Thursday, June 25, 2020

Using Data & "Free" to Engage Players

Think With Google has been sharing some excellent case studies recently via their partnership with MIT's Sloan. One that caught my eye was Electronic Arts, the video game maker. 

EA, which makes FIFA World Cup Soccer, earns some major hay when the World Cup comes around. They drop a new game with updated stats and players, and sell it to the masses.  This past World Cup, though, they took a different approach - they updated the previous version for free right into the 2018 game..

This might sound silly, but there was a method to their madness - deep customer insights. They learned, through player metrics, that there is such thing as a recency effect. Those who play the game late cycle convert to the new product. They learned, however, veterans of the game who had not played in more than two months needed a push to engage again. Hence, the free product. 

"Our free update succeeded in bringing those players back and, given the Recency Effect, increased their likelihood to convert to FIFA 19."

The results of this test should not be overly surprising to us, the horseplayer. Back around 2006, with handle flailing, the Hong Kong Jockey Club used the same type of metric to bring their lost horseplayers back. In that case it was a rebate. 

A rebate works in similar fashion. Poorly engaged veteran players are having trouble staying afloat, so they're given a push. This push gets them back into the habit of playing, with a higher probability of winning money.  When referencing the results of their change in policy, the HKJC remarked how the habitual nature of horse racing customers is an important metric, and this seized the day.

Over here across the pond we're not doing Electronic Arts, or the Hong Kong Jockey Club. We're not using internal player metrics as they should be; we're not creating any dynamic policy of "free" to increase engagement, and grow lifetime value. In the quasi-oligopoly (or in Canada, HPI's pretty much monopoly) there seems to be little incentive to. But, as that happens, make no mistake, horse racing is falling behind.

Have a great Thursday everyone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


On Monday, via trainer Paul Kelley, we learned harness racing's defacto Chief Historian Joe Fitzgerald passed away.

To say this was unexpected - and to the the many of us who chatted with Joe over the years, shocking and sad - was an understatement.

Joe was a very private guy, but that didn't stop him from talking to just about anyone who liked or watched the sport of harness racing. His tweets were a tour de force, and if this sport was as watched  as the big ones he'd probably be a (reluctant) popular figure. He absolutely loved the sport, and his knowledge of it was as vast as his prodigious vocabulary.

I'll definitely miss him for that, but I'll mostly miss just chatting with him, and his good nature overall.

Joe was a wonderful writer. A wordsmith. And his articles on various websites are testament to that.  But for a guy who could write like that, he sure didn't flaunt it. Sometimes with me - not a wordsmith, obviously - he'd gently reference a line that wasn't quite right, or an incorrect word. I'd look at it and realize how stupid I was, but he never did it to make me feel stupid. That wasn't him. That was the antithesis of him.

I don't know what Joe did for a living (and I am sorry I never asked) but I think he'd be at home on a shop floor because his good natured needling and humour would take him far. I remember when Donald Trump won the Massachusetts primary, and me knowing Joe's disdain for him, tweeted something about "You Massachusetts types love the Donald, Joe!" He replied in jocular fashion, playing along, just like he always has since. He'd fire back to me something about Trudeau at times that was laugh out loud funny, giving it back to me.

Joe appeared to be an amateur hobbyist type person in Astrology. Me, being, well not that, again would ask silly questions like, "Joe, if Mars and Mercury are retrograding, does that mean I will hit a pick 4 tonight?" What I'd get back was pure Joe.

I am pretty sure if I lived in Boston I'd want to hang with Joe, because he was Joe. And if you loved harness racing, you were automatically a friend. You were in the club. Joe's club.

I remember years ago speaking to someone in the sport who had a title of some sort. I told him that harness racing history is not really documented; we can't find what we're looking for (especially with even historical horse lines behind paywalls). I asked about the sport creating a harness racing wiki - a funded project with hands on deck to document the sport; to live on the web forever.

Today I think about this even more because we lost Joe. He - unpaid of course - was doing that for us, almost each day. Now he's gone. And others will surely follow, leaving us to pick up the slack, when few of us are capable. I don't know why I should - I am just a fan with a blog - but I find that troubling.

I'll miss your tweets Joe. But I'll miss you as a person even more. You were a fantastic guy. God Speed.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Harness - Track Size or Track Culture, The Differences in Driver Strategy Are Real

Harness racing is a unique bird when it comes to driving styles and driving colonies. Whereas in Thoroughbred racing, a jock does not race a turf horse too much differently in various states, in harness racing we see drivers do just that. It's something that's been talked about since forever, really.

