Unique 'Choose Six' Wager to Debut at Delaware Park

Though the focus July 17 will be on the first $1-million race in the history of Delaware Park, the afternoon will serve as a proving ground for a new wager proponents hope becomes an industry standard.

Delaware Park will launch the "Choose Six," which will allow bettors to pick the races they want to use in their pick sixes, in conjunction with the $1-million Delaware Handicap (gr. II) for olderfillies and mares. There will be a $50,000 minimum guarantee for the bet that afternoon, and for the following month, a $5,000 guaranteed pool.

The Cantor Index, a subsidiary of Cantor Fitzgerald, and Scientific Games have teamed to introduce the Choose Six, which at the outset will be offered only on track at Delaware Park. The two companies have developed other wagers that will be rolled out in the near future.

Joe Asher, a managing director at Cantor Fitzgerald a New York City-based brokerage firm, said the pari-mutuel industry has three forms of content: the race, the data, and betting options. The latter, he said, has been ignored, and it's time to experiment with new wagers to capture the public's attention and betting dollars.

"We're confident this is going to be a popular bet, but ultimately it's the fan who decides," said Asher, an attorney and Thoroughbred owner who used to handicap races for the Wilmington, Del., News-Journal and call harness races at defunct Brandywine Raceway. "(On July 17), we'll get to see the reaction of a small subset of racing fans."

In the Choose Six, which is a $1-minimum wager, bettors make selections in any six races on the card. If they lose, they have the option to buy back into the pool as long as six races remain on the program. Payoffs will be divided evenly among all winners--the return is the same for all combinations--at the conclusion of the day's races. The pool continues to grow if players buy back in.

Asher said the ability to choose the races should prove attractive to bettors. He noted that in football parlays in Las Vegas sports books, the house doesn't assign the games.

The long-term goal is to offer the Choose Six to other wagering outlets that simulcast races from Delaware Park, Asher said. Those details will be ironed out when outlets sign simulcast contracts for 2006.

"There is a real need for new content," Asher said. "Scientific Games has seen that in its lottery business. Casinos are constantly refreshing their content by introducing new games. With slot machines, there are new games all the time."

Cantor and Scientific Games also have developed the "Group Bet," which will group horses in each race for wagering purposes in an attempt to lure novices. The Group Bet will be unveiled at a later date, Asher said.