Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Harness Racing - Odd Man Out

Prairie Meadows, a racino in Iowa, is being urged to end harness racing, while keeping both quarterhorse and thoroughbred racing.

Prairie Meadows is considering changing to a racing format that completely splits its Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing while eliminating harness racing.

I wonder if headlines like this will be a wake up call for us? I have a sneaky feeling it won't.

4 comments:

Nick said...

They are keeping the $1 million in purse supplements for fair races at least. Prairie Meadows is my home track, and the mixed meet format they has frankly always been a bit of a mess so something had to change.

Harness racing has consistently had lower handle and lower attendance than either the thoroughbred or the mixed quarter horse meets. You also have to consider the cost to scraping the track to prepare it for harness racing (I seem to remember reading this was in the area of $500,000). Combine those factors with the fact that much of the general public here feels like horse racing is a waste of money and should be dropped completely at Prairie Meadows and cutting one of the bigger money losers probably seemed like the obvious choice.

I personally don't have anything against harness racing, but I'm not sure what sort of wake up call there might be here for you. Probably not one harness interests want to hear.

ITP said...

It's just matter of time until we see more of this on a much larger and violent scale.

It might go like this....Casino at racetrack subsidizing racing to the tune of $100 million a year goes to state government and says...racing is dead and just drains all of this money from us...we are both (casino and gov)hurting for cash...why don't we just whack up the $100 million and get rid of this parasite....DONE DEAL

Nick said...

What ITP said is basically what is happening in Iowa. A study came out last year saying that racing is losing money at to the tune of ~$30 million a year, and to say that it created an uproar is putting it mildly. If it was not mandated as part of the casino license that the track have racing it might be more than just harness racing being cut.

Pacingguy said...

ITP is correct. They had an investor conference yesterday regarding the casino industry in Atlantic City and the first thing attacked by analysts is the lunacy of subsidizing racetracks where no one attends. Slot money is a crutch and unless we get people interested in the sport; and that also means in the grandstands, people are going to question why to support racing with slot revenue when it can go to the state.