It didn't take long for value-conscious horseplayers to see the benefits of the NYRA Bets Pick 5 rolled out July 4 for players at the advance-deposit wagering site, as well as on-track and in-state players.
The winning 50-cent payout was $8,181.75. A look at the comparable win-bet parlay return for the five races involved--$1,620--reveals the potential value in this exclusive, low-takeout wager.
The new Pick 5 on the final five races on the Belmont Park card carries a 15% takeout, which is attractive to savvy players. But beyond that low rake, the exclusivity of the wager keeps some sharp money out of the pool--like wagers from betting syndicates--offering participating players a better shot at value. While there was just $77,005 in the initial pool, winning players received real value in their payouts.
How can a smaller pool provide better value? Consider some of the exotic pools at smaller tracks, where a single longshot can lead to a horseplayer scooping an entire Pick 3, Pick 4, trifecta, or superfecta pool. For instance, a player may be the lone winner of a Pick 3 at Belterra Park that returns $900 on a combination that, if it had been played at a larger track, it may have only paid half as much or less.
This occurs because the liquidity of larger pari-mutuel pools are better at assigning actual value. The smaller pools may underbet combinations, providing an opportunity at value for winning players.
"Sometimes people get caught up in wanting to compete in a $1 million pool or a $500,000 pool," said NYRA chief revenue officer Dave O'Rourke. "It's all relative in the end. The most important thing is the payout and making sure you're getting paid out at true odds or above."
In creating a Pick 5 exclusive to a smaller group of players, NYRA is offering horseplayers an opportunity at a pleasant surprise payout in a day and age where there are too few pleasant surprises in terms of payouts.
One other opportunity for value in the wager is that if there is a single winner who wagers through NYRA Bets, NYRA will guarantee a $100,000 payout. If such a player were scheduled to receive $70,000 for the winning combination, NYRA would pay an additional $30,000 to reach the guarantee. This is not a jackpot-type wager, which only pays when there is one winner. NYRA is adding the $100,000 one-winner guarantee for added value.
"We were very happy with the first-day results. It exceeded our expectations from a handle standpoint--and we want to get it higher--but handle will never be the measuring stick of how successful this is," O'Rourke said. For this wager, NYRA officials are pleased that it attracted new customers to NYRA Bets and it's a wager that figures to create loyalty from players seeking value.