At Yonkers - a half mile track - we'll see drivers wait until the half almost each race before pulling. Often they wait for cover so long, the leader has stolen a 57.3 and hasn't even started to race yet. It is antithesis to the colony to park on two turns.

Over at Northfield (another half miler), which many of us have watched lately, it's antithesis not to park on two turns. In about half the races, horses are starting to move just past the quarter, looking for cover at the 3/8's pole - directly on the turn.

On five-eighths like Scioto Downs and Dover we see similar. The flow is stacked on the clubhouse turn, almost each race. Greenwood, oh beloved Greenwood, in the 1990's raced like this as well.

Over at Mohawk, where the driving colony has long been labelled passive, sometimes the shoe fits. How many races have you seen in Campbellville with 30 second 2nd and 3rd quarters? Oftentimes we'll see drivers not want to park on a half of a turn, near the three quarters, where they wait, hoping to find a seam. At times the race is already over by then.

This style of racing also rears its head at Hoosier - where inexplicably, in my view, they have a passing lane.

At Mohawk - a larger track - the drivers don't attack for position.

At Yonkers -  a smaller track - the drivers don't attack for position.

At Scioto and Dover - smaller tracks - the drivers attack for position.

At Northfield - a super-small track - the drivers attack for position.

What's the main difference?

I think it's two part, but it has to deal with Prospect Theory - not wanting to give up what we have, even though we could get more EV with more risk. It's the case of the NFL coach not wanting to go for two or go for it on 4th down, even though the math say she should, because if he's wrong it sticks out and he can be criticized.

First, it's cultural. The drivers are used to the same style, they race the same style. Holes are given, sit wait and pounce rules the day - 5% is 5% for coming 5th. If a hole doesn't open up, so what. When the U.S. drivers come to Mohawk, they shake things up, and Prospect Theory goes out the window. Yannick or Tim are not sitting fourth with a decent horse in a 30 second 2nd quarter, and we see this regularly.

The second is purse size.  At Yonkers (and Mohawk) in my view we see a "take turns" mentality. When you're sitting fourth at Yonkers for a $24,000 purse, you think fourth place and racing next week, especially with the 4-5 shot on the lead. 8% of $24k is good money, why bother pulling and maybe come 6th?

At Northfield with a $4,500 purse you get a big piece or don't pay shipping. Ditto Scioto in a lot of cases; Harrington, others - go is the word. At these tracks the culture is to hit the board, not be passive, looking for next week. It shows each and every race.

Harness racing has always been an in and out game. Horses take a week off, then they're on go and vice-versa. It's why they instituted a rule in Australia and New Zealand where "tactic changes" have to be given customers beforehand. But it's more than that. Harness racing is regional. Drivers at Mohawk watch Northfield and lose their minds, while drivers at the Meadowlands and Scioto say, "a thirty second second quarter, what in the hell are you guys doing up there?"

Usually information is spread and things change, but in harness racing we seem happy with these regional differences. In a way it makes the game more interesting - prospect theory or not.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Horse Racing's Innovation Blinkers

Innovation and horse racing. Put together, the two of them elicit feverish reaction in this sport. One one side you have the customers, along with some, like for example the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation and people who've made money outside the sport like Mike Repole. Then you have everyone else.

In the history of innovation, the everyone else is a powerful force.

In "How Innovation Works", an epic history of invention and innovation, British author Matt Ridley explains innovation in its glory, along with the forces that oppose it at every turn. It's the latter that struck me when it comes to this sport.

Ridley believes that there are three main characteristics to opposition to innovation: An appeal to safety, a self-interest among the vested, and a paranoia among the powerful.

When margarine was innovated in 1869 (as a cost saving to ever-expensive butter), the American Dairy Council denounced it; New York state banned it; "studies" were financed, one where one rat was given butter, one margarine, and within months, the margarine-fed rat died a horrible death (it was later uncovered that the study was bunk). Bogus bans on margarine were still on the books in 1940.

Cab drivers organized against the innovation of the umbrella; the Horse Association of America fought the introduction of the tractor. In 1707 a Londoner named Papin built a boat with a paddlewheel (the first innovation of the steamboat), demonstrated its efficiency one day at the shipping docks, expecting a marvelous reception. Instead, the oarsmen saw the competition and destroyed his boat.

