One poster, and horseman on harnessdriver.com seems to think there's a chance to spend some of what's left to do something positive:
- I am a former horse-person who spent most of my life in the business. The lightbulb came on for me a couple of years ago plus a little more, my reasoning was all the things that had gone astray in the business, it was no longer enjoyable, hard to make money, racing had generally become boring, things never seemed to change as no one wanted them to, and in fact were getting worse every year. Putting $10,000 vet bills into $6,000 claimers had become the norm and was a game I wouldn't, as well as couldn't play, I always said I got into the business as I loved horses, and I left for the exact same reason!
- I think this whole situation should be looked at as a positive, no one acted for so many years to improve the product as the world changed around it. The industry stood still and reaped the benefits. The positive is that the industry has been given a one year reprive to get people interested again. The $345 million or so, whatever the number is, can be used as a farewell tour maintaining the status quo until March 13, 2013 when the doors will be shut forever, or it can be used as an investment in the future free from government interference all together. It's up to all parties involved. How bad do you want it??
- Harness racing must reinvent itself for today's world, and the time to sit around and talk about it is over. There are one year and two days to make this viable again. The clock is ticking !!
However, he does make some good points.
As we've noted on the blog, purses have gone up by 2 or 3 hundred percent the past 20 years, but costs have gone up the same. Vet trainers have surfaced to take advantage of purse inequities and the game got commercialized. 30% trainers get more stock, because people want to win at all costs. Those trainers need to jam to make money because of the vet bills and God knows what else, crowding out owners racing for second place. As well, with droppers at 1-5 that look unbeatable, it makes the races terrible for fans. It's a vicious, awful circle.
Have we really gotten anywhere as a business because of it? Does having 12 claims on a horse in a race, with horse A shuffling to horse B and then to C and back to A do anything for us, really? Is that what slots were for?
I know little of that is news to you as bettors - you've lived this for years. But it is not only bettors. Owners have been quite upset too - good honest owners who just want to enjoy owning horses. The people we need in our sport.
It's good to see some soul searching and introspeciton. There are still plenty of racing jurisdictions left with slots. Hopefully this is a wake-up call to them to make things better before they are cut off.