Kentucky Downs is launching another horse-racing innovation with Saturday's debut of the Jockey7 wager, which allows the horseplayer to bet on individual jockeys and their mounts over each card's last seven races.
The Jockey7 wager will be conducted over Races 4 through 10 throughout Kentucky Downs' unique five-date meet that starts this Saturday and continues Sept. 7, 9, 10 and 14 over America's only European-style grass course. The Jockey7, whose results are based on a points system for top-four finishes, will be listed as Race 11 but will be closed for betting before Race 4.
Win, place, show, exacta and trifecta will be offered on the Jockey7.
The betting interests for Jockey7 will be established the day before a race card; for instance, this Friday for Saturday's opener. After preliminary scratches, Kentucky Downs will establish 13 groupings of horses, each tied to an individual jockey (or, on occasion, more than one jockey could be lumped together) and a “field” betting interest that covers all the other horses and riders. Each grouping will be assigned a betting number, with the final wagering fields and the Jockey7 morning line posted on kentuckydowns.com and printed in a special insert in the track program.
Under the points system, a win is worth 25 points, second is 12, third is nine and fourth is five, with one point awarded for a late scratch or if a horse is declared a non-starter.
For the novice race fan, Jockey7 offers a lot of rooting interest for a small investment.
“The beauty of this wager is it will appeal to the casual fans who have their favorite jockeys,” said C.J. Johnsen, Kentucky Downs' director of broadcasting and interstate wagering. “But it also will appeal to the veteran horseplayer who wants to do a lot of research and enjoys the mind puzzle of this new type of wager. It appeals to virtually every segment of the people who walk through the door.”
Once the fields are set, the points are based on the finishes of the horses involved with each Jockey7 betting interest, regardless if there are rider changes. For instance, if a jockey who is listed as an individual betting interest is unable to ride a race and the horse wins with another rider, the winning points stay with the horse and don't transfer to the jockey who picked up the mount.
In the event of a dead-heat, the horses equally split the points awarded for the involved placings. So if two horses dead-heat for win, they split 25 first-place points and 12 second-place points, earning 18.5 points each.
If there is a tie in the final points, the total $2 win, place and show payoffs for each entry in every race in the Jockey7 wager will be the tiebreaker.
Johnsen computed who would have won during last year's five days of racing. The field finished first for the meet's first two days and was second two days, coming in fifth on the final card. Florent Geroux, the 2016 and 2015 meet champion, got off to a slow start opening day but would have finished second in the Jockey7 wager on Day 2, won Days 3 and 4 and finished second on the last day. Geroux actually would have tied with Julien Leparoux on points on the final card, but Leparoux won based on the $37.20-$24.40 tiebreaker of their combined win, place and show payoffs.
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund will receive a portion of Kentucky Downs' commission for the Jockey7.
“It's critically important in our sport to create new wagering opportunities for our horseplayers,” Johnsen said. “Why not connect the jockeys, who are some of the stars of our sport, to a wager that is new, fun and interesting for the horseplayer? On top of that, a percentage of the proceeds goes to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. So it's win, win, win for everybody.”
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