By John DaSilva
The New York Racing Association has been aggressive this fall meet with a new bet, a transatlantic Pick Four with another track. After successful runs with tracks like Parx and Santa Anita, NYRA tries something new with the bet this weekend, going international to offer an all Grade/Group 1 Transatlantic Pick Four, combining the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera Longines from Longchamp with the Grade 1 Frizette and the Grade 1 Flower Bowl from Belmont Park.
The 50 cent wager with the 24% takeout (standard NYRA Pick Four takeout) is available for wagering beginning on Saturday. The races from France will be shown on Fox Sports. The 90 minute broadcast will air at 9:30 am EST on Sunday with host Greg Wolf, NYRA analyst Maggie Wolfendale and trainer Christophe Clement, a native of France.
While Yonkers Raceway has regularly partnered with French harness racing consortium to offer simulcasts of their races to France, this is the first that we know of NYRA offering a bet in conjunction with racing in France.
Give credit to NYRA for a possible great idea. If this wager is successful, this could lead into the possibility of other bets combining top races in the world with NYRA races. Imagine a Pick Four beginning with the Cox Plate on Friday night/Saturday morning and ending with stakes at Belmont or Aqueduct. Or the Pick Four beginning with Stakes action at Aqueduct on a Saturday afternoon and concluding with a race like the Japan Cup on a Saturday night/Sunday morning in December. The possibilities are endless.
For the bettor, this bet could offer tremendous value. With the races from France, we have a field of 19 horses in the Arc and 16 horses in the Prix de l’Opera. Last year’s Arc winner, the now 4 year old filly Enable, is the 6-5 morning line favorite. She is obviously well known so the average bettor that knows her name will be using her on their ticket. But if she gets beat, chances are most of the field will be an overlay in the Pick Four. Also, while there are three coupled entries in the Arc, all horses will be uncoupled for the Pick Four. So if you bet the Aidan O’brien trained Capri, for the Pick Four if you want entrymate Kew Gardens, it will cost more money to include him.
In the Prix de l’Opera, the morning line favorite is actually the coupled entry of Wild Illusion and Winter Lightning at 5-2. According to information on the British website Attheraces, Wild Illusion is the much stronger part of the entry. Again, there are no couplings in the Pick Four so if you bet actual longshot Winter Lightning, you do not get Wild Illusion as well.
Hopefully things will go smooth with the bet. The lack of familiar past performances and knowledge of most of the field make it a challenge. Also we hope that bettors realize there are no coupled entries even though the morning line indicates there are. I would suggest doing research on sites like Attheraces and Racing Post to learn about the horses and hopefully you can find that nice overlay to key the major Pick Four score. In the future, hopefully there will be cooperation so the chances of confusion and betting the wrong horse are lessened. But we are excited about the bet and we hope this is the beginning of a new era of international and domestic racing working together to improve the wagering options for the bettor.