‘Show’ Us The Money? The Plight Of A Simple Wager

by | 07.12.2017 | 8:13am
Heavy show wagering on favorite Terra Promessa, who finished off the board, led to big show payouts in the Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park earlier this year

The modern menu of betting options in North American horse racing has reached dizzying levels. Daily Double, Pick 3, 4, 5, 6, exacta, trifecta, superfecta, Super High Five, Pick 6 jackpots, Grand Slams, Place Pick All. You get the idea.

But it's one of the oldest and most basic wagers that has horseplayers in fits, ADWs suspending player accounts and racetracks cancelling the bet even when they're not supposed to.

Show: Pick a horse to finish first, second or third in a race. Sounds simple, right? Well, let's see what you think at the end of this article.

We'll begin with a few pertinent definitions you may or may not already know.

Minimum Payouts: In most states, the minimum payout for a show wager is five percent or $2.10 for a $2 bet. However, in two states — Iowa and West Virginia — the minimum is 10 percent or $2.20. That dime makes a big difference to a certain group of people known as…

Bridge Jumpers: Bettors who make large show wagers on heavy favorites, thinking they can't possibly finish worse than third, and the result is a “sure thing” payoff of 10 or 20 cents on every $2 wagered. A separate group of bettors aims to “kill” the bridge jumper by placing bets on every other horse in the race, hoping the favorite misses the top three and his money will fund inflated show payouts on the others.

Net Pool Pricing: A method of handling payouts that came about in the mid-90's primarily to facilitate wagering dollars from Canada, where the regulations required bet-takers to use the “local” takeout rate, not the rate at the U.S. track where the race was being held. Net Pool Pricing allows for the handling of multiple takeout rates. The result of this process for show wagering: a dividend remains that is split among the paying horses, leading to higher-than minimum payouts, particularly on non-favorites. It makes show wagering slightly more attractive than it used to be.

Minus Pools: Because of minimum payouts, when an overwhelming percentage of money in the show pool is bet on a heavy favorite, there may not be enough left after takeout to reach the minimum payout threshold. The track or ADW is responsible for making up the difference.

Breakage: The process of rounding out payoffs to the nearest nickel or dime. The leftover pennies are usually split between the track, the state and possibly other entities (breeding funds, horsemen, etc.)

With the definitions out of the way, what exactly is going on here?

In summary, the combination of Net Pool Pricing, the proliferation of short fields and the astute identification of minus pool situations by bettors has led to something of a confrontation between bet-takers and bet-makers.

“We figured it out in about 2013 at the end of the year, so for three or four years, we've been doing exactly the same thing,” said a horseplayer who chose to remain anonymous because his account with a large ADW had been suspended. Among the other bets he made each month, our horseplayer said five or six times a month, he was betting an average of $4,000 to 5,000 on minus show pools he identified.

Bettors track this by watching the pool percentages and anticipating when bridge jumpers will create a minus scenario after slamming down huge money on the favorite to show. Sometimes the pools will not end up staying minus, and our horseplayer's strategy doesn't work, but if there is a minus pool, his calculations make profit a certainty. He played the role of both bridge jumper and the “killer.”

“If you have a five-horse race and the favorite has 94 percent of the pool or more, we would bet $5,000 to show on the favorite and then a hundred to show on the other four horses,” he said. “Only two things that can happen. You either win a couple hundred (favorite runs 1, 2, 3) or if the favorite doesn't hit the board, you win a couple thousand. It's a no-lose scenario.”

You can be certain racetracks and ADWs don't like hearing those words.

“If you were booking these pools and taking a loss on them, you'd probably look into it also,” Marty Pohlmeier, simulcast manager at Prairie Meadows in Iowa, has told horseplayers. “That's not being confrontational, that's just the facts.”

Pohlmeier said Prairie Meadows has taken enough hits recently with bridge jumpers and minus show pools the track cancelled show betting on two six-horse maiden claiming races June 17. That turned out to be a problem. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) caught wind of the decision and told the racetrack it was a violation of state regulations.

