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Tuesday Notes

The Breeders Cup for thoroughbred racing is dominating the headlines and you can find some good information out there. We'll leave that to other bloggers.

Thanks to Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report, we'll run some neat stories about gay horses and horses who get their head stuck in a tree, though. Those never go out of style. No worries, the horse is fine and if she is anything like me when I licked a frozen flagpole at age four, she won't do that again.

Harness news seems to be in a vacuum. The Fall Final Four is at Woodbine, but those races, unless we have a supastar in them never seem to do much for me. I went to Woodbine last weekend though and sat around the Trot Canada National Handicapping Championship. Trot did a good job and Woodbine playing host made the event look enjoyable. The winning bankroll was pretty light. One or two bombers and one could have taken home the prize, but no one seemed to land one.

Woodbine upgraded their toteboard and big screens. It looks a whole lot more like Keeneland, and they are improved. I always wondered why they did not show the computerized Trackus replays. Now they do. On the third screen, while the replay is shown on the middle one, they show this neat feature.

That is decent for on track attendance. I have an idea how to bolster on track attendance (of course it is from betting, not a giveaway or a contest), but I am too busy with work to type it up properly. I might get to it sometime soon.

I made a trip to the Woodbine Paddock. It is quite a site. There are flat screens upstairs, the paddock is clean and the television studio with shiny-domed capper Mike Hamilton is there for everyone to see. Some horsepeople tend to be critical of Woodbine at times, but wow, whatever you think about this, it sure is a nice spot.

Speaking of Hamilton, he continues to offer thoughts on the Woodbine Blog... er columns. In his latest post he gives Woodbine high marks for one thing, and low marks for another. In an amazing stat he says "would you believe that 40 of 143 trotters made a break in the first 5 cards of the meet and not a single trot race was without at least one on the run?"

A good article on the USTA site about brain games. With a good deal of dumb money taken out of brain games, leading sharks to fight sharks, your business can not help but dissolve. The pari-mutuel market in racing does not lend itself to growth in this situation. Markets change and smart businessmen change along with it, just ask the businessmen in Vegas who in 1970 were fighting a stigma and in the late 1980's reshaped their landscape. We'll have a post up soon about changing the pari-mutuel market to fit the new world.

I took a bit of time to research the harnesslink post we linked regarding the Chris Ferguson challenge. We often hear that poker knows how to promote because it is fun and stuff. Maybe so. But it is not the prime reason, in my opinion, as we have stated. This challenge is the marketing. Ferguson was given zero dollars in this challenge - zip. Then he was told to play free roll tournies to see if he could build a bankroll. He placed in one and made a few bucks, then he played awhile on low tables. His bankroll grew and grew and reached $10,000 within several months. That should not be lost on the marketing folks in this game. I will give 100,000 people $2 and get them to open a horse betting account. How many after several months will have $10,000? I bet none of them. That is why word of mouth is such a tough row to hoe in racing. There are ways to do this exact same thing in racing, however, (just think about it for a second, it is easy to come up with) but I see no one trying them. We do not think like marketers in our sport and each day we do not, we shrink.

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