Between The Hedges: Picking Apart The Pick 6

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) launched the return of a traditional Pick 6 – at a $1 base with 15 percent takeout –for the current 48-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet.

The Pick 6, part of the latest stage of NYRA’s pilot project, replaced the Empire 6, a jackpot style wager featuring a $0.20 bet minimum first offered in August 2019 at Saratoga Race Course. Prior to the Empire 6, NYRA had offered a Pick 6 with a $2 base.

There were three sets of unique circumstances used as comparison points to prompt this change, which resulted after analyzing data covering the months of February and March from the last three years.

In 2019, 31 race days were covered during February and March offering the Pick 6, at a $2 base, posting a handle of $3,333,022 and 1.9 percent of the total handle over this time frame. The average daily pool was $170,517. Of those 31 days, 10 featured carryovers. Removing the carryover impact, the handle was $673,569 and the daily average was $32,075, representing 0.6 percent of total handle.

The Empire 6 was in place for the same time frame in 2020. There were 22 days of racing, with a handle of $5,296,389 for an average daily pool of $240,745. That marked 3.8 percent of our total handle over this time frame. There were three mandatory force-out days that accounted for $3,852,771, or 73 percent of the total handle. Removing this mandatory figure, the handle was $1,443,618 and the daily average was $75,980, representing 1.2 percent of total handle.

This year, in the months of February and March, the Empire 6 was still in place. But the pool had a retail-only restriction and was forced out every race day. Over 28 race days, the total handle was $2,295,755, the daily average was $81,991, representing 1.4 percent of our total handle.

What was the lesson?

Customers look to participate in pools where they can expect to get a player advantage. In this case, the carryover constitutes an effective takeout reduction. It is common to see large multipliers on these pools and could be the difference in making a banner day of handle. The lower base of $0.20 also opened the pools to a completely new demographic of customer that previously did not participate due to the prohibitive cost of coverage at a $2 base.

So, what is the reason for the change back to the Pick 6, but at a $1 base?

The data showed that customers bet back in races within the sequence having handicapped the races already. When the Pick 6 was in place and had a natural carryover, it generated a significant amount of interest. In the year prior to the start of the Empire 6, there were 96 carryovers with the $2 Pick 6 in place. Those carryover cards accounted for 72 percent of the total Pick 6 handle despite being only 40 percent of the sample size.

Through twelve race days of the $1 Pick 6 at the current meet, a total of $1,494,647 has been wagered. The average daily pool has been $124,554. Three one-day carryovers of $61,085, $58,516, and $41,572 took place with new money wagered into the pool the next day ranging anywhere from a multiplier of 3x through 9x.

By comparison, the $2 Pick 6 over twelve race days in 2019 handled $963,566 for a daily average of $80,297. There was a two-day carryover of $23,659 and $87,484 with a 5x multiplier on each day. There was no racing this time last year to compare the Empire 6.

By bringing back the Pick 6 at an accessible $1 base and keeping it a retail-only pool, the wager has already led to three carryovers which should continue as the meet progresses.

Under the daily force-out schedule for the Empire 6 in the previous pilot program, there was no chance for a carryover and the benefit associated with it. The 15 percent takeout on the non-carryover days also falls in line with our Pick 5 that has been sharply trending upwards over the years and proving very popular with our customers.

Is this change permanent?

This format is another variation in the pilot program to find the right size in the Pick 6. Something important to keep in mind is that each of our meets are separate and distinct. One variation of the Pick 6 may work for the Aqueduct fall/winter meet but not for the Belmont fall meet. As such, NYRA will continue to monitor the results going forward.

Send your questions for Between The Hedges to betweenthehedges@nyrainc.com.

The post Between The Hedges: Picking Apart The Pick 6 appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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