Friday, September 14, 2012

Time Between Races, Changing Models & Friday Notes

Mike Repole, the brash New York owner of horse's like Uncle Mo, was back being interviewed, and ruffling some feathers. In an article today he relayed some gems like.
  • “I just know the old guard is running the sport, and the old guard doesn’t want to change. It’s almost like we’re football players still wearing leather helmets.”
  •  if this was a business, the sport would have been bankrupt five years ago,” 
Give the article a read, if you want some flavor.

One part that gets me all the time that I cannot figure out, and I believe it goes to the core of the problems in racing:
  • The sport has too many tracks and almost no organized entertainment for fans during the 30-minute gaps between races. Fans—and, more importantly, bettors—gravitate to sports with more rapid action, such as football.
We hear time between races is too long and we need "rapid fire action" like a slot machine very often, especially in harness racing. I think this is a complete red herring.

First, upwards of 90% of betting handle is bet off track. The time between races is no factor whatsoever for those people.

Second, rapid fire? Last Friday there were about 30 tracks going with a race off every three minutes. The betting aspect of this sport is as rapid fire as they come. If the 11% of people betting on track want rapid fire, step inside the grandstand and bet something on a TV monitor.

I understand that there should be more on-track entertainment "for fans", but don't make it sound like it's a major issue for the overall game. And certainly do not change the entire fabric of the game for bettors by trying to run a race every ten minutes to appease a small faction of on track fans.

Along these exact same lines HRU printed (page 3 PDF) "New Thinking For a New Paradigm". The article talks about setting benchmarks based on purses and handle, and carding races and cards for gamblers. It also states that measures that work from a return on investment perspective, not that "feel good" from an insider perspective must be set into place in the sport.
  • As a benchmark, for any track, at the very least: $1 of purses must generate $1 in handle. If Chester is giving away $2M on a big day, we're doing something very wrong if handle chimes in at $700,000. Ditto at all tracks where this happens. If you can't reach that simple measure, do something else, because what you are currently doing isn't working. 

Notes: It's Super Saturday at two tracks, Balmoral and Mohawk. Some great racing.

I heard yesterday that apparently Rideau Carelton in Ottawa lowered their pick 4 take to 15%. According to the ADW owner that told me that, "it seems they did not tell anyone". Has anyone seen anything on this?

Jeff Platt shares  his thoughts on the Night School "Executive edition".  A couple of horseplayers were involved in chatting with execs on Tuesday for those who do not know.

Enjoy your Friday everyone.



1 comment:

Pacingguy said...

Yes, there may have been 30 tracks racing so there were races going off every three minutes, but it is presented in a mish-mash sort of way.

Races need to be coordinated and while races need to be sped up, every 3 minutes is too tight. A race every 10 minutes is sufficient. Let's go with the 8:00 and 8:10 and stick with those times even if the earlier race has not gone official.