If this rings a bell it should. This is pretty close to how racing has reacted over the years.

Remember in 2010 when California passed the law that allowed takeout to be increased? I bet you do; it was implemented in days.

Now, remember what was attached to that law? Exchange Wagering. As sports betting is passed in California and that 2-5 shot that you didn't like lost on Saturday at Santa Anita, was it fun betting against it on the exchange? No, because one doesn't exist - through safety (how it's safe to raise takeout is beyond me, but they clearly think so), vested interest and paranoia.

People complain about the lack of innovation using horse racing's data - namely, there is little to none. How can innovation happen through Equibase's vice-grip on it? They don't seem to want to break your boat as much as make it impossible to build.

Lowering the use of the whip to make racing more visually appealing in a world where the animal is considered so differently compared to our agrarian roots? You'd think we were talking about implementing margarine.

The sport - and as above this is not unique to only this sport - can't possibly leave a favorite off their pick 5 ticket, hoping to score. It's considered dangerous and unsafe to.

The innovation we do see is meaningful, but most-often its the proverbial deck chair. The Rainbow Six came from the Fortune 6 at Beulah, which came before it from a track in Puerto Rico. Now everyone has or wants one.

Post drags are fun. If they work at one track to steal money from another track it's great. The problem is that when all tracks do it, we're in some sort of Gene Roddenberry-12 Monkeys-Doctor Who hyperloop of post drag hell.

Both those "innovations", probably, in the long term, drive customers away from horse racing. I'm not an expert, but that seems sub-optimal.

Horse racing lacks the innovation bug because it's not built for it. But for those of you out there fighting the good fight, please keep fighting. This sport - and I don't think this is going out on a limb - needs an innovative sea-change.

Have a great Monday everyone.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Playing to Different Audiences

Last evening Woodbine cards - both Thoroughbred and harness - were televised on Canada's largest sports network, TSN. From inside the sport, the show got rave reviews.  And from what little of what I saw (I was working on the Scioto pick 5 carryover), I agree. It was a bang up job.

The giddiness of insiders regarding this foray is palpable, and they're certainly one audience. The other audience is no doubt governments who support the sport: Over the last half century, as governments regulate, or are a part of an industry, the industry itself must spend money to stay relevant; not relevant to outsiders, but to governments and those who hold purse strings.

What I fear however - and rarely don't fear with ventures like this - is that they disqualify working on what matters for the rest of us: Growing the betting audience. I realize it's one evening, and there are other issues at play, like lack of qualifiers in Ontario, but the first race pick 5 on national television garnered a handle of $86,000. The two previous Thursday's before shut down were $124,000 and $128,000 pools, respectively. The $86,000 pool, from what I see, was the lowest since the restart.

I don't think I was the only one looking for value in the pick 5, not at Mohawk, but at Scioto.

I don't want to be a downer, and I appreciate televising the sport - mainly for the reasons I outlined above. But I do want to stress - this is not for a bettor, this is for you.

Bettors have made it loud and clear what they want from Woodbine: Don't take extra takeout from your (monopoly) ADW, leaving Canadian players at a disadvantage. Don't take 26% or 27% out of pools; and don't allow horses to race at your track without a recent line.

That's your handle audience; that's what they ask for.

Putting races on TV might make everyone feel good - and there is merit as a corporate initiative. But please never forget - this won't raise handles. Giving customers what they want and need can only do that.


I finally got a hold of a friend at an ADW recently, after calling the general line for like three days to no avail - I stayed on hold longer than calling the tax department. Why? Because they've been swamped dealing with new signups. Will this translate to handle? The jury is still out.

There's a pick 6 carryover at the Meadowlands tonight starting in race 4. It's a non-jackpot bet. It looks fairly formful, but if you want to take a swing there's some free money involved.

From a branding perspective have we seen a better job done by Ohio harness racing? Those drivers are out and going and each race is a pretty cool puzzle. I bet it's been a real eye-opener to people who have not watched their signals much.

Note to tracks - Tape and upload your qualifiers! For the many players who want to do the work they're vital to handicapping. I asked a friend last week if he was playing the Meadowlands opening weekend and he said, "it's tough without being able to see Gaitway qualifiers". He sat it out.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Just Pick Winners!

