Two TwinSpires.com players turned an initial $8 investment into at least $1,500 January 4-7 by "letting 8 ride" on the eighth race each day at Delta Downs.Thoroughbred racing has done a good job in recent years building entertaining content that plays off its core product. The National Handicapping Champion is worth a record $2-million this year, and TwinSpires.com was a bit part of that with its Online Handicapping Championship that awarded not only 20 seats to the aforementioned NHC event but also a $100,000 top prize.Many handicapping tournaments require a big commitment on the part of the player in terms of both preparation and participation. It makes sense that the bigger investments yield larger gains such as the $2-million NHC purse and $100,000 TSOHC top prize, but racing would be well served to focusing on capturing the micro opportunities as well.It is this single serving option (h/t Fight Club) that can make other forms of gambling so attractive. For many horseplayers, it is difficult to just pick up a program, handicap for a few minutes, and play a couple races, but I'm more than capable of committing just 30 minutes to blackjack before dinner or (back when online poker was accessible) play a quick sit 'n' go tournament before bed.Because I feel at an advantage when I handicap, playing without handicapping feels like a disadvantage. The Let 8 Ride game is a perfect promotion to encourage horseplayers to take the single-serving plunge on the Sport of Kings while still offering the potential for a decent return on a minimal investment.From a business of horse racing standpoint, the one thing I really like about this game is there is value for everyone concerned. TwinSpires continues to brand itself as a site committed to offering entertaining options for its players, and Delta Downs gains exposure for its signal as well as a bump in handle and potential value for its other patrons.There were 153 unique TwinSpires users who placed at least one (1) $8 win bet on the eighth race on Wednesday, January 4 (any winning $8 win bet advances you to Thursday, and some players did spread on the first day). Those 153 players bet $8,174.40 that Wednesday on Delta Downs races--more than double their average handle on Wednesdays in December 2011 at Delta.52 players advanced to Thursday and let $21 ride. Only two players advanced to Friday but had $382 to parlay following a 17-to-1 winner. Both did parlay and hit the $9 winner on Friday to run their totals to $1,719. On Saturday, one player stood pat while the other let it ride and swung for the fences with a $1,719 win bet on 2-to-1 favorite Atthebuzzer, who finished a nonthreatening fourth. She earned a $1,500 consolation for being the only person to let it ride on the final day, though a win would have been worth $6,657 ($5,157 from the win bet + the $1,500 for letting it ride on the final day) PLUS enshrinement in the Jay Trotter Hall of Fame.The consolation prizes available on Friday ($500) and Saturday ($1,000) present another interesting facet to the promotion: gamesmanship. Had both players let it ride they'd have split the $1,500 and earned just $750 each. That's still not bad for an $8 start, but risking $969 is a lot more than $219. Of course, you don't know what the other player(s) is (are) doing so that adds to the intrigue.Handle on win bets related to this contest alone on Thursday-Saturday totaled $3,575, which is more than triple the amount Wednesday's winners bet on Thursday.A new game starts this (and every) Wednesday with the eighth race at Delta Downs (click the link for free Brisnet.com Ultimate PPs). This is the fifth time in a week that I've looked at the eighth race from Delta, and it's the fifth time the race has featured a full, competitive field. You definitely have to earn it when handicapping this group.My selection to kick things off is #8 (of course!) Leaveittomebaby, who takes a big class jump into state-bred allowance company but is in form and should benefit from the speed being to her outside. #9 Anna Jane's Crane scares me as a lone speed threat, but the outside post on the bullring could compromise her chances with a 5% jockey in the bike, though he is 3/8 when getting a leg up from 30% trainer Ed Cormier. The top choices on the morning line, #1 Carencro & #4 I Dazzle, look as if they'll have too much work to do in the short stretch.
Welcome to the TwinSpires Blog. Our contributors will be continually updating posts to offer commentary, insight, advice and expert opinions on horse racing and wagering. The goal is to help you win more and become a better all around horse player.
TwinSpires' horse racing author, handicapper, and podcast host, Derek Simon of Denver, Colo. offers his insightful, humorous and sometimes controversial take on the horse racing industry. He even publishes the ROI on the picks he gives out.
TwinSpires' harness racing expert, Frank Cotolo follows all of the big North American circuits throughout the year, providing the best value picks and latest news from the sulky.
The Director of Marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS) and a lifelong Thoroughbred racing enthusiast and astute handicapper, Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times.
A writer and editor who has been following horse racing for fifteen years. Peter has written books for the Daily Racing Form Press; Crown; and Simon and Schuster; among other publishers, and regular features in The Horseplayer Magazine.
A television racing analyst for Churchill Downs, Jill has earned acclaim and a loyal audience throughout Thoroughbred racing.