“So a facility can offer win, place and show wagering on contests with six or more,” said Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the IRGC. “But then they can prohibit show wagering with five or fewer. If you have six or more, you would need to do all three (win, place, show).”

Here's exactly what Iowa's pari-mutuel law says: Tracks may offer win, place, and show on all contests with six or more betting interests and may prohibit show wagering on any contest with five or fewer betting interests.

However, West Virginia's law only states that tracks/simulcast outfits may offer show wagering on any contest with five (5) or more betting interests. So, they don't have to, but they can, and the law doesn't say anything about six or higher. California's law is more stringent, sort of. It says tracks shall provide win, place and show in any race in which there are five or more separate wagering interests, but in the same paragraph it says, upon a showing of good cause, the (California Horse Racing Board) may waive the requirement for a place or show pool in any race.

As you can see, there's plenty of room for wiggle and interpretation in the rules regarding show wagering across the country. In Iowa, the commission and track agreed an off-season examination of the rules' clarity might be in order.

“For right now, going forward, if there are six or more horses — it doesn't matter if Superman is running in the race — we're going to leave show,” said Prairie Meadows' Pohlmeier.

Still, situations like this leave horseplayers scratching their heads, groping for consistency. Our horseplayer said he used his show betting strategy for a couple of years, then suddenly was contacted by his ADW, who asked him to refrain from making the $5,000 show wagers. He kept on but was contacted again and told he'd lose his account if he didn't stop.

“They said your account has cost us thousands of dollars over the last three years,” he said. “My little $5,000 bets into a half a million dollar pool? That's hard to believe but then what am I going to say?”

The ADWs do seem at higher risk for exposure to minus pools than tracks themselves, simply because a vast majority of wagers these days are made through simulcast/ADW, not on-track. In most cases, the bet-taker assumes responsibility for its percentage of the minus pool. So, if the ADW took 80 percent of the show bets on a particular race, it must cover 80 percent of any minus pool.

While most tracks would prefer ADWs take all of the wagers they offer, some companies go with a hands-off approach. That's the case with Penn National Gaming-owned Charles Town, one of the three major tracks still offering the $2.20 minimum show payout (Charles Town, Mountaineer and Prairie Meadows have been referred to as the “Holy Trinity” of bridge jumping).

“If they (the ADW) want to take out (show betting), we've never had qualms with that,” said Erich Zimny, vice president of racing operations at Charles Town. “We kind of leave it to them to decide what's best for their business and their customer.”

Zimny said Charles Town has tried to stick to its own policy of offering show wagering on fields with five or more but has in the past cut off a show bettor at the track.

“For the minus pool, you're going to be feeding it dollar for dollar for ever how many dollars you're short in paying back the money, so you can definitely create some exposure for yourself there,” Zimny said.

But not every racetrack looks at this the same way. Joe Morris, the Stronach Group's senior vice president of West Coast operations, fully embraces the show bet.

“One of the tough things is to get new people to come to the track and we're always spending marketing dollars to attract new wagers. What's the easiest entry to our pari-mutuel pool? It's the show bet,” Morris said.

In that spirit, Santa Anita offered show wagering on all four of heavily favored Songbird's non-Breeders' Cup races last year. The track had to cover minus pools every time. When Songbird then flew east for a pair of races at Saratoga, show wagering was suspended both times with fields of seven and five. Tepin was in a field of eight in the 2016 Woodbine Mile and the track removed show betting for that race.

Morris equates offering show bets to a marketing expense in a gambling industry. He said he's never had a minus pool so big it didn't seem a logical cost, considering that new fans had the thrill of cashing a ticket.

“It just makes no sense to have a draw like Songbird – she's a promotion in herself when she races – you're going to use her as a promotion to bring in new people and then you're not going to let them show bet?” Morris said. “We think it's worth that investment (the minus pool).”

