Before you decide to flame me, hear me out :)
In New York, the government-racing partnership seems to be a little suspect. In Ontario, it's suspect too, but mainly because the current, sitting government pulled the rug from under the sport with an unexpected move that decimated many livelihoods. However, two plus years hence, the partnership between to the two to try and move racing to a more demand led (handle and attendance) sport is well underway.
From SC, tracks have reached an unprecedented agreement:
- "This is a unique in-the-world agreement between eight tracks to share resources, coordinate schedules, to provide a consistent level of racing and purses year-round to the benefit of both the horsepersons of Ontario and also for the horseplayers, so that we'll be able to put a signal out around the world that's consistent good quality racing and a great product for people to wager on."
Horseplayers of course, can focus on this line most: "we'll be able to put a signal out around the world that's consistent good quality racing and a great product for people to wager on."
You don't hear that comment anywhere in a racing jurisdiction. Some tracks try, yes, but not an entire 8 track, multi-billion dollar industry.
Unlike in Iowa, or New York, the restructuring is demand led, and it's much more forward thinking. There are no Belmont Stakes days with $3 million added to purses, and holding that up as some sort of triumph. This cuts to the core of the sport: Putting people in the seats, maximizing handle and the resulting revenue, and intertwining the sport into the fabric of the gambling economy, on a year round, consistent basis. It took thought, hard work and planning. It didn't come about in an afternoon on the back of a napkin.
Horse racing had a decade to do this itself in the Province and did not. This is clearly a step in the right direction.