The 2015-2016 Standardbred season at the Meadowlands Racetrack will get underway on Friday, November 13. In addition to kicking off the season with a flurry of stakes action, there are some changes to the overall racing program that the track would like to make the bettors aware of.
First-race post time has been moved up to 7:00 p.m. Several factors contributed to the change. The move up to 7:00 p.m. should help increase some of the pools on the back end of the card, as the racing program will not conclude as late in the evening. In addition, with the Woodbine Entertainment Group (Woodbine and Mohawk) now offering a pick-five wager in their first race, it was determined that it would be counter-productive to offer a pick-five just 10 minutes prior to Woodbine and Mohawk’s wager. By moving post time up, there will be a 25-minute gap between the two wagers, which is in the best interest of the bettors as well as both racetracks.
“The pick-five at the Meadowlands is a wager that has grown in average pool size every year since being added to our wagering format,” said Darin Zoccali, the Meadowlands Racetrack’s director of racing operations. “Moving post time further off Woodbine/Mohawk will help protect this pool, and accommodate the bettors as this wager can continue to grow in popularity with its low takeout of just 15 per cent.”
The pick five is offered in the first race each night as a fifty-cent ($.50 cent) minimum wager with a 15 per cent takeout rate.
When the meet begins the late pick four will have a new home in the eighth (Race 8) each night, thus giving bettors a bit of a gap between the two pick four wagers on the program.
“We always would have liked to have had a race between our two pick four pools,” said Zoccali. “But given that Woodbine and Mohawk offered their late pick four in Race 8, the two pools would have been just 10 minutes or so apart. However, by moving post time up, we can now put a race between the two pick four wagers on our program without being too close to Woodbine and Mohawk’s wager. Given that post time is 15 minutes earlier, this wager will begin at nearly the same time as in years past. This will give the bettors a bit more time to handicap the sequence and hopefully will contribute to the average pool size increasing. We recognize WEG’s strong presence in both product and wagering popularity and feel it is important to work together with them to provide the most efficient opportunities for the harness racing players.”
The Meadowlands will offer two pick four wagers, the early pick four in Race 3 and the late pick four in Race 8. Both wagers carry a fifty-cent ($.50 cent) minimum and are offered with a 15 per cent takeout rate.
Lastly, the takeout rate on the jackpot super hi-five wagers will be 15 per cent.
“We certainly are not a proponent of increasing takeout rates,” Zoccali said, “but due to the extremely low takeout in 2015, close to half of the sites we export our signal to, did not offer the wager due to the economics of low takeout and host fees. The 15 per cent takeout rate ensures that players all across North America will be able to wager into the pool.”
The jackpot super hi-five will continue to pay out 75 per cent of the net pool each night and carry over 25 per cent of the pool if there is more than one winning ticket. It will be offered at a $.20 cent minimum on the fifth and last race each racing night.