see it end on the Friday where there will be a lot of cheap races with unlikelyhood of there being a Pletch single or two.

      • Michael

         Your concerns about singles are 100% spot on. The question is Thoroughbred racing has been talking about a bet like this on national TV for decades. If not now, when?
         Thomas Edison once said
        “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”
        The opportunity is now here.

        • salthebarber

          Michael, to me, it is more important at this time to do right by the existing customers, rather than worry about new ones. The existing customers should not be compromised for potential hype.

          • Michael

             If they can’t card a decent sequence of races for the Rainbow, then obviously this is a non starter for all the reasons you mentioned. But with all these stake races shouldn’t the overnights on Florida Derby Day have full fields? With eleven or twelve races GP should be able to find five or six competitive races with decent field sizes for the Rainbow.

          • Sal Carcia

            Michael, I guess that will work out in the end. Michael, I will also admit to showing weakness in not looking at the full marketing potential of this proposal. I’m just overly sensitive to the idea of outside forces trying to influence the type of races and sequence in a pick6. I have seen writers and analysts openly lobby about the placement and inclusion of maiden races and against turf sprints in pick6 races. It just never seemed fair to me.

          • Michael

              Perhaps you are correct. However, you must at least consider that the opportunity being presented of a 8 digit jackpot and a national broadcast is unprecedented. I truly think a mandatory payout on Florida Derby Day with a sequence of six competitive races for the Rainbow will swell the final pool to $30,000,000, with 23 of that as new money. GP might be looking at a $40,000,000 handle. What if you could roll all that momentum thru the Triple Crown and beyond. A true game changer. As I stated previously, if a competitive Rainbow sequence of six races cannot be created on Florida Derby Day, then this idea is a late scratch.
               I enjoyed our dialogue sir. You made many valid points.

          • salthebarber

            I did too. I’m convinced now that the opportunity outweighs (by a little :] ) my concerns.

    • http://twitter.com/HoopsandHorses Hoops and Horses

      Love this idea, and I could see Gulfstream end it on March 30 knowing New York and Kentucky can’t wager into it on the 31st (though Gulfstream could work around this by being dark Easter Sunday and run instead on Monday, April 1).  I would seriously look at doing this, and working with NBC to have ALL six races air live that afternoon and early evening, and as part of it, also working with Fair Grounds to move the Louisiana Derby to prime time (also airing on NBC), which probably would not be too hard for Fair Grounds since that particular day (March 30), they have to go with a 2:00 PM local/3:00 PM ET first post anyway due to a running event taking place in New Orleans that morning. 

      The six races from Gulfstream could air on NBC from 3:30-7:00 PM ET while the Fair Grounds races (New Orleans Handicap, Mervin Muniz Memorial, Fair Grounds Oaks and Louisiana Derby) could air in prime time from 8:00-11:00 PM ET with that perhaps being a $2 million guaranteed Pick 4.  That could make for one of the all-time lead-ins to the Triple Crown and some major, major exposure for the sport on both fronts.  If the P6 somehow got hit before the big day, Gulfstream could offer a $1 Million guarantee on the P6 with a manadatory payout to assure the network coverage.  In the case of Fair Grounds, NBC might go for that since that Saturday is not going to get big ratings anyway and NBC likely would get viewers coming over from CBS once CBS’ coverage of the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament concluded.

    • Alan

      So much for that idea

  • Michael

     I may have a grand idea for the Rainbow Six.     Gulfstream races three days in April, with a closing day of Friday, April 5 which just happens to be Opening Day at Keeneland. The last Sunday in March is Easter Sunday and I am fairly certain that New York will not be able to wager on Gulfstream on March 31. This has always been a concern for Gulfstream management and they have changed their mandatory payout day in the past.   Which brings us to Saturday, March 30. The schedule for the day includes…The Florida Derby Stakes

    The Gulfstream Oaks Stakes

    The Skip Away Stakes

    The Rampart Stakes

    The Appleton Stakes

    The Orchid Stakes

    The Sir Shackelton Stakes

     
      Lets look into the future because that is what horseplayers do. There are 27 racing days until The Florida Derby. In the event that nobody takes down the jackpot in those 27 days, we are looking at a carryover in the vicinity of $7,000,000. Amazing at this may seem, that is not the best part.

