I found the Australia newspaper story linked on HANA this morning so interesting. The 8 steps he believes racing must take to get better address the problems there, and they are the problems here. Please give it a read as it is very well written.
Looking at them from a North American perspective:
1. Accept that everyone is in it for themselves and deal with it.
"I don't want the whipping rules changed because the customers want to see us giving an effort" Nope. It's more like "I've driven/rode one way my entire life and how dare you want me to change"
You can play this game if you'd like to, with takeout, lasix, suspensions, baking soda, or any number of items.
Every fiefdom looks out for themselves first, and the sport second in horse racing.
2. Stop blaming the media for the sport's woes
In other words: Stop blaming Joe Drape.
3. The racing media needs to lift and stop being bloody
cheer-squad members for individuals, wagering operators and selected
administrators while our sport is hurting.
Another layup. Cheerleaders in the press are more of a problem than a solution. Apologizing for the sport does not fix the sport. Worse, you are just making it more difficult for people who are working their ass off trying to fix it.
4. Keep a tight rein on lawyers who give legal advice but have
no idea about the public perception or the damage that can occur in
pursuit of a successful outcome.
Easy peasy: When horsemen groups or others defend people with multi-year stays, go to it, it's in the constituition, but please be cognizant about what the customers are thinking when you speak to the media.
5. The best deterrent to jockeys etc receiving dodgy money and
doing the wrong thing is make it possible to earn lots of legitimate
money by doing the right thing.
With small pools and big purses this is less of an issue here, but with smaller purses moving into Ontario let's hope we don't revert to the past.
6. Punters are the industry's customers. Not owners. Certainly not breeders. Not the Spring Carnival party crowd. Punters.
This one is so obvious, it's painful to read people disagree. If you say this truism you immediately get attacked in some sort of politically correct Oprah monologue with "we all matter" and "no one is more important than another in racing", or the strange circular logic, "if we don't buy horses there will be no horses to race".
The people who are at the betting windows are racings customers. They pay the bills just like any other customer in the history of mankind.
General Motors did not go bankrupt because the leather suppliers for the seats were not plentiful, steel mills for the engines were being moved overseas, or they ran out of rubber. It went under because it did not have enough customers buying the end product - a car. It's exactly the same in racing or any other business.
The people in racing exist because of betting customers, not the other way around.
7. Jockeys don't need education sessions to tell them not to
bet, they need mentoring sessions to teach them on how to deal with
Probably true here, no? Like any pro athlete they need to know the rules of the sport, how to act, how to manage their cash and other regular things most of us mortals do in our jobs.
8. Finally ... racing needs to interact with people more often
Yes, $20 for live video is not smart. Taking races off Youtube is not smart, charging for basic PP's is not smart. Racing is getting better in North America on these items, but we're not there yet.
Have a great Wednesday everyone.