Back when I was first gathering some interest in the sport many of my Saturday and Sunday afternoons were spent watching and wagering on the National Pick 4. I would obtain the free Equibase past performances from the NTRA website, study them on Friday night and run over to the Wehrle OTB to wager on the races before post time of the A leg.
As a new handicapper I might not play the Pick Four with the fervor I would today, but I most likely bet a small exacta or make an across the board wager on one or two of the races. The part that hooked me was that the races would be shown on ESPN and I could follow my wagers along. I started to become familiar with horses on the west coast like Lava Man, Borrego and Surf Cat, to name a few. This enhanced my thirst to learn more about the different tracks and to learn more and more about handicapping,
On Filly Friday I was hanging with a group of six or seven guys (including several beancounters like myself) and the topic of the National Pick Four came up. The group all said they used to enjoy playing the wager and watching for the hour to two hour national broadcast and what a great way to attract new players to the game.
I think the last one I remember was back in 2005 or 2006. Sure Frank Stronach has tried a similar wager (the Magna 5) run over his tracks....but they weren't the weekend's big stakes races or televised by the World Wide Leader.
One of my wishes at the beginning of the year was to bring the National Pick Four wager back into the fold. I have to believe it would generate new interest, drive traffic to the NTRA website and increase handle at the tracks with the National races. It's been done before so what am I missing?