A pair of harness racing giants — the Meadowlands and Woodbine Entertainment — are joining forces to create a wager certain to titillate the palate of any punter when the “Can-Am Pick-4” makes its debut on Friday, March 22.
As the name suggests, the wager requires players to select the winners of four races from Canada and America. Two of those races will take place at the mile oval in East Rutherford, N.J., with the other pair to be contested at Woodbine Mohawk Park, the seven-eighths track outside Milton, Ont.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with everybody at Woodbine Entertainment,” said Meadowlands’ Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “They have a great racing product and so do we, and to combine those products to make one wager that’s sure to create increased interest for both tracks is great for business as well as the sport. We are optimistic that followers of both the Meadowlands and Woodbine Mohawk Park will jump headlong into the challenge the Can-Am Pick-4 presents.”
The CAP4 will have a 20-cent minimum bet and a low 15 percent takeout. That’s good for the bettor. But the management teams at the industry’s top two tracks also want to tackle a source of frustration for racing fans: the drag.
Both tracks will work together beginning on Friday nights (effective March 22) to lessen the drags. The plan calls for, at three minutes past zero to post, the countdown clock would start; at four past zero, horses called; and at five past, the race goes off.
“We will both be doing this as the leaders of this industry,” said Settlemoir. “We want to move the needle back on these outlandish drags but it will take an industry-wide initiative to make it happen. We will be taking the first step in doing so and are hoping that our fans will continue to wager the same or more.”
The Can-Am Pick-4 will be made up of the next-to-last race at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with the tracks then alternating until the bet concludes at the Big M. The pools will be separate but both tracks will share equally in revenues. If the bet is a success, it could also be seen on Saturday nights down the road. Both tracks will continue to conduct their usual Pick-4 wagers.
“The biggest thing I’m happy about is that we have seen a proliferation of Pick-4 wagers utilizing multiple tracks on the thoroughbred side,” said Klaus Ebner, Senior Manager of Simulcast Services for Woodbine. “Both teams have worked hard to make this happen and it will be great to see the harness side get some exposure on bets like this.
“Our main goal is we don’t want our customers having to choose between wagering on Woodbine Mohawk Park and the Meadowlands. The coordination of post times will allow them access to the best two harness racing products in the world. We have worked together to stay off one another (not race at the same time) to the best of our abilities and, for the most part, the staffs at both tracks do a great job of doing that.”