• Turning $8 into $1,500

    POSTED Jan 10, 2012
    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.
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