On the surface this makes perfect sense.
Yesterday at Tampa Bay Downs, the Tampa Bay Derby was bet to the tune of about $2 million, and they had a card that was attended, and bet, with over $10 million going through the tote for the day.
When one looks deeper into the quality argument it's not the answer that's an issue, it's that we're answering the wrong question. It'd be great to have a Tampa Bay Derby day everyday - at Beulah, or The Meadowlands or Charles Town - then we'd have 'quality' racing. But we can't.
There are over 80,000 races a year in standardbred and thoroughbred racing, and they can't all be quality. For about 79,500 races a year we need to look at a different measure, or the industry would crumble. Billions of dollars a year are provided from 98% of the races that can never be all 'quality'.
In HRU today (pdf) the entire quality argument was looked at from an end user and revenue perspective.
- If we really want the "quality" everyone seems to speak of, then run a few thousand races a year like they do in the UK, or a few hundred or so like they do in Hong Kong. Of course we can't do that because the result would be the implosion of the North American racing industry.
- Quality in harness racing, or racing in general, should be looked at in only one fashion, and that is how the end user consumes the product.
- Right now out of the many thousand races run a year, probably three quarters of them are unbettable. Racing must work at eliminating the unbettable and replacing them with the bettable, and it is in their power to do so.
Have a great Sunday everyone.