Northlands Park opens with a Pick 6 guarantee of $25,000. That is pretty gutsy. Hard to hit bets usually need some sort of mass to get rolling and I wonder if Northlands is popular enough. For rebate players it might provide some sort of opportunity, and early on there is a chance at some sort of pool value. I think I am going to take a shot at it.
If you were wondering what's been happening with the players boycott of Cali racing, you can learn more here. Jeff Platt fills everyone in.
There has been quite a bit of chatter about the Prix D'Amerique in France this past weekend. Equidaily had pictures up and Allan spoke about the structure of the industry in France. On the surface French trotting racing looks popular with the crowds and the parades, but at times I find looking a little deeper does some good. The PMU, who runs racing in France has a virtual monopoly on wagering and the races are distributed in over 9500 lotto outlets. In a way it is 1960 Roosevelt Raceway. We can get confused that trotting is a big "sport" there, when in fact it might not be the case. I ran through the Youtube videos of the race, and races over there, including some clips from "Sulky TV". I was disappointed with the hit counts - some have 200 or 300 hits. If it was as popular as we think, I believe we would see more than that. I did a little web metric surfing too, and the results are similar. As we know, it's not hard for a gambling monopoly to look popular or give us the warm and fuzzies. But like here when we had all these fans watching racing, as soon as we flung the barn door open, they bolted and weren't really fans at all.
Animal time; horses and dogs (ya, I know. You are shocked):
I love doggies, as I have posted before. They have an amazing quality to forget and live in the moment. I came across this video of pooches being rescued from cosmetic and medical testing labs. I found it five minutes well spent, because these creatures who have never even seen grass before open up completely to their new surroundings, like they have never been living in a crate their entire lives; and that made me smile. The sequence of them finally leaving their cages and their resulting good nature was just so darn uplifting to me. I got my beagle off the streets and I often wonder how he is so good-natured; like he lived the life of a king before, when he clearly did not. After watching this I think I know. They are just great dogs. I don't know how I feel about the message in the video (that's a tricky one for me), but I do know I was happy to see those dogs find homes.
Second, horses are cool too. This video of training on a beach is of one of the better trotters in recent history. You can appreciate (and tbred folks reading the site who do not know how difficult it is for trotters to trot at speed, here is one with an awesome cadence) his skill. He brushes quickly, never missing a step, all the while being on a beach. Wonderful video of a wonderful breed who just want to work for you. I have no idea how the car part entered it at the end, but it's a good video of a super horse.
It will be interesting to see the comments on the Exchange wagering in Jersey. Racing has a real opportunity here, so we'll see if all this talk on pricing that Platt talks about catches on. What we always have to remember - racing hates change, and the players and horsemen are used to doing things one way. With exchange wagering we are not after the people who are already looking at us, we are looking at those who are not. Focus groups are pretty much useless. If New Jersey thinks to the future, does not give in to making one themselves (really guys, you have a partner that spends $50M in marketing with 3M customers from around the globe right in front of you), and does not give in to crazy pricing by trying to price like a 20th century business, we might be ok. Betfair went from zero customers to millions in less than a decade. New Jersey should not be telling them how to do business, it should be the other way around.
Speaking of focus groups, did you know ESPN spends gazillions on polling and surveying their viewers? Hat tip to Thorotrends on this article. Boy are we behind.
Last up, I was speaking to Theresia at her chat board Thoroughbrednet. It is a forum which has quite a few female participants. And a lot of them bet. She informed me that she is running a handicapping contest and she said "it has to be the only contest where 75% of the participants are women." Chat boards are sometimes caustic places, but that place isn't. In a sport of handicapping dominated by men on chat boards and in simo-centers, it is quite a nice place to visit. There are some good handicappers there to boot.