The Daily Double, as it was called, was one of the first if not the first exotic wager offered at race tracks and it was offered on the first race of the day. To win a Daily Double, you had to select the winners of the first and second race. As exotic wagering began to expand so did the Double wager. As I remember a Double would also be offered as the Late Double for the final two races of a card probably around the early 1990's. Currently, many race tracks offer rolling Doubles with a $1 minimum, but it has always been a $2 minimum in California as far as I know.
The Double is my favorite exotics wager. I
can remember I hit 11 straight Doubles at Del Mar one season when it was
the Early and Late Double. It's the "keep it simple" approach which
makes it attractive for me and I usually have success at the track when I
stay away from many of the other exotic wagers available.
It was announced (among other things) at the latest California Horse Racing Board meeting that there will no longer be rolling Double wagers at the upcoming Santa Anita meet. Instead, there will be three Doubles offered per day with a takeout of 18% which is down from the current 22.68% rate. The Double will be offered in race 1, race 4 and for the second to last race on the card.
From a race track point of view, I can see why they think this will
work. There will be larger pools with only three Doubles offered a day
and that in theory will lead to bigger payoffs. However, with the
already large pools wagered at Santa Anita I do not think it will make
that much of a difference.
After reading a few forums about this news of only three Doubles a day, it appears that many horseplayers are upset at Santa Anita. Taking away something rarely makes anyone happy and I believe horseplayers have a right to be upset. Sure, the takeout is lowered, but why can't it be lowered for rolling Doubles? It was bad enough that takeout rates in California were risen a few years ago and now they want to take away at least four Doubles per race day?
With a near six month meet upcoming for Santa Anita, they should be trying to attract horseplayers and not give them a reason to stay away. They should allow the Double takeout at 18% and bring back the rolling Double. This may help to build the pools and give more back to horseplayers. Isn't more business good business? Let's hope Santa Anita will change its mind.