Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Probable Success at the Big A, Lawsuits & A Little More

Alan over at LATG made a strong point today, using something I like - a little irreverent comedy.
  • And there was some really good news.  As reported by the News: The death rate at NYRA tracks is now 1.5 per 1,000 starters, the lowest in the country.

    Wow, that's excellent, and an impressive turnaround from when the 21 horse deaths in the winter of 2012 sparked enough outrage to get the indifferent governor involved. 
Now, we should probably look at sample size and other statsy things that smart people use in their daily work and betting lives. But, fundamentally, rent a horse, jams, wheelbacks and the like in slotsville, with high purses (many higher than the claiming price), are probably not good for the horses. That's what happened last season to not a tiny degree. This season? The participants have been mindful of what they're sending out, the stews and vets are vigilant, the purses have been restructured. Things that should work were tried.

I think it's safe to say that this all hands on deck strategy has worked.

Alan's broader point is right, in my opinion. When things are going bad, the press and the industry  should point it out. Carrying water results in bad policy and the continuation of bad policy. However, on the flip side we need to see the same when something does work.

In Ontario, pointed out on this blog and other avenues, the same issues the Big A and NYRA faced were noticed years earlier. The Ontario Racing Commission made policy to stop it, not unlike happened at NYRA last year. The whole industry should've known about it, so those pitfalls could be avoided. That didn't happen.

Let's hope the next track that gets high fuelled slots purses, say like have just been passed in Ohio, writes races and puts protocols in that NYRA has this year, not like they had last year. Good policy needs to be copied, bad policy avoided. And the press should cover both.


Breeders in Ontario are suing the Ontario Lottery and Gaming division for $60M for cancelling slots, among other legal thingies, I imagine. On the surface this looks like folly, but I am no Ben Matlock.

Andy Beyer is talking run-up times again, which is a pleasure for people who have been fighting for this for a long time. Beyer carries a stick. We don't.

The head of NYRA, I assume, will be leaving NYRA in 2015. So far we've seen policy changes for the customer which include a signal fee hike/ADW tax, and admission increases. I suppose horseplayers will not be sad to see him go (if it happens), but he probably didn't have a lot to do with these policies anyway.

Have a great day everyone!


Anonymous said...

People need to check the facts on the equine deaths...even if you are only counting dirt tracks, both Lone Star Park and Delaware Park reported equine death rates lower than 1.5 per thousand last year.

Anonymous said...

Lawsuit against OLG certainly has appearance of folly but perhaps the thought is "nothing to lose"? If there are vindictive types in gov't ( nah could never be) one might fear that reaction to the suit could be pulling plug on current lifeline?

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