Fantasy sports have been a huge part of American sports culture for a very long time. Allowing fans, or even professional sports bettors, to assemble virtual teams of real players keeps them interested in the sport. It is a fun and competitive way to keep fans tuning into games and following the sport.
Fantasy sports could be just what horse racing needs to feel a spike in popularity. The app StableDuel is looking to get more people interested and excited about the sport of horse racing. I have been following the social media pages for StableDuel since I saw a post about it in a horse racing Facebook group. I grew up around Fantasy Football and saw the excitement and dedication to Football that having fantasy teams inspired in the people around me. I knew that StableDuel could have the potential to do this for horse racing.
When I saw that StableDuel was offering its first challenge on Belmont Stakes day, I jumped at the opportunity to try it out. I downloaded the app, opened up Equibase, and began looking at the races on Belmont’s card.
Game Play: You were prompted to choose your own stable name (which could be changed later) and were then allotted a $50,000 “salary”. This salary was your budget for choosing 10 horses for your virtual stable for that particular challenge. Your stable, as I stated before, would be made up of ten horses. These horses could be racing in any race on Belmont’s card. There is no limitation on how many horses you could choose per race and you didn’t have to pick a horse in every race. Choosing horses for your stable is a bit different than choosing horses to put on a betting ticket. If you wanted a “favorite” to be in your stable, they were going to cost you a large portion of the salary you were given. A horse at odds of 7/5 would cost you $9,600 while a 30-1 longshot was free to add to your stable.
By setting up a “salary”, StableDuel prevents you from having a stable full of favorites and getting too many points too easily. You had to be strategic with the favorites you did spend your money on and hope that your handicapping was good enough to land you a few well-finishing longshots.
Points are given to every stable after each race is run. If the horse you chose came in first place, your stable would earn 60 points. Additional points are added based upon the lengths that the horse won by. For example, if a horse won by three lengths, your stable would be given 63 points.
As another example, if you chose a horse who came in second by a neck, you could get 40.10 points. In addition to that, if the horse you chose finished 5th or worse, you would get negative points that brought you down in the leaderboard. You definitely had to be careful when choosing a longshot to add to your stable.
The goal, obviously, was to get as many points as possible. The leaderboard was updated after every race, so you could always stay aware of how you were doing among your competitors.
You can view everyone else’s stables, but only because you cannot make changes to your stables after the first race’s post time. Choose wisely. If a horse scratches, you will be alerted and will be allowed to choose a different horse to take their place. If you choose not to replace the scratched horse, you will simply not receive any points for the race.
I found StableDuel to be a very exciting addition to Belmont Stakes day. It made watching the races extremely entertaining. I couldn’t be more excited than when Majid won the Easy Goer Stakes, giving my stables 61 points. Although you do not get the instant satisfaction of cashing in a ticket, it allows you to feel more at peace if one of your horses do not perform well. You will have 9 more chances to make up for it. All in all, I find StableDuel to be an exciting new app. Because fantasy sports are not considered gambling, most people over the age of 18 can participate. Those who find watching horse racing, especially lower level races, less interesting when money is not involved will now have a way to get excited.
I believe that StableDuel will be a great addition to the sport of horse racing and I cannot wait for it’s official release.
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