Bring on Exchange Wagering – Please

December 16, 2014

I have often said there is no bigger advantage in horse racing than knowing a short priced horse that won’t win. With the wagering menus and platforms we have today, we are somewhat limited in the way we can capitalize on those scenarios. One of the worst beats to me is when you use three or four horses in a multi race bet, you leave out the favorite who doesn’t win, and none of the horses you used to beat him come in. That really stings. How can you be so right and so wrong at the same time?

With our wagering structure in the US today, even if you know a horse will not win, you can’t capitalize on it unless you know who will win. It doesn’t have to be that way and at many other venues throughout the world it isn’t. This is a time when racing needs to be attracting new players and increasing handle. Part of doing that is increasing wagering menus to include new and innovative bets that give players a chance to use their skills and win.

Personally I can’t wait for exchange wagering to come to the US. It can’t be soon enough as far as I am concerned. Not only does it create additional betting opportunities but it allows you to become your very own private little casino or book. For a sharp player this can be tremendously profitable. With exchange wagering you can offer odds on a horse to lose. For example two recent Kentucky Derby prospects I was strongly against, were Hansen and Verrazano. I did not think either one could win the Derby. I went as far as to say I knew neither could win it. Both horses took their fair share of support at the windows which I looked at as money being thrown away. Exchange wagering would have allowed me to scoop it up without requiring me to know who the winner would be.

They weren’t the only ones either. There have been enough to make some serious money. Game on Dude in The Breeders’ Cup Classic one year comes to mind when he was the favorite. Inglorious in the 2011 Alabama was another. I went back about five years in major races and found fourteen horses I would have laid considerable money on losing. Only one would have got me, Union Rags in The Belmont. I can make those numbers work.

Let’s say the odds on a horse are 3-1 that you feel won’t win. You can go on your exchange wagering site such as Betfair and offer 7-2 or 4-1. You have to have the money to support paying off the bets you accept if the horse should win, but that is a good thing, as it eliminates the sole reason one might not want to wager with you. You can set the odds as you see fit and accept whatever wagers you can support. Every year there will be five or so kill opportunities in this arena. The Kentucky Derby will usually provide one of them. This is a high risk high stakes game that isn’t for everybody but it will bring some of the whales we have lost recently back into the fray.  I’ll do north of 500k the first year and more after. I can’t wait.

On those occasions where you do feel confident about the winner but are not in love with the price, you can always shop the exchange for someone who thinks they are smarter than you and is willing to lay some more attractive odds. Think of the possibilities and competition. This can give the poker craze a run for its money.

Exchange wagering also allows wagering on races already in progress. Sounds easy doesn’t it. Try picking your horses at the top of the stretch for a week or two and let me know how much your win percentage goes up. While I will be passing on that aspect of it I will embrace laying and backing as they say in the trade. I hope it happens.

The racing game is often reactive as opposed to proactive. There is so much more we can do with technology that can improve the game and the whole experience. I recently read about a video system that hopefully will be in all tracks sooner than later. This system allows the player to choose the view they want to watch on their monitor. They can watch the pan shot, a head on view, and even an isolated view on the horse they select. That is a phenomenal system that will not only improve the experience but help with trip handicapping. It will have a pause and rewind so you can make your notes right there and review steward decisions at your pace. Of course slow motion and freeze frame will be available. We should be at the forefront of this type of technology. This is The Sport of Kings, let’s act like it.

Angie Stevens through Meticulous Talent Management put together a deal for Mike Smith to air in Bet America commercials alongside the ones that feature Chantal Sutherland and Kayla Stra. This is a huge contribution to the game by all involved. What makes this different and special is that the commercials will air on TV outside of racing coverage. Additionally Mike is a hall of famer who is always a positive force in the game. We need this now more than ever. Mainstream media has forgotten we exist and we have to take care of ourselves and remind them.

On the racetrack Take Charge Brandi cemented her theft of the two year old filly Eclipse Award from Lady Eli with a game and hearty victory in the Starlet run for the first time at Los Alamitos. Don’t feel too bad for Lady Eli though, she will make plenty of noise next year. Next we get Shared Belief in the Grade 1 Malibu opening day at Santa Anita. We have been fortunate to have a lot of late year racing after the Breeders’ Cup this year with Eclipse ramifications. Unfortunately even if Shared Belief wins the Malibu, it won’t sway enough voters to get him the award. I still think he was the best of the three year olds when all was said and done.

High 5

Oaklawn Park is long in history and tradition. I give them a high five for changing to a free admission venue to go along with their new innovative Lasix program.

I also give one to Bet America for continuing to step up to the plate and try and be good for the game.

Low 5

This has to go to Charles Town, their management team, and stewards. What has been described as a near disaster by some, was pretty much a disaster by definition. Granted it could have been a lot worse. Winningaswespeak clips heels and unseats rider Carlos Marrero. The loose horse starts running the opposite way along the rail during the running of the 1 1/16th race creating a very dangerous situation. Instead of the first set of eyes who picked up what was happening sounding an alarm system designed for this type of emergency, which reportedly includes lights and a siren, nobody does anything leaving the announcer to start calling warnings to the riders. Carlos Castro aboard Frisky Dixie did not either hear or understand the warning call nor see the loose horse. They collided head on. Inexcusable, as this is not unforeseeable and is somewhat preventable. The stewards didn’t call the race, and the clocker who has the emergency warning switch is not allowed to press it without a call from the stewards. Apparently the clocker and stewards do not know how fast things happen on the racetrack. Luckily both riders were okay. No such luck for Frisky Dixie.

Contributing Authors

Jon Stettin

Jonathan’s always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. Growing up around the game, he came about as close as anyone...

View Jon Stettin

Good Work here, particularly this, which is being missed by many with good intentions. Folks wanting racing to end aren't getting messages that matter to them. Thanks.

Erin Thompson @Pan_Zareta View testimonials