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The Restaurant is Open, We Just Don't Have a Menu

As most know by now, Churchill Downs has banned the DRF from its premises. There's good news though - you can still buy it at a nearby gas station.
Come for the food, just don't bring the menu you've used since Duke Ellington was on the charts. If it wasn't so sad it would be comical.
Racing - especially the corporate variety - has become more and more insular. Signals are withheld, big day signals are priced super-high, the usual horsemen-track signal fights, and increased takeout are all signs of shuffling the pie, in a business that simply can't seem to grow it.

In every instance some faction wins something from another faction for the short term, but then the faction that was aggrieved does the same thing in a month. No one really wins.

There is someone that always loses, though: The Customer.

I've gone to conferences, chatted from time to time with people in power, and I often hear the same complaint : "Why don't we have more customers?" Racing doesn't have more customers because continually and without fail, they treat them like crap.

Notes:

Mike Maloney and Peter Fornatale wrote what I think is one of the most wonderful, informative, and interesting books written from the horseplayer side of the game. "Betting With An Edge" is both life story between fathers, sons and friends at the track, and handicapping book. I'll review it at some point, but really great job guys.

Can half mile track racing be improved? Here's a deep dive into some stats, and what may help increase field depth and make for better racing. 

The Woodbine harness pick 5 is continuing its run of not only beating, but crushing the throughbred pick 5 handle at the same venue. I know why they chose 25% takeout for the pick 5 at the runners and 15% at harness, but they should've dropped the hoodwink and went 15% for both.

Speaking of hoodwink, the 14% pick 5 at California racetracks is so popular they are adding another pick 5. This one at 23.68% takeout. Trevor Denman's call of Zenyatta winning the 2009 Classic comes to mind.

Have a great Friday everyone!



Comments

Ron said…
It's slightly amusing when a guy writes a book called "getting an edge",when the sales of the book can contribute to losing that edge.Anyway. Good stuff as usual PTP.
Anonymous said…
The smart move for DRF would be to publicize all its off-track local outlets and not in just the DRF itself. They never really have in recent years, haven’t seemed to care. Has new ownership made the distribution system more nimble?

No tears shed for DRF. For many years in the SF Bay Area, there was and probably still is one distributor. And through the 80s and 90s, the outlets were limited even though there were plenty of newer bookstores and liquor stores that wanted to carry it. They had to wait until some existing outlet closed; the distributor did not want to do any extra work for extra business even within San Francisco. The distributor was always in battles with paper sellers at the SF bus station and train station, so they became unreliable sources and eventually quit selling forms. One bookstore owner that had a lot of traffic tried and waited for years to get DRFs (probably not until that distributor retired) and he was the one that owned the tout sheet business in the city. The damage to horse racing fandom was already done by the time daily newspaper coverage of horse racing disappeared.

-- eudaemon