Infighting. Over the years it has become a synonym for "racing". And this infighting has consequences.
Ohio has announced a massive decrease in racedates for 2009. The business that can't get along with each other is teetering as a business that may cease to exist.
The Ohio State Racing Commission on Friday approved a 2009 schedule that includes no live Thoroughbred racing dates at River Downs and 60 days of Thoroughbred racing at Beulah Park.
..... “The handle has been going down by 10% to 12% a year for the last five years,” said John Izzo, the Ohio State Racing Commission’s deputy director. “This is just something else we’re going to have to overcome if we want to keep going forward.”
..... Izzo said the limited racing schedule could prevent Beulah Park and River Downs from offering simulcasting in 2010. Unless horsemen approve a further reduction in racing days, Ohio tracks are required to run 83% of the days they ran in 1991 in order to offer simulcasting the following year.
”It’s the commissions belief that since they are not running the minimal number of days in 2009 and they don’t have approval to run less from the horsemen that they will not be allowed to simulcast in 2010,” Izzo said. “Both of them disagree and say it will be addressed at another time.”
Wagering on live racing at Beulah is not offered by major advance deposit wagering providers TVG, HRTV, TwinSpires.com, and Youbet.com because horsemen have not approved the track signals to be sent to ADW outlets. Horsemen are negotiating an increase in the percentage of ADW handle committed to purses.
In my opinion, this business is unsustainable without an actionable internet and home based wagering model of huge distribution and lower takeouts - I have not made that a secret. I also believe that if we don't hit this issue head on, headlines like these will continue over the next 5 years and racing will be a shadow of what it once was. Fighting over a shrinking pie is not a business strategy, and this is a result of that lack of vision.