NJ track to experiment with lower takeout rates

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Sept. 23, 2016

Darby Development, operator of Monmouth Park, will experiment with greatly reduced pari-mutuel takeout for its Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet that begins Sept. 28.

The 14-day meet will offer only turf racing at Meadowlands through Oct. 19.

The takeout rate for all types of bets will be 15%, by far the lowest in North America for any tracks operating at the same time. Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts set across-the-board takeout at 15% for its six programs of racing this year.

“While other tracks have offered lower takeout (rates) on specific bets, we are going across the board on all wagers,” said Dennis Drazin, adviser to Darby Development. “You hear over and over again that fans want big fields, low takeout, and competitive racing, and that’s what we are set to offer.”

Takeout rates for the 2016 Monmouth meet are 17% for win, place and show wagers; 19% for exactas and daily doubles; 20% for the Jersey Six; 25% for pick threes, trifectas and superfectas; and 15% for Pick 4 and Pick 5.

Drazin also said he hopes the experiment is fruitful and sets the plate for a similar platform in 2017. In an interview on TVG, he again said Darby Development hopes to expand on the Meadowlands meet in the future by offering dirt racing along with grass racing.

“Our goal is to not only reward those that have followed the all-turf Meadowlands programs the last several years, but to bring new faces to the facility and our simulcast markets,” he said. “This is an interesting experiment and one that we hope proves popular with the fans and continues to build on the Meadowlands Thoroughbred momentum.”

The short all-turf meets at Atlantic City Race Course, which closed in early 2015, regularly had average field size of 10 horses per race. Last year at Meadowlands, field size averaged just shy of 10 horses per race; handle increased 19% from 2015 and was up 25% from 2014, according to Darby Development.

(Photo by Tom LaMarra)