The Meadowlands/Tioga 40 minute Pick 4 was one of the interesting non-Churchill happenings on Derby day. I was thinking of putting in a play but I didn't have time to handicap and was working an OTB.
The idea was certainly intriguing: a 15% takeout Pick 4, two races the Meadowlands and two races from Tioga, with the whole sequence to be wrapped up in 40 minutes. Simulcast races from Tioga were carded as the 2nd and 4th races at the Meadowlands.
I obviously didn't get to play, but when I got home I saw some people on Twitter talking about it. I saw some interesting tweets about there being separate pools and a bad payout compared to the win parlay.
For some reason, Meadowlands Race 2 (simulcast from Tioga Race 2) and Tioga Race 2 were treated as two completely separate races with two completely separate pools. M4 and TgDn3 were the same deal. This is utterly bizarre to me.
Most of the horses in the races had significantly different odds in the different pools. The pools were both very small. Case in point, Tioga Race 3's winner paid $14.80, and the Meadowlands Race 4's winner paid $37.80. Same horse. Same race. 155% higher payoff at one track.
Using the Meadowlands' win pays, the $2 parlay paid $1,030.97. Using Tioga's win pays, the parlay paid $639.36. The actual Pick 4 itself paid $157.10 for $1. What happened?
I really have no idea what to make of the whole thing. The payout completely baffles me. Maybe the players who bet $23k into the Pick 4 were smart enough to stay away from the messed up win pools and let less skilled bettors dominate them. Maybe it's just a crazy pari-mutual anomaly. I'm not sure. It's certainly strange, though.
I want to see racing keep trying things like this. I think they can be good wagers, and they're probably marketable. But bugs like separate pools on simulcast races need to be fixed. This could be an alright idea.
I have to give Gural and his team credit for trying something different. I just hope they try to fix and improve off of it. Racing likes to quit on things that require some effort. I'd like to think they won't just give up.