On the other hand, why bridge jumpers think it's worth the investment to plunge into a show pool with large sums of money in order to make cents on the dollar is a mystery to many. In fact, locating and playing against them has become kind of a cottage industry in forums and elsewhere on the Internet.

A few years ago, Stuart Slagle, now the racing secretary at Woodbine, set up a Twitter account that served as a social media repository for identifying when jumpers were metaphorically throwing themselves off the show pool bridge. The account is still active, although Slagle now as a racing official serves only as an absentee landlord and does not contribute to it anymore. His thoughts on bridge jumping from a horseplayers' perspective? Doesn't make sense.

“Mathematically, it's foolish because the precision you need to break even is beyond what most people are capable of. You have to be right 20 out of 21 times just to break even (with a $2.10 minimum),” said Slagle. “As a bettor, I was always looking for guys to do it so I could go against them.”

At the “Holy Trinity” tracks, the ones that offer $2.20, bridge jumpers only need to be half as precise, but that target is likely to go away eventually. Zimny said Charles Town will continue to ask the state to reduce the minimum payout to $2.10, and Prairie Meadows, after crunching the numbers for this year, plans to consider making the same request in Iowa.

An increase in field sizes would also reduce the likelihood of minus pools, but the trend, of course, has been smaller fields in recent years.

Horseplayers like the one mentioned in this article look at this issue as another example of “us vs. them” in the sport. It's hard enough to make money in this game, he says, between takeout and breakage, and then he's told he can't seek out an advantage when he spots the potential of one. According to his log of the handful of large show wagers per month, only about 60 percent of the time did the pools actually end up being minus.

“We like doing it and it's fun and now we're being told even though there's nothing wrong with these bets, it's like card counting at the casino I guess. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone or whatever,” he said. “They're making 17 or 18 percent takeout plus the breakage the other 99.9 percent of the time and then when they have to cover one of these (minus pools), it's a big deal.”

Whether or not it's actually a big deal, the regulations give bet-takers quite a bit of latitude in deciding when the show bet must go on. Track and ADWs, many of whom are in fact owned by casino companies, perhaps understand the benefits of allowing show wagering's unique form of gamesmanship to continue but will most often err on the side of the bottom line.

“I know the online community can be very enthusiastic about takeouts and breakage and bridge jumpers,” said Pohlmeier. “But when we see places where we're just flat out going to take a big loss on a pool, both on track and with our partners, we're going

  • Bob Hope

    not to mention the burn-out rate of high takeout which is of considerable calculation !

  • wmk3400

    Interesting. Harrah’s Philadelphia/Chester Downs no longer takes show wagers at the West Virginia tracks. Delaware Park does the same with West Virginia and also selectively declines to offer show betting on selected races at any track where there’s a perceived possibility of a minus pool. I take exception with that. I no longer bet any race or track that offers show wagering at the host track if the entity that I’m using to wager doesn’t offer it as well. I’m a gambler and these entities are in the business of gambling. I take my chances. So should they.

  • kyle

    Two dollar one cent minimum. Breakage to the penny. And 10% take. This industry…

    • wmk3400

      Kyle, you have my vote.

    • stevemak

      would probably require 2 years to update their software to handle that

      • Fallow1

        2 years? maybe take 20 years, like the year 2000 scare, billions need to be spent on this epic problem of changing the breakage and takeout.

      • kyle

        They use software?

  • Peter Scarnati

    I simply don’t understand the Iowa Racing Commission’s stance on cancelling show wagering on six horse fields. The law’s language has the word “may,” not “shall.” It seems to me that in this instance, the Commission doesn’t care to interpret the law as written and has unilaterally declared that “may” apparently means “shall.” I would suggest if the Commission doesn’t care for the language of the law, they should spearhead an effort to change it.
    As an aside, breakage laws should be abolished nationwide. There is simply no logical reason to rob bettors of the “odd pennies” in pari-mutuel payouts. It is even more egregious with how the
    “rounding” is calculated to make the final payout price. It would seem, only in the world of the racing industry is 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 rounded down. Absurd!!

