Wednesday Notes

The OHRIA report was released yesterday. The broad based thoughts give everyone a glimpse that no one really knows what's going to happen. There's two-pronged blame to go around for that, in my opinion. When the government lays down public policy that is unclear which results in the businesses affected from making a proper decision (think of the muddy health care law in the states), it's their bad. When an industry can't put forward a plan because they have to appease everyone and everything because of their dependance on the subsidy and lack of previous foresight, it's their bad.

It's not a newsflash, but every slots at racetracks deal out there is a colossal mess. Other jurisdictions have a chance to fix it, in my opinion, but all you hear is crickets. If some of those deals fail, I believe that's mostly on them.

The Hambo and Hambo Oaks elims were drawn yesterday. The highest handle day in harness racing is less than ten days away.

Best line I've heard in awhile. In response to "we can't lower takeout because our business costs too much to run" from a racetrack, a horseplayer (Thaskalos on said "When 90% of your operating revenue comes from slots and you don't need the takeout money to run your business, that's no excuse". He's right. Tracks and horsemen groups in slots jurisdictions don't lower takeout because they don't believe in it as a concept, not because of that lame excuse.

The Gold Cup and Saucer is getting close. I spoke with someone at Red Shores and he's working his butt off to get people out. Their on track handle last year was $210k for the cards and he is hoping for more. He's also distributing his signal far and wide this year.

Olympic testing gets a boost. Red Blood Cell count passports are being used. I wish racing did the same early in the 2000's with EPO. h/t to @keenegal

How does the thoroughbred industry stop horses that don't need lasix from getting lasix? How about carding races for non-lasix horses with a purse bump. On condition of entry you have to have a scope report from a vet that only shows minor, or no blood after a workout or race, to ensure the horse is protected. I would expect in a few years (if the purse bump is high enough) you'd see 70% of horses on the drug, not 99%.  Whether we want to believe it or not, Adam Smith was no dummy. The greatest incentive in our lifetimes regarding decision making in business is cold hard cash.

 There was a nice conversation between Sid Fernando and Caroline Betts on breakdowns yesterday on twitter.  Sid brought up the very salient point that completely absent from the discussion has been track surfaces. That's this business in a nutshell - even if something works (like poly does with breakdowns), the old guard complains so much about change it is often reversed. Then never brought up again because "we're not going down that road again"

New rules on Shock Wave Therapy (days out and being on a list) did not sit well with a horsemen dude. One line caught my eye.

"Dave Basler, the executive director of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, objected strenuously to posting publicly the names of horses that had received the treatment, arguing that ESWT shouldn’t be treated differently from any other therapy a horse receives. He also objected to the horses being placed on a veterinarian’s list."

It's our horse and no one elses! In Ontario there is a vet passport to ensure vet work is not being done on top of vet work. In Hong Kong horses vet visits are kept in a log and (heaven forbid) released to the public so bettors can see about a horses health he may be betting on, or against. It might be "our horse" but horse racing gains revenue from a) the bettors and b) the public trough, through slot money. We need people to start respecting that more, because as Ontario racing is learning - there is only one customer, and when he's gone, everyone is standing in the unemployment line.

Have a  nice Wednesday.

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