Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday Amusement

Some things that either caught my eye, or amused me in some way today.

At Turfway Park, an executive there is charged with embezzling $70,000 and spending it at a casino. Too bad Ohio doesn't have slots or at least he could have spent it at Turfway.

What's with this sponging nonsense? Another horse was found to have been sponged at Gulfstream Park. In the old days it was heroin, so I guess this is better. But not much.

New Jersey got their subsidy increased. Don't worry folks, one day we will actually try to grow racing instead of subsidize it.

Speaking of that the Standardbred Canada Poll about using a percentage of purse money for marketing, it is still shameful. I had hoped a whole bunch of smart people woke up this morning and voted properly. I guess the no voters are hoping for marketing to be subsidized by someone. It is sad to see such a hard-working industry polluted by some with a welfare mindset.

Interesting discussion about how to improve the sport over at I especially like the liquor store example. It never ceases to amaze me how the customers of racing seem more passionate about keeping it going, and growing than the participants. It is a most interesting juxtaposition. Worthy of some sort of Psychology 201 paper, I'd say.

I went to Woodbine on Monday to watch our horse go, and cheer for a couple of Nick Boyd's charges who were in. What a mudbath. When our horse got off the track he was no longer bay, he was brown - mud brown. There were several breaks on the card, and some horses clearly had trouble with the going. But we must commend Woodbine for working that track. While many cancelled, they did not. The surface according to people that I spoke with was not bad at all. It was just one nasty night.

Speaking of Nick, he informs me that in the Score piece referenced below, that at the 2 minute or so mark in the video, the happy horse sticking his head out to look around is one of ours. I haven't seen him in awhile. It was nice to see him happy as a clam. I pop that up here because I know the stable partners will probably read it, and I am too lazy to email them to fill them in.

I came across a decent thoroughbred blog the other day. It's called the Aspiring Horseplayer. What I like about what this fan did was link youtube video of all the races he is following. Some neat races up there. Well done blog.

I had a chat with a professional gambling friend last night and we talked about software. I mentioned it on the blog before, but harness has very little. We charge an arm and a leg for fans to get data, and the data we can get is not up to snuff. I have never seen an industry that makes it so difficult to make a bet. If we were a casino I think we'd make a patron recite the Magna Carta while balancing a ball on his nose before we let him in to play blackjack. Anyway, we both agreed that if a software package was available, or an API, or free data, it could easily up handles by 30%. He estimates software upped his thoroughbred handle by a double. I don't even know why I bring this stuff up any longer, as this business is so far gone that new ideas seem to be simply frowned upon. But to me, if someone got off their duff and popped some cash into a free data and software service, they could raise handles and make their tracks money. There is no business in the land that gets 20% revenue on each dollar bet, regardless of how much they bet, so spending something to get someone to give you money is simple logic. Then again, average cost pricing is our problem, so maybe I should not encourage them.


Anonymous said...

Why thank you for the kind comment about the aspiring horseplayer! I'm glad you liked the youtube angle. I'm trying to attract new fans to the game and being able to see what the sport is about is so crucial. Sadly I couldn't find any relevant youtube videos for my post today about the field for the Gotham Stakes, more's the pitty. :)

I like your blog as well. Have you ever heard of Hanover Shoe Farms? They are litterally right outside my neighborhood and I know they produce a lot of harness racers.

Anonymous said...

And I have to admit that I stole the Youtube idea from The Aspiring Horseplayer.

Pull the Pocket said...

Phil, your new name is Mr. Honest :)


Nice work on the blog, I should have known better from a guy who lives near Hanover Shoe :)

Good luck, and I hope your blog name changes to "veteran horseplayer" soon.


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