Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Horsemen Bang the Drum; Blue vs Legacy

For many years with handle declines in Ontario and elsewhere, things such as takeout reductions and marketing initiatives - fully funded from slots and elsewhere - were mainly thoughts one would read on blogs, or from bettors. With the large handle declines of the last couple of years, and the recent government rumblings in Pennsylvania, the loss of racing in Quebec as two examples, we are reading more and more from industry insiders who are pledging virtually the same thing.

Jack Darling, a trainer from Ontario writes the following on his blog this week:

"...reducing the percentage of the take substantially from each bet to return more of the winnings back to the gamblers. I think this would be worth a try. Most of our purse money comes from the slots so I don't think it would cost us that much out of the purse account."

Also:

"My next comment is not going to be popular with a lot of my fellow horsemen. Just putting on a bunch of races where a handful of people come out and bet almost nothing is not sustainable. We simply have too much racing. Believe me, I am as concerned as anyone about losing race dates but what we are doing is going to destroy us. Sudbury, Woodstock and Hiawatha are in worse shape than this but I will use Rideau Carleton as an example. On a Friday night they will have 15 races with an approximate handle of $60,000. This amounts to $4000.00 per race. This small pool makes it almost impossible for gamblers to bet any amount of money without affecting the odds dramatically, and the contribution from the handle to the purses is pretty close to nothing."

Horse racing, because there is no leadership who can make decisions that we all have to follow, must change from within. This is a good start because for years we would not have read anything like this from an insider.

More here.

It is fascinating to read the talk on the web and elsewhere about the battle for Horse of the Year in the US. Zenyatta vs. Rachel Alexandra. It brings me back to harness racing for some parallels and we all remember the battle between Rainbow Blue and Windsongs Legacy. It was virtually neck and neck - Blue was a supermare and Legacy had just won the trotting Triple Crown. Then came the Breeders Crown to settle it all. Rainbow Blue crushed, but Windsongs Legacy did not. Not because he didn't win, but because he did not race choosing to call it a season before the end of year championship. That might have been the kicker and the big filly rolled to win the vote with ease. It will be interesting to see what happens in the US with these two great fillies.

4 comments:

Pacingguy said...

Here are my observations, coming from a person that knows little about the runners.

My vote would go to Zenyatta. Yes, Rachel Alexandra raced the boys more often than Zenyatta, but Rachel raced against three year old colts; from what I have ascertained not a particularly strong crop. Zenyatta, while racing older horses (after all she was five)only once, took on the world's best. Not only did she take on the world's best, she took on mature, fully developed horses; don't forget three year olds have not reached their peak so I think her win over these horses trumps Rachel's.

Yes, I know the three year old division gets the most attention, but regardless of breed, they are not fully developed; the attention the three year olds get is due to the breeders putting the emphasis on them.

I know we are going to get into the synthetic versus dirt issue but the fact remains the championship races were at Santa Anita and Zenyatta answered the call while Rachel Alexandra stayed home.

That being said, being the racing establishment is primarily in the East, Rachel will win because she got the most media attention.

Cangamble said...

Rainbow who and Windsongs what?

Pull the Pocket said...

Get with the program runner-boy :)

Anonymous said...

Pacingguy
Not a particulary strong crop of 3yo's? Of the 19 horses in the Derby only 3 have been post Derby winners. 6 wins divided by 19 horses equals an average .315 wins per horse. This may very well have been the most pathetic collection of horses ever assembled for the Derby. For beating some of these I think Rachel should get the Bully of the Year award.

RG(sourpuss)