    • SteveTG

      The penny ante theft that is breakage adds insult to the injury of punitive takeout. In a sense, breakage is the perfect metaphor for a tone-deaf industry.

    • dennis mcgarry

      I think the commission is reading the rule as follows. That if the track is offering a win bet, then it is a package deal, and place, and show bets must be included. The track is not allowed to remove one of the bets while offering the other two. That is the way I read it, and believe that is the intent of that regulation

  • Richard C

    The math is easy — no place associated with gaming operates under the assumption that wily individuals can regularly beat the odds.

  • Al

    Very good article.

  • Stan

    Simple. No minimum payout. If it looks too good it is.

    Tracks are against this They want the volume. Understand.

    The punter would be encouraged to rolling the bridge horse in exotic wheels. Higher takeout

    I am aware of a pari mutuel poker game recently launched that eliminated the minimum payout. Smart move. Tracks should follow suit no pun

  • McGov

    The only time I can ever remember not being ok with a PR article informing the masses…….lol ;)

    • McGov

      Well….not like PR didn’t warn the masses BEFORE Arrogate failed to show ;)

  • Charles Smith

    These clever bridge jumpers have been playing both sides of the street in WV and IA for some time now. I’m a rebate player, in a way I admire these guys for finding a better mousetrap. However, no one can expect ADWs to sit back and let people manipulate the system. Since early 2016, two bridgejumpers I know have been closed out of the same ADW and a third has been locked out of a different ADW, alll for using the hedging gambit at CT, PM or Mountaineer. I support the ADWs iin this beef.

    • Peter Scarnati

      The players are merely making bets in varying amounts on pools which are offered. I hardly find that as any type of “manipulation of the system.”

      • Charles Smith

        I don’t think they are manipulating the system, I think they came up with a way to work within the rules as they exist to make a profit.

        • Charles Smith

          I’ll revise that statement, I’ll say if they want to stop them, change the rules.

    • nobridge

      Thanks for taking the side of the ADWs. Can’t wait to see your response when they eliminate people manipulating the system by getting rebates.

      • Charles Smith

        There are some ADW’s that are in business strictly to serve rebate players. They don’t do business with the basic TVG player, put it that way. How is it manipulating the system when you are playing by the rules of the ADW, the tracks that agree to sell their signals and the states that allow rebate wagering. Hint, California is not one of them. If I wasn’t getting a serious rebate on PA racing, flat and standardbred, I wouldn’t bet a dime into those 30% rakes. In fact, California, home to so many horseplayers is a sheltered workshop for the best known ADW’s, if they allowed full blown rebate wagering instead of carrying on a form of economic protectionism, those name ADW’s would get blown out of the water. Without rebate players, tracks that run M-T-W would not be able to survive, that’s the flat out truth. For whatever reason, some people may not care for rebate players, but we aint going anywhere. The health of the horse racing industry in North America, a industry DRIVEN by wagering, depends to a sizeable degree on a robust rebate betting market.

        • nobridge

          Ok let’s say you are not manipulating the system. How are the people that are making LEGITIMATE LEGAL BETS like those mentioned in this story whether online or at the track manipulating the system? Are you going to tell me I can bet $5,000 to win on a horse but I can’t bet $5,000 to show on that same horse or my account will get closed or the track will kick me out. As far as the industry relying on the exotic rebate players take a look at the tracks with tiny WPS pools, their exotic pools are small too. The large WPS pools help bring money into the exotics. Also I believe these races with massive bridgejumpers bring money into other pools in those races that wouldn’t normally be there which helps offset some of the minus pools.

          • Fallow1

            I’d guess if you wanted to bet 5000 /5000 you’d be allowed. They would make enough on the win bet to finance any pennies you made to show.

      • Charles Smith

        Bridgejumping, even in the form discussed in this story, is way different from handicapping and betting large sums of money on exotic wagers (for the most part), which is what rebate players do.

    • Mr J

      What a dik,lol

      • Charles Smith

        Youre always so classy, Mr. J

  • Andrew A.

