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I Think I am Cheering for the Pack this Weekend but....

Bears fan Brad, and my favorite dude to argue with on the interwebs Ray P have started a handicapping contest. And the winner (hold your hats) gets one free year of Bris PP's. That is a freaking awesome first prize. You can sign up here and it's free, i.e. no takeout. Good for Ray, he's coming around to the dark side!

Takeout fighter and general all around good guy Bill Finley has a newsletter out for harness fans, called Harness Racing Update. It is pretty good and you can get it for free here. Andrew Cohen spoke about rake last time, and Allan over at View From the Racetrack Grandstand added a letter to the editor regarding some of our other issues. Good reading!

Is it just me or is the chatter on the web less caustic today regarding Horse of the Year? It seems the choice, although some people disagree with it, is being fairly well-received, in a broad sense. The chat boards are another story.

Nice article on retired horses and taking care of them here.

What's with the "just say no to slots" policy happening out there? First Illinois, now more news from Mass. The business, sooner or later will have to depend on customers, and customers only.

A very, very important lesson in racetrack economics here regarding the Meadowlands. In Hong Kong, the head of wagering there testified on how customers are creatures of habit in racing, and when you mess them up, they are extremely hard to get back. The Meadowlands, through little fault of their own, has had a tough run and the track that was branded as "great fields and great racing" had that brand challenged for some time. This meet has been very good with some good racing again. However, fans are slow to come back. The brand has to be rebuilt, in my opinion, or at the very least they will have to think hard outside the box to get things rolling again. Word of mouth is huge in the horseplaying game. I wish them well, and I hope long-suffering players who have simply given up give them a chance.

There is one huge opportunity left I feel for the Meadowlands, and that is exchange wagering. If they don't mess it up with infighting or trying to dictate rather than listen to a successful betting firm (I know, probably a pipe-dream in our racing), it can energize a few folks. Should they get it passed for harness racing with the UK betting giant, it can make a difference.

Handle, which I have not compared too much, must be doing somewhat better as the $50k guarantee on Thursday's is back.

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