      NBC Sports starts their 2013 Road to the Derby on that day with the national telecast of The Florida Derby. If you can get thru these next 27 days without a unique ticket, and Gulfstream can make the decision to have a mandatory payout on Florida Derby Day, you are looking at a total Rainbow Six pool of $20,000,000 that you can bet for ten cents. You can bet what every horseplayer in the country will be doing that day.

      In conclusion, this is the type of event that could jump start the Road To The Kentucky Derby and the entire thoroughbred industry and create something unforgettable.

    $20,000,000 pool on a ten cent bet.
    National TV.
    The Florida Derby.

    I know you have all heard this before, but this horse can’t miss.

    Sincerely 

    Michael Antoniades
    Racing Analyst  Balmoral Park

      

  • salthebarber

    There are time periods where my handicapping just seems to be on. It can last for a while and then mysteriously disappear. Some call this a lucky streak, but it probably is more related to the fact that the track is carding more races that suit my specialty. Or maybe, it’s just a time of year where my specialty seems to work better for whatever the reason. Or maybe, it’s just a lucky streak. :)

    These days at Gulfstream you’ve got to be able to handicap successfully md 12,500 dirt, 6,500 claiming on the dirt and maiden 35,000 on the turf. This is especially true on weekdays. Maybe, just a focus on one track helps in building skills across different types of races. I will read your suggested references.

  • David Young

    I have ,Mr.Ritvo is not interested in lowering the takeout to attract more horseplayers.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YFRRXW7XIJHNYTMPMO6TUSOOEU ALAN

    So you make a major investment in the rainbow pick 6 hoping to take down the jackpot.
    You hit the first 5 legs all at 20-1 or higher.
    You have all in the last leg.
    You look at the probables and realize you are the only one alive.
    YOU CAN’T LOSE
    YOU HIT THE JACKPOT
    Until
    Your attention please #8 is a gate scratch ordered by the vet.
    The favorite wins.
    Do you collect the jackpot?
    Or is this considered 2 winning tickets.

    Same scenario, dead heat in last race.
    What happens?

    Seems like there is room for track management to play some games here if the scratch and winning favorite cancel your guaranteed jackpot.

    • salthebarber

      Alan, I wish I had the answer to this. This possibilty has occurred to me and betting my partner. I might have sent an email to Tim Ritvo on this subject. I still don’t have an answer. There is a good possibility this will happen one day.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YFRRXW7XIJHNYTMPMO6TUSOOEU ALAN

    So you make a major investment in the rainbow pick 6 hoping to take down the jackpot.
    You hit the first 5 legs all at 20-1 or higher.
    You have all in the last leg.
    You look at the probables and realize you are the only one alive.
    YOU CAN’T LOSE
    YOU HIT THE JACKPOT
    Until
    Your attention please #8 is a gate scratch ordered by the vet.
    The favorite wins.
    Do you collect the jackpot?
    Or is this considered 2 winning tickets.

    Same scenario, dead heat in last race.
    What happens?

    Seems like there is room for track management to play some games here if the scratch and winning favorite cancel your guaranteed jackpot.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YFRRXW7XIJHNYTMPMO6TUSOOEU ALAN

     It doesn’t matter what day.
     It doesn’t matter if it is 6 $6250 claiming races
     It doesn’t matter if it is on tv or not.
     If it is not hit, it will be 20 mill on closing day.
     If you want to play, you can find a way even in NY.
     Good idea for the industry.
     Bad idea for the people who have been playing all along.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.luman1 Jon Luman

    It is a thing of beauty, because it demonstrates what horse racing could be, even to a public that is completely mystified by it.

    The industry should gather around for close observation, and consideration of what is being put on display here. In the public response, there is the key to successfully marketing horse racing in the 21st century.