    There is a

  • BombsawayBob Grant

    Mountaineer embraces the Bridgejumper, Ontrack analysts Mark & Nancy talk about them freely in pre-race banter, but the track ALWAYS enforces a 6-horse minimum field. Huntress Helena is the Queen of the 2-Furlong starter races there, & a popular target for jumpers. She runs again Wed.July 12th… I’ll post the totals in show pool on the bridgejumper twitter account as soon as an imbalance in the pool surfaces.

    • chaz63

      The #1 scratched…..no show wagering. Lets see how much/if the place pool gets plunged.

  • nobridge

    When are the tracks going to go to their respective commissions and ask to eliminate BREAKAGE? They are all taking millions and millions from their customers on every single winning wager. You got paid $9.80 on a $2 win ticket that should have paid $9.99. Think about the amount of money kept from every customer all day long at every single track tbred/harness/quarters/dogs on every single wager. But the occasional times when they have to pay $2.10 on a bet that maybe should have paid $2.05 or $1.98 they go ballistic. This doesn’t come anywhere near the amount of money they are stealing on breakage. They are always crying. So many tracks on the verge of extinction cried and complained until they got racinos. Now they are making fortunes on slot machines. Many bettors have given up trying to handicap the cheating that is going on and resorted to making these show bets. Guess what, the next step is they wont be betting at all after these accounts and pools keep getting canceled. 7,8, and 9 horse fields are getting show pools canceled and even sometimes place pools as well. Santa Anita allows the show betting but customers at the same Stronach owned Xpressbet will get their accounts closed for betting into these pools. Irony at its best! When a customer asked for an explanation about the show pools all of a sudden being dropped at Praire Meadows on Twitter no answer was given after multiple requests. Nice customer service. How much money is being lost in purse money for the horseman from the reduced handle of these bets being canceled and customers accounts being closed. The horseman have no clue what is going on because until this article this whole situation has been laying underneath the radar. Bettors should not be treated like criminals for making legal bets.

  • Concerned Observer

    When the recreational bettor deserted the sport (about 25 years ago) it left the remains to the sharks to fight to fight it out among themselves. It has become a war of attrition, and we seem to be watching the demise of the few remaining soldiers.

    • Fallow1

      This is the unspoken problem the game won’t face up to.

      It needs sucker money to prosper.

      It’s not coming back.

  • I’m having a little difficulty with the anonymous horseplayer’s math. Using his example, if I bet $5000 on a 1-9 horse with a minus pool in my state (Florida), and $100 each on the four other horses in the five-horse field, and the favorite finishes either 1-2-3, the return is $5250…a 5% return on the money I wagered on the favorite. The total amount I invested into the race is $5400 ($5000 + $400), which amounts to a loss of $150. In the rare instances when a minus pool does occur, and the favorite does not hit the board, then yes, the return on this type of wager can be lucrative. However, if you are like most horseplayers and you do not presently live in the two states (Iowa and West Virginia) that guarantees a 10% return – and even then, you are making only a $100 profit on your investment when a minus pool favorite finishes on the board – you are losing money just about every time you make this wager, not making a “couple hundred dollars” as the horseplayer asserts. It is not a “no-lose” scenario.

    • chaz63

      glad somebody else noticed that

    • Peter Scarnati

      Umm. I think you forgot that the bettor also collects $105 for two of the other horses which finished in the money, Doing the math reveals he collects $5250 on the fav and $105 on the two other placers, for a total of $460 (or $5460). A win of $60. Not much, but a win nonetheless.

      • True. I guess a 1% profit still counts as a positive return, but certainly not worth the time and investment that is required to achieve it. And that’s the real point. I can think of far easier betting techniques requiring much less of a bankroll that will produce the same return of $60. The trouble is, they are mathematical exercises devoid of any enjoyment one derives from handicapping a horse race. So what’s the point?

