Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wagering Conference and Sunday Notes

First up, I was scanning the wagering conference schedule and it looks pretty good. The organizers have seemingly set it up so that there are horseplayers on each topic. This is a good thing. The underlying theme of many conferences (I attend them for marketing a couple times a year) is one of dictation. Usually people are there to tell us something as a customer. This time it seems customers will be able to speak up and be heard.

The moderators we all know, or have heard of. People like Mike Hamilton and Greg Blanchard who handle much of the on-air duties at Woodbine. I have met both and they certainly love the game. Good choices.

Two professional bettors, of poker, racing and other forms of gambling are featured in a few of the sessions. Great stuff. I think (as Dan from Florida said below in a comment) that this game, if priced right can attract more and more professionals. This is not a bad thing. The pools grow, and just because you are a professional does not mean you win all the time. Many, many professionals operate on razor-thin margins. They just pump a lot of money into the pools. They have bad days and lose big, just like we all do.

I will put some blog notes up each day during the conference, so if you want to hit the page up, there should be some news and stories.

Now some news around racing.

Ken Rucker won off the claim tonight with Soul Chaser, in the Meadowlands Open dusting horses like Total Truth. I don't blame any one of you for cringing at that news.

In thoroughbred racing the California judges really slapped trainer Art Sherman hard when two of his horses tested positive for milkshakes. Ten days. I bet Art never does it again.

New York bars a thoroughbred trainer. Cangamble has all the tidbits. I could not do a better job explaining what happened. Interesting stuff. It's about half way down the blog post.

From the what's wrong with racing, X File #234020: Churchill Horseman will not OK Signal.

Consider this chilling scenario: Customers of several advance deposit wagering companies – and possibly some large off-shore rebate shops – won’t be able to place wagers on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) through those entities.

That premise of shut-out wagering is a live possibility at the present moment, as negotiations between members affiliated with the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group and TrackNet Media Group are at a stubborn impasse.

If you read the story and can connect the dots, first I'd give you a prize. Second, if you can explain the nonsense, you deserve a medal. I think it goes something like this: "I want more." "No, I want more, you can't have more".

Something like that. I bet.

Texas bettors and horseowners seem to be making their voices heard. For those who do not know, Lone Star Park in Texas is having their signal shut down by a horseman group. One email caught my eye that was posted from a horseowner at Paceadvantage.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please forward this email to Mr. Tommy Azopardi or whomever else you find might be interested in reading it.

I am a long-time bettor, and several times owner of horses in Texas.
Imagine my surprise when I fire up my on-line betting service Thursday April
10th and find that Lone Star Park is NOT available on their betting platform. To make things even more frustrating, this particular ADW was set up specifically for residents of Texas when folded up and sent most of their clients over to

Ok. So I can't place a few $2 bets. No big deal. I figure I'll just watch the races on HRTV. Well, imagine my surprise when there is no LSP racing on TV. None live, none taped.....nothing.

So who are you guys really representing? I've been a licensed owner in Texas as recently as June, 2007. Nobody ever contacted me about representation regarding ADW's, simulcasting, television rights, or the like.

The current situation out at Lone Star is EXACTLY the type of thing that makes me never want to renew my owners license again OR go out there and place a bet ( I live approximately 25 minutes away, by the way ). Heck, I'll just take up poker or play the lottery for my desire to "gamble". I can dang sure find a hobby less expensive than thoroughbred horse ownership.

Your horsemen's group (or is it MY horsemen's group?) has a very shortsighted view of what it's going to take to "grow" their revenues. Online wagering, free past performances, live races via internet or television, free taped replays and rebates for wagering ARE the future of horseracing. Trying to get a larger % of a smaller pie is not the answer.

The answer is making the pie larger.

I think your opening night attendance figures at Lone Star should be an eye-opener. I don't have a clue what handle was, but I'm sure it declined significantly too.

In conclusion, making it easier to watch live racing and get a bet down for the "average" individual should be your goal. NOT the opposite. Thank you for reading my vent.

**** ****
License #*****
Former Owner, Former Handicapper, Former Bettor

For those of us who have dealt with similar groups here in Ontario, like David Reid in his comment below (about, incredibly not being able to bet in Kingston because there is a dispute with a track that is not even built yet), we all know how you feel sir.

Last but not least, I think this is fantastic news. Christian Cullen, the super-sire from New Zealand has been sent to stand stud at Kentuckiana Farms. For everyone that has ever asked the question "I wonder what he would do with an excellent book of mares like the big farms send to their first crop sires", you will get your answer. I had the same question last year, as many of you had, with Yankee Cruiser. He is now at Hanover. He'll get a shot too.


Anonymous said...

I know we're supposed to be all offended and whatnot when Rucker wins a race, but that horse has been ultra-sharp for everybody (including Michael Hall) since being claimed, so I don't see a huge problem with it.

Here are Rucker's #s at the The Big M so far this year.

151 19 17 17 13% 0.226

Not exactly Croghan-esque numbers there, but his reputation preceeds him, and I understand that.


Pull the Pocket said...

Yes, not quite the point of the mention Greg. The fact that he is there is the point of it.

Interesting to me though. George Teague I remember reading when Total Truth was going through that sale, said something like $900K is a bargain for Total Truth. Kenny R beat him with a horse he bought last week for $89,500.

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