Yesterday we wrote about some (many?) inside the business who don't quite understand what we bettors do each day to try and scratch some profit. Thanks to the 44 of you (and 212 Russian bots..... Privet!) who read it.

That post spawned some discussion, so I figured I'd jot another few thoughts down for you and my Moscow friends, if you'd like to read more of my drivel.

I can't tell you how many times over the years I've spoken to people inside the business who tell me I just need to pick winners. It's like picking winners is the magic elixir to gambling success; to keep us in the game, forever.

On the surface to someone who has never gambled before, this sounds pretty basic. If we never lose, we'll win!

If this game was about picking winning tickets we'd bet 1-9 shots to show all day; we'd build fancy machines to datamine favorites to build subsets that vault them over a $1.00 ROI; DeRosa would make "Grids" on twitter with all "A" chalk; TVG pick 3 tip tickets would not exist, because the hosts wouldn't be hosting, they'd be having breakfast on their own personal islands. (Pro Tip: None of these work).

I was reminded of this again a week or so ago, chatting with an insider about the lack of qualifiers in Ontario. He told me, well, you should just bet top trainers and not bet others and you'd be fine; that I should follow the board money. I'd pick winners!

I tried to tell him what we all know - this game is not about betting what everyone else is, it's about betting what others are not betting. The former is a path to gambling ruin, the latter about what all of us try and do each and every day.

That concept - the concept that playing a game of coin flip with 22% of the pot being removed and it can be beaten by "following the board money" - is just so completely obtuse I can't believe people still talk about it. Even at the signing of the Magna Carta half the people in the room didn't believe the sun revolved around the earth.

It's amazing how this narrative permeates the business in almost every nick and cranny. I was told last night by an insider that a horse that recently won at Mohawk  - a horse with no recent lines (there's no qualifier to watch to check recent form of course) - whose last set of lines were three races beaten 44 lengths could've been a bet because he won money last year. That's advice about as bad as betting a colt in his 19th start because he's a half to Dialed In (don't laugh, this is actually fairly common).

This might not seem like a problem. Who cares, right? And we're a bunch of whiny bettors anyway. But it, in my view, is just so damn important. And others do not act like this.

If you flip onto a DraftKings pod about the PGA this weekend, insiders - the people hired by DraftKings, as well as their management - will talk about the concepts I highlighted above without even having to explain them. They'll talk about ownership numbers of Rory in GPP's versus cash games. They'll talk about hidden positives, models, and not having a lineup with more than 70% ownership.

They are educating their users so they can win more money, stay in the game longer, and their business can grow.

It's bad news that our sport does not (to be fair, some iconoclasts in the business do, so well done) do that. What really ticks most of us off is that when you try and explain these basic things, they tell you you're dumb and block you on Twitter. They even block warm and cuddly Inside the Pylons.

In the end, likely nothing will change. We'll keep trying to grind profit and they'll keep telling us to pick winners. But, on this slow Wednesday thank you to you the blog reader as well as all my Russian friends, for allowing me to vent it out one more time.

Have a super day everyone.


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

An Education Into Doing What Bettors Do

Back in the early 80's a team of scientists were conducting an experiment to help eradicate the current scourge of malaria in Africa, transmitted by mosquitoes. They and their volunteers created nets, treated with a substance, and slept each night for five months tracking results. Experiments such as these were done before, and it showed nets worked, but people in large numbers were still getting bit, and malaria was in full force.

These nets were different, though - they had holes in them, because most nets in Africa had holes. The results, after trail and error with different substances treating the holy nets, were astonishing. It took some time, but today it's estimated this innovation accounts for 70% of 6 million lives saved from malaria each year.

This theoretical idea was modified to mimic the reality, because theory often does not work in practice.

I think about this story in terms of us bettors and customers. We can pick and choose fifty different things those in the business do not understand about us (and those who are long gone from the game), but last night I found a couple nuanced examples that I think are pretty illustrative.

In race two at Mohawk a "theyknew" horse crushed by 6 and was hammered down to 2-1, while being driven like a 2 to 5 shot. The colt was 9-1 in the doubles after a 12-1 morning line, with a mediocre qualifier.

How could we know, right? Well, we kind of could if we dug and handicapped. If you watched the qualifier it was a bury job, the horse trotted beautifully, is a big strong horse and hails from a barn that sends horses ready. We might've not 2-1 "knew" but we could sniff it out, using in a pick 5 or double as an edge.

