by Garnet Barnsdale
Twitter was buzzing Monday night following the first race at Pompano when an accident prevented three of five horses from finishing. What got the Twitterverse chatting was the posted payouts that veteran observers said they’d never seen before.
When race leader Open Skies fell racing down the backstretch for the final time, the two horses trailing him racing on the inside of the track both went down too, resulting in some injuries to teamster Matt Kreuger that will sideline him for a while. The horses and the rest of the drivers remarkably escaped somewhat unscathed.
But it was the bizarre payoffs that had tweeters scratching their heads, starting with every horse in the race getting paid out to show, all paying $2.10. It got even stranger when the Trifecta and Superfecta payoffs were posted which revealed that there were three differing amounts paid from the top two finishers for the Trifecta. The 5-7-1 combo paid $5.70 for 50 cents, 5-7-2 returned $20 and 5-7-3 paid $14.95.
The Superfecta paid to every possible combination with the three non-finishers underneath the 5 and 7, all 12 paying according to how much was bet on each combo as if all three fallen horses had finished in a dead heat for third when in fact none had finished, period.
Twitter regular @insidethepylons didn’t hold back: “If this is the actual rules as to how to payout when only two horses finish the race then Florida does need to decouple racing,” he tweeted. He also asked: “Why would somebody who had a 5-7-1-get 75% less than somebody who had 5-7-2 when both of them didn’t finish?”
Tweeter @ShotTakingTime quoted rule 61D-7/012 – Trifecta Pool: “Payouts will be made based upon the order of finish of those betting interests completing the contest” which would suggest that the entire Trifecta pool should have been refunded because there were only two finishers or paid to 5-7-All.
I sent an email to Pompano Park’s Director of Racing on Tuesday offering an opportunity to provide an explanation or comments but haven’t received a reply yet.
The varying payouts to the non-finishers seems out of whack and unfair to bettors that got paid less. Derick Giwner, DRF Harness Editor who has been covering the sport for several decades tweeted “This result is one of the more ridiculous outcomes I’ve seen in the sport,” a sentiment which seemed to be unanimous.
Flash forward to Wednesday race 9 at The Meadows where there was an incident that required the drivers to maneuver around a horse – Promise Blue Chip — that lay on the track tragically stricken and sadly passed away in that spot.
The decision was made by the judges to call the race “no contest” and refund all wagers. This resulted in the entire Pick 5 pool being refunded, too. The question that many people were likely asking seeing that decision was how there could be an opposite decision made in the Pompano race where three of the five entrants didn’t finish, two of them having no chance through zero fault of their own.