Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pennsylvania Racing Needs a Recharge


Even when the Meadowlands started to have field size issues in 2007 and carding crazy 6 and 7 horse betting events, the bettors still tried to stick with them, because the brand was what it was. Only after a few years of stagnation, the short fields and a lack of willingness to change began to be too much for even the most loyal of customers. 

At that time the brand was hurt. But it didn’t go away. 

This season bettors seem to be giving them a chance again. Handle has been good and the new team led by Jason Settlemoir seems back to doing the “little things” they always have.  They are protecting and rebuilding their brand. You can feel the fan and customer base pulling for them to succeed. 

Across the border in Pennsylvania, we see almost the exact opposite. Go to any chat board, or talk to almost any bettor out there. The bulk of them will have something unflattering to say about Pennsylvania racing.

“30% plus takeouts with all that slot money, are you kidding me?”

“They card races for horsemen, not us” 

“Cash bonuses for winning a couple of trot stakes, how does that help me?”

Pennsylvania racing’s branding from a customer perspective is almost all negative.

 It's not a harness racing only phenomenon. Out of the 69 thoroughbred tracks rated by the Horseplayers Association
of North America, Penn National ranked 45th, Presque Isle 50th with Parx coming in at 61st.

Read more at HRU, page 5 PDF.  

Notes: 

Eric P, blog commenter and Canadian Horseplayer advocate chatted on ESPN radio today. The interview starts at 9:28 here. 

The Meadowlands did $3.5M in handle last night. They're building. I hope it continues.



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