Avioli is on to something, but is anyone listening?

Maybe Greg Avioli, who is new to this train wreck called California horse racing, needs a lesson in how the industry here is faring these days.

The former president and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup, who is now president/CEO of the Stronach Racing Group, appeared at this week’s California Horse Racing Board meeting at Hollywood Park and said something very interesting.

What Avioli said has a lot of merit, but were any of the powers that be — i.e. CHRB and Thoroughbred Owners of California — listening?

I doubt it.

“We want to work with everyone,” Avioli told the CHRB. “When times get hard, it’s time to put aside your differences.”

Truer words were never spoken, yet trying to get the TOC to give an inch is like trying to pry that chew toy away from your dog.

Ain’t gonna happen, folks.

So while the TOC continues to stand its ground and argue in favor of the increase in takeout that took effect this year, the bettors have to suffer with bad decisions by both the CHRB and TOC.

Small fields, despite the fact the TOC told us the increase in takeout would lead to larger fields and, thus, more handle, continue to plague this industry. We had two five-horse fields and two six-horse fields during Hollywood Park’s Thursday program. Who wants to bet on that?

The TOC at first argued against the popular pick five, claiming it would not fly. Santa Anita wanted to institute it, but management was rebuffed. Finally, Hollywood Park was allowed to offer a pick five that carries an attractive 14 percent takeout, and the fans ate it up.

Maybe we should run a few more ideas by TOC officials, have them shoot them down, then adopt them and watch them flourish and help the sport.

Let’s start with rescinding that terrible idea to raise the takeout at a time when fans were staying away from the game to begin with. It just gave them further reason to turn their backs on the sport.

Sort of like a store with a $35 pair of jeans that’s been sitting on the shelf for two years and raising the price to $44.50.

Makes no sense at all.

Whittingham looks like two-horse race

I can’t see anyone other than Acclamation or Bourbon Bay winning today’s $250,000 Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Those two have a huge class edge over the other four runners, and Acclamation loves the Hollywood Park lawn. He’s won four of seven at Hollypark and, with little speed in the race, is a huge threat to go gate to wire like he did last year while winning the stake.

Bourbon Bay can lay second or third and pounce in the stretch under Rafael Bejarano. He’s winless in four tries over the Hollypark turf course, but he’s class personified and trained by Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale.

The $70,000-added Cinderella Stakes is wide open, but give the first-time starter Chloe W a close look. The Eric Kruljac barn is sharp, and Patrick Valenzuela in the saddle doesn’t hurt the 2-year-old filly’s chances.

I like one of two Bob Baffert-trained runners, Coil or Awesome Patriot, to win the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap later in the card, and Star Billing looks tough in the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap on the lawn.

Star Billing, by Dynaformer, has excellent turf breeding and is two for two lifetime. She comes into the race off a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade III Senorita at Hollypark on May 7 and can come right back and make it three straight.

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Hollypark pick six returns more than $500,000

Despite two boxcar winners, there will be no three-day carryover at Hollywood Park.

The winning pick six returned $518,564.80 to two winning tickets on a day when there was a $312,00-plus carryover and 37-1 and 23-1 long shots won the fourth and sixth races, respectively.

There were six horses in the final race that would have caused a massive Sunday carryover if they’d won, but the closest was Deliah Jones, who finished fifth at 15-1.

The total pool for Saturday’s pick six was $1.6 million.

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Boxcar superfectas at Hollywood Park

If you play superfectas when you bet the races, you’ll be interested in this — the super at Hollywood Park in Saturday’s fourth race paid more than $144,000 for a buck. Nobody had it for a dollar, but seven tickets had the 10-cent super that was worth $14,448.15 when the Paul Aguirre-trained Siempre Esperanza won at first asking at 37-1 and 27-1 shot Rags for Ben came home second.

Our Lady Gaga, at 6-1, was third and 115-1 long shot Girls Lacrosse came home fourth to complete the historic superfecta. It was the second-highest $1 wager in the history of the track, even though no one had the winning $1 dollar ticket.

Two races later, Brice Blanc, who rode Girls Lacrosse in the fourth, booted home 23-1 outsider Bench Glory for trainer Sean McCarthy in her career debut to help key a $30,000-plus superfecta. The 10-cent super returned $3,074.08 when a parade of long shots — Amelia Rose (20-1), Little Red Dress (40-1) and My Brite Caroline (10-1) — finished second through fourth.

The long shots through the first three legs of the pick six ensured there will more than likely be a three-day carryover. Threre was a carryover of $312,000-plus for Saturday’s pick six pool and Sunday’s figures to be massive.

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