Hambo Changes & Other Notes

It was announced today that the Hambletonian has changed formats, and the change is quite interesting:
  • "We think returning to heats will be exciting for the fans, particularly those onsite at The New Meadowlands facility on a day that is always the sport’s greatest showcase.” 
  • In 2014 a $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity for eligible four-year-old trotters will be implemented, in keeping with the effort to provide incentives races for owners who choose to race their horses after their sophomore year. The Maturity will be raced as a single dash at a mile and an eighth
It looks like we are back to our roots - harness heat racing - and we have a slight Europeanization of the sport. Big fields (up to 13 can race in the Hambo and 16 in the Maturity) and a push to seed purses for older horses is something rarely pushed in North America.

Chris Christie signs a sports betting bill.

I opened up Harness Racing Update on Sunday and saw a full page color ad from Valor Racing. Barry Irwin's partnership owned Derby winner Animal Kingdom. The benefits of owning harness horses are huge when we compare them to the thoroughbreds - we can race 30 times a year, purses are good, yearling prices lower. Why don't we see an ad in thoroughbred mags from our sport?

Standardbredgal found some excellent harness racing memorabilia and she wrote about it in a cool blog post.

Why do we hear exchange wagering is too complex for our fans to understand, so don't expect much? Matt Drudge ran this link today to the Intrade board for the US election. The general public gets it just fine. We don't need focus groups to ask what existing customers want, we need to expand our base. BTW, Romney is juicy odds for the November elections, in my opinion. I think the US folks opt for a CEO this time, rather than a visionary with little biz experience. I'm going long. But I'm rarely right on these things :)

There was a Hollywood Heyden sighting at harnessracing.com.

Ray Paulick  is doing a great job with the horse slaughter situation in Pennsylvania. Well done.

It was reported that Jerry Yang left Yahoo! just this minute, and the stock popped. I wonder what racing would be if it were a stock. Would our stock pop if the folks who control California racing handed the reins over to someone new?

The Meadowlands is going back on a couple of things with their wagering menu. The $1 supers are gone, and a couple of pick 3's have been added. Short term it's probably a good move. Long term I don't think getting rid of the dollar supers will help much. They provide the customer with choice.

Very few surprises in the US Eclipse voting last evening.

Have a great evening everyone.


Anonymous said...

Hey PTP,

I agree with getting the word out there in thoroughbred mags. You make some great points about the benefits of harness racing, as well: stud fees are considerably lower than the thorougbreds too.

There is a well known farm in Kentucky, called Calumet, that started off as a full blown standardbred facility, with the trotter, Calumet Butler winning the Hambletonian....And then came the thoroughbred foundation sire, Bull Lea, and it was converted to a thoroughbred farm...


Pull the Pocket said...

Ah, forgot to link your post! I meant to do that!

Anonymous said...



Not A Corporate Lawyer said...

If horse racing were a stock it would be on the pink sheets.

However, if there was news of either Frank Stronach or Bob Evans hoofing the bucket, it would quickly qualify for NASDAQ:)

That Blog Guy said...

I had a conversation with someone in management at the Meadowlands. The $1 Superfectas did not really take, but for all those that point out about the dime Superfectas had more than double the handle of the $1 supers, that money came from canabalizing the exacta and trifecta pools and did nothing to increase the overall handle. However, the Meadowlands realizes if you want to be customer friendly, you need to give them what they want; to a point. However, they are stopping superfectas in each race, there will be no superfectas in races that start a Pick wager; not wanting to take money from those pools.

No doubt some people liked the $1 supers, but not enough to make it stick. Perhaps, someday it will, but now.

That Blog Guy said...

Kudos to the Meadowlands, they are giving the customers what they want, not what is the most profitable for them; that is being customer-friendly.

Examples: Pick 3s were some of the smallest pools, but some customers liked them so they will add a few more; but not a rolling Pick 3. Maybe people will then bet into them more.

Apparently the $1 Supers didn't take, but for those who noted the dime supers had pools more than double the $1 supers, they should know that money came from canabalizing exacta and trifecta pools. So the dime supers come back, but won't be in any race that starts a Pick wager.

As far as I am concerned, if the Supers are canabalizing the other pools and not adding to overall handle, I would get rid of them.

Anonymous said...

Show me someone who snags the supers and I'll befriend them in a heartbeat! There's too many outside variables floating around the paddocks to make those types of picks...



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