JC / Railbird

New Jersey

“Whole new, fun world”

First impressions of the Betfair New Jersey exchange wagering platform:

The one thing that is striking to me is that I’m more engaged in betting throughout the entire process of activity in a race when liquidity begins to show up. So when trades begin in a race, I’m keeping my eye on that activity throughout the entire process. Because this is fixed odds wagering, there are opportunities to “middle” out of positions and lock up small profits in these fluctuations, if that’s your thing. This is way different than waiting 30 minutes between races to see when the real late money comes in to react. The exchange allows you be engaged in a race at any time, real action *way* before the race. The other side of this is that you can just name your price well ahead of time and just leave it there to be matched.

The exchange opens on Tuesday. Disclosure — I’m freelancing with the agency handling marketing and public relations for the company’s U.S. exchange launch. But if you’re a New Jersey bettor and you’re interested in the platform, then reading this player’s post about his beta experience is worth your time.

5/16/16 Addendum: More early players’ impressions are linked here.

A Few Quick Links

… and notes before I check out for a few days …

Jittery Saratoga fans? Reports the Troy Record: “[Tom Federlin] brings in about $1.3 million annually renting homes during track season. This year, for the first time, he has had to include escape clauses in the leases guaranteeing renters refunds if the track doesn’t open.”

Thank you, Saratogian editorial board: “For the umpteenth time, NYRA isn’t looking for a bailout. It’s looking for a loan for operating cash that it wouldn’t be asking for had it been receiving the money owed by NYC OTB as well as its promised cut from the so-far nonexistent slots at Aqueduct.”

Not quite right, Associated Press: “NYRA, plagued for years by poor management and sinking revenues, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008 with the help of a $105 million state bailout that sent $75 million to creditors and $30 million to help NYRA until the Aqueduct ‘racino’ opened.” Take note, anonymous reporter, that was no bailout in 2008 — it was cash for land, and the state got a sweet deal on valuable parcels as part of the franchise agreement it made with NYRA.

Regarding a similar error in a story about the current situation, Ed Fountaine asks, “Is this use of the incendiary term ‘bailout’ just shoddy journalism, or a willful disregard for the truth?” Neither answer is a good one, for anyone who cares about journalism or New York racing.

In New Jersey, Monmouth Park has momentum and attention. Saturday, opening day for the rich experimental meet, drew a crowd of 17,903 (an increase of 74% over 2009) and attracted $9,357,444 in handle (more than double last year, and a record for a non-Haskell day). There was more good news for the track on Sunday, with 8500 in attendance and $7,046,389 in handle (an increase of 126% over the same day in 2009). Trainers are enjoying the “bargain hunting possibilities” brought on by horses priced so low, running for so much. Out of six claiming races on Saturday, 11 horses went to new barns. The pace picked up on Sunday, with 19 horses claimed out of five races.

Goldikova returns triumphant: Watch the Prix d’Ispahan replay. The 6-year-old mare will start next at Royal Ascot. “I think she’s better than last year, when she just hated the heavy ground,” said trainer Freddie Head.

Belmont buzz horses: On Saturday, Afleet Express, a 3-year-old son of Afleet Alex, made an impression winning a seven-furlong allowance by 7 3/4 lengths in 1:21.72 as the 7-5 favorite for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. He was given a Beyer speed figure of 115, the best for any age sprinting, and second, at any distance or age, only to the 121 given Quality Road for the Donn Handicap. [5/25/10 Update: BSF revised to 107.] On Sunday, Flawless debuted with a 13 1/4 length win in a seven-furlong maiden special, zipping through a first quarter in :22.80 and a half in :46.57 as the even-money favorite. And get this: “She wasn’t cranked,” said trainer Bill Mott.