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Infighting, the Bizarre...... and Some Nice Stuff.

“The racing industry has a habit of setting fire to its hair and trying to put it out with a hammer,” said Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

“We are dysfunctional,” said Nick Coukos, executive director of the Ontario Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and secretary/treasurer of the National HBPA. “We have been for a long time and probably will continue to be. For whatever reason, we can’t get our act together.”

“My experience in 20 years is the worst enemy of the pari-mutuel industry is the pari-mutuel industry,” said Florida Sen. Steven Geller, who suggested the legislature could give the industry a $100-million tax break, and its factions would do nothing but fight over how to split the money.


Those are some comments from a recent bloodhorse story about racing. These are not my quotes, they are from industry insiders. Never is this more apparent than right now in the US, with the fight over ADW revenue.

In the real business world, someone mines for a piece of gold, a jewelry manufacturer modifies it, and a reseller sells it in a store. Pretty simple right?

In racing this simple method of business is turned on its ear. Horseman groups, noticing advance deposit wagering growing, is demanding more of a slice of the revenue.

There was a meeting last night about the fight, and it was reported on the bloodhorse. Give it a read. Count how many times you read the word ‘customer’ mentioned.

Yep, we have serious problems.

I hope that they do not succeed. The only reason this form of wagering has grown is because players are treated well, and rebated in many cases. The ADW gets a slice to resell (just like our jeweler above) and of this slice they innovate with excellent platforms, advertise and promote our sport and rebate to lower a price for the player. If we eliminate them, or try to take them over, or ask for higher prices, it kills our edge to help the customer. In case no one has noticed, the last thing this business needs is to be not helping customers.

I don’t like hard and fast rules, generally, but I am beginning to form one for racing. I think the racing commission should make a new fine: If anyone that works for a horseman group, or track does not mention the customer at least once a day, they are fined fifty bucks. If the past several years are any indication, the commissions would be rich.

Cangamble mentions a little bit about the fight on his blog. It’s worth the read, and it is a story worth following. After all, customers of thoroughbred racing can’t right now even bet many tracks.

In what I think is the most bizarre ruling I have ever seen, the Illinois racing board changed their rulings on the 2006 positives of Jereme's Jet and Holborn Hanover.

The Illinois Racing Board (IRB) has vacated the stewards’ rulings regarding positive tests on Jereme’s Jet and Holborn Hanover dating back to 2006, allowing the horses to remain as the winners of the races affected and exonerating their respective trainers. The rulings were made due to an IRB rule adopted May 1 regarding new threshold levels for pyrilamine—which was illegal at the time of the positives—that is now “applied to cases pending before the Board.”

Yes, you read that right. At the time the horses tested over for the drug, and they broke the rules that were on the books. But later they changed the rules, and are retroactively allowing the positives to be struck down.

Could you imagine this in the real world (forgive me for a strange example changing it to making a law more punitive, which clearly would not happen)? A fella gets stopped by the police in 2005, he takes a road side test and blows a 0.02, well below the 0.08 limit. Then a few years later, the laws change and 0.02 is considered drunk driving. The fella comes home one day and gets charged for drunk driving for something he did three years earlier, when it was not even considered a crime.

Ridiculous? Of course. And in my opinion the IRB will be making my next "only in racing" post. I think this story is far from over, and we will be hearing much, much more about this ruling. If I owned one of the horses who has to give purse money back, I would be mad as hell.

Bad news continues for North America Cup hopeful Moon Beam. He qualified poorly last week, and this week did no better. I notice he is on lasix as well, so that might indicate some issues. It looks like he is not going to make it in time for the Cup, but let’s hope he makes it back later for some of the big dances. He is a fast horse.

Something that we all can get behind is this. I found this fantastic. This website, is asking for people to sign a petition to ring the bells at the Derby next year eight times for Eight Belles. I am a softee. I signed it.

Secondly, this website is asking people to buy wristbands inscribed with Eight Belles name. They cost $5. I bought some, maybe you might too? The proceeds will go to the Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue and one or more horses will be saved in the name of Eight Belles.

Thanks to HT on harnessdriver.com for pointing those out. I heard he was a big roughhousing police dude. But apparently he's a softee, too.

This is the greatest game in the world, and the people in it never cease to make your head spin. On one hand we have the ADW fight, or strikes, or shooting ourselves in the foot in some other way. Then we have the love of the horse. No wonder we love the game so much; we can’t figure it out.

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