On-track marketing and customer service is looked at 'wholistically'.
Meanwhile, over on the Internet, it's not embraced in nearly the same fashion.
One thing I like about DraftKings and FanDuel is that when you log in, you are taken to a world of fantasy sports
As O_Crunk noted on twitter, the "contest space" is getting hammered by some, but it's missing the big point. A seamless customer experience for horse racing on the web involves information, and conduits to enjoy a sport that fit with today's society. Betting horses on the web can be so much more.
Picture an interface with pari-mutuel on one side, an exchange with the same race on the other, and a contest screen with the same race in another box. Add a few more bells and whistles if you like - like DRF Live, or twitter, or figures, or Timeform - if data was more open, think of the angles that you could pop up in a live-stream.
With that type of vision, and 'wholistic' customer experience, if you don't like the third race, you can play your contest. If you don't like the 3-5 chalk, but hate everyone else - and it being a short field see no real exacta value - you can lay the chalk on the exchange. You can take the race off if you want, and peruse the real time news feeds and commentary.
That's the bettors food truck. That's the bettors band, ABR Live bus, or wiener dog race. That's what keeps people at their computer for ten hours on a Saturday watching racing. It's what keeps them downloading PP's. It keeps them engaged in your sport. It keeps them paying for purses.
Unfortunately you're saying "Pocket, that's pie in the sky". It probably is, because racing does not have this vision, but for crying out loud, it's not 22nd century 12 Monkey's stuff. Exchange wagering is doable - it's been going on for twelve years and Betfair themselves have come to this sport with this vision in some form. Derby Wars is doable - hell, it exists already. Go to TwinspiresTV; their programmers aren't dumb by any stretch, so that's not an excuse.
Things like this could've been done ten or more years ago, but "racing" doesn't think like FanDuel, or DraftKings, or many other web-driven gambling enterprises. Licensing and incorporating an exchange? No, we don't own every penny of it, so it must be destroyed. Licensing and incorporating Derby Wars? Of course not, we just saw a CHRB meeting where the braintrust wants it destroyed, too.
When you don't evolve, the customer base who uses technology (today, that's your average millennial and your 70 year old with an iPad) gets engaged with something else and they leave. It's not because they don't like horse racing, it's because they found something else that satisfies their needs and keeps them interested.