I'm in now way saying a track that cares should not examine a race like that and fire a shot across that barns' bow, but really, we could come up with him if we work hard at the game.

Flipping to race four there was a different kind of win. A horse off months with past lines well below par for the class, with 30 plus second last quarters, was shipped into a 2 for 32 barn. The horse went first up like a well meant champ and won in 151 with a 27.3 kicker.

How can you get this one? Can you watch his qualifier to see if he had pace (there were none)? Can you use obscure barn stats or something? No, this is not handicapping, this is knowing something. Some people did, and they took down a ton of public money last night (when we include horizontals there were hundreds of thousands bet with this race tied up). This is money the public had absolutely no shot to share in.

This is probably the time an old time player or track executive would chuckle, saying "it's part of the game" or something equally platitudinous. I'd counter with - the world has changed Dinosaur, and capital is fleeting; moving to games that aren't yours for reasons exactly like this. Wake the hell up.

The venerable author Bob Marks - who toiled many years as a public handicapper before running a breeding operation - has written that on condition of hire, a racetrack executive should head to the grandstand nightly for a month and wager like we do for his or her paycheck. Bob believes it would go a long way to understanding customers - both the ones you have and the ones you'd like to have - because of incidents exactly like this. If you're not living them, you can't possibly understand them.

Last night that executive would have a pretty good education on how this game is played; not in the theoretical C-Suite world, or judges room, or in placating trade papers, but in our world of mosquito nets with holes in them.

After last night, I'd hope he or or she'd watch qualifiers and the betting board more closely, and I hope they'd sure as hell be carding qualifiers so if a 3 month layoff is going to crush hundreds of thousands of dollars of people's hard earned money, at least they have a something to go on.

Have a nice Tuesday everyone.

Monday, June 8, 2020

The Curious Case of Harness Racing Handles

The pandemic and resulting discombobulation has certainly thrown things out of whack in horse racing, and some narratives are being turned on their ear. But one thing we have noticed - almost without fail - is that when a big, popular signal comes back, we'll get some huge handles.

Belmont's opening day on Wednesday set a handle record, Sunday was up 81% year over year, and that followed a whopping $23 million handle on Saturday. It's not like this track (and Churchill before them) had zero competition either (Gulfstream and several other venues have been running.)

Over in harness racing we're noticing a bit of that, but in what's full-blown Benjamin Button: it's in an opposite direction.

Scioto was the first track to begin racing (and credit to them - they did put some money into their signal) and handles curiously have exploded. After averaging around $220k per card last year, most handles since the return have eclipsed $1M, and they set a single day handle record in the process.

Northfield followed, and they too have had great handles with one card beating $2M.

When Mohawk and the Meadowlands came back, things didn't quite pan out the way we've seen in Thoroughbred racing. This was not the return of Belmont and Churchill. Not even close.

Mohawk handled about $2.1M on the previous Fridays to this past Friday, which was their opener. They couldn't break $1.9M (Canadian). Pick 5 pools of $115k and $142k those previous Fridays were good; this one had to be dragged to hit the guarantee.

I guess this should not be surprising. Ontario racing - a jurisdiction we could never consider having the finger on the pulse of the customer -  allowed racing without qualifiers. If you were betting a pick 5 you either had some inside knowledge, or you like beating your head against a wall.

Things got no better on Saturday.  Their (completely curious) mandatory payout of the Super High Five decision wasn't even rewarded. These events generally bring in 3X the volume of the carry, but they didn't even hit that.They even had a hard time giving away free money.

Over at the Meadowlands things were better, but the house wasn't exactly on fire. They handled $2.8 million on Friday, about what they always do.

Maybe we could chalk this up to more tracks being raced? I don't think so.

Scioto - with the Meadowands and Woodbine racing - still did surprisingly good handles, topping $1M on Friday. Tioga Downs opened up Sunday to a record handle.

And, in one of the more surprising developments, Hawthorne Harness had their opener on Sunday:

Hawthorne has never been considered a big signal and does not partake in stakes racing or high purses. They drove - when accounting for exchange rates - more than Woodbine-Mohawk did this weekend. That's - no offence at all to the hard-working Jim Miller and crew intended - pretty shocking.

