Portland Meadows to Launch Sweepstakes Wager

Races will showcase horses starting for regional racing clubs.

Horses owned by regional racing clubs will compete in a series of races beginning Monday, Jan. 4 at Portland Meadows.

The horses in the National Racing Club 6 Sweepstakes will run under team names from around the country. Racing clubs starting horses in the six races Monday at Portland Meadows are from British Columbia, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The six races, which begin with race nine Monday, each carry a $3,000 purse. Each race will be contested at two furlongs.

Portland Meadows will introduce a 10-cent pick six jackpot wager on the six races that will pay out only when there is a single winner, although consolation payouts will be available on the bet that carries a $100,000 guarantee. The National Racing Club 6 Sweepstakes will run once a week for up to six weeks and in terms of the jackpot wager, there will be a mandatory payout Feb. 8.

The series races will include another unique wrinkle in that jockeys will be randomly assigned.

"We're trying an experiment," said Karsten Hennze, vice president of corporate operations for track owner The Stronach Group. "There's not much simulcast product out there on a Monday, so we're hoping this wager brings attention to our product. We're also hoping it draws attention to the first eight races on Monday and our horsemen in those races.

"The races have been constructed to make them as competitive as possible and the jockeys have been assigned mounts randomly. We know it's a lottery-type wager, but we think this is an opportunity to try new things. We don't want to stay stagnant in an industry that needs to continue evolving."