In an unusual development, the Horseplayers Association of North America has re-released its 2014 HANA Racetrack Ratings in the wake of a decision by Churchill Downs to increase pari-mutuel takeout rates to the maximum permitted by Kentucky statute.
The ratings are based on an algorithm using factors indicative of horseplayer betting value, including takeout rates, field size, wager variety, pool size, and signal distribution. Horseplayer and industry analyst Mike Dorr supervised the 2014 algorithm.
Beginning with the April 26 opening of its spring meet, Churchill will raise the takeout rate for win, place, and show wagers from 16% to 17.5% per dollar (up 9.37%), and from 19% to 22% for all other wagers (an increase of 15.78%). The move is strongly opposed by HANA as well as many players who made their feelings known on Twitter for several days beginning April 10.
Churchill officials said April 10 the decision is based on a need to maintain purses.
"Although we normally release the ratings only once in April, and then update new numbers on our master sheet on our website as we crowd-source, we felt it very important to update the final ratings this year," HANA president Jeff Platt said in an April 11 release.
Churchill originally ranked fifth on the ratings list but fell to 22nd after the revision. Three other Kentucky tracks are in the top 10: Keeneland (first), Kentucky Downs (second), and Turfway Park (ninth).