Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Western Fair & Georgian, Trying to do Things Right

In the 1980's and early 1990's London and Barrie had a track each. The average purse was about the price of a nice 42 inch television. Mom's and Pop's raced their horses out of sires like Armbro Splurge and Fundmentalist.

Today it is much different.

On Friday the eliminations for the Molson Pace go at Western Fair. Two five horse elims, followed by a $280,000 final are to be contested. Making the trek from down south are standouts such as Maltese Artist. From Canada, last years Jug winner and World Record holder Shadow Play takes on older for the first time in his career. It is a compelling race. This race used to go for $25,000. Not anymore.

On Saturday, at Georgian Downs, the $500,000 Upper Canada Cup is to be raced. If you have not bought an Ontario sired yearling, you might be missing out. This is a huge purse and when added to the Battle of Waterloo for two year olds, horses that race in Ontario have the richest pots to race for anywhere.

Why can't we get handles up? Too many reasons to mention. But these two events are good for harness racing in Ontario. For racing fans in Barrie and London, twenty years ago they would be going on a weekend to watch a $800 open pace. Now it is oh so different.

4 comments:

Pacingguy said...

I often envy the way things are done at the Canadian tracks. With the exception of the OHHA/WEG mess, it seems the racetracks, horsemen and Standardbred Canada work in concert to benefit the industry.

Why can't it be done in the states?

Anonymous said...

I still think time slot is everything.
With network coverage on Monday and Tuesday they clearly destroy the handle the receive on Friday nights, despite still being available at all off track locations.
Does anyone think that Fraser would do as well as it does if it wasn't for the time adjustment?
The bulk of their money comes in after 11pm when all the other tracks are finishing up..so just by default they are in the middle of their card and pick up all these bettors with money in their accounts and nothing else on.
A little over 5 years ago Windsor tried a midnight postime...while it wasn't as successfull as they thought it would be, and obviously not easy on the horsemen, I think in this day in age with full coverage on the network it could be marketed.
I don't follow t-breds that much at all...but on a friday and saturday night, I may have plans or have to work until past midnight, I come home and I usually bet a couple races at Australia, without a program, basically cause there is nothing on tv, and I'm going to be messing around on the computer anyway.
Enough of my rant,

best regards,

Louis.

ITP said...

Let me make a guess Pacinguy.....You don't bet much, if at all and you don't really know much or care about takeout rates.

Pacingguy said...

For the record, I do bet; granted not as much as a lot of readers of this blog do. I do care about the takeout and know it needs to be reduced but just cutting takeout is not going to solve racing's problems. For arguement sake, let's say you cut the takeout to 5%; is that going to get new people to play the horses when they think the game itself is too hard to understand or fixed? Nope. The sport needs to be fixed on multiple levels.

The point I was trying to make regarding this post is it seems everyone in the industry is trying to get along in Canada versus the adversarial relationships here in the states; such as the relationship which will have Freehold closed within a year or two at the most.