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Eckfield says Del Mar will be especially prone to corruption because of the new roof constructed over the arena.

“The new roof blocks the view of the start of the seven-furlong race,” says Eckfield. “It makes it so that the stewards have to rely on TV to see what is happening in the starting gate.”

McBride of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club agrees that the view is slightly obstructed but considers the issue a “red herring.”

McBride says that a camera pointed at the starting gate provides stewards with a perfect view, and the two patrol judges have a view of the starting gates.

“In the two years the roof has been in place, there has not been one instance where a problem or an issue was noted,” he says. “Basically, it is a nonissue.”

Local thoroughbred owner Frank Wright, managing partner of Torrey Thoroughbreds, remains on the fence in regards to exchange wagering, but he plans to keep a watchful eye. “It’s a different type of bet,” says Wright, who entered the sport last year and raises horses at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall.

“People need to do their homework to understand it more. My biggest concern is whether there are checks and balances. If it has any chance for corruption, I will oppose it. The sport isn’t squeaky clean, and this shouldn’t promote more bad apples.”

When asked whether exchange wagering invited the potential for race fixing, Hilliard responded, “Nothing kills a sport faster than cheating, and the industry is filled with safeguards. People will stop betting if they do not trust the system, and so far, they trust the Betfair model.”

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Comments

bmeadow Dec. 8, 2010 @ 1:14 p.m.

While exchange betting won't prove the panacea its supporters hope (it's for win betting only, you need a computer with a funded account, if there's not much liquidity nobody will care, etc.), it does have potential to increase handle.

Let's say there's a six-horse race with three obvious favorites at 9-5, 2-1, and 5-2.  There's no value playing the race--but with an exchange, I could bet against the other three horses, thus creating handle where there was none.

Let's say I need 3-1 to play a particular horse.  At the track, he's 5-2, too low to play.  On an exchange, he's 4-1.  So I can beat a big bet on the exchange instead of no bet at the track, again creating handle where there was none.

I could give many further examples of situations where an exchange will create handle, but this all may be moot unless the mathematically challenged horsemen's groups (which favored the most recent takeout increase) agree to contracts with any exchange.  And given their sorry history, I don't think this is any sure thing.
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bugmenot Dec. 8, 2010 @ 8:07 p.m.

I don't want to burst anyones bubble, but all the objections to exchange wagering and betting 'against' a horse can already be made under the existing parimutuel system. I won't go into gory detail, but anyone playing the game professionally knows exactly what I mean.

I think the Betfair model is fine if a reasonable portion of the handle flows to the racetracks and purses. It might even be an incentive for the stewards to keep a closer eye on what actually takes place under their watch.

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clockerbob Dec. 10, 2010 @ 10:22 a.m.

New York citie's government regulated/run OTB just turned it's lights out. One politician said lets give the horse racing action back to New York cities' illegal bookies.

Betfair in England has it's lights on and thrives because the take or commission on each wager is between 1% to 2%. Calif's government regulated betfair is doomed because the take or commission on each wager(which was omitted from article) will be between 15 to 20%

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bugmenot Dec. 10, 2010 @ 1:39 p.m.

15-20%?

Then they deserve what they get.

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