There's a lot of tweets on my timeline about the bettor "Boycott" of Keeneland. It's good to see so many talking about important issues with regards to the long term health of the game.
There's probably a lot of people waiting to say "I told you so", either from the customer side, or the corporate side. Generally, however, what happens is a bit of a sideshow.
If it rains the next month, if it's sunny, if field size is down or up, if Keeneland gets antsy and sells a signal fee for less than they wanted to, and myriad other things happen, the data will be completely muddy. It's one of the reasons racing has made absolutely awful wagering decisions the last 40 years or more. On the Wikipedia entry for "muddy data" there's a picture of a smiling track executive, because he (it's probably a he) knows he won't be held accountable for anything he does.
What this chatter and the resulting boycott do, in my view, is shine a light on a policy people may or may not know about, and it educates others who often wonder "why do I lose so much money betting racing." If learning about pricing helps a player win more, and enjoy the sport more, that's a good thing.
What these things also do is give a customer a glimpse into racing's thinking regarding price hikes. As this comment showed, the Ellison interview (unintended I'm sure) let customers know that this rake hike is of the corporate variety and it will subsidize their horse sale and large players, along with the big betting teams. This is a dirty little secret about takeout hikes, and this so called "boycott" brought it out into the open - in black and white for everyone to read. Yes, (shocking I know) the smaller player will subsidize the big bettor and breeding farm.
In four or five years when you see some Bloodhorse story with an executive panel wondering where the small bettor went, you'll have an idea what caused it, and you can hold them accountable, rather than get sent to the smiling muddy data wikipedia page. That's the power of knowing what goes on behind closed doors.
Today some bettors will boycott Keeneland and some won't. Some don't mind corporate tracks and their tactics, some don't mind subsidizing large players or horse sales; they just want to enjoy the sport and play a few races. Others do mind, and they'll bet another track.
But one thing's for sure - both sets of these players are smarter and more educated about how this business is run. They might be able to extract more money from you this meet, but being educated about their tactics is something they can never take away from you.
Enjoy your weekend everyone.
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