        • Peter Scarnati

          Actually I think it is quite brilliant. The point is simple — making money.
          There is no risk whatsoever as a profit — albeit a small one — is guaranteed no matter the outcome of the race. And it could be way more than 1% depending on which horses hit the board.
          True, the investment in this case is substantial. However, one could invest far less and still realize a minimum 1% return. After all, 1% of $10 is still a 1% gain! As far as the time involved goes, in less than 2 minutes, the profit is earned. Where else can such a guaranteed profit be earned so quickly?
          As far as the “enjoyment” of handicapping a race, what could possibly be more enjoyable than going to the window then waiting a couple of minutes to see how much you will win, Guaranteed!!
          If you have a betting technique as you claim which GUARANTEES the same return, I’d like to hear about. Mankind (at least those who gamble) has been looking for such a technique for hundreds of years. You must be on to something.

          • More Cowbell

            “Among the other bets he made each month, our horseplayer said five or
            six times a month, he was betting an average of $4,000 to 5,000 on minus
            show pools he identified.” If this is true the minimum profit would be about $240/month at 5% tracks and $480/month at the 10% tracks. This anonymous bettor is taking his ADW for hundreds of dollars a month and did it over a few years. “They said your account has cost us thousands of dollars over the last
            three years,” he said. “My little $5,000 bets into a half a million
            dollar pool? That’s hard to believe but then what am I going to say?” I’d say he doubled his original investment in a little over a year and that’s with the favorite cashing every time. More if even 1 favorite ran out.

          • johnnyknj

            “what could possibly be more enjoyable than going to the window then waiting a couple of minutes to see how much you will win, Guaranteed!!”

            Well, for me, and I suspect many other handicappers, the enjoyment comes from taking the varied information and data available, along with an understanding of the tendencies of the people involved, the physical evaluation of the horse and whatever else you may put in the mix, and distilling all that into a bet that pays off. A sure fire return based on algorithms may be terrific financially but hardly satisfying to those trying to unlock the mysteries of handicapping.

          • Peter Scarnati

            I agree somewhat with what you say, but you’ve missed the point. You talk of all the nuances when handicapping a race and picking a winner. What about all that effort going down the drain with a losing ticket? Is that “enjoyable?”
            Bottom line is, people gamble for one reason only — to WIN money. That is where the enjoyment comes from. Maybe I’m some sort of exception, but I gain no joy from a losing bet.

          • johnnyknj

            By definition, it isn’t gambling if you are a guaranteed winner. I’d rather buy bonds.

    • I’d almost rather go in for 100/show on everyone except the favorite and not wager on favorite at all. Using example of Azeri Stakes above in article, 980+620+2270 = $3870 return on a $500 (5 horse) or $600 (6 horse) investment. Much better than $60-$100 roi.

    • Neigh Sayer

      It’s mostly being done at tracks that offer a minimum of 10% payout for show not the 5% example you’re going with.

    • Tom Davis

      You will also get back 105.00 on each of the other 2 horses who showed. 5250+210=5460.00. A profit of 60.00. But this isn’t what the big plunger is hoping for. He wants the favorite to run off the board and the 3 show payoffs will be more than 100.00 each if the favorite had at least 94% of the show pool. If the favorite hits the board, you get your money back plus 60.00.

  • Guest

    If a track were to take $1mil on a single horse to show and not a single penny on any other horse in that race and the $1mil horse hits the board, the total out of pocket payout would be $50k. I’m supposed to believe that amount is suddenly even an issue facing the industry? Am I also supposed to believe the major circuits don’t make $50k a day in stolen money via breakage? And ADW’s are happy to get the bigger cut on each bet placed when money is being lost by the bettors but don’t want to take potentially small change losses along the way? Pathetic whining…

    • nobridge

      You nailed it completely! Just in any one given race with normal win place show pools how much money is kept on breakage with approx. $25k to $100k being bet. Winner pays $7.40 but actual payout should have been lets say $7.55 then you have 2 place payoffs with similar breakage of customers losing anywhere from .01 to .19 and maybe more in some pools and then 3 show payoffs as well. Then you have breakage on all the exotics. 10 races a day 4 or 5 days a week. Oh how I wish they would get their way on these bridgejumpers and lose the money on breakage in the process. It would serve them right!

