At the Gate – Thursday

The horse racing industry comes up with dumb ideas on a regular basis, and the fine folks at Santa Anita have come up with a doozy.

The Southern California track will introduce a new wager when the meeting opens on Dec. 26—Horse Racing Roulette.

Loosely based on the popular game in Las Vegas casinos, Santa Anita will offer a bet designed to feel like playing roulette.

Here are the particulars:

–Two dollar minimum win wager with customary industry-low 15.43 percent takeout.

–Horses (minimum six-horse field) will be placed into one of three groups, Red, Black or Green.

–In most cases, the morning line favorite will be part of the Red Group.

–The Green Group will be comprised mainly of longshots.

–The three Groups, in most cases, will not have an equal number of horses.

–Whichever Group contains the race winner, wins that “game” of Horse Racing Roulette.

–In the event that ALL betting interest members of any group are scratched or declared non-starters, betting on the Group Bet pool will be stopped immediately and all Roulette wagers made on this particular race will be refunded.

–In the event of a dead heat for first between two or more divergent Group members, the Group Bet pool will be distributed as a profit split (place pool) or, if there is a triple dead heat with as many Group interests, the pool will also be distributed as a profit split (show pool).

Now, the first thing that hits me in the face is the takeout. The takeout rate for this wager before breakage is 15.43%. If you are playing roulette in Las Vegas, the house rake is about 4-5%.

I don’t see regular horseplayers going anywhere near this bet, while it still may be too complicated for a newbie that wanders into the track.

I did not think the industry could come up something as bad as Jackpots bets, but Santa Anita has outdone themselves with this one.

No thanks.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Aqueduct daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

To purchase my Aqueduct Report for Thursday click here.

Here is the opener from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:

AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:50 ET)
#6 Ready to Escape 8-5
#2 Big Engine 1-1
#5 Connolly's Beads 9-2
#1 Frost's Song 12-1

Analysis: Ready to Escape makes his third start since April here for the Baker barn. Last out the gelding tracked the early pace and could not get to the gate to wire winner last out in a runner up finish, beaten two lengths for the top spot. The winner Encryption Key came back to beat state bred Alw-1 foes in his next outing by 6 1/2 lengths. A couple of quick works on the morning tab since his last effort and this guy is bred to handle a wet track if it comes. He is out of a stakes placed Giant's Causeway mare that has dropped four other foals to race with a pair of winners.

Big Engine showed good early speed in his debut at Belmont Park in a race taken off the turf. The colt set the early fractions and could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish. He does not need to move forward much off that effort to get the job done here. The Servis barn is 18% winners with second out maidens. The colt is out of the stakes winner Lady Bi Bi ($314,715) who has dropped five other foals to race with four winners.

WIN: #6 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,5,6
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 7 OClm $25,000N1X (3:47 ET)
#2 Cotton Candy Cutie 3-1
#1 Puffery / 1a Summer Squeeze 8-5
#5 Beyond Discreet 5-1
#8 Pas de Deuce 4-1

Analysis: Cotton Candy Cutie tracked the early pace in a pocket, had to be put on hold and ended up stuck in traffic, had to angle to the outside and passed a couple of tired foes late in a fifth-place finish. The winner and fourth place finisher both came back to win next out. In fact, this gal has run into repeat winners in seven of his last dozen starts. She drops a notch in class for his third start off the break for the RRod barn. Three back this guy was a game second in the Sis City and he catches a softer spot here. She has a second in two trips on wet tracks.

Puffery stalked the early pace and made a mild late bid to finish third last out at this level in going seven furlongs in race taken off the turf. The extra ground should suit this guy. Entrymate Summer Squeeze checked in fifth last out at this level in her first go off a six-month layoff. She graduated on turf two back going long taking the field gate to wire. She returns off a two month break here for the Hennig barn. She was not a threat in her two trips on dirt but looks capable of moving forward off her first go against winners.

WIN: #2 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,5,6
TRI: 1,2 / 1,2,5,6 / 1,2,5,6,8

Live Longshots:
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

R1: #1 Frost’s Giant 12-1
R2: #5 American Rule 10-1
R4: #6 Roziere 8-1
R5: #4 Adulation 8-1
R8: #6 Siena Magic 8-1
R8: #4 Catpsalm 10-1

Good luck today!