Horseplayers Rate Fonner Park Lower than Pandemic

Fonner Park

Fonner Park is getting some betting action from horseplayers during the pandemic, but that may change after Tuesday. (Photo credit: Fonner Park).

Horseplayers were ready and eager to wager on the mandatory payout on the Pick 5 at Fonner Park on Tuesday, but by the end of the day I am pretty sure the pandemic would win in a popularity contest with the Grand Island, Nebraska racetrack.

With limited racetracks left running due to the Coronavirus crisis, on Monday and Tuesday Will Rogers Downs and Fonner Park have it all to themselves, and horseplayers are sending it in.

Over $3.1 million was bet into the carryover pool of $479,810 to equal a total pool of $4,161,515 for yesterday’s Pick 5 which had a mandatory payout.

Jackpot Wagers are Bad Except on Payout Days

Without a mandatory payout 50% of the money gets paid out while the other 50% is carried over to the next day if there is not one unique ticket, making it one of the worst wagers in racing.

However, with the money guaranteed to be paid out on Tuesday, it made it a very attractive wager.

In the opening leg, which was the fourth race, Where’s Rufus pressed the early pace, took over the lead, came in slightly turning for home putting Taylor’s Prince in a tight spot, and drew away to win by three widening lengths.

There was an objection by jockey Chris Fackler, who had to steady when trying to get through a tight hole that really was not there.

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The stewards’ decided on the disqualification, and instead of the 5-2 second choice winning the first leg of the Pick 5, Taylor’s Prince was elevated to first and returned $19.00 for the win.

I had a dog in this fight, using the disqualified horse on most of my tickets. My top pick in the race was Ohtani, who raced wide through under a questionable ride by Jake Olesiak, who then seemed to lose interest in deep stretch finishing third.

Carpio Celebrates in Finale

In the final race of the sequence, winning jockey Rilardo Carpio, who seemed to not know how to whip his horse in the stretch, celebrated as he crossed the wire as if he has just won the Kentucky Derby. The purse in the finale was $3,700.

The Pick 5 returned $8,444.20 for 50 cents. Congrats to all the horseplayers and any jockeys out there that hit it.

After watching some very questionable rides and decisions by jockeys over the past couple of weeks, and now by the stewards, I have to admit I went on tilt today, something I don’t do that often. (Don’t ask me to elaborate on “often”).

But lo and behold I was not the only one. Horseplayers vented their frustration on social media.


Some horseplayers  think even Steve Byk won’t get the answers they want to hear.

Listen, I know when wagering on minor league tracks the chance of getting a mediocre ride from a jockey is going to happen. The horses are running for puny purses and they are running at Fonner Park because they can’t compete at higher levels.

To his credit Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak did tweet out to the masses, hoping to do some damage control. He did say he would “not address any piggish tweets.”

That probably just made angry horseplayers want to send twice as many piggish tweets. It’s kinda what we do.

By next Monday, after being locked in our homes for another week, perhaps we will all have a good laugh about today and fire away again at Fonner Park.

I am writing this to remind myself not to.

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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