    • Guest2

      Actually, if it was one of the tracks paying out $2.20, taking a $1M show bet would mean they’re paying $300k out of pocket.
      Total Pool: $1M
      Net Pool (assume 20% takeout): $800k
      Payout per $1 to bridgejumping winners: $1.10
      Winning dollars: $1M
      Total paid out: $1,1M
      And since the minus pool is going to be the net pool minus the total paid out ($800,000 – $1,100,000), the entity taking the bet is on the hook for $300,000 of cold hard cash. Some places might be able to absorb it but that’s going to put a LOT of places out of business.

      • nobridge

        I would like to see the math done in a more real world scenario with the favorite having somewhere between 85% and 90% of the pool

        • Anonymous

          The 20% is not an asset until the race is complete. The $1,000,000 bet includes the 20% take. The only true loss covered is the minimum returned.

    • JustJoe

      You guys are forgetting the statutory payments to the state, purses and breeders. These payments could be $100,000 on your million dollar bet.

  • DanM

    There are rare instances of bridgejumpers betting into the place pool. Check out the chart for the Floral Park Heatherten Stakes at Belmont on June 21, 2009. Cocoa Beach was 3 to 20 and finished last in a field of 4.

    Hilarious when the bridgejumpers get burned.

  • robnokes

    A lot of complexity that hides the fact that horse racing is a bad bet (investment). Make the takeout simple and fair to the bettor (investor) and hopefully the smart money comes back to racing.

    Why do small racetracks have so many gimmick bets? Their focus should be building liquidity into the pools so gamblers can make bigger bets. A perfect example is having a Q pool of $2,000 and an EX pool of $4,000. Just eliminate the Q pool and allow for $1 EX Boxes.

    • Fallow1

      Smart money is already here.
      We need the dumb money.

  • cincybulljags

    One of the best bets I ever placed was thanks to bridge jumpers. I was at the old River Downs. They had a turf sprint race coming up, with Perry Outzs on the favorite. It was a horse that had backed up several times in the stretch and was running, I think, a half furlong longer this day with a bunch of other early speed in the race (they were betting on his class and jockey). I was already betting against the horse in my exactas, tri’s, etc. About 2 minutes before the race I noticed about $20,000 had been bet to show on the favorite (all the others were less than $100). So I decided to put $10 to show on all the other horses (pretty sure it was a 7 horse field). The favorite led until the top of the stretch and faded to last. Each of the three horses paid around $50 for a nice little ROI.

  • Big G

    I think any bettor who bets to show as a bridgejumper should have their heads examined ,, i remember about 15 years ago there was a gentlemen that the local press gave him the name of the mad bomber , used to bet 100k to show on 1/2 shots at aqueduct in the winter, but what made this crazy he would make the bet at O.T.B. where they would take more of his winnings after o.t.b. took there cut ,,

    • Fallow1

      Yeah, but he saved massive amounts of subway fare.

    • wmk3400

      If it was a true minus pool the show payoff would’ve been $2.10. That is the only payoff that was too low for OTB to tax so they would get the same $2.10. Now if the show bet paid $2.20 he would’ve been paid the same $2.10, a loss of 50% of the profit. With apologies the people who lost their jobs (only some that is) I’m glad NYCOTB folded. I wish every other OTB region in New York State would follow suit.

      • Big G

        dear wmk,, I have too disagree with you on this very subject, NYRA made the stupid mistake of not controlling its own product , they were asked too own the O.T.B.’S but refused , because their answer was people would want to come to the track to watch and wager on live racing , HUGE mistake , their are 12 million people in the city of NY and the 5 boroughs , with no place too wager , there must easily be 2 million a day of lost pool money , NYRA now should place one fancy off track betting parlor in each of the 5 boro’s so people have a place too wager, pay track prices , no take out because NYRA owns the parlor’s , I agree you dont need 20 O.T.B.’S in one borough , to much overhead and salary , it was a rackett for the corrupt politicians, how can you grow a sport if you dont use the natural resources , that are in your own backyard ..

