Monday, February 10, 2014

Chris Makes Me Go Hmmm

With apologies to @jerseytom, Chris Kay makes me go hmmm.

In Bob Ehalt's column today, regarding the massive shuffling of slots purses to Belmont day stakes:

"We wanted to create a day that will grab people's attention," said Chris Kay, NYRA's CEO and President.

Putting aside the fact that some of the purse hikes are obscene (here's one guy who is more than perplexed) and probably won't create differing field size, or be ROI positive in virtually any way,  let's just look at that statement.

'We want to grab people's attention'

It's the Belmont Stakes. It's a Triple Crown race. You do not need to grab people's attention, you already have people's attention.

Here is google trends for the Belmont versus the Breeders Cup.

This event already dwarfs the Breeders Cup; on Triple Crown tries even in 2010, when Zenyatta was on 60 Minutes and her every move was making the rounds on earned media like she was a female human version of Bieber.

The Belmont Stakes will always be an attention grabber, and you could card 5 maiden claimers with Jacobson off the claim horses on the undercard, and you will still have everyone's attention.

I understand the importance of big days. I have been advocating this strategy on the blog or at various conferences since 2007. However, adding more and upping stakes purses of existing races (and the Belmont) to a day which is already one of the most popular days on earth seemed last week to me to be puzzling. With the double down in the press, now I can say I'm doubly puzzled.

If somehow we have to add to a Triple Crown card to "grab people's attention" everyone should pack up and leave, because this business is toast.

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