Wednesday, January 12, 2011

San Diego Union-Tribune Beats the Racing Press

Today the player action in California regarding the boycott of California racing was discussed in a lengthy article in the San-Diego Union Tribune. This struck me as interesting, as the racing press has ignored the story.

If a group of retiree's were protesting something, it would make a retiree magazine first, and a regular paper (if they're lucky) somewhere down the line. If a bunch of poker players organized to change something, poker mags would have it, and it might make mainstream papers later. If a bunch of cigar smokers were asking one of the brands to do something, I suspect Cigar Afficianado would at least mention the story before the New York Times.

But not in our sport, thus far. There were some columns on this at Horse Race Insider, or Bill Finley's spot on ESPN. Actually, Standardbred Canada ran a story and Ray Paulick ran a story with the picture of a chipmunk - so there is no excuse it should not have been on a radar. But the big US racing "trade" papers thus far ...... crickets.

So, they knew about it, I would surmise they could have emailed to investigate, because after all, Finley (an Eclipse winner), Christine (an Eclipse winner) and Pricci (former Newsday writer) did and made a judgment on the validity of it.

Maybe one might think it has not been touched in those magazines or sites (in the month or so it has been announced) because the group is radical and it wants crazy policies. Maybe the group has some public figures who have a bad past or something, and they are better muzzled. Maybe so, who knows. It's possible.

Let's analyze.

From the website the group (one I support) wants:

1. A gambling board set up in CA. On that board they would like a wagering economist or two, and professionals who know wagering, to vote on wagering concepts, and not political appointees with little expertise in wagering.

2. Takeout to be lower because they believe we should lower prices to grow horse racing. Every piece of literature in both gambling and economic journals ever written supports that view.

3. They'd like to look at (the gambling board to look at) full card simulcasting (in CA you can only bet select races) and elimination the rebate cap for CA bettors, which they have long-complained about, and probably have hurt handles and CRM there.

4. A study to be commissioned to lower horse ownership costs in CA (which should help increase ownership and up field size).

I might be missing something - but I really don't think that sounds radical.

How about the people who are its face? Maybe there are some strange apples in that crew.

Jeff Platt, a programmer who was entrusted to program for Fortune 500 companies and now runs a software business and bets the races is its head. Barry Meadow, a player who has written books and writes for the American Turf Monthly has been on the radio about it. Roger Way, a retired tech exec has attended CHRB meetings for many years and is well-known in the state has been a force. These folks say they would like people like these two to serve on the Gambling board in CA: Caroline Betts, who teaches at USC, runs a horse rescue and has ran small horse sales in CA, and Cal MacWilliam, a Ph.d who is employed by the World Bank and has taught economics at Vanderbilt and Carelton Universities. Both of those economists have allowed the group to use their names.

I find it funny that there is not even a mention in the racing trade press to possibly forward some solid, honest, intelligent debate between intelligent people to hopefully help our sport. If they were breeders wanting to change something, is there any doubt they'd have a story up already?

I am convinced the racing press does not, and never has wanted to rock the boat to change racing. It is not an indictment of the people there (just like in racing it has great people who want change to happen and the sport to grow), it is an indictment that there is another fiefdom in racing worried about their slice.


RG said...

DRF=racing news and how to bet their stuff/buy product
BH TT= Breeding news and feel good articles

It's the way it's been for a long time. If you want to read what's up, blogs are good. Or twitter.


Anonymous said...

I can't fault them because the racing biz is really hurting and readership has fallen quite a bit. They get their ads from these places and it's their bread and butter.

In 2002-2003 when the Magna Boycott was going on, they were on it like white on rice. Times were better then

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