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Anyone Got a Spare $500,000?

Horse racing has some serious issues. Fans are leaving (according to the Jockey Club at least), handle is down billions in only a few short years, slots are being cut in some jurisdictions, takeout is too high, "source market fees" are permeating the landscape, kicking the living crap out of customers' bankrolls, and NYRA is under fire for raising admission prices because it appears they are broke, or something.

Racing needs a response; a swift, terse, formidable response to these scourges. Let's get in a room and figure this out.

I got it, let's raise the purse of the Belmont Stakes a half a million dollars!

This purse hike will surely up entries for the race. After all, what horse owner wants to win the Belmont Stakes when the purse is only a million dollars? "If only the Belmont purse was $1,500,000 instead of $1,000,000 I would take my shot at securing the Triple Crown", said no one ever.

I know, I know, the Preakness raised their purse so Belmont has to because.... oh I don't know, it's an appendage measuring contest I guess.

Seriously, many people could not care less what the slots portion of the money does purse-wise, but after seeing places like Parx raise the purse for the Cotillion by $250k and get four horses while introducing a source market fee on players, or before that, seeing Georgian Downs up the slots-fed purse for the Upper Canada Cup to $600,000 with $200,000 nightly handles, this starts to sound pretty ridiculous.

In the big scope of things it's a yawner, but it seems almost daily we see or hear something that just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense in this "broken" industry which is supposed to have no money. Slots have changed the business in more ways than one. It's an embarrassment of riches, polarized against the backdrop of an equally embarrassing shrinking fan base.

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