As most know, handle was up this past year at NYRA tracks. They're moving in the right direction, for mainly three reasons (in my opinion of course): 1) Field size was up over a half a horse 2) The NYRA rewards ADW has been pushed, and OTB money is being shifted into more profitable areas pretty well and 3) Takeout has come down a couple of points on exotics, adding a little bit of churn.
Things are going well.
When I read NYRA board member Bobby Flay say:
- "We got lucky, said Flay, in that video lottery terminals "bailed out NYRA. We don't have a product that the public wants to go see. We need to build the infrastructure of the racing product. We need to start doing that now, not later.
NYRA has a tremendous brand. It's why when they go off the turf in the summer and card a bunch of races with four horses, and several other races in the soup, handle is still really, really good. A contentious group of cheap claimers in a 10 horse field causes bettors to drop the Santa Anita form and look to a NYRA track, and they've been carding a lot of those this year.
Card bettable races with deep fields - claimers, allowance, it matters little. Raise field size. Continue to lower takeout - how about a cheap pick 5 or a 1% across the board cut in WPS? Bill Nader is not there, but it doesn't mean you can't act like him on takeout. Continue to offer player rewards in NYRA's internet betting ADW, and extoll their benefits, and empower customers.
There's no need to be interventionist. What they're currently doing is working all on its own. The market is telling them that, and the market is always right.