by Greg Reinhart, HANA member
Located just 20 miles to the northeast of Indianapolis, Ind., is Hoosier Park, which took the fourth position in HANA’s rankings of the 65 racetracks in North America. Hoosier Park is a multi-purpose facility as they host a Thoroughbred, a Standardbred, and a Quarter Horse meet over a seven-furlong dirt oval. There is no turf racing at Hoosier Park. The Thoroughbred meet is conducted from July through October and is highlighted by the Indiana Derby (gr. II).
Hoosier Park received a takeout grade of "C" due to higher than average takeouts on win, place, and show wagers (18%) and also daily doubles (22%), quinellas (22%), exactas (21.5%), pick-3, pick-four4, and pick-6 (all 21.5%). Takeouts of 21.5% on trifectas and 22% on superfectas boosted Hoosier’s grade up as those were both above average compared to other tracks.
The major draw to Hoosier Park for bettors is the variety of wagering options that the track offers. A bettor can play 10-cent superfectas in addition to 50-cent trifectas, pick-3, and pick-4. Hoosier Park is one of the only tracks among the 65 surveyed that offered all four of these low-cost wagering alternatives.
"Attracting and developing new players have always been a priority for Hoosier Park," track general manager Jeffrey M. Smith said, "Exotic wagers at a lower cost offer the novice player an excellent value opportunity to experiment with horse wagering without huge financial risk. I consider these types of wagers to be the penny slots of horse wagering."
Field size at Hoosier checked in at an average of 9.2, which was only behind Evangeline Downs (10.2), Keeneland (9.6), Remington Park (9.6), Retama Park (9.4), Louisiana Downs (9.4), and Sunland Park (9.3).
Hoosier Park became a "racino" in 2008 as Centaur Gaming bought out other investors in the property and added on a casino to the facility. Hoosier Park now offers a "Centaur Rewards" program that is available for both slot and horse players and valet parking for members. With the addition of slots came a major boost in the purse structure at the oval, which should become even more apparent in 2009.
The average takeout, the superb choices of low-cost wagers, and the strong field size all added up to an overall grade of "B-" for Hoosier Park and the fourth spot in HANA’s rankings of the 65 racetracks in North America.
(Editor’s note: The views and rating system are expressly those of the bettors’ advocacy group Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA), and not affiliated with Blood-Horse Publications.)