This question was asked 5 years ago - before slots were taken away - through the development of the Racing Development and Sustainability Plan. At that time, I did feel there was grassroots support, but this was none echoed by the alphabets that represented them. The plan was never passed, and was placed in the dustbin; where plans tend to go in horse racing.
This last week, I was a little surprised at some of the numbers thrown around. From the 1% or 2%, to the "25%" or "as much as we need to give."
This is a sea-change, quite frankly (the original RDSP called for 5%, most of it out of slot dollars).
Here's the clip
We're probably seeing similar with Racing Under Saddle. The old guard is wary of using purse money for this type of racing (despite it being the same horse population, and trainers supplying the racing stock). It's new. To some, it's not an enhancement to offering a new live product to patrons, but a type of competitor.
Racing under saddle has driven handle when it's offered. At Flammy last week, $13,000 was bet on the under saddle race, which is a big amount, especially for something brand new to the wagering public.
Total handle for @RUS_Ontario race $13 055 @Flamborodowns Id say its a hit ! Thx for the support!We're seeing a change in the way harness racing - and throughbred racing too - operates of late. The protectionist and confrontational older guard - those who fight for higher takeout, lack of change, lack of experimentation, all to protect the purse money the sport has at this very minute - are losing their grip a little bit.
— Britt Kennedy (@kennedyracing22) September 21, 2014
It's a realization that if harness racing was doing things right, it would be popular. Since it's not, maybe some new things, and a new direction, is in order.
Enjoy your day everyone.