Superfecta modification not enough
The New York State Racing and Wagering Board took one small step toward allowing New York to join the 21st century world of wagering this week when it granted Saratoga the right to offer superfecta wagering on any "qualifying" race instead of the previous limit of three per day. Now it’s time to get rid of those qualifications, ancient and indefensible restrictions which could be said to have outlived their usefulness had there ever been anything useful about them.
First is the requirement that a race must have eight starters for the track to offer a superfecta. This was the face-saving fruit of a 30-year-old harness race-fixing investigation, and it made no sense then or now. The second is a prohibition on coupled entries in superfecta races, instituted because some ill-informed and long-departed board functionary thought that horseplayers would be confused if both number 1 and 1A finished in the top four in a race. There is not a horseplayer alive who does not understand that you go to the fifth-place finisher to complete the winning super combo in such cases, just as you go to the fourth-place finisher to complete a trifecta combination when two parts of an entry finish in the top three.
These two restrictions are a case of a regulatory body pretending it is protecting the public when in fact it is protecting nothing while depriving the public of what it wants.