I had a neat chat on social media yesterday with a few geeky horse racing and business folks. We were trying to come up with some sort of linear function of what horse ownership is.
Clearly, when approximately 50 cents out of every dollar invested in horseflesh is your rate of return, it's much more than just about purses; which is pretty interesting, considering how much horsemen groups particularly place on the purse variable in racing; not to mention the empirical data that is accompanied it.
What's it all about? A lot of things.
Over at Thoroughbred Commentary, York Racecourse was looked at in this regard:
2011, owners with runners at York have enjoyed the use of a dedicated
lounge and dining room, with unobstructed views of the racecourse and
parade ring. A recently completed building was also set aside to
congratulate connections of winning horses. They
instantly receive a USB stick with a still photograph of their winner,
together with a DVD of the race. Within a week, winning owners are sent a
photograph of the happy occasion within a silver frame. And celebratory
glasses are raised not just by winning connections, but by those owning
the second, third, and fourth horses home. "
We can call that ego stroking, or giving into rich horse owners wishes, or whatever you want to call it. I call it good business.
Perks are a big part of shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for a horse. Perks are a big part of $5,000 a month bills, and $10,000 vet bills, and everything else. The owner experience in both Thoroughbred and harness racing can, and should do much better.
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