When it comes to handle, harness racing is different than Thoroughbred racing - stakes handle is smaller for one. But I don't think for a minute anyone who watches the sport could've called this. In Ontario racing's case we have a reason to see depressed handles via their anti-customer and bettor decisions; the Big M is with Monarch, not an open distribution system like Hawthorne. But it's still pretty shocking to see handle records at these smaller tracks and a blah reopening at the bigger ones.

I assume things will change, but right now, a hearty well done to smaller tracks like Scioto, Hawthorne and Northfield. You clearly pushed the right buttons and customers came back, excited to play your product.

Have a nice Monday everyone.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Sunday Post - Ways to Play the Handicapping Puzzle

Hooray for Bobby Sacs!

Bobby, a newer player who enjoys the game, took a shot at the Belmont pick 5 carryover Friday and scored a $2 hit for 92 large. That's a memorable one.

Bobby's ticket construction was pretty good, I thought (even without the results bias of him hitting it!) -

Lone speed key
Spread (including a bomb "A")
Lone speed key

Since loan speeds can be conditional, and not worrying about "just hitting a ticket" and spreading like peanut butter, he shot and scored.

Me on the other hand, not so nice, but it shows how much, in my view, the game can be looked at with different perspectives.

I am a lone speed key lover, but I watched a few of the dirt races and didn't see a speed track. So, I pitched the two lone speeds.

I generally went: Pitch Instagrand, lean on spread closers like the two and six, key of the 11 in leg two, spread including Bobby's bomb, obvious mid-pack, added closers, and a lean on the Clement FTS who won the last. I hit four of six, missing the two obvious lone speeds to go deep on closers.

Bobby made some nice, pretty simple tickets. We get paid when we're right, but you have to have a ticket set up with conditions to be right. So, hooray for Bobby Sacs*. 

Schnittker! Hooray for Ray, I suppose.

Last evening at the Big M, trainer Ray Schnittker - the guy who wants no qualifiers, just racing - had a night.

In the second, a horse he (was made to, by the rules of racing) qualified at Goshen and appeared to look pretty good doing it, took a boatload of early cash, drifted up to 9-5 and absolutely crushed in 50.

Then in the third, another of his charges opened up with $4,000 on his nose; another qualifier from Goshen (but this one probably not as good). This colt crushed more than the previous one, in 49 and change! These two followed up a season's debut on Friday where the horse was mediocre, coming 5th.

Now, what do you do with that puzzle? Just bet the signal of early money with first timers? We know that's a ticket to the poorhouse. The ten in the first race - similar class, young horse coming back off a good qualifier - opened up low and was 10th at the quarter.

Just bet Ray first timers if they take money? I suppose so, but if everyone bets them they'll eventually be no value.

All I do know is - thank goodness there were qualifying lines to look at. The last thing the sport needs are horses winning nw2's in 149 with no running lines. The betting public think they're up against it enough without that kind of reminder.

Have a nice Sunday and rest of the weekend everyone.

* I heard from Bobby Sacs after his score. He asked me a name of a horse rescue he could donate to. Like I said, I'm happy for Bobby Sacs.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Same Store Sales Redux

If you're a stock player or CNBC or Fox Business watcher, you'll have heard the term "Same Store Sales" referenced often. This is a metric to analyze retailing, whereby sales between stores open one year or more are compared to see how management (and growth) of the chain or business has been going. If sales are only increasing because more stores are opening, it can be a red flag.

Here's something else you've probably heard before - the racing business is not much like the retail business, or perhaps any business. And Crunk's threads of late are both important, and evidence of that.

The 'wow' number in that string is the fact that (standardized) handle fell 5.6% in May, with 2,150 fewer stores (if we can say a store is a race). Although - and Crunk rightfully mentions this - NYRA has not yet begun and this paradigm will again change, I don't think you'd find a ton of people who'd have predicted this outcome; an outcome where so few races could be offered, with handle down so little. 

This has been firing on the demand side in harness racing as well, where Scioto has had $1M or more in handle each of their race days, after averaging around $200,000 normally. 

What this suggests - and we already know this - is the marginal cost of putting on the vast majority of races in the sport is super-high, and not economically feasible on its own. It's why so many tracks depend on slots. Without them, and without fail, the sport shrinks as same stores are shuttered; but, unlike in the real world, if that happens, gross sales might not fall very much, if at all. 

If you're interested in this analysis, give Crunk a follow and we can continue to learn what makes this crazy industry go. 

Have a nice Monday everyone. 

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