Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dead Heat at Aqueduct - But Everyone Gets the Same Payoff in the Exotics

Nothing all that unusual about a dead heat in racing. But I suspect there were a lot of Pick 4 and Pick 6 winners at Aqueduct today who were thinking that something was a bit amiss when they saw the payoffs.

Here's what happened: Yield Bogey, at 6-1, and Blues Street, at 15-1, dead-heated for the win in the ninth and final race at the Big A.  The win payoffs were a predictable $7.80 for Yield Bigey and $15.00 for Blues Street; remember, the payoffs are calculated by first subtracting the takeout, then setting aside enough to repay the amounts bet on the winners, then dividing what's left into two equal pots which are then allocated among the winning tickets for each horse, so bets on the horse going off at higher odds will get a higher payout. Similarly, there were two different payoffs for the exacta, tri, superfecta, late daily double and Pick 3, in each case reflecting the different amounts bet.

But when it came to the Pick 4 and the Pick 6, there was only a single payoff.  If you had either horse on top, you got $8,619 for the Pick 4 and $59,832 for the Pick 6.  Nothing to sneeze at, for sure.  But if I had a ticket with 15-1 Blues Street on it, I'd be pretty annoyed.  If the payoffs had been calculated separately for each horse, based on the size of the pools, it's likely that tickets with Yield Bogey on top would have paid something like $5,700 for the Pick 4 and $40,000 for the Pick 6, while the (smaller) number of tickets on Blues Street would have paid perhaps $11,500 for the Pick 4 and $75,000 for the Pick 6, assuming that the pools were divided in roughly the same proportion as the win pools.

I don't know if the Pick 4 and Pick 6 payoffs were mandated by state regulation or were the result of NYRA's own rules.  Whichever is the case, they should be changed to conform with the rest of the exotic bets.  I know NYRA's computers can make the calculations, so it's merely a question of someone having the will ton do it right.

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