    A $1 wag at 3 million will bring many a lottery player back to horse racing, which has become a lottery players dream come true because of the modern betting menu. This bet doesn’t roll unless a race track can field at least 8 sound contenders for the win, and that is exactly the only thing that removes advantages for any particular player, or group of players.

    That is exactly what horse racing needs, every horse a contender, levels the playing field, and keeps it that way.

    For 6 races on each card at Gulfstream Park, the question really is “which one”? And, the answer is most likely to lie in the sudden turn of a hoof, or the poorly timed blink of a jockey’s eye.

    For every player, the only hope to gain an advantage, is to engage in the game and play it well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.luman1 Jon Luman

    It is a thing of beauty, because it demonstrates what horse racing could be, even to a public that is completely mystified by it.

    The industry should gather around for close observation, and consideration of what is being put on display here. In the public response, there is the key to successfully marketing horse racing in the 21st century.

    A $1 wag at 3 million will bring many a lottery player back to horse racing, which has become a lottery players dream come true because of the modern betting menu. This bet doesn’t roll unless a race track can field at least 8 sound contenders for the win, and that is exactly the only thing that removes advantages for any particular player, or group of players.

    That is exactly what horse racing needs, every horse a contender, levels the playing field, and keeps it that way.

    For 6 races on each card at Gulfstream Park, the question really is “which one”? And, the answer is most likely to lie in the sudden turn of a hoof, or the poorly timed blink of a jockey’s eye.

    For every player, the only hope to gain an advantage, is to engage in the game and play it well.

  • CARTMAN

    THE RAINBOW SIX IS GREAT..PUTS NEW ENTHUSIAM INTO  THE  GAME..THE INSIDERS  HAVE  NO EDGE…CAN’T  WAIT FOR THURSDAY

  • CARTMAN

    THE RAINBOW SIX IS GREAT..PUTS NEW ENTHUSIAM INTO  THE  GAME..THE INSIDERS  HAVE  NO EDGE…CAN’T  WAIT FOR THURSDAY

  • Don Reed

    Excellent. 

    And a pleasure to read.

    None of the usual crazy “Move this here, shift this there, rearrange the bartenders’ hours, have the horses in the paddock circle clockwise if counterclockwise the day before, put the track parking lot in the ocean” schemes that have so often been posted in the past.

  • Don Reed

    How much of the mortgage is remaining on Gulfstream Park?  Maybe they can’t afford to do it.

  • David Young

    Can’t afford to attract more handle or horseplayers?

  • salthebarber

    Alan, I wish I had the answer to this. This has occurred to me and betting my partner. I migbt have sent an email to Tim Ritvo on this subject. I still don’t have an answer. There is a good possibility this will happen one day.

  • salthebarber

    Steve, the people at the control room at HRTV put together a 10c ticket recently and went an amazing 5 of 6 with a slew of longshots. The pick6 paid $111k to two ticket holders and the people at HRTV got nothing for a most amazing handicapping job.

  • salthebarber

    Michael, this an admirable idea, but I don’t like it. It is just what the big players want: a full plate of stakes races that are more predictable. I’d rather see it end on the Friday where there will be a lot of cheap races with unlikelyhood of there being a Pletch single or two.

  • Michael

     Your concerns about singles are 100% spot on. The question is Thoroughbred racing has been talking about a bet like this on national TV for decades. If not now, when?
     Thomas Edison once said
    “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”
    The opportunity is now here.

  • salthebarber

    Michael, to me, it is more important at this time to do right by the existing customers, rather than worry about new ones. The existing customers should not be compromised for potential hype.

  • Michael

     If they can’t card a decent sequence of races for the Rainbow, then obviously this is a non starter for all the reasons you mentioned. But with all these stake races shouldn’t the overnights on Florida Derby Day have full fields? With eleven or twelve races GP should be able to find five or six competitive races with decent field sizes for the Rainbow.

  • Sal Carcia

    Removed by author and placed in another thread here.

