As the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships approached the morning of Oct. 25, officials were hoping this year's $3-million guaranteed Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 would be a success in light of last year's well-publicized incident of insider tampering. Measures are in place to avoid a similar scenario.
"Obviously, in light of last year's incident, everyone is cognizant of additional tote security," said Ken Kirchner, vice president of product development for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Among the measures in place are recording systems for telephone and electronic wagers made through account-wagering services; security procedures to prevent "insiders" from gaining access to the system; and progressive scanning that allows tracking of wagers through each leg of the Ultra Pick 6 sequence.
"If a ticket is changed after a race, it would be flagged and identifiable," Kirchner said.
Finally, Kirchner said the fact the perpetrators were caught in 2002 and eventually found guilty and jailed should serve as a deterrent.
Many of the security procedures were developed in light of the NTRA Wagering Technology Working Group formed in the wake of the Ultra Pick 6 fraud tied to the World Thoroughbred Championships of 2002 at Arlington Park
This year's Cup offers many wide-open races, and the championships are being held at Santa Anita Park in California, where the pick six is a very popular wager. Kirchner said it's too early to make predictions on total handle for the Ultra Pick 6.
"We'll have to wait and see," he said. "We're not able to say accurately what the public will do. But the Ultra Pick 6 sequence is a very good betting sequence with a number of wide-open races. The payout has the potential to be huge. The sequence really doesn't have a horse that looks heads-and-shoulders above the rest."
The Ultra Pick 6 begins with the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) and ends with the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I). The two races that might strong "single" candidates--the Distaff (gr. I) and the Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), aren't part of the sequence.