Skip to main content

Getting Ahead of the Train

I watched today's news story about New Jersey racing whereby the Governor of the state wants no tax money to support racing. As much as we may want to, it is difficult to not agree with much of his logic. Casino money has been used as a golden goose for a long time. Places that had it could; because they were one of the few jurisdictions that had gaming.

But not any longer. Virtually every state, unable or unwilling to make fiscal decisions, wants more money. And to get it, they have passed some sort of gaming.

In neighboring New York state, arguably the worst run state in the union, slots are coming to the Big A. This should bring in piles of money and help the horse population in that state. As we have seen with Yonkers and Chester's decimation of the Meadowlands, Acqueduct will surely lay claim to Monmouth and other nearby non-slots tracks. No matter what Jersey does, they are sure to be toasted.

So the Governor seems to be doing the only sane thing - asking for racing to stand on its own four hooves.

This is why I believe it is extremely important for Ontario racing to do the same thing and do it right now. Get out ahead of the train. We should be moving forward, because the inevitable day is coming where horse racing will be ranked way down the list in terms of priority for governments and everyone else with a finger in the pie. We can learn a great deal from Jersey.

The RDSP (racing development and sustainability plan) is one step that should be used to start to row our own boat. It represents what Jersey should have done ten years ago, when sharp industry watchers were warning of the coming storm. If Jersey had an RDSP then, they might not be where they are now; but there is no excuse for a place like Ontario (and Pennsylvania which is more wasteful with their windfall than we are in Ontario) not to roll now. In addition, New York racing could do the right thing too, before slots are even turning, and make sure a portion of the revenue for profits and purses goes right back to the customer. Ontario and Pennsylvania did not do that (PA has over 30% takeouts on super exotics for example and even the most degenerative gambler would not play there without a sizeable rebate) and now they are paying for it dearly with lost handles. A lemon can be squeezed, but a dried lemon is something you throw in the trash.

There are a million different ideas to grow racing. But each one tends to get bogged down into a infighting mess, or were non-empirical driven band-aid's in the first place, and nothing ever gets done in a positive fashion. There is zero leadership. Some states and jurisdictions have a chance to do the right thing; but none of us our holding our breath.

There is a metaphorical crystal ball we can gaze into. That crystal ball is New Jersey. The racing industry needs to decide if that is the way it wants the future to look, or if they want it to look something different. It's racings choice; and if they do nothing, they have no one to blame but themselves.


Pacingguy said…
So true. Horsemen need to invest in their future if they want a future.

I have been arguing for a long time to forget about slots and grow the business. There are too many race dates and tracks operating at the same time diluting wagering pools, but rather than coordinating race dates so tracks are the only game in town, they continue to suck money away from each other; resulting in tracks killing each other financially.

Popular posts from this blog

Sword Dancer Shenanigans Proves the Public's Point

Ask any random person who has not watched a horse race, or maybe have seen one or three : "Is horse racing fixed?"

They'll probably say, sure it is; common knowledge.

At that point, racing folks get excited to defend their sport. 99% of the races are clean, there is too much money involved to fix races, etc etc. 

Then we have yesterday's Sword Dancer, where not one of us can blame anyone for thinking like they do about the sport.

It's probably bad enough that a "rabbit" was entered for an old-time form of race fixing, but that the horse was ridden like a quarterhorse made the optics look terrible. That another horse - Roman Approval - had to be physically restrained due to the cowboy style race riding of the horse sent to destroy him, is probably just as bad optically.

But that was just the beginning. The real story had just begun.

At the head of the lane, this rank, spent, heart-ripped out rabbit, needed to do even more work for the 1-9 shot. He had t…

If #harnessracing is Afraid of the Answer......

There's a saying, apparently, from the legal community - never ask a question if you don't know the answer.

Today at the USTA meeting Jason Settlemoir put forth a motion that the USTA ask its membership the feelings on a question regarding slots and marketing. In a nutshell, it asked if a percentage of slot money should go into a slush fund to be spent on marketing and ancillary items to promote and grow the sport.

When the 54 director votes were tallied, the score was 47 to 7..... against.

Yes, the leadership of an organization voted down, in a landslide, asking the grassroots membership a question. 

Sure this seems super-silly, but why they did it, I think, is an easy one. They knew that if they asked the question the answer would be a resounding "yes". Then all hell would break loose. They'd have to try and get that done.

If harness racing is afraid of the answers to questions, they don't ask them. That seems to be the mantra of the sport. And it's p…

PTP's Bathing Index ® Derby Handicapping Angles - This is Much Better than Dosage

Good day racing fans!

It's one week until the Derby, where drunk people, rich people, sororities at almost every University, and others get together to watch, wager, take molly, drink juleps, wear hats, have parking issues, and partake in the annual Kentucky horse racing tradition.

I have scanned the big websites, read almost all social media and was very surprised that there are not a lot of people giving their thoughts on this year's Run for the Roses. It's like no one has an opinion! So in my never ending search for traffic, I decided to pop up a handicapping post. I think this post will help both new fans and old salty handicappers land on a winner.

As most know, physicality is important for handicapping (Leadbetter, et al). A lesser known angle is watching how a horse reacts while getting soapy water thrown on him. As long time handicapper Jessica notes, it can be a key to unlocking Derby betting fortune.


Let's begin with our control group, Kentucky Derby …