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Stopping the Insanity is a Good Place to Start

How do we help racing? There are a thousand answers from a thousand different factions. However, if we fix some of the simple things first - the most insane, asinine, make-no-sense to any rational person things - it would be a good place to start.

Frank Angst had a piece in the Thoroughbred Times today, looking at breakdowns and casino money in New York.

  • $7,500 claimers with a $40,000 purse
  •  ....veterinarians advised that purses should not exceed claiming prices by more than 50%. At the lowest claiming levels at the current Aqueduct meeting, purses are more than 500% higher than the tag—ten times over the 50% recommendation. 
Horses worth $7,500 going for $40,000? To any rational person that's ridiculous. It makes no sense; none whatsoever. It's the commoditization of living, breathing animals that the public hates and it ensures a system that is not based on economics in any way shape or form. In addition, what rational person from a horsemen group can make a business case that a purse for these events can not be $25,000, with $15,000 being used to grow the sport instead?

How could we ever let this happen?

As Alan at LATG points out today, there appears to be an anti-racing Governor in the New York Mansion. This is exactly the kind of stuff that can be used against racing to further his cause.

This is not unlike the absolutely incredulous policies that permeated the landscape in Ontario. There were some tracks that had $5,000 of nightly handle, while giving out $80,000 in purses. Time and time again people said "that's insane".

No one ever did anything about it.

That insanity helped the governments case against racing when the time came to pull the plug this week. Similar occurred in New Jersey with the Atlantic City/Casino subsidy.

We have a lot of problems in racing, but many of them are self inflicted; trying to shove square pegs in round holes. If we start by eliminating the ridiculous first, the contentious issues can be looked at next.


Eric P said…
Today you have offered a perspective that has yet to be voiced in the 'debacle in Ontario'. Mainstream media has not offered such insight.
Kudo's to you for putting it on the table.
As I read the industry's response in Ontario, they still seem to be clinging to the premise that they are Entitled to quasi exclusivity to slot revenue, which is ridiculous.
The writing was on the wall for some time that the supply of racing in Ontario far exceeded Horseplayer demand. The industry chose to ignore the signs when they had control of the situation. It is time for the industry to look in the mirror, accept the new reality and start devising a plan to save what is salvageable.
Anonymous said…
And lets not forget the NY Governor has called for an "investigation" into the deaths of 15 horses at Aqueduct Racetrack in NY this winter.

Also the rumor Mill has it that PETA is planning to shut down the Kentucky Derby with a major protest, fresh off their victory in shutting down Luck.

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