Friday, December 3, 2021


For those of us who are more left-brained and think in systems, markets are a really nice thing. They allow us to anchor to baselines, provide us with a structure, a starting point, a framework from which to decision make; they establish order. 

And I think it's why we have such a terribly difficult time understanding horse racing. 

It's unclear how Woodstock in Ontario had $100,000 in purses a day with $15,000 handles and thrived, while Balmoral Park had million dollar handles and $28,000 in purses a day and failed. 

We can't fathom why a government auditor would have to ask this industry to post their prices. And we're doubly flummoxed when the policy is resisted. 

We wonder aloud how a horse racing business can (apparently) explore selling a horse racing business.

We don't understand the highest handle track in harness racing running amateur races to fill a card, while across the river all the good horses are at a half mile track with less than a third the handles. 

Come to think of it, we don't even understand why there are half mile tracks anymore. 

We don't understand, in this cutthroat gambling environment, how customers have to line up for past performances, or how a download can cost so much. 

We don't understand how a business who complains so much about having fewer customers doesn't even realize they're a reason why. 

It's like our old friend the market doesn't even exist. 

As we drift in this intellectual wasteland of slots and other things, perhaps our brains are doing us a favor; they're protecting us. Because when the market does exist things aren't overly pretty. 

Hollywood Park, one of my favorites and I know many of yours, is a football stadium. Arlington, a slice of history and a very viable business, is gone. 

Those two tracks weren't sold for real estate value and replaced with fancy new ones, like an arena or a Wal Mart. They just disappeared. 

When markets act in horse racing, things tend to just go away. And it destroys everything - places to hone our craft, places to play, places we grew up with - we hold dear.  It's completely unsettling. 

Back to our left-brained reality - despite many of us left completely confused over this business, it's still there, trudging along. With that comes hope for better, hope for growth. That, left brained or right brained, market or no market, is always a good thing to have. It keeps us coming back. 

Have a nice weekend everyone. 

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