A story in the Guelph Mercury today shows that purse pooling - slot racetracks getting together to use slot fuelled purses for a better sport and game to bet - is gaining some momentum. Advocates of working together with this money (which will not be here forever) have felt this has held racing back in Ontario for a long time.
The poster boy for purse pooling has been Woodstock: "Woodstock’s total 2009 purse structure of just over $3 million produced a per-card average of $114,000 and yet the average bet, per card, on the races themselves was just 10 per cent of that — $10,469."
To make matters worse - as if having 114k in purses for a 10k bet is not bad enough - the high per race purse at Woodstock did very little for small stables, looking to race some horses. Super-stables would swoop in with Woodbine horses, be 1-5 and take the bulk of the slot cash. This also caused a problem for our flagship track in Canada, because good horses were not racing there, they were racing at some of the small tracks. This has gone on for years; good horses racing in front of nobody is flat out crazy.
Here on the blog and elsewhere we (and bettors) have argued for them to get together and work a plan with this money, to grow the sport. It is simple common sense: Put caps on purses, claiming prices, money given out per card at the small tracks by some mechanism and make them the "mom and pop afternoon grassroots tracks", and siphon slot money that is needed to other main tracks where people want to bet.
I think it was first proposed in about 2003. Better late than never, I say.