Del Mar Is Ready To Stop Being Polite And Start Getting Real

Written By Jessica Welman on September 15, 2017
Aerial view of Del Mar race track

[toc]The horse racing industry is struggling to remain relevant. Several tracks around the country, including in California, are searching for new revenue streams.

The industry could be getting a new audience though, thanks to a new reality show about horse handicappers. Over the summer the crew of “Win Place Show” descended on Del Mar Race Track in Del Mar, CA. to film its first season. The show premiered on TGN earlier this month.

“Win Place Show” pits bettors against one another

The show held open auditions at Del Mar in May. Over 200 hopefuls showed up with a wide range of betting experience. Some, like Helen Watts, have literally decades of betting under their belt. As Watts told the Del Mar Times, a 50-1 winning bet she placed in 1970 paid for most of her and her husband’s house.

The set-up for the show is relatively simple. Each week two teams of two face off against one another. Each team starts with a $300 bankroll. Over the course of three races, the teams place $2 and higher win, place, or show bets. At the end of the third race, the team with the biggest bankroll wins.

At the end, one team will outlast the other seven. Then, in the finale each member of the team faces off against one another. The ultimate winner will receive a cash prize.

Even though the skill level of the contestants runs the gamut, the playing field is a little more level thanks to a team of experts helping the contestants scout the races. Each pair gets its own Team Captain. The experts’ backgrounds range from trainers to owners to jockey agents. They can help their team research the raise, but they cannot advise what or how they should bet.

Pro horse bettor Jimmy Allard hosts

The man overseeing the proceedings is Jimmy “The Hat” Allard. The self-proclaimed professional horse bettor is new to the hosting world, but has over 30 years of betting experience to contribute. He spoke to Daily Racing Form about how the show will ideally bring horse betting to a wider audience:

 “Exotic betting is so complicated that instead of bringing people to the track it can intimidate and alienate new fans. This show says to new people, ‘Come out here, start with the basics of win, place, and show, then slowly take it from there.'”

“It’s my belief that the guy with the most knowledge has the edge,and if you can keep your hand out of your pocket, horse racing offers investment opportunities unlike any other form of gambling. Horse racing is no different than the stock market, just less corrupt.”

The show wrapped filming on Sept. 3. It then premiered on Sept.5, the day after Del Mar’s summer meet wrapped up. Since TGN is a network for horse enthusiasts, it remains to be seen how much of a new audience it takes in. However, the production team’s hopes are high that it could be the shot in the arm the industry needs.

Photo by Sherry V Smith /

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Jessica Welman

A graduate of USC and Indiana University, Jessica Welman has long been involved in the poker industry. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and as the managing editor for

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