highlighting the 650 calorie mandated max intake for lunches, saying they're still hungry.
After the chuckle, it is apparent that a school in rural Kansas is much different than one in an inner city. Those kids have a couple of parents at home, and good food is fed, because when you work on a farm before going to school, you better get good food or you can't do your work. This policy probably doesn't fit them too well.
It got me thinking about when I was a kid. I moved from a smaller, blue collar rural town to a big city to go to University. People in the city were complaining about guns, or other big city problems. I didn't see any of those problems where I came from. My town had five guns per household, and in the city's 100+ year history there were no gun crimes on the books, robbery, murder or otherwise.
After living in the Big Smoke for awhile (and noticing a dude run out of a hotel toting a 45 caliber in my first year there, scaring me big time) I could see where the big city folks were coming from. I respected that opinion, while still holding respect for all my old friends at home that any restrictive national gun policy probably would be useless there.
In racing we have our very own red state, blue state phenomenon. Blanket policies, like putting all the cash into purses, might look good and smart for some people, while others who aren't cut of the same cloth, consider them insane. This causes a real issue inside the sport and its one that will likely never be solved.
This was, in my opinion, exemplified with the racing Town Hall Meeting a couple of weeks ago hosted as a Night School chat. Racings insiders, who were most of the invited presenters, had to play to the groups that control the sport, like breeders and horsemen, while somehow including the masses, who were watching, that were detailed in a poll run during the meeting that showed over 98% were "bettors".
One of the presenters invited was Jeff Platt of HANA. I'm biased because I know Jeff, but in my opinion, a more thoughtful person you will not find. He is soft spoken and truly wants to help the game by increasing betting on the sport of horse racing. He wrote a post about his experience that I thought was quite poignant.
His thesis was simple. The red staters (insiders) were talking about things the blue staters (bettors) did not want to talk about. They were answering questions about what have you, while the questions (and the polls during the meeting reflected it) were about takeout, drugs and a bad tote system. He surmised that it is tough to fix racing if we don't meet these issues head on in a forum like that.
In the comments section of Jeff's piece you can see that a racing insider (Steve Byk, the host of his own radio show) apparently took issue with Jeff's remarks, as is his right of course. But the blue staters were not impressed.
Like in any other business, racings customers do not care about internal purse struggles, lawsuits, tracks fighting tracks, ADW's fighting horsemen groups, the price of a broodmare, or any other internal issue.
As David Willmot noted in an old speech published earlier this week, talking about gamblers:
"Frankly, they don’t care if a horse is by Mr. Prospector or Santa Claus. "
Some might say that's short sighted, or that the "blue staters don't understand us and are a problem force that needs to be educated".
But just like in any business, it's not a customer's job to understand you, it is your job to understand them.
A customer doesn't care if the price of the car you produce went up by $5,000 because of a strike at your steel supplier, they just buy another car. If you raise your rake to 25% to pay for new purses or backstretch groom dental coverage or a new OTB on the turnpike with flashy TV's, it should be no surprise to anyone that they don't care either.
They just see a business that disrespects them and some take their business elsewhere, just like you'd do. It's how the world works.
Even more-so, some customers don't care about anything, quite frankly, as this Aussie paper spoke about.
"By the end he put it to one of the punters that his betting on a
soulless internet exchange - which was not putting money back into
racing - would eventually see the death of the thoroughbred business.
"You'll be betting on frogs," The punter replied: "Then
I'll find the fastest frog." Nothing illustrates racing's problem better. Some studies show as much
as 95 per cent of thoroughbred betting is done by pure punters, five per
cent by traditional horse lovers. And punters will bet where they get
the best service and the best return on the dollar."
Some might be shocked by that, but purchasing power from consumers is not altruistic. People buy $200 pairs of sneakers everyday made in a sweat shop. People bet horse racing who couldn't care less about the sport, too.
In the current Presidential election - and a lot of them in years past too - the issues have taken a back seat. The winner will be the man who patches together a coalition of blue or red states enough to win. It's an election driven by focus groups and voter warfare. It's fine for them, it's how it's done.
But in business and in racing you can not pit the blue staters against the red staters and expect to win anything. The reason is simple: The blue staters are your customers who bet into your pools.
Right now the racing media, its policies, its vision and its focus are controlled by red staters, and all about red staters. It should not be a surprise to anyone that many of the blue staters have found another gambling game to patronize.
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