        • wmk3400

          @Big G. Cool, that is your right.

          By the way several weeks ago in a related article I wrote pretty much the same thing that you just did about Howard Samuels first going to the NYRA (though I first mistakenly blamed the horsemen but was corrected) when it was first legalized @1968 to set up the NYCOTBs and the NYRA refuse the monopoly. You cannot make that up. Clueless!

          I don’t understand what it is specifically you disagree with since I am in agreement with your take. I would have thought that it would be impossible for a bookmaker/simulcast operator to lose money but NYCOTB managed to do just that. Yes it was corrupt and yes it was top-heavy. For example I remember Gov. Nelson Rockefeller appointing a yachting buddy Emil Moshbacher as either head of (I forget) the NYRA or the NY Racing Commission. I also remember David Dinkins appointing Hazel Dukes president of NYCOTB (both are as outrageous as it gets). Those are just two examples. There are many more.

          It wasn’t just the number of OTBs in and around NYC but the bloated level of management that killed the operation which in my opinion was putrid. Speaking of poor operations for example…….how many years did the NYRA not allow for signals in OTB parlors. How many years where there no seats? How many years were there NO BATHROOMS?? I have no sympathy for anybody who misses OTB anywhere in New York State especially in the city. I suggest they open online accounts instead.

          A friend of mine once called OTB the only s**house without a toilet. Perfect.

          • Big G

            yes sir you hit the nail on the head about it all, what im trying to convey is the missed money from a 12 million person population with no outlet to bet ,,,yes otb was a disgrace, as mayor Guilianni said , the only bookmaker to lose money,,, bloated democrats patronage jobs,, hazel dukes running otb was a joke,, I have friends who like to wager on big racing days like the triple crown, breeders cup, they dont want to open a account to use 3 or 4 times a year ,,, they would like to go to the neighborhood otb make a bet if they win, rush down to cash the ticket and take their families out to dinner on the winnings, now they all call me to place their wagers and sometimes its a pain in the butt. good luck to you big g.

          • wmk3400

            I feel you pain as far as taking bets for friends. It’s a no-win situation. Thanks and good luck to you as well.

  • nobridge

    Even though Mr. Slagle does not take an active role in that Twitter account it is still a conflict of interest. As a racing secretary who probably has a hand in field size he may also be responsible for whether or not wagering pools get kept in or canceled. It is inappropriate for a racing secretary to be involved with any wagering information.

  • Fallow1

    This has been going on for decades. No exactly a state secret.

  • David Worley

    Scott, I love this article and hope we see more of them on the PR. It delves into an important issue for bettors, gets at the technical details, and raises awareness. Well done!

    • nobridge

      Totally agree. The followup has to be about the millions and millions and millions being made/kept/stolen on breakage over the decades and decades versus the pittance they are losing on minus pools in just a few years of net pool pricing. C’mon Scott bust these greedy corporate suits.

    • A. Beyer

      Some article. Alert the Pulitzer committee. Jesus Christ.

  • Haroldo Dollarnado

    Now I understand why I lose all the time. Thanks Scott.

  • John DeMetropolis

    Okay, didn’t know that ADWs are made to be on the hook for making up minus show pool monies. And I didn’t know about the “Holy Trinity” and the $2.20. But how about the percentage of take the tracks get on the bets themselves? $1.3 million bet to show on Arrogate equates to how much takeout money for the tracks, breeders funds, state taxes and purses? If you pay out 5% of $1.3 million (assuming all parts of that payout are a minus pool) you pay $65,000. Haven’t the track and state entities collected more than $65,000 in takeout, especially when it ranges from 15-17%? It would seem to me that the tracks should love anything that increases the handle.

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