  • Sal Carcia

    Michael, I guess that will work out in the end. Michael, I will also admit to showing weakness in not looking at the full marketing potential of this proposal. Im just overly sensitive to the idea of outside forces trying to influence the type of races and sequence in a pick6. I have seen writers and analysts openly lobby about the placement and inclusion of maiden races and against turf sprints in pick6 races. It just never seemed fair to me.

  • Sal Carcia

    Michael, I guess that will work out in the end. Michael, I will also admit to showing weakness in not looking at the full marketing potential of this proposal. I’m just overly sensitive to the idea of outside forces trying to influence the type of races and sequence in a pick6. I have seen writers and analysts openly lobby about the placement and inclusion of maiden races and against turf sprints in pick6 races. It just never seemed fair to me.

  • http://twitter.com/HoopsandHorses Hoops and Horses

    Love this idea, and I could see Gulfstream end it on March 30 knowing New York and Kentucky can’t wager into it on the 31st (though Gulfstream could work around this by being dark Easter Sunday and run instead on Monday, April 1).  I would seriously look at doing this, and working with NBC to have ALL six races air live that afternoon and early evening, and as part of it, also working with Fair Grounds to move the Louisiana Derby to prime time (also airing on NBC), which probably would not be too hard for Fair Grounds since that particular day (March 30), they have to go with a 2:00 PM local/3:00 PM ET first post anyway due to a running event taking place in New Orleans that morning. 

    The six races from Gulfstream could air on NBC from 3:30-7:00 PM ET while the Fair Grounds races (New Orleans Handicap, Mervin Muniz Memorial, Fair Grounds Oaks and Louisiana Derby) could air in prime time from 8:00-11:00 PM ET with that perhaps being a $2 million guaranteed Pick 4.  That could make for one of the all-time lead-ins to the Triple Crown and some major, major exposure for the sport on both fronts.  If the P6 somehow got hit before the big day, Gulfstream could offer a $1 Million guarantee on the P6 with a manadatory payout to assure the network coverage.  In the case of Fair Grounds, NBC might go for that since that Saturday is not going to get big ratings anyway and NBC likely would get viewers coming over from CBS once CBS’ coverage of the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament concluded.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YFRRXW7XIJHNYTMPMO6TUSOOEU ALAN

    Do you think the track could let the public know how many “single” tickets there are after the betting closes.
    With 1-2.5 million possible combinations depending on field sizes and around 5 million tickets bet now and more each day it carries over.
    It is quite possible there are no “single” tickets.
    And if there are a few it would have to be 6 bombs.
    They do show how many “live” tickets there are after each race, so the technology is there if they wanted to do that.
    Seems to me that it will be nearly impossible to hit this thing alone at this point.
    And moving forward, don’t you think someone will take a shot at it with all for all 6 races,
    which knocks everyone out except that 1 person?

    • Jay Stone

      Going into the last race every day Gulfstream posts the payoffs on all combinations and that includes single tickets live for the whole pool.Anyone risking the all in every race is faced with a much smaller payoff than the investment unless the miracle of six bombs. As the pool grows the possibility exists that more than one person or group would try this investment resulting in a huge pool and the possibility that a small player would profit greatly from hitting the same combination.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YFRRXW7XIJHNYTMPMO6TUSOOEU ALAN

    Do you think the track could let the public know how many “single” tickets there are after the betting closes.
    With 1-2.5 million possible combinations depending on field sizes and around 5 million tickets bet now and more each day it carries over.
    It is quite possible there are no “single” tickets.
    And if there are a few it would have to be 6 bombs.
    They do show how many “live” tickets there are after each race, so the technology is there if they wanted to do that.
    Seems to me that it will be nearly impossible to hit this thing alone at this point.
    And moving forward, don’t you think someone will take a shot at it with all for all 6 races,
    which knocks everyone out except that 1 person?

