31 March 2009

Doing our part -or- swimming with the (big) fishes

The good folks at the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) called a "buycott" today, and here at the Quinella Castle, we did our part to further the cause of lower take-outs and higher responsiveness to horseplayers. It was a tiny, tiny part, but really what do you expect of a castle crammed into a one-bedroom Des Moines walk-up?

HANA encouraged horseplayers to wager on a run-of-the-mill $7.5K claiming race, the sixth at Will Rogers Downs, and voices ranging from Bill Finley to the TBA's own GreenButGame joined the chorus to let handle-power be heard. And it worked! According to those with way more mathematical skills than I, the HANA buycott increased the overall pool by 96%, and the exacta pool rose by a whopping 147%.

Even the lowly quinella pool was up 62%, though sadly I had nothing to do with that, as I'm a tad rusty on looking for my favorite wager. After Keeneland stopped offering the quinella, I pretty much quit looking for the most melodious of wagers. Long ago, I resigned myself to a recurring refrain of "box that exacta and call it a quinella." So, while speed-reading the cool Trackmaster Platinum Plus past performances while sipping my morning cup of joe, I simply missed the Q in the list of wagering options.

This is especially unfortunate as the HANA race turned out to be one of those occasions when the quinella actually outperformed the exacta box wager: the $1 exacta box paid $19.60 while the similarly priced $2 quinella paid $32.60.

But the important thing is this: the Quinella Castle's tiny contribution to the buycott combined with wagers big and small to make a difference in the race 6 handle at Will Rogers Downs. Minnows as well as whales were swimming in those mutual pools, and together their wagers added up to the sort of efforts that can lead to meaningful change. Deep pockets or just pocket change, we've all got a stake in getting the attention of racetrack management.

I'll be putting some of my meager winnings into a bottle of cheap champagne with which to toast those smart HANA folks. And, since the Quinella Crew are HANA members, I guess we'll have to say, "Here's to HANA! Here's to us!"