  • kyle

    I would hope Tim Ritvo is reading the feedback here as Ray reports he did on DRF. If he is let me suggest he address two issues (kind of taking a page from Ray’s example of Makers Mark, only in a pro-active way). First, poster “Alan” brings up a concern that I believe has been addressed but the answer not widely circulated. That being :what happens if you happen to scratch into a “double winner” and those are the only correct combinations? The answer is: that’s being treated as a single winner. Correct?
    Second, and a bit dicier and potentially very problematic, is the concern that when this reaches 10, 15, 20 million as closing day nears that the temptation for trainers, owners, and jockeys to cheat is going to be perilously high. The public needs to know and participants need to be aware that enforcement and scrutiny are going to ratcheted higher and higher as the pool grows. And that punishment will be severe for any caught taking an edge or not putting forth their best effort in any Rainbow Six races going forward.

    • kyle

      Let me add: In the interest of transparency and public confidence, the structure of any large winning ticket(s) and the point of purchase  should be immediately disclosed and widely publicized.

  • kyle

    I would hope Tim Ritvo is reading the feedback here as Ray reports he did on DRF. If he is let me suggest he address two issues (kind of taking a page from Ray’s example of Makers Mark, only in a pro-active way). First, poster “Alan” brings up a concern that I believe has been addressed but the answer not widely circulated. That being :what happens if you happen to scratch into a “double winner” and those are the only correct combinations? The answer is: that’s being treated as a single winner. Correct?
    Second, and a bit dicier and potentially very problematic, is the concern that when this reaches 10, 15, 20 million as closing day nears that the temptation for trainers, owners, and jockeys to cheat is going to be perilously high. The public needs to know and participants need to be aware that enforcement and scrutiny are going to ratcheted higher and higher as the pool grows. And that punishment will be severe for any caught taking an edge or not putting forth their best effort in any Rainbow Six races going forward.

  • kyle

    Let me add: In the interest of transparency and public confidence, the structure of any large winning ticket(s) and the point of purchase  should be immediately disclosed and widely publicized.

  • Jay Stone

    The beauty of this wager is that once the pool has reached a certain ammount there is so much wagered in trying to hit the only ticket that the payoffs for multiple winners is very generous. The idea would be to try and hit multiple winning combos to get a larger piece of the sixty percent handed out daily. With big bettors playing large tickets a small player can get a large payoff multiple times.

  • Jay Stone

    Going into the last race every day Gulfstream posts the payoffs on all combinations and that includes single tickets live for the whole pool.Anyone risking the all in every race is faced with a much smaller payoff than the investment unless the miracle of six bombs. As the pool grows the possibility exists that more than one person or group would try this investment resulting in a huge pool and the possibility that a small player would profit greatly from hitting the same combination.

  • Michael

      Perhaps you are correct. However, you must at least consider that the opportunity being presented of a 8 digit jackpot and a national broadcast is unprecedented. I truly think a mandatory payout on Florida Derby Day with a sequence of six competitive races for the Rainbow will swell the final pool to $30,000,000, with 23 of that as new money. GP might be looking at a $40,000,000 handle. What if you could roll all that momentum thru the Triple Crown and beyond. A true game changer. As I stated previously, if a competitive Rainbow sequence of six races cannot be created on Florida Derby Day, then this idea is a late scratch.
       I enjoyed our dialogue sir. You made many valid points.

  • salthebarber

    I did too. I’m convinced now that the opportunity outweighs (by a little :] ) my concerns.

  • REDBIRD

    I think the 10 cent rainbow 6 gives your everyday horse player hope & a desire to chase the multimillion lightning in a bottle and more attention to horse racing. The Florida Derby & card will not only draw a huge crowd but also additional handle & while the likleyhood of the pick 6 being hit with the more predictable card is greater, the public & Gulfstream is better served having the mandatory payout On the final day providing of course the jackpot remains.

  • REDBIRD

    I think the 10 cent rainbow 6 gives your everyday horse player hope & a desire to chase the multimillion lightning in a bottle and more attention to horse racing. The Florida Derby & card will not only draw a huge crowd but also additional handle & while the likleyhood of the pick 6 being hit with the more predictable card is greater, the public & Gulfstream is better served having the mandatory payout On the final day providing of course the jackpot remains.

  • Alan

    So much for that idea

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